Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Out Loud

Love this article a friend of mine shared on Facebook today!  Written by a parent who was not afraid to say out loud what we all think at times in this journey of parenting.

Steve Wiens, blogger for the Huffington Post, begins his article as such.

"I am in a season of my life right now where I feel bone-tired almost all of the time. Ragged, how-am-I-going-to-make-it-to-the-end-of-the-day, eyes burning exhausted.

I have three boys ages 5 and under. I'm not complaining about that. Well, maybe I am a little bit. But I know that there are people who would give anything for a house full of laughter and chaos. I was that person for years and years; the pain of infertility is stabbing and throbbing and constant. I remember allowing hope to rise and then seeing it crash all around me, month after month, for seven years. I am working on another post about infertility that will come at a later date.

But right now, in my actual life, I have three boys ages 5 and under. There are many moments where they are utterly delightful, like last week, when Isaac told my sister-in-law that, "My daddy has hair all over." Or when Elijah put a green washcloth over his chin and cheeks, and proudly declared, "Daddy! I have a beard just like you!" Or when Ben sneaks downstairs in the morning before the other boys do, smiles at me, and says, "Daddy and Ben time."

But there are also many moments when I have no idea how I'm going to make it until their bedtime. The constant demands, the needs and the fighting are fingernails across the chalkboard every single day."

Read the rest of this excellent article here.


Sunday, May 5, 2013


Our family is no stranger to crazy happenings.  Very often throughout the week I find myself saying,


"This can't be happening!"

"Really!?! Again!?!"

"Why me!"

This past week has been no different.

Our first unfortunate event was last Monday evening.  A seemingly normal night.  We had eaten dinner, the kids had been bathed, and we had managed to eek out some productivity in the homework department.  Everyone was getting ready to crawl into bed happy that Monday was coming to a close.

All of the sudden the house shook, coupled with a loud rumble and a final BOOM!  Pretty quickly the lights in the house began to flicker.  The ceiling an in the living room began spinning at warp speed and the TV began smoking out the back. 

Then total darkness.

We thought it was just a simple power outage.  When the lights came back on a few minutes later we were relieved and thought that was the end of it. 

It wasn't.

Light bulbs throughout the house began bursting.  The microwave turned itself on and began overheating.  Our air purifier blew feverishly and then final just blew out.  The kids were in a panic.  I was quickly trying to unplug everything in the house. Nathan finally got to the outdoor breaker box to flip the main switch.

Darkness again.

The next day we had the power company to come out and take a look.  Apparently a tree had fallen on the line to the house.  It hadn't been raining the night before.  There were no strong winds.  No one else on the street lost power.  The tree wasn't dead. 

It just decided to fall,

on us,

only us.


The electric worker went on to explain that he couldn't figure out why the main breaker didn't do it's job and kill power to the house.  Instead we got this huge, dangerous surge of power overloading the house.  Come to find out the surge permanently blew out:

7 Light Bulbs

2 DVD players

2 Alarm Clocks

1 TV

1 Air Purifier

1 Blender

Oh and the oven.


Fast forward to Wednesday.  I had been super excited to be able to borrow my parents car.  We only have one car at the moment and it has been an adjustment; since prior to moving to Hawaii we always had two.  So Wednesday morning I pile the kids into the car to head off to school.  We are sitting there in the car waiting for it to heat up and defrost.  Yes, it does get that cold in Hawaii when you live 4500 feet up the side of a volcano.  It was 43 degrees to be exact. 

The heater wasn't heating and we were going to be late so I headed off down the mountain.  The car temperature gage was rising but still no heat.  Seriously, I thought my flip flop laden toes were going to freeze right off.  All the while I have the kids whining from the back seat.

"Mom we are freezing to death!  Can you turn up the heat!"

Again all that came to mind was,


Unbeknownst to me that was not all fun in store for this day.  I drove the car all day.  Still no heat.  Which when you are in town the outside temperature ramps up to a balmy 80 degrees; so no heat is needed.  I went to pick the kids up from school.  My mom was with me so I leave the car running as I go in to get the kids.  Moments later I come out, kids in tow.  All I see is the hood of the car up and the radiator steaming all over the place.  We had heat all right, too much heat. We couldn't drive the car and we were stranded.


Fast forward to Friday.  I had loaded the kids up and we were headed down the mountain to school.  Different car because the parents car was now in the shop with a busted radiator.  This car had heat and that was a good thing.  It was the normal stop and go traffic heading into town.  We were listening to music and I was giving my kids their normal pep talk before school.  We were all happy that the week was coming to a close. When all of the sudden,


It took me a second to realize we had been rear ended.  The loud noise of the impact and the hard jerk of the car had caught the kids off guard.  Heck it had caught me off guard. I turned back to make sure the kids were OK.  They were both just sitting there in shock with tears running down their faces.

"We are OK guys. It's going to be fine."

I said calmly in reassurance.  However the voice in my head was yelling,

"Really!?!  This can't be happening!"

PERSPECTIVE is defined as

a) A view or vista

b) A mental view or attitude

c) A subjective evaluation of relative significance

I really like the last one.  It is important to understand that perspective is subjective.  Just like pain is subjective.  It really is different for each person.  You can have someone who stubbed their toe and think in that moment that they are in the worse pain of their lives.  You can also have someone with three broken ribs think they are in the worse pain of their lives.  To the person looking on it seems silly that the person with the stubbed toe is even complaining because over here we have someone with three broken ribs.  However to the person with the stubbed toe the pain is just as great as the broken ribs.  It is subjective to that person.

I used to hate it when I was little and my parents would always say,

"You shouldn't complain.  Someone is a lot worse off than you right now."

My immediate thought was always,

"Yah, but there is a lot of people a lot better off than me right now too!"

I wanted to be validated in that moment that my stubbed toe was really hurting just as bad as the other guys broken ribs.  And I think that is OK.  Lame stuff happens and it does suck. We all have moments of


The key however is to quickly find perspective.  To see the circumstances for what they actually are.  We need to check our attitudes.  We need to find ways to "work all things for good."  If we don't, we end up self-piteous and bitter over things that really aren't that big of a deal. 

So take a moment,

cry a few tears,

let off a few choice words,

pour yourself a stiff drink,

take a nap.

Whatever you need to do(within reason) to validate yourself , to yourself, for the moment

do it.


find perspective and 

move on!

I got out of the car after I had been rear ended ready to explode.  I had several choice words ready to fire off.  When all the sudden I saw this scared, teary young woman coming towards me.

"Shit, I am so sorry.  I am so sorry.  Are you OK?  I am so sorry."  she blurted out through her tears.

At that moment I decided to say the choice words in my head.  I quickly changed my perspective, took a deep breath and opened my arms to give her a hug.  Immediately she fell into my arms and I said,

"It's OK, we are fine. What a way to start Aloha Friday huh?"

Relieved she responded with a laugh.

Miraculously neither car had any damage.   The kids were fine.  Neither one of us were hurt.  There were no airbags deployed.  We even made it to school on time.


When the car over heated on Wednesday we weren't really stranded.  Mom's house is within walking distance to the school albeit a good trek.  The kids and I got our exercise for the day.  The mechanic was able to come pick the car up so it didn't have to be towed.


The power surge to the house blew out things that are totally replaceable.  Our computer hard drives with thousands of pictures and documents were saved via the surge protectors.  No one was hurt.  There was no fire(which the power guy said could have been a possibility.) The landlord has agreed to replace the oven.


It was a crazy week that I am glad is over.  But we are all safe.  We are all healthy.  We have a place to live.  We have power and running water.  We have food to eat.  We have a car to drive.  The kids are doing awesome in school.  Nathan got a job.  And for goodness sake we live on this beautiful island called Hawaii.  Are there people worse off than us? Yes.  Are there people better off than us?  Yes.  However I choose to look at things in


Thursday, May 2, 2013


I have been a full time working mom ever since my daughter was born 10 years ago.  In fact she just turned 10 last month and it hit me hard.  All the sudden I had this sinking feeling that I had missed everything.  Truth be told I have missed a lot.  I've worked swing shift teaching night school where I wouldn't see my kids at all until the end of the week.  Most recently I have worked at a clinic with a long commute; which translated into me leaving the house before the kids were up and getting home at their bedtime.  Right now however I am between jobs and feel like I am revisiting motherhood all over again.

Our daughter Sydney a had long been looking forward to her 10th birthday.  In her mind this would officially make her a tween and oh so much older than nine.  Really overnight her wish seemed to come true.  All of the sudden she looked older, which getting her ears pierced didn't help.  She was trying to act older, but unfortunately this wasn't coming out in maturity.  It was more akin to,

"This is me and my attitude and my style and if you don't like it tough." 

My immediate reaction? 

 "Whoa, wait a second...um NO!" 

Quickly followed by me thinking,

"Well she is older now. She does need her space.  She needs to be able to express herself." 

It quickly became clear I was in new motherhood territory and had no clue what I was doing.

As the days continued Sydney's attitude grew from bad to worse.  Within a few weeks of her 10th birthday we had a full blown tween brat on our hands. I have to admit I have been at a total loss.  Our mother/daughter relationship has been lacking the time and energy that it needs.  I have felt as though I have lost any parental authority at all.  The problem is that she knows it and the battle is on.  There has been lots of,

"You just don't understand me."

Lots of slamming doors and big dramatic tears.  And to be honest lots of me thinking,

"Forget it, she is going to do what she wants to do regardless."

Well today we embarked on the every eminent "fight of the day".  Sydney had gotten some money for her birthday that she had been itching to spend.  In her mind because it was her money, she thought she could buy whatever she wanted with it.  However when I informed her that that was not the case; all hell broke loose.  Right away I could tell by the attitude being spewed forth that she had her mind set on purchasing a CD I that I had already told her she wasn't allowed to buy.  Yes, I have managed to draw some lines in the sand, but they have been just that.  They have been barriers between my daughter and I instead of a symbol of trust, love and protection.

"Are you really telling me what I can and cannot buy with MY money?" She blurted out.

Followed closely with the classic,

"You just don't want me to express who I am!"

What came out next, I believe, was my best motherly speech of the week, thus far.

"You don't even know who you are!  You are only ten years old! Ten!  So let me help you.  Let me show you who you are and help discover who you want to become.  Because trust me [said music artist] is not who you want to be!"

A big fat,


coupled with the dramatic eye roll is the only response I got.

So into Target we went.  I grabbed a few things we needed.  (Oh and just for the record, I NEED everything that's in Target.)  Then Sydney asked if we could go over to the music section.  I agreed and we headed over.  Sydney made a bee line for the CD she knew she wasn't allowed to purchase.

"Please Mom?" she pleaded.

"I guess she isn't THAT bad." I thought to myself.

"But she really isn't great either.  She does have some positive songs, but also a lot of boyfriend, partying crap too that is just not tween appropriate.  At least not my tween." 

My brain continued to reel.

"But this would make Sydney so happy.  She will think I am the coolest mom ever!  I bet we wouldn't fight the rest of the day, heck maybe even the whole week!"

I was quickened back to reality with my daughter's voice dramatically stating,

"Mom, I MUST have this CD."

What was I going to do?  Cave or stand my ground?  Have a fight free evening or one with drama over me saying, "No."?

"Well lets see if we can find a positive alternative." I responded.  "I bet we can find an artist who sounds just like her, same beats, but with a more consistently positive message."

So I headed over and picked up a copy of Britt Nicole's CD named "Gold".

"What about her?" I asked.

The daughter was not amused.  But I told her I wanted her to trust me and that I bet she would really like it.  Unbeknownst to her I had never heard the CD.  Honestly, I am not one for pop music in any form.  I did know however that she was an artist with a positive message and was hoping that she wouldn't let this momma down. Reluctantly Sydney tossed the CD into the cart.

As soon as we got into the car I cracked the CD open.  I was hoping and praying that Sydney would like it and that I would be redeemed as the "coolest mom on the planet".  I could tell by the look on her face that she thought it was just going to be super lame and she would be redeemed as the "poor restricted tween with no way to express herself".

Well, before the end of the first song Sydney chimed in,

"This is good, this is really good."

By the second song,

"This is awesome!" 

And by the third,

"Mom can I get a Britt Nicole poster for my room?"

Waahoo! Success! Now, I must mention that our six year old son Parker was with this whole time. Upon listening to the new CD made sure to mention to Sydney that,

"You can tell this music glorifies God.  And that makes him happy Sydney."

Hahaha...out of the mouths of babes or in this case, little brothers. 

We listened to, and enjoyed(even me) Britt Nicole the entire ride home.  When we got out the car I stopped Sydney, got down on her level and looked straight into her big blue eyes.

"Hey," I said,

"I want to thank you for trusting me today.  It means so much to me as your mom."

A great big smile splashed across her face; which in turn made me tear up.  I continued,

"I love you.  All I want is the very best for you.  I want you to be able to express yourself, but I want that expression to be rooted in something positive, something solid.  Then you will become the young woman that you are meant to be.  That is my heart's desire for you.  Do you trust me in that?"

"Yah, I do."

She responded in her sweet, timid voice reminiscent of when she was a few years younger and not quite so head strong.  The conversation ended with a big bear hug and the ever coveted,

"I love you Momma."

Ahhhh...my heart was full.  I had done it.  I had been the mom I want to be.  Lovingly I had stood my ground.  I had found a positive alternative.  My head strong daughter trusted in my wisdom and learned that she could do so without her self expression being compromised.

As I write this Britt Nicole is now blaring on the home stereo and Sydney is busy busting some pretty cool dance moves.  Will there be fights tomorrow?  Most likely.  More dramatic eye rolls?  You can bet on it.  However I feel like today I gained some ground in this challenge called motherhood.  I added a little block to the foundation of my daughter's identity and in turn she added a block to mine.  I don't have this whole momma thing figured out, but I am going to start thinking of ways I can add more blocks.  Above all I will stand firm in this fight for her to become the young woman she is meant to be.  Just as I will stand firm in being the mom I should be.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Had some fun looking for a good definition of the word "aloha".  The word is synonymous with island living in Hawaii.  It is a word most loosely used as a greeting for hello or goodbye, but the spirit of the word is really means so much more. The word aloha literally means the joyful (oha) sharing (alo) of life energy (ha) in the present (alo).  In Hawaii it is actually a law on the books that reads like this: 

[§5-7.5]  "Aloha Spirit" 
(a)  "Aloha Spirit" is the coordination of mind and heart within each person.  It brings each person to the self.  Each person must think and emote good feelings to others.  In the contemplation and presence of the life force, "Aloha", the following unuhi laula loa (free translation) may be used:
Akahai, [ah kah hai'], meaning kindness to be expressed with tenderness;        
Lōkahi, [LOH' kah hee], meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony;
`Olu`olu, [oh' loo oh' loo], meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness;
Ha`aha`a, [hah' ah hah' ah], meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty;
Ahonui, [ah hoh nui'], meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance.
These are traits of character that express the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawaii's people.  It was the working philosophy of native Hawaiians and was presented as a gift to the people of Hawaii. 
"Aloha" is more than a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation. 
"Aloha" means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. 
"Aloha" is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence. 
"Aloha" means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.

From the article "The Deeper Meaning of Aloha" by Curby Rule www.huna.org
"The kahuna David Bray interprets this code as "Come forward, be in unity and harmony with your real self, God, and mankind. Be honest, truthful, patient, kind to all life forms, and humble." He also stated that to the Hawaiian of old, Aloha meant "God in us." "
For me Aloha Spirit is the embodiment the of fruits of the Spirit that I learned as a kid.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Gal. 5:22-25
I love how it says at the end "Against such there is no law".  Meaning there is no circumstance ever that these are NOT permissible. These are always, in all cases a good idea.  Always!
Today happens to be May Day where the Aloha Spirit is seen around the islands with the celebration of Lei Day.  In 1927 "May Day is Lei Day." was conceived by the poet David Blanding and the phrase was coined by Grace Tower Warren who worked with Blanding at the Honolulu Star Bulletin.  All over the islands today people are showing their Aloha Spirit by the making of, giving and receiving of beautiful floral garland called leis.
So today and everyday I try to make that choice to show my Aloha Spirit.  It isn't always easy in fact most days it is a choice.  Especially when someone isn't showing their Aloha Spirit to you! But it truly is the spirit of the islands and something that I am working to instill into my kids.  It's one of those darn things you have to show them yourself otherwise it is just another concept on paper.  We are the model, we are the living breathing example, we are the ALOHA.

Monday, April 29, 2013


The last thing I need to do right now is start a blog!  I am not a writer; though I do love to put my thoughts on paper. I am not a gourmet chef; though I do try to make healthy meals for my family.  I am not a professional photographer; though I am totally obsessed with taking pictures.  I am not one of those super, crafty, has it all figured out moms; though I am completely committed to raising my little humans right. My one attention grabber is that I live with my husband and two kids on the most glorious Big Island of Hawaii.

I was born in Sydney, Australia and moved here to the Big Island before my first birthday.  I had the most wonderful childhood being apart of island life and all it's splendid offerings.  Then suddenly my junior year of high school my parents (much to my dismay) decided to move to Oregon.  However all was not lost.  About a year later I met my most awesome husband.  We married 10 years later and have been married 10 years since.  In that time we have added a witty, redhead daughter and a precocious, energetic son to the family.

Two years ago I brought my husband to Hawaii.  It was actually our second visit together but the first time we had ever discussed the possibility of actually moving our family here.  It was such a huge decision and took us two years to finalize.  And so in the summer of 2012 we packed up a twenty five foot shipping container and headed west across the Pacific.  For me it was a long wished for homecoming.  For my husband a grand, new adventure.  For the kids...well I think the kids just thought they would be on a permanent vacation.

So much has happened in the past eight months.  It has been such a learning experience to watch my family integrate into this island I call home.  We have had joyous triumphs and epic failures.  We have had just plain fun and have learned so much.  We had the off grid rental house that we could only have one light on at night.  We have had countless beach trips and hiking adventures.  We have had new foods for the first time.  We have had the joy of meeting new friends.  We have had the adjustment of no dishwasher and catchment tank water.  We have had interesting run ins with the public transportation system.  We have had uninvited guests in the rat, spider and cockroach department.  We have had gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.  We have had the rental with no Internet service, for six months!  The kids learning to swim, pet chameleons, shell collections, volcano adventures, new vegetable gardens; the list could go on and on.

So that is all this blog is.  My personal dairy of things I don't want to forget.  Things that I want to be able to go back and re-read.  Things I want to take a second look at.  Things I am grateful for.  Things I have learned.  Things I could do differently.  Things I want to remember we overcame.  Things I want to rejoice over again.  Things that may have the power to encourage others.  We all have "things" in our lives and I hope you will be blessed by me sharing mine.