Toddler Bed Hack: Keeping Your Toddler From Falling Out Of Bed

Sweet M has been sleeping in his toddler bed at night pretty much since we received our household goods here in Oahu. 

We weren’t totally sure how it would go since he’s always been a co-sleeper, but it was a pretty smooth transition. 

He typically falls asleep in our bed, then we put him in his bed, and most nights he’d sleep there until somewhere between 3am-5am and then crawl into bed with us. It works.


He falls out of bed a million times sometimes. We have a ruggie right next to his bed, and put pillows all around the floor. Falling out of bed doesn’t even wake him up 9 times out of 10 – just J and I. He’s typically pretty graceful about it, actually.

Well, J leaves today for work travel today (yes, you read that correctly. We have a 12 day old and he’s leaving for work for a week. You can just call me Wonder Woman. Or, if we’re being honest, Sleep-Deprived-Disheveled-Caffeine-and-Sugar-Addict Woman. Basically the same thing, right?).

Anyway, I knew we had to do something about this sleep arrangement because no way I’d survive nursing a baby all night and  constantly putting M into his bed throughout the night if he continuously swan dives out.

And yes, yes, I could just sleep with him in my bed, too, but he kind of needs someone to hold him in place so he doesn’t fall out. He’s that wriggly in his sleep (except when he shoves himself in his too-small Dock-a-Tot, haha). Which is hard to do when also trying to have a safe sleep space for Bean, and Sweet M not all up in her business (have I mentioned that he really loves her?).

So off I went to buy a mesh rail for his bed. Yes, his cute little toddler bed has a built-in side rail, but let’s be honest, it does nada because it’s not remotely high enough. 

Well, all the reviews for the mesh bed rail I purchased declared it was not possible to install this on a toddler bed. In all fairness, the box even clearly states it’s intended for a twin or queen sized bed. 

But you know what? Wonder Woman is too smart for that. Or SDDCSA Woman. I’ll leave that up to you. 

I took a few screws out of Sweet M’s bed, removed the built-in rail, and voila!  The rail that many reviewers claimed wouldn’t fit on a toddler bed suddenly fit perfectly. 

And my sweet toddler slept peacefully and safely in his bed throughout the night, and still had the means the get out on his own and come cuddle J at 5am.

That folks, is how we are going to survive the upcoming week.

One Week Old

Our darling Bean girl is one week old. 

It seems like she’s always been a part of this chaos. It equally seems like she was born just seconds ago. 

It’s crazy how quickly a week can fly by.

She sleeps soundly at night (as in, she doesn’t wake inconsolable or cry, she just roots around, I put a boob in her mouth, and we both fall back to sleep), I’m not really certain why I’m so exhausted. You know, other than having just given birth and having three other kiddos who, let’s be honest, demand a lot of attention. As they should. 

Miss H seems to love having a baby sister. The transition has definitely been challenging for her; I know she’s feeling incredibly displaced and unsure of how exactly she will fit into this family. It’s emotionally depleting on a lot of levels; I just hope if I love her enough she’ll pull through okay. 

Mr. B seems wholeheartedly unaffected by our newest family member. He’s so easy going, he just seems to truck along at his normal happy-go-lucky pace, regardless of what we throw at him. He asks to hold Bean a few times throughout the day, and will pause to kiss her head running from one place to the other. But otherwise, you’d never know he’d just had a huge life changing event occur in the shape of his new baby sister.

And dear Sweet M. Oh boy! He loves “Beebee!” as he calls her. He loves her a bit too much most of the time. He’s also deep in the throes of testing limits; cutely asking if he can hit or kick her. He clearly knows that he cannot, but he cannot resist asking anyway. I mean, at least he asks, right? And typically accepts “no” as an answer. But we definitely aren’t leaving him unattended with her anytime in the near future, haha. 

She is the first person he wants to see when he wakes up in the morning, and the person he wants to fall asleep next to at night. He always wants to hold her and kiss her and have her right where he can see her at all times. I think they’re going to get along beautifully as they grow. 

J snuck off to work on Friday and we all survived somehow. He’s home this week though, as he departs Saturday for a week on the mainland. I’m kind of past the lounge around stage, but I’m trying to still just rest and heal because I know my body needs it. But I’m a doer, so it’s always kind of challenging. 

Bean is tongue and lip tied with a very high palate. The first few days of breastfeeding were rather challenging and I was pretty set on having her ties revised, but it’s getting better so I’m leaning toward canceling that appointment at this point. She still clicks and gets a lot of air, but with her high palate that’s unlikely to go away with revision anyway. I figure I managed to breatfeed her big sister who had all the same issues (unknowingly at the time) until age 4; so I can do it with her. 

Unexpectedly, it seems Sweet M has weaned cold turkey with Bean’s birth. I was so looking forward to having a toddler nursing to help mitigate oversupply and plugged ducts, but alas. 

At her pediatrician appointment at 4 days old she was only an ounce shy of her birth weight, so I think she’s doing just fine.

I’m tired, but not the level of exhausted I anticipated. Probably because I have good help. I smell like sweat and stale milk; thank you Hawaii heat and humidity for ensuring I never smell decent again. 

We’ve made it one whole week as a family of 6. I couldn’t be more thrilled or more in love with these crazy people, no matter how challenging some moments may be. Nothing good comes without some sort of challenge, and challenge is not equivalent to bad. 

Happy one week, Bean! You are loved beyond measure! And it is a very good thing you can sleep through loud. Because your siblings are the walking definition of “loud.”

The Birth of Darling Freja

I never imagined that I would give birth to a baby before 40 weeks. And I was right, ha ha.

I had joked a week or two ago that it would be funny if she came on Labor Day. Not only was it such fitting day, but it is also my older sisters birthday.

So as I crawled into bed Sunday night, I told J I was pretty sure this baby would be here within the next 24 hours. I didn’t have any signs, symptoms, or early labor, just a very strong intuitive feeling that I would be holding my baby soon.

I woke up that morning at 2:40 AM and went to the restroom. At which point I realized I had lost part of my mucous plug. I went back to bed, and woke again at 4 AM. This time, I had lost all of my mucous plug. I tried to go back to bed, but sleep would not come. 

I was having mild, early labor contractions. I knew it was game day.

And Labor Day.

I bounced on my birthing ball in the living room looking at the beautiful city of Honolulu before the sun rose.

Throughout the morning, I had irregular contractions. Sometimes they would be seven minutes apart lasting for over a minute, other times I’d only have one in the entire hour.

My other births were pretty progressive. Once I started having contractions, it was game on and study and rhythmic and I had a baby in my arms few hours later. As I passed the time durations of each boy’s birth, I felt myself growing more and more frustrated and disheartened.

I tried to nap for a bit with Sweet M, but it was futile.

When it hit 2:40 PM, officially making it longer than any of my other labors, I broke down crying to J. 

Of course, he was ever wise, and supportive, telling me that I could do this, that I was strong, that the end result would be amazing.

Per usual, he was correct. 

A little after 3pm, still with nothing steady or strong enough to really feel like the end was near, I went ahead and texted my photographer to head on over as she was an hour away. I also called my midwife as she was bringing the birth tub and I figured maybe if I had the tub it’d take my mind off things. 

I labored in water with Miss H, but ultimately brought her into the world on land. I never desired to climb into the tub with B, so it became a swimming pool for Miss H. I assumed I’d never want the water with M and didn’t bother (and that’s all I wanted in the moment.) But with this baby I’d been envisioning bringing her right into the world in the water. Finally. 

My midwife and her assistant arrived a bit after 4pm. I continued to labor on as my midwife and her assistant, as well as J, set up the birthing tub. 

My photographer arrived at 4:25pm, followed within minutes by my friend JJ who is here for the month. She gracefully took over kid duty like a pro. 

At a little after 5pm I needed to pee. I had to stop three times before making it to the bathroom for the three most intense contractions. 

I sat on the toilet to pee and had another contraction, and I felt the baby move down involuntarily. It was no longer my ball game, my body and baby were in full control. 

“I think I need to push,” I said calmly. I learned later that my midwife and her assistant didn’t think I was anywhere close to being ready to push because I was so calm and composed. 

I climbed into the birth tub and had one mild contraction, which pushed her down further and my waters burst, chunks of vernix flying through the water. It was followed closely by another mellow contraction that I would never have imagined had the power to do anything, but pushed her right down to crowning with nearly no effort from me. This was, of course, the least pleasant part because the ring of fire had been created. 

I held my hand over her head and sat like that for a few minutes, stroking her hair, prepping myself to push her into the world. At this point no one even realized she was crowning as it was a completely hands off birth; I wanted to do everything myself. 

“Okay,” I whispered, and the next contraction pushed her little head out. Miss H held a flashlight pointed into the water, J and the boys gathered by; Sweet M safely in JJ’s arms.  

I reached down, pushing her shoulders out and bringing her onto my chest. 

It was 5:25pm.

I’d done it. I did it. I brought her into the world just as I’d hoped, virtually all by myself. And it was literally the easiest and most pain free birth I’d ever experienced.

There are no words to fully explain how amazing and empowering this birth was. 

I’ve been fortunate enough to have great birthing experiences with all my babies, but this one takes the cake. 

I experienced less than half a dozen intense contractions. I barely pushed my body at all to bring her into the world. It was the calm and peaceful water birth I’d wanted forever. And I did it all myself. 

After I birthed the placenta, J took the baby, whom we had finally confirmed was indeed a little girl, into the bedroom. 

Mr. B had wanted to cut the cord from day one, so he was given the honors once everyone was calm and things had settled. 

It’s safe to say she has melded into our family instantaneously. Her older siblings are madly in love with her. 

Once finally measured and weighed, she came in at a whopping 7 pounds and 9 3/4 ounces and 20 inches long. Much smaller than both of her brothers, but only a hair bigger than her sister. 

Absolute perfection, of course. 

And her name? Seriously the easiest and also most difficult baby’s name to come up with.

Freja Lorelai Endellion

We’d decided on Freja (Fray-ah) when I was preggo with M. I always have my heart set on Spanish names for our kids, but then we never have any that we both love. Other than Mr. B’s name, of course.

But the name Freja just kind of fell into our laps and was perfect. It’s from Norse mythology, and the Norwegian blood in me runs thick (or at least it feels that way in this Hawaiian heat!). The Anglicized version of Freya is fairly common in most of Europe, so it’s not a completely out there name either. It’s strong and feminine and we both loved it immediately.

J chose Lorelai. I think it’s a given where he got that from. And I wasn’t protesting. 

I flip flopped the whole pregnancy for her second middle name (all our kidlets have two middle names). In the end I went with Endellion (En-del-lee-en), which hadn’t been on my short list at all, but just felt right. It means “fire soul” and is also a Saint name. 

And so she is our little love goddess. Our perfect 4th baby. The very person we needed to make our family complete. 


We are in the homestretch now. 

40 weeks and 2 days.

This is the earliest I’ve ever given birth, and that was to my sweet, calm Mr. B. 

I don’t sense this baby is coming soon. 

I mean, she’s coming soon because she can only be in there for a few more weeks tops. She eventually has to come out.


But I have a deep sense of contentment right now. I’m in no hurry for her to be here other than my own selfishness that I want to hold her in my arms and count her sweet fingers and toes and kiss her little nose.

But we are busy with lots to do, so she can stay put for a bit more and I won’t mind.

Yesterday we ventured to the Okinawan Fest, which was a lot of fun.

We ate a ton of delicious food from the land of my birth. We won’t discuss just how much food, and then plantation iced tea, I consumed, haha. 

The kids enjoyed visiting the cultural tent and looking at the calligraphy and karate paraphanalia. 

Then we ventured to the Jackass Ginger Pools for a leisurely hike and some creek stomping. I left swim suits and Sweet M’s ear plugs in the van so we didn’t swim in the actual pool, but the kids didn’t mind one bit. 

Then we headed over to the pool for a leisurely afternoon of food and swimming. Er, jumping. Lots and lots of Sweet M jumping into the pool because he’s a little jumping bean and that’s all he wants to do. For hours. No joke. 

And because we were all ready so close to Duke’s, we decided to finish our night off with hula pie. What more could you want for dinner? (Sorry, no pics of the actual hula pie because we devoured that decidence in .02 seconds and I didn’t think about taking a photo until the kids were mostly done.)

Our days as a family of 5 are limited. I’m trying to enjoy these insanity-inducing, feral children of mine as much as possible before things get a little chaotic in those days after bringing a new human into the world often tend to.

We are so close though. So close.  

Some Weeks Suck (That’s the Best I’ve Got Right Now)

It’s been a turbulent week+ with a lot of big emotions that I’m still trying to figure out how to put into words. 

And that’s weird for me. I’m typically fairly good with words. They come naturally to me. 

But not right now. 

I’ve sat down to write so many times and just have to walk away because it means I also have to feel something; and the adult Ki does not like feeling those big emotions. Especially the hard ones. Because it just opens a huge can of worms of feelings that I’m never fully equipped to deal with. I’m sure someone could have fun psychoanalyzing that.

Last Thursday my maternal grandmother passed away. 

I know death is inevitable. It happens. Every single day. 

I’ve lost so many people that it should basically roll off my back like no big deal. The downside to having such a large family, I suppose.

I really loved my grandma. 

Maybe more importantly in regards to all these big feels I’m having, she really loved me too.

And not just as in “oh, you’re my family so I naturally care for you” but as in “she made me feel so genuinely loved and cherished in my childhood. She made me aware that I was worthy of love and someone vastly important.” And let’s be honest, not everyone who loves us always emits that, even if they do truly feel that way.

But she radiated that. 

And as if losing her, 37 weeks pregnant and across the ocean, wasn’t hard enough, less than 48 hours later, her husband, whom I only ever knew as my grandfather and who equally adored me, passed.

You truly can die of a broken heart.

I had a few days to mentally prepare for the loss of my grandma. Not that it made it easier, but I had time to mourn and be upset before she was even gone. 

I had the chance to weep alone where my husband and children didn’t have to be privy to that grief. And not because I want to shield them, but because I don’t like feeling raw and exposed.

We were on our way to a picnic at the beach for Mr. B’s karate when my mom called and told me my grandpa had passed. I think I kept it together on the phone, but I’m not sure I’ve ugly cried so forcefully in my life as I did after I hung up. Like I really want to do right now as I type this. 

It hurt. 

So much. 

It felt like in one breath my childhood was gone. 

I know, I know. I’m nearly 30. My childhood has been gone for years. 

But when I think of the best parts of my early childhood three people always come to mind: my great-uncle/godfather, who passed away last year and I handled just about as gracefully, and then my grandma and grandpa. Many of my best early childhood memories involved one of those three people. 

And they are all gone now. 

And in so many ways, motherhood makes that realization harder. More difficult for me to process. 

The reality of how fragile life truly is. How it can be gone long before we are ready to let go.

The truth that I cannot protect my children from this kind of pain, even though I’d do nearly anything in the world in order to do so. Anything except teach them not to love whole heartedly and unconditionally, which is likely the only way to never experience such intense hurt and loss. But then, what’s the point if you never love people to to your brink and find profound happiness in life by doing so?

It’s been a rough week to say the least. To deal with such loss while preparing for such joy that is the impending arrival of our next dear little one. 

A sweet baby I never imagined my grandparents wouldn’t meet. 

There is joy for me in the memories. There is comfort in knowing they are together.

But there is heartache because I am human and selfish and want them earthside for myself. 


It’s been a week. 

How Our Family of (Almost) 6 Fits into 800 Sq Ft – And Comfortably Too!

It’s not a secret that one thing I looked forward to most when moving to Hawaii was the mandatory downsizing. The rent for our cozy 800 sq ft house is 3x the mortgage back at home for our 2700 sq ft home back in Indiana. But we were well aware of this challenge. And whilst I definitely was not looking forward to the increased costs associated with island living, I was looking forward to the necessity of decluttering, purging, and all around downsizing. 

If we are being totally truthful, I’d still like to purge a bit more (does J really need all those winter clothes? How about 736362 coffee cups?) And I just might. J eventually has to go on travel, right? Ha.

So what does it look like fitting a family of almost 6 into such a small house? Well, let me show you. (And I apologize in advanced for a bunch of phone pictures taken at night. And that my house is very much lived-in; I don’t have time to “stage” the chaos.)

This is our cozy little living room. It’s big enough for us to live, but not overwhelming. 

When you first walk in the door, you have this lovely dresser. In a perfect world it’d be in a bedroom (or not exist at all if I could get a true grasp on wardrobe minimalism, but – baby and kid clothes! It’s never going to happen). This is Sweet M and Jelly Bean’s dresser. The top drawer holds all of their cloth diapers (so pretty!), the middle drawer has Sweet M’s clothes, and the bottom has Jelly Bean’s. The wet bag and basket for the cloth wipes are fairly unsightly, but whatever. It’s functional. 

We easily fit our standard sized couch and a bookshelf my grandpa made against the wall – the first things you see when walking in the house. 

The bookcase holds the surplus of kid books that don’t fit in Miss H and Mr. B’s bedroom.  The top shelf is all of our school books. And inside the cabinet doors are board games and puzzles and some miscellaneous school items. 

Soon, a large photograph of the Notre Dame that was gifted to us by my aunt will hang above the couch once we get two seconds to breathe. 

You can also see the cabinets in our hallway here. They provide excellent storage!

From the couch, you can see the sofa table where we’ve put our television. Actually, we haven’t used that TV once since we got a TV for our bedroom. But I figure, eventually. Right?

Nearly all the kids’ toys are stored in the living room. In the baskets under the TV are dinosaurs, magnatiles, and some miscellaneous toys. Directly beside is a big basket of Duplos, and the play kitchen. All three kids utilize these toys on a daily basis. 

And in the corner beside the play kitchen is the world’s comfiest green chair that my momma gave us, plus a foot stool I reupholstered to go with it. But it’s hot here so I often move the footstool to hold a fan directed on me when I’m sitting in here reading while the kids play. 

And of course, there is Sweet M’s whale chair! We couldn’t leave that behind. And my first ever adult purchase – that awesome green rug I purchased in Turkey a lifetime ago.

You can kind of see beside M’s whale chair there are three riding toys lined up. I know, I know. Three seems excessive, especially when the older two are technically too big for them. But B is still partial to his riding truck and M loves his elephant. And we purchased the other one when we got here while we were waiting on the elephant. But they all three get played with daily, so I’m okay with them, even if they are an eyesore. 

Also, they are stored right below a huge window with the best views of Diamond Head and Honolulu – especially at night! That window makes this house. 

From the living room you go to the dining/kitchen area. The huge, amazing table J made for me last Mother’s Day obviously can’t fit in this house. But the cute table my mom gave to us a few years ago and we used in our breakfast room back home fit perfectly. And with the little bench J built years ago, we’ve got plenty of room for all of us for now.

Plus we brought our red coffee bar along and that holds some our larger appliances grandly. As well as our potato bin and trash can. You know, necessities.

Oh, and H made a string with paper hearts: that’s what’s hanging across the top.

So I seriously considered omitting photos of the actual kitchen. It’s the greatest eyesore here and I still haven’t gotten a handle on how to best store and organize stuff in here, so there is perpetually stuff on the counters. Plus, no dishwasher. And I freaking hate hand washing dishes. So although I do it, obviously, there are often dishes in the sink from me avoiding them. 

And the back door opens to some steps that take you to our back yard, plus the washer and dryer, which are under the house. It’s an interesting set up, but it works. (There is also a bonus room room under the house which is set up for guests. It’s a great space, but since it’s not attached to the house it’s not functional for everyday living with four small kids.)

Oh, and I totally re-painted those cabinets. I don’t love them, because if they were mine I’d have done something more fun, but I was keeping with their beige color scheme around here. They were more of a light-poop color, with mega scratches and chips, so this is at least more palatable (but anyone who knows me knows I’m not a fan of the brown color family in general. I like color!).

Then there is the kiddo’s bedroom. Seeing as it is a two bedroom house, Miss H and Mr. B are sharing a room. It’s working out quite well, not that there would be another option, ha.

They were very excited to get bunk beds (which gives J so much anxiety), and Miss H cleverly duped her brother into giving her the top, telling him how he can hide things under the bed, hang his sheet up the side to hide, and unlike her, won’t fall victim to “certain death” if he falls out of bed. I mean, she has a way of swaying people, ha.

Their little reading bench is against the wall by their bunk beds. The majority of their books are there (minus the 3 huge boxes of books we left behind, hahaha).

They have a little desk and the chair from my sewing desk back home. Plus two storage cubbies. But only the cubby with two bins in it has anything in it. The other is empty, we just kind of stuck it there for the time being. Plus a basket with some stuffies. And Ellie the giant elephant, because it would have clearly been a devastation if we’d left her behind. 

We brought some wall art from home, plus a cute pic of the two of them. And H’s hairbow holder that a friend made her a few years ago for her birthday. A girl can’t leave behind her bows!

Oh! And that ridiculously cute lamp! I snagged it at Target for $8 and didn’t really have a plan for it; I just really liked it! So for now, it lives here (and this is how we know that this bargain-hunting, impulse shopper will never be a true minimalist).

And their closet! We got lucky that for such a small space we have some really decent closet space. 

This is Miss H’s side. Her dresses are all hung up. Her pj’s, two piece outfits, and small collection of cold weather clothing are in the pink cubbies. And one cubby is just full of her junk, er, treasures (that’s the gnarly looking bin).

Mr. B’s side. Okay, well, the white two-drawer is actually Miss H’s too. (Girls clothes are hard!) They have her swimsuits and leotards, plus socks and chonies.

The gray dresser is Mr. B’s clothes. Top drawer is socks and chonies. Middle drawer is swimsuits and pajamas. And the last drawer is all of his shirts and shorts folded up in outfits. His long shirts and pants are hanging up. 

Da da dum! The bathroom. It’s basically the size of a postage stamp. It’s a really good thing I’m not the kind of girl that has a lot of products or takes long to get ready, or this bathroom could create problems, ha. 

On the upside, it has a fantastic built in laundry bin that makes my life way easier. One place to collect all the dirty clothes from!

Gonna be totally truthful here; I’m pretty sure our neighbors can see us perfectly getting in and out of the shower, as well as using the bathroom. I’m just getting used to the fact that most people on the island are going to see me naked at some point or another. If it’s not through one of the windows in my house, it’s by my van changing after the beach. Oh, well. It’s just a body. 

The shower bathtub is itsy bitsy. I can’t really figure out why they tried to pretend it could be a bathtub. Like, maybe one of my kids could sit down in there. But they’d probably be more more comfortable in the kitchen sink, haha. Fortunately, all of our kids take showers so it’s not an issue. 

Yes, you counted them correctly. There are two toddler potties and a potty ring all in there. One potty belongs in the back of the van, and the other could be stored as M will only use the big potty. I will get there. Eventually.

And J and my bedroom. Our king size bed fits in her magically, so I’m calling it a win. 

We have one dresser for the things that can’t be hung up. J’s TV sits on top of our dresser, much to his delight. 

The nightstand doesn’t technically belong in front of the dresser, but right now I’m pregnant with a dragon so although J sleeps wrapped up in a down comforter, just the ceiling fan isn’t cutting it for me right now. Sometimes utilitarian has to come before put together. 

Our mirror will eventually get mounted to the wall behind the door. But again. Time.

Sweet M’s toddler bed fits snuggly against the wall with walking space at the foot of our bed. He naps in it awesomely and typically spends the majority of the night in it. If Jelly Bean sleeps well solo in the rock n play or Dock-A-Tot then we will have to consider a crib and how to fit that in here. But since the other kidlets didn’t sleep in their crib, I figure we will wait and see for now.

We throw those extra pillows around his bed at night, just in case. The pink basket is empty other than the boppy pillow you see sitting on top of it. Something else we don’t really need (it was H’s laundry basket previously). And the little basket is full of overflow newborn cloth diapers. 

Plus our closet. J’s clothing takes up more than half the space. And although there isn’t a pic with my clothes, half of mine are maternity so they won’t be there too much longer. Hopefully. 

There’s a little bit of storage room above the closet and that has Jelly Bean’s clothes in bigger sizes and some extra blankets up there.

And that’s all, folks. Our whole lives in 800 sq ft. And it works out way better than I ever could have imagined!

8 Years of Marriage, and For What?

Yesterday J and I celebrated our 8th anniversary. 

And by celebrated, I mean he left for work at 7am while I fed and corralled kids. He texted to let me know he’d made it safely to work as the big kids and I were breaking out our school books.

J arrived home that evening with barely enough time to spare a kiss while I ran out the door to get B to kempo practice – late, while J did lord knows what with the other two kids (they were working on the bathroom flooring when we returned from kempo). 

He sliced cantaloupe for a bedtime snack while Miss H stalled doing math problems and we all discussed the importance of math in the every day world. Somewhere during all that J did ask me how I was doing, as my maternal grandmother isn’t doing well. Then we parted ways to conquer bedtimes; him with M and me with the bigs.

I finished first, but it’s always a gamble as to who will succeed with bedtime first. So I poured a glass of milk and crushed up Oreos and gourged myself while waiting for him. But it was past 8:30 and so we just talked about how tired we were while J washed the dinner dishes (because we don’t have a blasted dishwasher!). 

Fifteen minutes in to talking about our day Sweet M woke up screaming because – teeth. And just a friendly PSA, teething doesn’t end in toddlerhood. My almost 6-year-old is currently teething hardcore with his 6-year-molars, as well.

So we went to bed with the baby and watched Dr. Quinn because after 8 years of married life I finally relented to allow a television in our room merely out of sleep conevenience; I like to sleep and he doesn’t. I like him nearby when I do sleep. I passed out cold while he rubbed my lower back.

That’s how we celebrated 8 years of marriage (and 11 years of friendship!).

No fancy dinner. No kid-free time. No gifts or cards or any acknowledgement outside of “Happy Anniversary” sometime during the morning hubbub of diaper changes and making oatmeal (he was changing the diaper, that’s 100% his job if he’s home).

Want to know something though?

I wouldn’t change it for the world.

And I’m not being superfluous or cliche or over the top lovey-dovey. I genuinely wouldn’t change it. 

There will be anniversaries where we go on dates. Probably anniversaries where we go on long weekend trips or maybe even a legit vacation. Maybe even without kids. 

But this is what we signed up for. This is what we planned 8 years ago when we said those vows. 

We chose this life and the little lives we’ve created. We chose to put them first in this season, and then one another before our selves. 

We chose to love each other through the monotony of life; to find the beauty in the mundane, because it truly is the most beautiful.

Marriage isn’t a fairy tale, even though I have a lot of moments and days where it truly feels like it. It’s a lot of beautiful moments where you smile at your partner as you wrestle your toddler into pants and when he kisses your forehead and tells you your beautiful when the bags under your eyes are so dark there is no concealer in the world that could mask it. It’s knowing he’s a phone call away when you you’re having a hard day. It’s when he rolls his eyes at you trying to paint a bathroom at 37 weeks pregnant and takes the roller from you when you can’t possibly finish without saying anything except “I love you.”

Our anniversary wasn’t a particular special day. 

But our marriage? Our marriage is celebrated every single day by the little moments. 

We’ve made it through 8 years of happily ever after in order to live and cherish the magic in the everyday ordinary. I’d say we got pretty lucky. 

Honolulu Family Fun Run

Miss H has been dying to do an organized run since I ran my first 1/2 marathon last October. (I wish I could say my “only” but I’m insane and know there will be more. I mean, I’m signed up for my first full marathon in December – eep!).

I’ve had my eyes peeled, but I’ve also been in the throes of pregnancy and a huge move and adjustment, so I would be a liar if I said it’s been my number one priority. 

But then one kind of fell into my lap. The universe knew what we needed. 

Miss H and Mr. B were both thrilled to take part in their first ever 500m keiki dash. Watching them sprint their little hearts out was actually a much more emotional (hormonal?) experience for me than I anticipated. They were focused and determined. 

After the keiki dash the really fun (or funnies) took place. 

The kiddos and I had signed up to do the family 3k. Our only goal, which is my only goal any time I run: to finish and not die.

Mr. B declared he was going to the front and was running the fastest the whole time. I shrugged and told him to have at it. It was a pretty straightforward route around a few city blocks. And honestly, I figured we’d find him tuckered out after a few minutes; he’s not often my most physical child in terms of activities. 

I sent J a quick text, who was hanging out with Sweet M and the stroller, and told him B was starting at the front and could he please keep an eye on him.

You guys. B blew us away! 

For a good portion we could see him sprinting his heart out in the second place. Then after a bit we could just catch glimmers of J in his orange shirt flying ahead with the stroller in his sandals, trying to keep up with our 5-year-old. (J had not signed up to run, ha.)

At around the half way mark they gave us chocolate milk and H and I decided to power walk and chat, J and B long gone at that point. 

When we could see the end we decided to sprint our hearts out and we ended with a bang, long after Mr. B who came in amongst the top 10, which included all the adults running it semi-seriously. 

We finished out the morning and early afternoon enjoying the Honolulu Family Festival and continuously talking about how awesome B did. H did amazing, too, of course, and she was so pleased to run with her momma. 

It was a lovely, albeit hot day, with the humans I enjoy the very most! 

This photo says it all

Settling in to Our New Norm

I really feel like now that we finally have our stuff, life is starting to find a good new groove for normal. 

There is still stuff to be organized, but in general, the house is finally a home.

We’re getting out, we’re making friends, we’re doing lots of fun things. Lots of beaches and hiking. What more could anybody want?

 On a whim we put our sweet baby in a toddler bed in our bedroom this week. He’s actually sleeping in it quite well.

J or I lay with him, or sit next to him, while he drinks his bottle and dozes off to slumberland. Yes, he takes a bottle every night. Full of almond milk. And when he’s finished, he puts that dummy right in his mouth. And then he’s more than happy to go to sleep. Having a baby that takes a bottle and a dummy is such a weird concept for me, even now after so much time. But whatever works.

Friday we joined friends at the beach for the afternoon and evening. We had the pleasure of seeing an endangered monk seal on the beach. The kids were able to play in the water, explore the beach and little pillbox nearby, and have a great time with friends. They also helped the marine biologist who was stationed on the beach to keep the monk seal safe collect his supplies once the monk seal return to the sea.

One of the best parts of this island is that (most) everyone is so family orientated. The island itself, not so much. But the people, yes. Everyone is so kind and helpful and ready to lend a hand.

A family nearby gave us an entire box of malasadas that they had. Extras. What kind of people have an extra box of malasadas? Ha ha. And several tuna rolls. So the kids ate while we lost track of time, and picked J up from work way too late. But on the upside, we got home just in time for our own personal fireworks show that occurs every Friday evening.

Saturday we took off to the beach as a family. We decided to check out the beach on one of the military bases. I always have mixed feelings about being on the bases because things always go either one of two ways. Everyone is so nice and great and fantastic, or, they’re the antithesis of that.

This time, it was the antithesis. A little girl, about age 9-10 followed me around for 20 minutes telling me all the horrible ways that my baby might die in my womb. I could get shot in the stomach and we both die. Maybe a giant wave would come smashing at me and squish my stomach so hard she would be killed instantaneously. Maybe someone might stab me. It was seriously to the point that I worried about that kid’s mental health. And then she walked up to the beach and chucked a huge ass rock straight at Sweet M, missing only by centimeters. So we went to the other side of the beach because even if she was just a kid, she may have been a borderline sociopath.

Sunday my midwife came over, and we got to hear the baby. Measuring small, as I have this whole pregnancy. I guess there’s a first for everything. I’m not too worried though.

We had already planned on hiking that day, and my midwife’s assistant suggested a hike off the Pali. She said it was fairly easy, and her husband had recently did it with their four children. Of course, as we drove there, and I looked it up, it was rated slightly treacherous. Or maybe something akin to certain death (“certain death” is Mr. B’s current phrase). 

We decided to do it anyway. We’re not really pros, but we’re not afraid of much either. The bamboo forest was amazing. The streams, the water. There are places that were certainly treacherous. Steep cliffs, lots of steep inclines, having to crawl under and over fallen trees. But so, so worth it for the final outcome.

Lulumahu Falls.

The kids enjoyed playing in the water, hopefully not catching leprosy, and then we hiked back through. We went a slightly different way on the way back and omitted the bamboo forest so that we were on some more open terrain because Sweet M wanted to walk at that point

I’m telling you, there is so much beauty out in nature. I never viewed myself as someone who would enjoy being outdoors in the hot, and I still definitely don’t like being hot, but I can’t get enough of being out in nature here.

I really hope we are able to take full advantage of this island over the next 10 months. Because it’s so beautiful and wonderful, and has so much to offer us.

Adventures in Unpacking

Oh boy. 

I knew that moving would be a process. Sometimes a hard one. Sometimes an easy one. There would be days with tears. And days with laughing.

But I had no idea what a process the actual unpacking part would be.

I opened a box that was titled “liquids.” Inside I found spices and a breast pump.

All those liquids and food they said they wouldn’t pack? Yes, I got to deal with the aftermath of that. Most of it went straight into the trashcan, obviously. I mean, who’s going to eat a half opened box of Cheerios that have been sitting in a storage warehouse for the past eight weeks?

When there is already things sticking out the side of a box, you know whatever is in there isn’t safe and still in one piece, haha.

It’s kind of like playing Russian roulette when you’re unpacking the kitchen stuff. Some objects are well identified as being “sharp.” Others, you only find out when you accidentally drop half a centimeter from your foot.

And definitely don’t be attached to anything. Because despite the fact the packers and movers only had one job – one job – you can bet that a lot of stuff will be damaged, ruined, or destroyed.

Practically brand new mattress? Ripped. The only nice dresser you own? Gouged all down the left leg. Baking pans? Broken. Wine glasses, broken. Weird mysterious brown liquid all over a box full of blankets. But nothing else in the box other than blankets. Wonder what that liquid is…

Dresser drawers jammed, screws missing to multiple pieces of furniture, piano broken.

And as if that weren’t enough, that second vehicle we were waiting on? J’s motorcycle. Smashed. So I guess we have a lot more weeks of driving over an hour one way round trip to drop him off at work, and then do it all over again pick him up in the afternoon. Otherwise we’re stranded at home by ourselves and no way to do anything. Which isn’t an option for our family.

But mostly I’m trying to focus on the fact that I have a bed. Finally. I just spent over six weeks in my third trimester of pregnancy sleeping on the floor. That is for the bees. I have never appreciated a bed so much in my entire life. 

And the kids are happy-ish, and their lives finally have some semblance to their lives before the move. Which is a good thing. And in a few short weeks, I will have another darling baby in my arms. And we will look back on this week and laugh. And maybe cry if I’m still hormonal. But mostly laugh.