Thursday, December 18, 2008

White Christmas

It appears we're going to have a White Christmas after all! Well, we're still a week away I know but this snow is relentless. I've been out twice, just this morning to get it off the walks and driveway and its still coming down. This is the view from our back porch. There is one plus to having this much snow on the ground...It conceals all of the yard work that I was supposed to have done before it fell!

We're just hours away from hosting a small party for some of Jen's siblings, cousins and an aunt and uncle. The roads are slick (I nearly slid into a tractor parked on the side of the road on my way to drop the boys off to school) so we pray that everyone will make it here safely. We can't wait!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Matua Thanksgiving

After a fun-filled evening with the Kolowich's, we spent Friday evening with the Matua's. Even after all these years, we just seem to learn so much about and from each other. We had traditional fare (again) and played games into the night. All of the adults went home, but some of the kids lingered and even spent Sunday with us.

I guess the primary difference between Jen's family and Seti's family is that one family's kids are all under the age of eight and the other has lot's of tween's and teen's.

Dad had Thanksgiving several times that night. The Alzheimer's is progressing but we're doing our best to make him comfortable. He's coping well mentally, but his body is doing much better after the new pacemaker.

We owe our Father in Heaven so much!

A Kolowich Thanksgiving

We were absolutely SAD that the General of the Matua Troops was at work Thanksgiving morning, but we were ecstatic that she was able to join us for Thanksgiving dinner. We had the fine opportunity to have Thanksgiving dinner at a local museum of animal trophies....HA-HA! Actually it was held in the Heath home in the Avenues and dinner was delicious - Turkey, ham, candied yams, salads, rolls and to top it all off, incredible, luscious gravy! Mmmmm! Scrumptious!

After dinner at the Heath's, we were joined by a few of our family members on our annual tradition of walking off dinner at Temple Square. Hugh, Tara, Kara, Pearl and their children all joined us for a breath of fresh (cold) air and beautiful scenery. Oh, and Kyamani was there.

We concluded the night of festivities with a dessert and games at our house! It was so much fun although I was informed by Miss Lana Belle (future Alpine School District teacher) that my A's were not very good. A story for the campfire!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Confession No. 1,999,991

Okay, its been awhile since Kingston's last football game and I had to get this off my chest. I've been a longtime proponent of parents cheering internally and not out loud, a matter that has kept Jen and I at odds for many years now. Jen likes screaming like a banshee when her kids are playing. I like hiding under the bleachers until the gale-force winds have subsided. I get pretty hot under the collar when an opposing player uses dirty tactics in a game but that's about the extent of my ire when it comes to the boys' sports. Okay that's not the only time but my point is, I prefer to internalize my fury until I can get home and start throwing walnuts at the chickens.

But then came King's last game. His performance was pretty flat but then again, the entire Lehi team was looking pretty lethargic. So, long story short, Kingston made a tackle early in the third quarter and didn't get up. For some reason, I waited until all of the other concerned parents around me were absolutely quiet before I yelled out, "Get up!"


A classic case of not enough input, very poor output. I'm pretty sure that my thought at that particular moment was, "Is it just me, or am I really an idiot?" Anyway, I took a few gulps of cold night air to clear my head before I finally walked down to the sideline where he was being attended to by the people who aren't idiots to ask how he was doing. Aside from a severely bruised elbow, he appeared to be okay but I lost a lot of points that night in the "Father Know's Best" category.

It's funny how something so insignificant can make such an incredible difference in a boy's life. I'm fortunate that my son's have been blessed with a special ability to overlook my failings as a human being but its these little life lessons that give me greater perspective in my calling as a father. I swung for the fences that night and struck out with the bases loaded but I can tell you this, next time life throws me a curve I'll be sure to check it before I swing. My 'team' is counting on me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Halloween 2008

There's a rumor going around Lehi that the Matua boys have a "very serious" dad. In other words....he doesn't like kids. So, like thousands of Californian's who went door-to-door to post fliers to petition the aid of its citizens (and illegals) to vote for Prop 8, I went door-to-door in my own neighborhood to inform everyone that I'm not "serious", I just don't like neighbor kids....I'm kidding....I think.

Actually, since I'm too serious, I decided to leave town over Halloween so that Jen and the boys might enjoy the festive environment of Halloween fun and trick-or-treating with me asking, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

So while they ran around the rain sodden streets of Lehi, compelled by the need to gather as much candy as possible and fueled by a sugar-induced high, I was on the streets of Waikiki watching adults act like children.

The boys are still talking about the 'Silly Adventures of Bat Girl (Manaye) and her trusty side-kick Belle (Lana)' who were very entertaining throughout the night and quite boisterous in their chorus of Trick-or-Treat at each door. Or, how Belle would yell out, "Bat Girl! Bat Girl!" when no one was home. And who can forget the Oompa-Loompa's who thrilled a throng of ghosts, goblins and Jabbawoockie's dancing to Thriller in the middle of the street?

I have to say, I may be too serious for my own good, but I sure would have loved to have been there to join in the fun.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Our New Home!

We finally took some pictures of our new home! We love it and wanted to show it before it gets covered with snow. (We had snow on the ground 2 weekends ago...but it melted away and now the fall colors are BEAUTIFUL!) The family before us worked diligently on an amazing garden and we have been blessed to reap the rewards! We have had a bountiful harvest of potatoes, strawberries, apples, peaches, tomatoes, corn, beets, onions, peppers, squash, carrots and pumpkins. The boys even found a family of snakes living in the garden! The chickens are so great they almost make us feel like real farmers....almost!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Writer Unblocked

I had the opportunity of interviewing this 'kid' (Rey Maualuga - USC Trojan) for Spasifik Magazine (a Pacific Islander publication based out of New Zealand) a few weeks ago and finally blasted through my writers block. Its been bugging me (kinda) for the past year. Much of it was self-imposed after years of listening to the same 'ol, tired sports cliche's and quoting the compulsory laundry list of lawlessness that has become a prerequisite for college and professional athletes gone bad. But I've decided that its all part of the job and honestly, people just can't help being....people?

So I'm back in the game and it feels good to get the creative juices flowing again. What's next? A screenplay? Finishing that novel that I've been talking about for years? A film treatment? Who knows. What I do know is that I'm having a blast with the hate mail.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cold days, long meetings and warm cocoa

Football is not just a past time, it is life. It is especially true when you're raising five sons. And its all fun and games until the temperatures fall below the 60's and you can't find the requisite gear for a Utah winter.

Kenyon played his very first game in the cold this past Saturday, his second week as a quarterback. He toughed it out but eventually broke down in the fourth quarter when the rest of his teammates ran back into the huddle with frozen tears and numb fingers. Misery loves company!

Mica recorded three sacks and three tackles-for-loss under the same gray, dismal skies. Father's on the sidelines are ordinarily a deterrent for young athletes but when you're dad is a bull-headed Samoan, deterrent is a kind word that he can hardly understand. Let's just say that when your father pull's the "no X-Box or Wii for a week" card on you, well... there are some things worse than tackling a guy twice your size with a face full of mud.

Score another one for deplorable parenting and despicable paternal ingenuity.

On the bright side, we had THREE priesthood holders attend yesterday's General Priesthood Session. Chase joined his dad and older brother Kingston in what is quickly becoming a Matua family tradition. We are so happy to have heard the prophet speak to us and even though Chase struggled through it (believe me when I say I know how hard it is for a twelve-year-old to sit still for two hours) we are certain that he learned a little something about honoring his priesthood and magnifying his callings.

Another week in the books and another on the horizon!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Latest FB Highlights

Its Kenyon's (pictured) first year of football and he's really flourishing in his position's on the field. He plays receiver/tailback on offense and corner back / safety on defense. He has learned a lot from his older brother's over the years.

Mica is really beginning to pick up the game in his third year. He has been moved to various positions throughout the season, but has found a niche at tight end and outside linebacker. His nickname on the team is "Monster". We thought it was because of his looks, but we were later told by the coaches that he earned his name because of his tenacity and fierce tackling.

Kingston was unable to play in his natural position of receiver this year because the coaches felt like he could contribute better on defense. (In other words, the coaches had sons playing receiver already - yeah, bitter parent syndrome set in for us too.) He got over that initial hurdle by the end of the first game when he recorded an interception, caused a fumble and made a game saving tackle. He's planning on trying out for the Lehi HS JV next year and is REALLY hoping that he grows a foot before next season.

Thank you everyone for supporting our games this season. Its been a lot of fun wearing purple and black! Go PIONEERS!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Farewell my friend

It would be hard to understand death it if were not for the gospel in our lives but having someone from your graduating class and close friend die suddenly and tragically puts your life in perspective.

I will miss my dear friend Iamafana Lameta, a convert to the church during our senior year of high school at Church College of Western Samoa, who was until his death serving as bishop in his ward, passed away yesterday from a brain aneurysm. He leaves behind a faithful wife and five beautiful children.

He was an incredible friend who lived a humble life dedicated to serving his fellow men. His passion in life was translating church publications and talks by General Authorities during the church's General Conference sessions. I loved the man as my brother and know that I will see him again one day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Settled In

We attended our very first block party hosted by our new ward and feel like we can officially call Lehi our home now. The boys are going full speed with school, sports and church and we're back to figuring how exactly we can squeeze in so much in from on day to the next. Anyone else having that problem? :D

It has been lot's of fun (and very advantageous) living close to Kevin, Hugh (kinda close) Abby and Alisha. We want to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to those who helped us move. I think Seti had a collapsed lung, sore ribs, two bum knees and a stiff neck by the time moving day came to a close. I think he's always had those problems but he's conveniently blaming it on the move.

We are thoroughly enjoying our new lives in Lehi and hope that the FBI, IRS and ICE are not reading this blog because we do not want to be found! But if you'd like to visit us, please call and we'll give you our new address.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Final Destination....LEHI?

Who would have thought that we would end up in Lehi? For more than fifteen years (with a brief stint in Lehi with mom) we have called West Valley City our home. Now it appears that we have suppressed the temptation of living in Utah County long enough and are ready to pack up our belongings, load up the Afakasi Bus and set up camp in Lehi.

We are praying and hoping that everything goes well and that by the end of August, we'll be in our 'new' home. We're just a hop, skip and a jump in any direction from Hugh, Abby, Alisha or Kevin. We're looking forward to the boys starting school at Sego Lilly Elementary and Lehi Junior High.

Goodbye police chases, gunshots, graffiti and Astro vans sittin' on Dubs. Hello horse flies, minivans, rodeo's and tractor pulls!

Go Pioneers!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Risky Business

This past weekend, Seti, his brother Eddie and a business partner, Karl Lundeberg put their resources and art to the test at the Utah Samoan Cultural Celebration here in Utah.

They recently created a clothing line called Donofeno, an acronym for "Doubt Not, Fear Not". Sales were difficult and they really weren't sure how their tee-shirts would be received, but they decided it was worth the risk.

Despite the lukewarm sales, they are quite confident that they will succeed. They will continue to work on branding their business and already have a website. You can visit them at

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Grandma Karen

We celebrated Grandma Karen's birthday this weekend at Payson Lake in Utah County. Pearl & Kara, Kevin & Erin, Hugh & Tara, Clint & Alisha, Jose & Kassie and their families were all there to help celebrate.

Once again we enjoyed the beauty of God's creation's as we fished, swam and hiked our way around our awesome campground. Matt even joined us for an evening of fun around the campfire.

About the only setback we experienced during the incredible weekend was the blown tire on I-15 as we made our way home. No worries though. Uncle Clint came to our rescue! Looking forward to the next family outing!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Congratulations Kevin & Erin

We were privileged to witness the sealing of Kevin, Erin and their three young sons in the Timpanogos Temple this past weekend. Nothing is more inspiring than entering that holy place where family can be together forever.

Congratulations on reaching this everlasting and important milestone. Visit often and pray always! We love you!

Independence Day

Thank you so much to the Holindrake family for their generosity over the Fourth of July weekend. We drove down that afternoon with the Filiaga's and Seti's boss (Sid Pauga) to join the Holindrake's at their home.

Clint cooked hot dogs and hamburgers to go with the delicious salads, fruits, chips and desserts. Afterward whetting our pyrotechnic appetites with a few fireworks in front of their home, we drove through Lehi and parked just east of the freeway to enjoy the fireworks display at Thanksgiving Point.

Being with family and friends is always a wonderful way to celebrate and remember the sacrifices of those who fought for our country's liberties and for the foresight of our founding fathers who were inspired by God to establish this great nation!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Scouts in Moab

Just 24 hours after returning from Samoa, Seti accompanied Chase, Kingston and the Granger West 9th Ward Scouts to Arches National Park near Moab, UT for their annual Scout camp. Chase passed off all of the requirements for his Tenderfoot and Second Class ranks. Kingston is currently a First Class Scout and is close to completing all of the requirements for the Life rank.

The guys hiked in and around the areas near Delicate, Landscape, Double-O and Wall arches as well as Dead Horse Point. They also ran the Colorado River and completed a difficult 14-mile hike under a scorching sun before the long ride home. Seti and the boys were ready for a nice long, hot shower and a restful night in their own beds. At the very least, this scout trip has taught the boys humility and gratitude.

Talofa Samoa

Thanks to his employment with an international company (Life Transition Services), Seti was blessed with the opportunity to return to the land of his ancestors for a brief visit. Aganoa Beach (inset) is perhaps one of the most beautiful spots in the world and is owned by the Utai's, Seti's mother's family. Seti spent nearly every minute of his trip at this incredible locale.

So much has changed in the ten years since his last visit, but the land is still beautiful and provides inspiration and relaxation for the growing tourist industry in the country.

While in Samoa, Seti was bestowed the chiefly title of Aganoa by his mother's family. It is a great honor to serve his mother's family, village and country. We look forward to one day visiting Samoa as a family to teach the boys about their Polynesian heritage.

Nauvoo Trip

Now that June is over we can breathe a sigh of relief. Our busy month started with our incredible trip to Nauvoo with the Granger West 9th Ward youth. Jen did a wonderful job of organizing the entire trip over a two year period. Over 50 youths and leaders traveled from Kansas City to Nauvoo to St. Louis over five days.

We did temple work in the Nauvoo (awesome) and St. Louis temples. We visited Liberty and Carthage jails too. What a very emotional and spiritual experience for all involved. We even had a non-member traveling with the group who committed to baptism immediately after visiting Carthage. Our individual testimonies of the gospel were strengthened. We highly recommend a visit to this historic and awe inspiring region of the nation.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Graduation Time

We were in Pocatello, ID this past weekend to attend Amanda Filiaga's high school graduation. Amanda is the eldest daughter of Teuila and Ivor Filiaga. Teuila is Seti's sister. Amanda is the first grandchild in the Matua family to graduate from high school.

You tend to come to grips with the fact that your youth is slipping away when a kid you've known since birth is wearing a cap and gown and is planning their first year of college! But we were so happy for her and the fact that she has done well enough to earn a full ride athletic scholarship to a local college.

We celebrated Amanda's achievement at a party in her honor. Family and friends were there to wish her well on the first day of the rest of her life. Congratulations Amanda!

Higginson Reunion

We had a wonderful time catching up with members of the Higginson family whom we rarely see. Seti had a decent round of golf (thanks again Nathan Bingham) but he and Clint let the victory slip through their fingers on the last hole and gave Adam and Jose bragging rights until the next round.

We really enjoyed the trip to Pine Valley and fell in love with the place. It was truly a beautiful place. The weather in St. George was perfect for lounging about and shooting the breeze. The trip through Zions National Park was awe inspiring and doing baptisms in the St. George temple for members of the Kolowich family was AWESOME! We're looking forward to the next Higginson family reunion.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Kenyon's Baptism

Kenyon was baptized and confirmed last Saturday, May 3rd. We had grandma's, grandpa's, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends there as witnesses. Even Kenyon's school teacher showed up which was a great surprise. We are so grateful that so many could be there to support Kenyon.

His dad performed the ordinances. We had a short brunch afterwards at our Ward building. It was a very special day for a very special guy.

Four down, one more to go! Congratulations Kenyon!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Kenyon's Birthday

Mom forgot the camera at home, but we still had plenty of fun celebrating Kenyon's eighth birthday. Kenyon invited two of his friends from school and his cousin Mason to join him in a late afternoon movie (Horton Hears a Who) and dinner at Tepanyaki Japanese Grill. More than anything, Kenyon is looking forward to his baptism, which will take place next month.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Quinn

In all the excitement of having back-to-back birthdays, we forgot to post pictures of Quinn's new gift on our blog. Quinn celebrated his fifth birthday on March 13th and is eager for the fall when he starts his new adventure in Kindergarten. Quinn invited his friends and cousins to a birthday party but he got to play with his new Smart Cycle a day in advance. Happy Birthday Quinn!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mica's Tortoise

Mica's new friend

Happy Birthday Mica!

Mica celebrated his 10th birthday on March 12th. He shares a birthday with his cousin Isabelle and his aunt Dahlia Lemafa, but I doubt that neither Dahlia nor Isabelle share Mica's passion for animals. For years now, Mica has been begging us for a tortoise. Not the little one's that are tucked away in a shoe box, but a REAL tortoise that grows and lives to be a hundred years old. We're not sure that this one will live to be a hundred in a house full of boys, but we're pretty sure that he will grow to be quite large since he's already eaten a head of lettuce since he set up camp in the boys' room. We thought we

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Hiking with Scouts

Its been a week since I accompanied the Scouts on their snowshoe outing to Big Cottonwood Canyon and I'm still sore. King and Chase were kind enough to hang back and help their old dad up to Doughnut Falls. The scenery was breathtaking, the hike was difficult and we walked away with a better appreciation for paved roads, a warm bath and more importantly all of God's beautiful creations.