For the love of God, can we just listen to women when they say something is wrong with their body?

I’ve been kind of muddling over the past few weeks.

The thing is, I’m really lucky. I’m lucky things weren’t worse. That they didn’t get worse.

But I’m also feeling pretty angry.

I know it’s said time and time again that the healthcare system in the US is atrocious. And the truth is, we’ve always had great care. Great doctors. We’ve been fortunate to have good health insurance where we never have had to question if we should take our kids to the doctor or not due to costs, etc. We’ve always been seen immediately when needed.

We’ve been lucky.

A few weeks ago I drove to Minnesota with 4 of my kiddos (Miss H stayed behind with J). Without going into too much graphic or gory detail, what I assumed was my menstrual cycle returned while on this trip, but in a semi-terrifying way. I’d never lost this much blood, even post-partum, but I was in no pain so I simply accepted it and made it work, including making the 12 hour drive home that Monday.

I assumed it would pass, as it was worse in the mornings, and then seemed to taper out by the afternoon, but it wasn’t letting up. On Tuesday, day 4 of this, I finally called my gynecologist’s office. Since I had three babies in 3.5 years, I had not been into her office in over four years, as she was not my back up doctor if I had needed to transfer to the hospital for any reason. Because of this, I was not considered an active patient, and was told I would need to re-establish care with that office, and they could get me in at the end of December. It was the middle of September. And I was hemorrhaging now.

They encouraged me to go to the ER with my presenting symptoms.

I then called the obstetrician’s office whom I had used for pre-natal care and who would have delivered my babies if I’d needed to birth in the hospital for whatever reason. Since I was more than 6 weeks post partum, I was no longer considered a patient at that office either, and again, was encouraged to go to the ER. With my symptoms they insisted I would need an ultrasound and they were not certain if walk-in clinics would have the equipment, so the ER would be my best bet.

So I called my husband home from work. I left my tiny little baby. And I went to the ER.

Hemorrhaging, y’all.

So in the waiting room, where I waited for nearly 2 hours (this isn’t a thing in Hawaii, by the way. Like they are calling you back before you are even fully checked in and are the most efficient doctors and nurses in the world. And it’s not because they aren’t busy, they just have a stellar system that other hospitals could adopt, but don’t because, I don’t know why. They suck.) I’m pretty certain a gentleman had a full fledged heart attack in the waiting room, but no one with medical training seemed alarmed, so there was that. They finally called me back.

I tell three different people what’s been going on before I see the doctor. No problem.

The first thing the doctor asks me after introducing himself and making me tell him the whole shebang again, is if I have anxiety. He fucking asks me if I have anxiety while I’m literally hemorrhaging on the table.

He then tells me he’s going to check things out. I have blood clots the size of the palm of my hand. This has been the norm now for four days.

He assures me there are no tears on my cervix.

And I look at him like he’s lost his mind I’m sure, though it’s not intentional, and ask him if that’s a serious concern we currently have because I’ve literally never heard of that nor was it a concern I personally had. I do refrain from telling him I’d had waaaay too much time in the waiting room to confer with Dr. Google, and there are a solid 2,938,473 reasons why this could be happening, tears on my cervix is not one of them.

He tells me I’m just having my first post partum period and it’s a little heavy and I’m just overly worried.

For fucking real.

I assure him that I’ve done this a few times and know my body fairly well, this is something more.

Again, he tells me I’m just having my period and I’m fine to go home.

I tell him that my mother has a history of fibroids and could this maybe be something I have and be causing the hemorrhaging? He shrugs and says maybe, and then tells me I should make an appointment with my gyno. (I did. But remember, she can’t see me until December). 

And he leaves.

And I leave. In my hands are discharge papers that state all the symptoms in which I should return immediately to the ER if I experience; literally all the symptoms I am in that moment experiencing as I’m being discharged.

The week goes on. I keep hemorrhaging. I’m tired. Everything I own is now ruined. Sheets. Pants. I’m afraid to go anywhere because when I least expect it I find blood gushing down my legs.

I call doctors. No one will see me. I’m not an established patient. It will take months to get in.

The ER keeps telling me to just go see a gynecologist.

No one is listening.

It’s like being in a wind tunnel. I’m screaming at the top of my lungs that something isn’t right, but no one is listening to me. No one can hear me.

I feel desperate.

But I’m also super healthy. I’ve never really needed a doctor.

I start to second guess myself.

Maybe that ER doctor is right. Maybe it’s just a normal post partum period and I’m building it up to be something more than what it really is. He deduced me to a hysterical little girl, and maybe he was right.

But also. No.

Just no.

J leaves early Sunday morning. Over a week since this all began.

Huh. Over a week.

It dawns on me that even if it were just a heavy post-partum period, it shouldn’t last more than week.


One more time.

I call my mom to come stay with my kids, cancelling plans we’d had for that day. I go to a walk-in because I need different results than what the ER keeps giving me. I need someone to listen to me.

And you know?

The fabulous PA in the walk-in that literally got me back within minutes listens. She hears me. She nods her head and shakes her head, her eyes wide. Not once does she think I’m being silly.

She tells me she wants to run a few blood tests and give me an ultrasound. Something is not right with my body.

Finally. Some one is listening to me. 

First though, she has to call the OBGYN who is on-call and confer with him.

No problem.

She steps out of the room for a few minutes and then comes back in. I know it’s disappointing news all ready.

“I’m really sorry,” she says, “But Dr. X says with your symptoms, you really just need to go straight the ER.”


I start to cry. I really don’t mean to. And I’m not a crier. But oh my goodness. How long is this going to cycle back and forth? For how long can I do this? At what point will I just bleed everything out? I’m really tired now.

So I leave, and I do not go to the ER.

Another gynecologist can get me in the day after Thanksgiving.

Okay. That’s the soonest. It will have to be good enough, I guess.

But Monday morning whirls around and my original gynecologist’s office calls to make a follow up. What? Great! The PA from the walk-in sent them my info. Perfect.

But then the lady on the phone goes to make my appointment and tells me I’m not actually a patient, so she can’t. But she’ll patch me through to the nurse so I can talk to her.

Sweet Baby Jesus give me strength.

I relay everything to the nurse on the other end of the phone. And she tells me what I’m all ready anticipating: “With those symptoms you need to go straight to the ER.”

The ER won’t see me. They tell me to go to my doctor. My doctor won’t see me because I haven’t needed her in the past few years.

So I tell this nurse that they called me to make an appointment, not the other way around. They needed to see me. Now. Today.

I’m sure I sounded desperate at this point. I’m all alone with five little kids. My husband is an ocean away. My mom is in another country. I need to be not so tired so I can function. I need to be able to go to the grocery store and not fear I’ll leave a blood trail on their tile floors. I need a doctor to listen to me.

The nurse agrees. She hears me. My desperation. They get me in at 1:30 that afternoon.

As the ultrasound tech takes more pictures than have ever been taken while pregnant, I’m not even surprised when the OBGYN comes in to tell me there is a mass of “something” in my uterus. She’s assuming it’s placenta. I’m trying not to look at her like she has 12 heads because my baby is 11 weeks and I’d pretty much be dead if it were placenta (I have no fever, no pain); though I don’t care. She can think it’s anything she wants, an elephant for all I care so long as they do something. And with the rate at which I’m bleeding, she sends me straight to the hospital, do not pass go, do not collect $200, for a D&C.

All while I’m piecing together care for my five babies and trying not to panic because I’m going to have to go under and what is in my uterus and my husband isn’t here and omg, what if I just don’t wake up and all.the.things are going through my brain.

When it was all said and done, I was borderline in need of a transfusion; the OBGYN on call was surprised I wasn’t worse off if I’d been hemorrhaging all week the way I was there at the hospital. I showed her photos of blood clots that horrified her. I consented to a blood transfusion only if it was absolutely necessary, simply because there are a host of issues that can arise with that, and fortunately was able to evade that need.

In a nutshell, which I learned at my follow up appointment two weeks later (and was another sort of hell to make that appointment, but this is long enough), I learned that a nearly 2-inch fibroid was removed, and she was actually surprised she was able to remove it during the D&C because it was bigger than she was expecting and took a bit of work.

You guys. This could have all been dealt with that very first time I went into the ER if the doctor had just listened. If he’d given me an ultrasound and actually listened I could have dealt with this while my husband was home and my mom was in the country and when things didn’t seem quite so terrifying and exhausting.

But welcome to America. We totally listen to women when they say something is wrong with their bodies.

Also. We have first class healthcare.


Cat Crimes

We’ve been super busy with a newborn around here this month (whose birth story I am hoping to get up soon!).

We were fed so well and loved on her first week of life. And the kids are all adjusting so well, as they love her to absolute bits (not surprising, she’s fairly scrumptious). J has been a professional toddler wrangler so I can cozy up with our darling Avellana (her Spanish nickname that J dubbed her – not her legal name) and just drink up all this newborn bliss. Because even after 5 sweet little babes, it just does not get old.

And our big kids? They had the awesome experience of getting to spend this past week with their grandparents up north, but before that they were doing a stellar job of being helpful and self-entertaining.

They’ve been reading lots of new books, and building crazy Lego and Plus Plus contraptions, as well as playing lots of games together. I love that they both enjoy playing board games and the like, because they are getting big enough to play games with each other without the need of adult help – and they can play with J and I! I mean, games that are actually enjoyable for us, too (you can only play Candyland so many times before the colors all start to blur together…)

Their newest favorite game to play comes from Timberdoodle, and is called Cat Crimes. H and B were both super excited when it arrived, and could not wait a second to start playing. Lucky for them, the toddlers had all ready been put to bed, so it was safe to take it out and have a go of it.


Cat Crimes is a fun “who done it” logic game, with increasingly more difficult challenge cards, so kids (and adults!) can up the complexities and difficult level as desired the more rounds that they play.

It’s rated for ages 8+, and Mr. B is almost 8, but it could most definitely be played by younger kiddos, too. I think they both would have been able to grasp it and enjoy this game as early as 6. And at almost 8 and 9, they are able to play it over and over again without any adult assistance, which has been lovely these past few weeks.

But it’s also such a fun-filled, brain-working game that J and I enjoy popping in for a round when able as well. I definitely see Cat Crimes as a game the whole family can enjoy, and it will be in heavy rotation around here. So if you need a fun game that helps work on their logic skills (but is so fun they have no idea it’s helping their brains expand!), Cat Crimes gets four big thumbs up from Miss H and Mr. B!

Constantly Playing Catch Up

This past year has really thrown me for a loop. I constantly feel like I’m playing catch up, and I’m always the person who had my essays written weeks before they were ever due. I read all the books for class the summer before classes even started. I had an entire years worth of birthday cards all ready written, addressed, and stamped, filed away for each month of the year for all of my friends and family.

And now?

Shit. Now I’m throwing together lunches for my kids seconds before we are headed out the door, and I honestly don’t know they last time I sent a birthday card.

Sorry. For real. I wish I was more on top of it, but this past year has just knocked me on my butt.


I don’t even really have a good excuse, other than we went from living the Aloha life where we had a flourishing community and my husband was actually home on the daily, to back to Midwest where M-F is spent parenting alone, and most of my time is spent alone with two adorable toddlers, and a sweet, surprise baby is on the way, and I’m really just tired. Like really tired. But I also don’t want to be so tired and behind that I miss it all because this is my dream.

Like really and truly. I am living my dream. So I don’t know how I can always be so behind and tired when I literally have everything I could ever want right here. Well, except maybe for my husband Monday through Friday because I actually super like him too.

I’m trying to make myself be more intentional. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the mundane of it all. Sometimes I forget to pause and breathe. That it’s okay if the laundry isn’t put away or that the floors don’t get vacuumed three times a day. Because lets be honest, my house doesn’t look any different when it all gets done as opposed to when it doesn’t (but I notice how good those baseboards look after I’ve washed them down. And there is some sweet satisfaction there).


We finally have beautiful weather and so we are basically living outside these days, and it’s pretty glorious. I’m starting to feel energized and awake again. Although my three-year-old is testing every ounce of extreme patience I have, I definitely have more to give when we are living outdoors as opposed to being cooped up inside.

Three year olds. Lord help me. He is just a fabulous, wonderful, delightful little human. Who is also trying to see if can make me throw out all of my respectful and gentle parenting beliefs. I will say thus far, he hasn’t succeeded. Well, maybe other than the moment I told him I’d have to leave him at home alone if he couldn’t pull himself together and be kind to his sister the other day. It wasn’t a proud moment for sure, but also, I like to remind myself it could have been worse. I didn’t yell. I didn’t manhandle him. But I probably shouldn’t have threatened him with abandonment, but what else will he have to discuss in therapy one day otherwise?


We’ve made so many plans this year that didn’t come into fruition, which is hard for me, as an avid planner. I’m also trying to learn to be better at “go with the flow.” J is so darn spontaneous, and I admire and also deplore that about him. I so badly want to be like that, but it’s also kind of maddening at times.

I feel like I’m on a constant quest to declutter and minimize, and I don’t even know how it’s possible when we went from comfortably living in 800 square feet a year ago to now being in nearly 2700 square feet, and I definitely feel more overwhelmed and swallowed up here than I did there. Like how? And why isn’t it possible to get rid of all. the. stuff?

And at the same time I feel like we need more space because I don’t even know where to put kids at this point.

Sweet M just started sleeping on his own this past week, and I put him in B’s room because I don’t want him sharing a room with Bean because she sleeps so darn well that I don’t want to mess it up. And H deserves her own space; she’s 9 and entering tweendom and I want her to have that space. But omg. Mr. B and Sweet M really do love each other, but they also butt heads and should not share a room. Fortunately M is young enough now that all of his toys are pretty much downstairs and his clothes are in Bean’s room, so basically he is just in there to sleep but there have been a lot of sad, “I don’t even have a bedroom!” moments from him and that’s a little gut-wrenching. Though again, I try to remind myself of how good they have it, and that lots of kids share bedrooms (myself having been included!) and it’s totally fine, if not actually beneficial for them in the long run.

But omg. Some days these things just seem so huge. And other days, of course, they don’t. Some days I laugh at how worried I get about such trivial things, and then I just blame pregnancy hormones. And exhaustion. And the deep fear of failing the only thing I’ve ever felt passionate about, which is mothering these sweet humans.


I could say more right now. There is a million things running through my head and this is only the tip of the iceberg. But I knew I needed to sit down and at least start somewhere. For my own sanity. But all the tiny humans are asleep and there is a million other things I need to do right now: order scholastic books, do the dishes, put laundry away, vacuum, and pack lunches. And my bed time is in like 30 minutes so I need to go at the pace of Wonder Woman. Or a cheetah.

I wonder which is fastest when it comes to trying to catch up?

When Motherhood is Lonely

I don’t have rose-colored glasses (or rainbow ones, either!) on when I recall our time in Hawaii. I’m well aware that as much sunshine and rainbows that were there, it wasn’t in all the moments.

There was red dirt that ruined all of our clothes. The August heat and lack of air conditioner made me consider skipping the island before we’d hardly had the chance to know it. The traffic is insane. The cost of living is outrageous. Rats and cockroaches are a thing. Legitimately. And have nothing to do with the cleanliness of your home. And the house itself? It was 800 square feet for a whole lot of us.

But, you know what else was there?



We had a huge yard with a coconut tree (home of said rats). So we had fresh coconuts at our disposal. A plumeria tree in the front of our house that was perfect for climbing and swinging. And the view? That view of Diamond Head and Waikiki was killer. With a weekly fireworks show just for us that we could watch out our living room window on Friday nights.

We were always hiking and climbing and playing. And the beach. I didn’t think I was a “beach person” until living in Hawaii. Until that was a part of our daily lives. I crave the ocean now. The waves, the sea salt, the sand between my toes. It visits me in so many of my dreams now that I know its woven into the threads of my soul whether I like it or not.

But the best part? It was the community. The people. The ones I knew and loved intimately and the ones I passed in the grocery store. The uncles who sang songs to my fussy toddler while we waited in the grocery line, or slipped him a piece of candy. The aunties who watched my kids at the beach as vigilantly as I watched theirs, and loved mine nearly as much as I love them myself. The people who made motherhood a beautiful experience even during the most challenging of times.




The mommas who passed clothes and shoes down onto my kiddos, who piled into tiny houses with gaggles of kids running around, who broke bread and fed each other and never questioned or expected anything in return, even though it often came tenfold.

Not once in Hawaii did the sentiment of “motherhood is lonely” cross my mind. And that had been the only sentiment of motherhood that had been steadfast from the moment I brought my first baby into this world.

I thought motherhood was meant to be done in isolation. I thought it was a sacrifice you made. You spent your days alone, with your children, and that was that. If you wanted to be with your children you didn’t get to have anything else. Know anyone else. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too, you know?

And that’s how it is here. That’s what I know best. Occasional dinners with friends, but not the daily friendships and community of mothers working together. Teaching, raising, disciplining, loving all their children together in a community where no one is ever alone unless they wish to be.


I think I would have been content if we hadn’t lived a different life, a different way. I think if I’d never known that it could have been different, I would have made a way to be at peace with the way our modern, western society says motherhood must be.

But I know. I know different now. I know better now. I watched not only my children, but myself thrive in a different way of life. And once you go from thriving back to just surviving, it’s soul crushing.

Don’t get me wrong, we don’t sit around lamenting what is no longer. Not all the time anyway. It’s in the small moments that it’s so evident what we’re lacking. And in those small moments when I find myself struggling to help find ways for my children to best thrive in this life scenario, without also teaching them that I agree with the livelihood or lack thereof that is the rat race; the “keeping up with Joneses.”



Motherhood is weird. A time and place where you have so many thoughts and so many desires, and at the end of the day they don’t matter because the focus and intent is so centralized on what is best for your children in order for them to thrive and grow as well-rounded, happy, empathetic humans (as it should be, and the only way I would have it be).

And sometimes, depending on where you are, that just means that motherhood is lonely.

Christmas with American Girl

We have are heading west for Christmas this year to see friends and family that we haven’t seen in way too long, so we decided to celebrate Christmas at home nearly two weeks early.

I know, I know. The kids begged us to wait and celebrate in January. They insisted we hold off and were utterly heartbroken when we forced them to unwrap gifts so early.

Just kidding….maybe someone else’s kids, but not mine!


Outside of art supplies and books, we don’t really buy our kids toys year round. They’re saved for Christmas and birthdays. There are a lot of reasons for that. 1.) We have four kids. That’d add up fast. 2.) We want them to learn delayed gratification. 3.) We want them to truly enjoy the toys they have; not need a new toy high every week.

And if that’s not how you’re family rolls, that’s okay! All families are different, and that’s what makes life so fun and enjoyable. We all figure out what works best for us.

One thing Miss H has really been wanting is the American Girl Grand Hotel. I grew up as an American Girl aficionado, so it’s definitely an interest I love to cultivate in her. And I also love that at almost 9-years-old, she is still immersed in the world of imaginary play. I hope she holds onto that for a bit longer.


As a Historian, I really feel like American Girl opened up a whole world of realistic fiction for me as a kid. It’s also a company that empowers girls, so I always feel good about investing in their quality products. And Mr. B and Sweet M both also have dolls from American Girl – Mr. B has Logan and Sweet M recieved a Bitty Baby for his last birthday; it was all he wanted. So I love that a company geared toward cultivating strong females, also has space for the boys, too. It’s a win-win all around.

Needless to say that Miss H was absolutely thrilled to open her American Girl Grand Hotel on “Christmas.” And Bean was pretty excited to get in on the action, too! She can attest that the doll bed is in fact sturdy enough to withstand baby sisters. Over and over again.


H will tell you that all the the facets and details of the Hotel are her favorites, and Sweet M is pretty obsessed with the hair dryer, but as a momma of four littles who likes things tidy (I know, but we all need dreams and goals, right?), I will tell you that I especially love how nicely it all folds up so it can be put away when she’s done playing with it. Everything in the hotel has a spot, it folds up fairly compact, and can be stored away safely until she’s ready to play again.

Like all of our American Girl products, the Grand Hotel is definitely an investment I feel good in making, as it is such high quality and I know will last for years to come and be well-loved by all of my kiddos. I’m so happy we that American Girl was able to be a part of our Christmas this year!



***This post was sponsored by American Girl, but as always, thoughts and opinions are completely and genuinely mine, and I only sponsor products that we honestly adore. 

Musgrave Orchards

I have driven by the signs for Musgrave Orchards countless times over the past ten years. Always coming or going, but never stopping to check it out.

Finally, I decided to round up the munchkins up one weekend and check out this little gem of an orchard that is right in our backyard (figuratively speaking), along with my baby sister and her family.

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It’s not a you-pick orchard like some of the larger ones further away, but that’s doesn’t mean it isn’t charming and completely worth the stop!

You can walk about the property, and if you’re a dog-owner, pups are allowed on a leash. It’s great for a stroll, a picnic, or some fun fall photos.


Inside the store you can purchase apples that are grown there at the orchard, homemade apple cider, local honey, chapsticks, and other great goodies!

You can also purchase apples slices and caramel to munch on while hanging out on the veranda where there is often local bands playing music.


It’s not a big hoorah orchard, but it’s worth your time for sure! We will definitely be back in the future.

Mr. B Turns SEVEN…A Month and a Half Ago…

So, two of my kiddos have had birthdays since we’ve moved and I’ve still not even had time to fully process it.

Mr. B was insistent that he have a birthday party. And because he is kind of a middle child, and I relate to him on so many levels, it was important that we made that happen. Never mind that we were literally moving into our house (our household goods arrived on his actual birthday) and that I was doing it mostly solo because J was out of town up until the party weekend.

I decided to do a combined party for him and Bean, since I figured we should acknowledge her first birthday (I kind of thought that maybe if we pretended it wasn’t happening, then she’d stay a tiny baby forever, alas). Mr. B and Bean’s birthdays are exactly one week apart, so it worked out well. And since Bean’s only friends are in Hawaii, there was no competition on that front, ha.


Truthfully, even though it wasn’t beautiful, having a brunch birthday party for him was a fantastic was for us to get to visit with many of the friends we had missed for the past year+ while we were away; and I’ve been so non-stop busy since our move, it may not have happened if B hadn’t been so insistent.


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This friend even flew all the way from NYC just to see him! Okay, maybe he flew to see his wife and this was an added bonus, but either way, B was delighted!

I made life as simple as possible and outsourced the cake making to the amazing Rebecca of Stryking Events, who did a superb job. Mr. B wanted a cookie dough cake on top, and chocolate mint on bottom. So not only was the cake freaking gorgeous, it tasted divine to boot. I will hire Rebecca again and again for our party needs because she always goes above and beyond. Always.

This seriously is the best cake you’ve ever seen, isn’t it!?
My momma made this dinosaur watermelon that the kids still talk about!

Mr. B is pretty much one of the sweetest kids out there. His heart is so big and so full of good; he really give me hope for the next generation of males (sorry, the climate right now is seeping into everything). When I worry about what the future may hold for the world, I remind myself that B is going to be a part of it, so it will be okay. Eventually.

He’s an absolute cuddle bug. None of my other kids are as cuddly and lovey as B is; not even Sweet M, and that is saying a lot! He loves to study graphic novels and build Lego sets. He’s still obsessed with all things dinosaurs and Jurassic World (hence our fourth dinosaur birthday out of seven…). He loves mythology and science, and I love that loves two such fascinating and complex subjects so immensely.


He still enjoys playing his ukulele and is also slowly learning the electric guitar (please send ear plugs and coffee…just kidding. Maybe.).

He still has an amazing sense of style that puts the rest of the world to shame. I don’t know how I got such fashionable kids!

B loved Hawaii the least of everyone; he tolerated it and made some fantastic friends and memories, but he was ready to come back to the Midwest pretty much from day one. And he’s melded right back into his roll and life here and hasn’t really looked back.

I cannot wait to see what the future holds for him.

I Let My Kids Play Outside. Unsupervised.

It’s been a long time since I’ve said something publicly and had to stop and wonder if I shouldn’t have. But I mentioned in front of another momma last week that all four of my kids play outside while I make dinner, and often after dinner while I do clean up. Alone. (And many other times too, but those are the two times they’re pretty much always out there.)

She looked uncomfortable. Like maybe I’d just confessed that I sometimes let my 8 year old drive herself to the mini mart to pick me up a 6 pack (I mean, obviously, I’m a classy lady. I’d at least ask for a proper bottle of wine, ha.)

I found myself stammering to justify it in the moment, but I probably only made it worse. And later I was kicking myself anyway. Why did I feel so compelled to try and justify my parenting (or lack there of, that’s up to you) to a semi-stranger?



Well, because we’re living in the 21st century where literally every decision is scrutinized under a microscope, and it doesn’t matter what you choose, you’re going to be wrong to someone.

Because we are living in the age of media. Where although crime has actually gone down over the decades, everyone is far more aware and terrified because all they hear is awful stories.

I’m not going to lie to you.

I have zero fears of my kids being kidnapped. Like when people say they can’t let their kids be outside alone because they may be kidnapped, that doesn’t even cross my mind. I can’t say it’s absolutely impossible, but the likelihood is so slim that it’s not even on my radar.

do worry about them gouging each others eyes out with sticks. Or falling off of a swing and breaking their arm (been there done, that. Me, not them.) I occasionally worry that the 2.5 year old may have a temporary lapse in self-control and venture into the street after something. But he’s always out there with his older siblings, and they typically are all engaged in some deep form of play that he’d never be able to squirrel away and get as far as the road without them noticing (and he never has. And H and B simply never did, so again, not that it couldn’t happen, but it’s not a constant worry.)


I think what my children gain from free, unadulterated play is far more than they could ever gain with constant supervision, and is worth that mild risk of something going wrong. (And if we are being completely truthful here, every single injury my kids have had that landed us in the emergency room have happened with them just an arms reach or so away from me; not on their own.)

When I was a kid I can remember roaming the woods with my friends. We were as young as Mr. B; 7 years old. No adults nearby. We would roam and explore and play for hours before resurfacing for sustenance. It was beautiful and wonderful, and the type of freedom I wish for my children.

We’d get on our bikes and bike to the gas station for candy or to the playground or to the library. The world was our oyster.

But I also realize that my children aren’t privy to that sort of freedom.

We don’t have woods, and as far as I know, none of our close friends do either. If I let my children bike around town on their own, let’s be honest: someone would surely call DCS. Because that’s the world we live in these days.

So what I can give my children is a few hours in their own backyard, playing without interference from me or J; allowed to make up their own world of pretend. Allowed to make their own rules and negotiations.

Allowed to just be kids.


(And sometimes I peek through the back windows because I’m a cool, free-range momma, but I also worry like crazy because I brought those babies into this world and I want them whole and in one piece forever and ever.)

Return to the Midwest

Well, we are not in Hawaii anymore. I guess that’s obvious at this point. It was a whirlwind of an adventure. We essentially went from looking at housing that was closer to J’s work, to packing our stuff and leaving the island in less than a month. But that’s the government for you. You have to be ready at the drop of a hat.

I’m still processing the move. As are the kiddos. They’ve done awesome though. The big kids transitioned back to the Midwest with zero issues. And Bean hasn’t had any noticeable issues with it either. But for Sweet M, it has definitely been a struggle. He asks to go the beach daily. He talks about his missing friends nonstop. He’s sleeping poorly, and experiencing frequent night terrors. He’s incredibly clingy, which for him, is not the norm. He isn’t dealing with separation, even in small amounts, from anyone in his immediate family well.

But he will get there. I’m confident of that. With a lot of love and patience, he will get there. Kids are super resilient, and Sweet M is no exception. He’s the toughest little dude I know.


For everything I miss about Hawaii, there is something I love about the Midwest, and vice versa. It makes my feelings so jumbled up.

I miss the ocean. The smell of the water.

I miss my friends. My community.

But I’m glad to have space in this big ol’ house of ours for our family to expand in. And I’m thrilled to be able to afford to eat again, bahaha. Air conditioning and a dish washer is a luxury I had deeply missed. And I love the lack of traffic and the ability to drive anywhere I want.

The seasons are starting to change and I realize I missed that, too. I’m not looking forward to snow though. I didn’t miss that. Not even an incy wincy amount.

But I love that we can hang out at the playground and not sweat to death. That we can walk nearly everywhere we want to go.


I’ve brought a lot of that aloha lifestyle back with us, too.

I’m not trying to do a million things anymore. I’m embracing the less is more. H and B are doing music lessons, and that’s it. I refuse to run around on the week day evenings. We are just chill being and enjoying. Although the babies could be doing a ton all day, we are content playing with duplos and being outside, and honoring naps.

I’m not stressing out over whether or not the house is picked up and looks akin to something out of a Home and Gardens Magazine. Sorry, but not really. I just can’t do that anymore. I mean, not like it ever did in the first place, but Lord knows I stressed myself out over it.

I’m spending a lot more time by myself. Well, by myself with my kids, I’m never truly alone, ha. At first, despite being an introvert, I found that uncomfortable, but I’m really embracing it now and loving how this time gives me the space to enjoy these kiddos as they properly should be. They’re not competing for my attention with friends or activities.


I don’t know how long this season of contentment will last. I tend to always get a little stir crazy and antsy after a while. But now that we are officially moved in – though still working on unpacking and making this house ours again – I’m feeling really at peace with where we are in life right now.

It’s not Hawaii, that’s for sure. But it’s still something beautiful.

Pokai Beach

The kids and I tend to venture to the same few favorite beaches of ours for the most part. We try a new one every so many few weeks, but overall, we tend to like what we like, ha.

A few months ago my brother and sister in law introduced us to a new beach that we really loved: Pokai Beach.

It’s pretty windward, but worth the drive with its smooth sand and kid-friendly waves for boogie boarding.

And of course, any beach with your cousins is worthwhile!

We spent two days at Pokai Beach last week while my sister was visiting and Miss H got her first sunburn, but it was still pretty worth it. After a year on this island I finally invested in my first rash guard on day 2, because I had the same fate with the sun.

It was so awesome to have part of the fam jam together (there’s a lot of us, so having all of us at once is asking a lot). And it was so much fun to see all those little cousins running around.

Plus, last year my brother, sister, and myself all had babies. So getting all those cuties together was a bit epic.

It’s also a great Beach for kayaking! The kids all love that their Tio and Titi have a kayak. They feel like pretty big stuff out in it.

It’s a gorgeous beach and totally kid-friendly. It’s worth the drive and we’d go again if we had the time.