Our Disconnected Reality

In a world where the majority of people are so connected, it’s disconcerting how disconnected we really are.

I’ve been silently observing for the past few months the phenomenon of people being so disconnected from the present. From their immediate surroundings.

And don’t get me wrong, this is not a judgment on anyone. I am definitely guilty of this. I’m part of the problem. Which is why it piqued my interest and made me curious at what is really going on.

I try to not use my phone unless I’m sitting down and nursing the baby. But I’m guilty obviously of using it at other times too.

So guilty, in fact, that if my toddler discovers my phone laying on the changing table or on the kitchen counter, he immediately retrieves it and comes running to me, shrieking, “Here, momma! Here!” He’s been conditioned to believe that it’s something I must always have with my person. And I don’t want that. I don’t want him to think my phone is something that I can’t leave in another room, even though I can leave him in another room.

My kids go crazy when someone lets them use their smart phone. I have to bite my tongue, because I don’t want to ruin their fun, and make it so that someday they get smart phone crazy too; but at the same time, I don’t like the people they become when suddenly they get lost in a world of Snapchat or Pokémon go, etc. Suddenly my fun, sweet kids are quarreling over whose turn it is and just looking for their next device fix. And as kids who will not own a smart phone while still children (and likely, whenever we decide a cell phone is applicable for one reason or another, it still won’t be smart), I don’t want them fixated and crazy with something that research proves does more harm than good. (And let’s be honest, their behavior with smart phones and technology is really a reflection of ours, even though it hurts to admit it).

I’ve watched friends more focused on creating a good Instagram story then truly enjoying the surroundings here. Right here. In paradise. Social media moments rate higher.

I find myself sometimes wanting to create the perfect social media family, and then feeling a bit defeated when I realize that my family, albeit everything I could ever want, will simply never be social media perfect. Sorry, guys. They’re real kids who pick out their own clothes and don’t always brush their hair and are often barefoot and dirty. I still have the little ones to doll up, but even Sweet M is starting to be opinionated. And we don’t do crafts worthy of entire blog posts or even Pinterest. You don’t want to know my cleaning hacks, because basically it’s “try to keep livable.”

Someone recently told me that they wouldn’t be returning to the mainland for several years due to time and cost, unless it was for a funeral. And I get it. We won’t be visiting our mainland friends and family until we are done living in Hawaii either because we have created a small tribe that is super costly to fly. But what really struck me is that we would be more likely to make the effort for a funeral than for memories and moments with real life people.

And I am blaming that on our disconnection.

Sure, you can say the funeral isn’t for the dead, it’s for the living , etc. But really, I think we’ve spent so much time creating Insta-worthy lives, and creating relationships by texting and Facebooking, that why bother enjoying real life people when your life can be glamorous without them? And of course, once they pass we need to put on this big show for the smart phone lives that we’ve created. Plus, funerals don’t require deep connection. It’s easy to keep on being disconnected and bury your head in your phone.

As someone who really, and always has, struggled with social interactions, it’s hard for me to reach out and not be reciprocated over and over again. I’m still trying to sort out what felt like rejections in childhood by people, and the realities of just some hard situations that had unfortunate outcomes. Sometimes it’s easier to bury myself deeper into the family and world I created for myself than to reach out and open up with others.

So I get it.

I get the desire by so many to be so instantly connected and the gratification of having people like your moments.

I get it.

I’m not perfect. I never will be. But I am going to keep on trying to disconnect with all the connection.

It’s pretty obvious this blog has slowed down tremendously these past few months. Partly because of visitors and illness, partly because I’m trying to find a new groove where I’m less connected with the world, but more connected with the people who I have or am currently forging real relationships with. (And by the way, if you feel like you are not someone I talk to with enough, feel free to say so. I keep a steady stream of kid photos and updates coming to those who ask. ☺️)

I want to sit on the beach with my babies and enjoy the moment. Not stage the moment for the rest of the world’s enjoyment. That doesn’t mean I won’t photograph my kids or even share those moments when I feel the desire, but they’ll take the back burner. If I happen to share it, cool. If not, that’s okay.

I liked the moment enough for all of us.

I don’t know what the future holds for me. For this blog. For my smart phone.

But I am stepping away from being so connected so that I can stop feeling so disconnected from my life.

Baltic Essentials Necklaces

All my babes have worn amber necklaces essentially from birth. Frequently they’re referred to as amber “teething” necklaces as they are often associated with helping to ease the pain that infants and toddlers endure from teething as they release natural, pain relieving oils onto the skin.

Really, though, they can help with all kinds of aches and pains, not just the pain of teething, which is really pretty awesome and beneficial at all ages and stages of life.

But amber isn’t the only stone associated with bringing relief to little ones and adults alike. There are all sorts of stones that helps with many different issues and ailments.

Miss H and Sweet M each wear a necklace from Baltic Essentials that has seven other stones included with the Baltic amber (pink rose quartz, amethyst, lapis lazuli, turquoise, aventurine, chrysocolla, and red agate).


These stones are used to help ease stress, calm big emotions, dispel anxiety, and quell anger. And for my amazing, high needs, big feelings duo, it’s just the help they need in their big moments. Miss H even will say “I need to stop and focus on my necklace helping me for a minute while I get calm.”

Bean wears your typical amber necklace, but in addition she also uses a Baltic Essentials hazelwood necklace, as does Mr. B.

These two sweet loves got their Momma’s tummy troubles: reflux, eczema – those fun things. Hazelwood helps to alleviate those issues and soothe the tummy. Mr. B happily wears his 24/7, so that should say a lot.

My kiddos love their healing and soothing Baltic Essentials necklaces as one, and a super cute one at that, tool to helping with their daily well being!

***This post was sponsored by Baltic Essentials but as always, I only work with companies I genuinely love and believe in, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Hawaiian Plantation Village

We have a list of things we must see and do while in Oahu.

And then we have a list of things that seems to randomly find us and we didn’t even realize that we needed to see and do it until we are there.

That’s what the Hawaiian Plantation Village was for us. “A happy little accident.”

The place was so interesting and fun that I will even ignore that the employees were wearing stickers that had “HPV” on them. I mean, I get it. But the 12 year old in me was just rolling.

We stopped in because they were having a rice fest, which included “make your own musubi.” And I get that musubi is probably one of the easiest things in the world to make, but I hadn’t yet attempted it and wanted to see it done before I gave it a whirl. So getting to have someone walk is all through it was fantastic and the kids loved it!

Then we walked about the grounds where the real museum/village is.

They had a plethora of dwellings and structures created to be replicates authentic to the time period of the mid 1800s-early 1900s when the plantations were pretty much the biggest industry on the island. That was the time when so many people from other countries began migrating to Hawaii.

The kids all indulged me while I read to them about each dwelling and the purpose it served and the histories of the people who it represented. So many people. It was beautiful and a little daunting to think of people leaving their homes to come Hawaii 150+ years ago.

If I ever feel like it’s hard to stay in touch with friends and family while hear, I will just remind myself of all those people left their homes, knowing full well they’d likely never see any of the loved ones they were leaving ever again.

Sweet M kept me on my toes as he picked all the foliage and vegetation and I kept reading all the little signs to be sure he wouldn’t die from something poisonous.

It was a such a beautiful historical plantation village and I am so glad we happened upon it.

What a lovely Hawaiian day!

Paradise Cove

Luau’s aren’t just for tourists! We’ve had the fun opportunity to attend a few recently and they’re a definite must-do for tourists and locals alike.

Recently we ventured to Paradise Cove’s Luau with family, and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

But I was in for a huge surprise by how fun it was! It wasn’t as hokey as I imagined. The entertainment was spectacular and the food delicious.

Located on the beautiful Ko’olina Lagoon beach, which was admittedly a bit of a trek from our Honolulu home during rush hour (so if you’re venturing over there from Honolulu/Kailua, I’d suggest giving yourself plenty of time or just going early and making a day of it at the beach beforehand), the views were utterly breathtaking. We couldn’t have asked for a better location!

They had so many games for kids and adults alike to enjoy, and ample time for everyone to get as many turns as they wanted

The kids especially enjoyed their “boat ride” aka getting to ride in a Hawaiian outrigger canoe.

There were great little kiosks set up for purchasing Hawaiian delights if you so chose, but you also received lei’s upon arrival and won seashell necklaces at all the games, so little kids hoping for souvenirs can be easily appeased without spending a dime, which is really nice, too!

The show put on both before dinner and during dinner was outstanding! The kids were absolutely enthralled, which made staying out past bedtime an enjoyable experience (you know, with no meltdowns).

Plus, we were there before Christmas so everyone got to see Hawaiian Santa which was pretty fun, and my little nephew was absolutely mesmerized by Mrs. Hula Claus; we had to separatedm him and put him over on Grandma’s lap to keep him from gawking.

Miss H has all ready requested we attend a luau for her birthday she loved it that much!

Paradise Cove Luau really does take the cake for entertainment and beauty, and the food was delicious to boot! I would recommend this Luau tenfold for anyone wanting a family friendly Luau that is certain to give you a lot of bang for your buck!

2017 in a Nutshell

2017 has been an amazing year for sure! So many great and exciting things. And a few not so great.

Here’s our 2017 highlights.

We kicked off the year with a trip to Wisconsin Dells where the big kids learned to snow board while Momma and Sweet M played in the snow.

Sweet M had his first trip to the ER after jamming a mechanical pencil into his cheek and needing the lead extracted.

We spent a week in Florida where we got to enjoy Legoland and four days of Disney!

Our sweet darling Bobo turned one year old! What a mischevious little blessing he is!

Miss H and Mr. B has their tonsils and adenoids removed. It was a rough week but definitely worth it for both of them! A few weeks later Sweet M had tubes put into his ears, which made a world of difference for his tiny world!

Our darling H turned seven years old! What an amazing young lady she has become!

Both big kids had their very first sleepover at a friend’s house (okay, so it was with M’s godmama, I’m not that adventurous, ha).

We spent Easter with my grandma Mary. I never would have dreamed that that was going to be the last time we saw her. But I am so thankful that we had that day with her.

We bid M’s godmother adieu as she headed to Portland; just a taste of what saying goodbye was going to feel like in another month when we moved across the ocean.

Miss H finished the first grade at what is unquestionably the most fabulous school where she had two of the most amazing teachers who she still talks about daily.

And then we were Aloha bound. Across the mainland and over the ocean to a beautiful island paradise where rainbows are in abundance and the waves are unending.

My grandma passed on, followed a few days later by my grandpa. It was an extremely challenging time for me with a lot of feels I still haven’t quite gotten under control.

Then my dear friend came too spend a month with us while we prepared to bring our 4th baby earthside and transitioned into a family of 6. How very, very grateful I am for such amazing friends.

Our extraordinary Mr. B turned 6! I can’t even begin to tell you what a smart, curious, loving little man he is.

And then our wonderful little Bean joined us on Labor Day in the most calm, beautiful way possible.

Sweet M got croup which landed him in the ER. Definitely one of the most scary and heartbreaking events as a momma.

H and B were so excited to have their cousins also move to the island!

And the little girls and I traveled back to the mainland for a whirlwind weekend to see my baby sister get married and let our family meet our amazing Beanie Lu.

My best friend from my childhood visited us for the week of thanksgiving. There isn’t really anyone we trust much more with our kiddos, so J and I got to venture out alone for our first date as parents to four.

We had an interesting week where we got to the know the local ER doctors well. Miss H swallowed a few foreign objects and Sweet M dislocated his elbow.

I ran a marathon. Like 26.2 miles. Completed.

We vacationed on the Big Island. It was some much needed family time. While there, we went whale watching. Got to check that off my bucket list.

We celebrated our first Christmas is Honolulu!

And we finished the year with Mr. B losing his first tooth!

I cannot wait for 2018. There is all ready so much to look forward to, and I can’t wait to see what all is in store for our familia!

Thankful for a Week With Good Friends

These last few weeks have been so busy. So let me back track and fill you in.

My dearest friend and her husband came to visit for the week of Thanksgiving.

It was so amazing to have people here for a whole week who were happy playing with my kids and just being with us. We did fun, touristy and site-seeing things as well, but there was a lot of downtime and that was really nice.

We ventured around the island one day, taking in the sites and enjoying the beauty that is Oahu.

My big kids aren't really upset, they're just class A clowns.

(Don’t worry, H and B are just monkeying around.)

Then we took them for a (chilly) day at Bellows. It was so much fun watching my kiddos play in the waves and sand with two of my favorite people!

We had a nice leisurely day where the kids did a million science experiments and Miss H did a research board of the 1920s. Also, G did a lot of laundry while she was here.

Tuesday we took our friends with to a local U-Pick farm where the kids played with the chickens and fun outdoor toys, and then we picked enough fresh veggies for our Thanksgiving salad.

And then we headed to the North Shore for snorkeling and dole whips!

Sweet M is cray-cray when he’s all doped up on the white stuff aka sugar. He’s a cute little nugget, but oh my goodness!

Wednesday G and B ventured to Pearl Harbor while J, the kids, and I did some normal life errands. But that evening we left the kiddos and headed out for a genuine, bonafide date night. It was so nice to leave our kids in their capable hands and know they would be well cared for and loved while we got to spend two hours eating sushi and drinking fruity drinks and talking about…okay, mostly our kids, ha.

Thursday was Turkey Day and we spent it at my older brother’s house feasting on the best smoked turkey ever.

And we finished out their trip on Friday with another lazy day that included putting up a tiny 4 foot Christmas tree, G holding Bean for a 3+ hour nap, and then the evening on the beach roasting marshmallows for another friend’s daughter’s birthday before bidding them adieu as they jetted back to the mainland on a red eye.

I am so glad we got that week with them and my kiddos were able to get their cups filled with mainland love.

Not every friend you make is for life, especially when you’re in the 1st grade, but sometimes you luck out. This years Thanksgiving I was definitely thankful for them!

Snow Fest at Bellows

We packed the kids up yesterday and headed over to one of our favorite beaches – Bellows! On base they were having a snow fest and the idea of 12 tons of snow was definitely alluring!

The kids were so excited to see “snow” and have a few snowball fights.

Sweet M wasn’t too impressed. Mostly, he was just happy to have his shovel. And happy to get away from the snow. (I feel ya, kid).

He was thrilled with the cookies and hot cocoa though! I mean, what kid doesn’t love a hot cocoa bar with an array of toppings? Even Momma got excited to see dark chocolate curls, because, dark chocolate. Life doesn’t get better than that.

We also took a stroll on the beach, where the wind was mighty and the waves were fierce. But it felt like, dare I say it? Home. This place is really feeling like home.

The Snow Fest was super crowded, but the kids had a blast. No one wanted to spend time in the long line to see Santa Claus, so instead they stood next to the blow-up Santa so Momma could snap a festive shot.

(Mr. B does have proper fitting sweaters. He just insists on wearing Sweet M’s.)

Bean slept through the whole event. It was a short, but fun little fest that we will for sure attend again next year if we are around!

I can’t wait to see what other fun events are around the island to get us prepped for celebrating a mele kalikimaka!

Ono Steaks & Shrimp Shack

One of the best parts about living on Oahu is the food.

I love food. I have no shame. I eat all the foods. All the time. Of all the regrets to go to my grave with, “I could have ate that, but I didn’t” certainly will not be one of them.

One of our favorite little places we discovered early on is Ono Steaks & Shrimp Shack. We came upon it randomly when driving around the island one afternoon and I am so glad we did.

It is tucked off the street in Waimanalo on the east side of the island. It’s a bit of a trek from our Honolulu home, but so worth it.

It’s completely no-frills, but the quirky bright yellow outside will pique your interests and draw you in. And the amazing food will keep you coming back again and again.

You won’t find many tourists here since it’s off the beaten path, so prices are fair and the food is fresh and delicious!

My hands down favorite is the fish tacos (with mango – yum!) and a side of garlic fries. Life doesn’t get better.

Your meal is served in styrofoam containers whether you are staying or ordering food for take away. You clean up after yourself and throw your rubbish in the bin outside. As I said, no-frills.

If you’re looking for amazing, local food, be sure to stop in to Onos! You will be so glad you did!

Car Seat Lowdown

This is a sponsored post.

With the recent addition of Bean came the addition of a fourth car seat in our van.

A lot of time and research went into choosing the perfect vehicle for our family, so it’s no surprise we have put just as much time into insuring our littles are as safe as they can be when riding in said vehicle.

Let’s face it; car seats can be daunting and tricky. We hear so much from all sides about what is best, and what’s best isn’t always what the law is. And then we wonder if we can even afford “best” (some car seats are pricey!) or if the car seat will fit properly in our vehicle etc., etc.

So let’s break it down to some pretty basic tips to be sure you’re choosing the right seat for your child at every age.

1.) All car seats pass the same tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That’s right. A bigger price tag or extra appealing accessories like cup holders don’t make the car seat any more or less safe than another. Some third party testers may have reviews on different tests and safety ratings, but any seat you can purchase at a store for your kiddo is safe and has been tested rigorously.

2.) Not all car seats are created equally. What? I just said they all pass the same tests from the NHTSA. Yes, they’re all equally safe, but based on your own personal preferences and needs, not all seats may work for your specific kiddo or vehicle. Car seats with higher rear facing weight limits may be needed for children who are at the top of the percentiles, while only a few specific seats may fit in a particular seat in your vehicle (i.e., the middle “jump seat” in the second row of my Honda Odyssey can only have a few seats properly installed on it). Some car seats have cupholder, others do not, etc. It is important to make sure that your vehicle, child, and car seat are all compatible with one another.

3.) Proper installation is pivotal. At the end of the day it does not matter what car seat you have if it is not installed correctly. Read the manual. Cars.com talks about the latch system, which makes installing many car seats easily. Once the child and car seat have a combined weight of 40 pounds most cars disallow the use of the latch system (not to be confused with the tether, which should always be used with a forward facing harnessed seat). So it’s important to also get familiar with seat belt installations. Some seats, such as the Britax clicktights, make seat belt installations a breeze. Whether with the latch system or the vehicle’s seat belt, be sure the installation is correct.

4.) State laws regarding car seats and “best use” of car seats do not always line up. Although many states have all ready or are in the process of rewriting the law so that rear facing is to age 2 or 40 pounds, not all states are there yet. Most convertible car seats recommend keeping the child in rear facing position until they reach the height or weight limit of the seat: age 4 is considered the most optimal, even though many states allow for a 4 year old to ride in a booster seat. Many children need a harness to ride safely until at least age 6, and aren’t ready to be without their booster until they are 4’9″ (often around age 10).

So when it comes time to add a car seat to your vehicle, or make the switch to a new car seat, research is pivotal in being sure the seat you choose is the best one for your child and the vehicle it’s being installed into.

And remember, all car seats are equally safe if being used properly and installed correctly.

***The Learning Momma was compensated to write this post on TheLearningMomma.org.

My Little Sister’s Wedding

My little sister got married at the beginning of this month.

I repeat. My little sister got married!

There are not words. I swear she’s not old enough to be married, despite the fact that I already had two babies at her age.

I took my two little girls, and jetted to the mainland for a long, sleepless weekend.

Bean was a stellar little traveler, and Miss H was, too, as always. 

H adjusted fairly well to the six hour time change, but I didn’t even try to adjust Bean. So that meant she didn’t fall asleep for the night until 2am, and made for a very, very tired momma. 

You can’t even tell I took a red eye and hadn’t slept in over 25 hours, eh? (Photo by Jack Speaker)

It was a lot of fun to just spend time with Miss H and focus on her. As one of four, she doesn’t get a lot of one-on-one time anymore. And my heart still remembers fondly all those little moments when her life was just her and me. And no one else in the world to come between that. I occasionally have those moments where I feel a pang of guilt and have to hope that my desire for a large family hasn’t come at the expense of my first few babies. But I digress.

Miss H loved getting her hair done at the salon for the wedding, and wearing her lacy flower girl dress. And she’s smart and kind and courageous and all that, but good golly. She is also ridiculously gorgeous. 

It was great for so much of our family to get to meet Bean for the first time. I admittedly was very caught up in the moments that I didn’t snap hardly any photos. 

And my sister? She was beautiful and glorious and perfect, of course. 

I still can’t believe she is a Mrs. She will always be a little mismatched toe head with snarls and an epic pout to me.

I wish we’d had more time on the mainland with friends and family, but we needed to skedaddle and get home. I wasn’t quite ready to leave Sweet M overnight so I needed it to be a simple and short trip.

And it was nice to get home and to see our boys, where they greeted us with leis.

It was an honor to stand with my baby sister on her wedding day, but it’s also so, so good to be home.