Saying Goodbye to Hopper

Pets are hard.

But letting them go is harder.

Hopper had never been a part of our plan, but he hopped into our backyard and practically right into Miss H’s lap and that was that.

I was torn from the beginning on what to do with him; knowing our stay here was temporary; knowing nothing about rabbits.

But the kids named him.

Hopper Smithsonian.

So that was kind of that.

In fairness, I thought we’d be here a bit longer than what it’s playing out to be, and after a bit of research, I felt pretty confident that we could take him back to the Midwest with us.

Then things changed and we learned that after we left for Europe in July we wouldn’t be returning to the island. And we couldn’t very well take Hopper all through Europe with us; even if it was allowed it wouldn’t be fair to him.

We screened a few families and found him a home with a little girl who seems to love him as much as my H does. Even H said she really wanted to be sad, but it was hard when she saw how happy Hopper’s new owner is.

It was a good few months with him. It was nice for me to see where my big kids have grown and matured, the areas where they have naturally begun being responsible, and the areas they’re still working on.

It is certain though, Hopper was dearly loved around here and will be sorely missed; but we are all excited for his new adventure.

Our Last Weeks on Oahu


It’s official.

We are mainland bound this summer. Our year on Oahu is coming to and end, and it’s the most bittersweet feeling ever.

I love this island, despite all my intentions not to do so.

I love the people.

I love the lazy beach days (every day).

I love the food (the fact that I haven’t even almost lost the baby weight from Bean is proof of that, haha!).

I love how chill I am.

But I don’t love the heat, haha.

Or the rats and mold.

Def don’t love the traffic or the absurd cost of living.

But did I mention that I love the people and the beach and the laid back vibe? Because really, that makes even the things I don’t love worth it.

I have a lot of hard and mixed feelings about leaving this island behind and returning to a place that will be equally familiar as it is foreign.

Regardless, I have to wipe my kids’ confused tears and empathize with their sadness and their joy; their deep grief of leaving their friends and island life here, their excitement to have their own rooms and return to school and be closer to family again.

And I can empathize with them. Because I have the same feelings. But it does no good to cry with them, too.

So here I am.

Planning our last weeks, loving friends hard, and handing all my stress and worry over to God because I know it will do me no good. And He has an adventure for us, and I just have to trust it for now because I certainly cannot control it.

It’s funny how a place you never wanted can become your home, and a life you hadn’t prepared for can bring you joy, even as you watch it slip through your fingers because you knew it couldn’t last in the first place.

Big changes are happening. Good things are happening. We may all cry a bit, but I have faith that what is supposed to happen will happen, even if it hurts a lot right now.

What a Day

I woke up ready to take on the world.

I even straightened my hair, and I can’t even tell you the last time I did that.

Despite a bit of a rough solo week (thanks, vog, for all the sickness. These are memories I will always cherish), I had the day conquered in my mind, and my husband would be back on the island,and all would be perfect.


The world was ready to take me on.

I dropped the big kids off at their theatre class, and Sweet M insisted on a playground. I had two full hours of him and Bean, so playground it was.

I made a wrong turn, and while trying to get back to the original playground I’d programmed into my GPS, Sweet M spotted another one. It was in a slightly more seedy area than I really wanted to be, but I set my reservations aside and adhered to his desires.

Bean had a diaper blowout and I had no extra clothes with me, so being the classy lady I am, I wiped off the leg of her romper with some baby wipes and let her continue rocking out in it.

Not even ten minutes of us being there, Sweet M declared he was hungry and thirsty and wanted to leave to get food. We have several friends with birthdays this month so I decided Barnes and Noble would be a great place to visit – M could have a soft pretzel, I could grab coffee and gifts.

I loaded up the babies in the all ready hot van. Sweet M is rarely super amiable to getting into his car seat, but he was really wanting his tummy full.

I turned the ignition key and…click.


Click, click. Click.

Dead battery.

My heart sank down into my knees.

I called my brother first, but he was headed off to a water park for the day. Next I called a friend. At this point both babies were screaming, strapped in their seats. I had 1.5 hours before I needed to pick up my big kids, but oh my gosh! What if I couldn’t get there!?

After chatting for a few minutes with my friend K, I hung up and gave my insurance’s roadside assistance a call. They were champs and promised to send someone over to jump start my van.


My phone vibrated and the name of the company and their number was sent to me. Also that it’d be approximately 90 minutes before they would be there.

That was thirty minutes after I needed to pick my big kids up.

I called K back, and asked if she could please come pick my kids up. She was on the other side of the island, family visiting in town, but didn’t skip a beat.

At this point I had pulled both sweaty babies back out of the car. Sweet M was losing his ever loving mind because he was so hungry and thirsty.

I ransacked my van looking for nourishment (you’d have thought he hadn’t eaten an egg, half an avocado and cheese an hour prior). Fortunately my big kids have impeccable reliability for never fully unloading the trunk when asked, so there was a full tin of caramel and cheddar popcorn I’d bought at Target on whim Thursday because it wase clearanced out for $3.



Except that just made him thirstier.

I typically always carry a case of water in the trunk, but we’d just finished it that week and I hadn’t yet been to Costco to replace it.




At this point I’m offering to like squirt milk into his mouth like a game because he’s long since self weaned, and he’s having none of it. Snot is running down his face, his neck is caked in it. He’s blubbering like the 2 year old he is.

By now three different gentleman have stopped by, unphased by the hairy situation I am in, asking if I have any money to lend them.

I have a baby on my hip literally wearing shit covered clothes, a toddler laying on the curb losing his cookies because he’s dehydrated and hasn’t had a drop of water in a solid hour, sweat is visibly rolling down my face and I stink like the high heaves because this hippy deodorant stuff does nothing for me on the equator (or wherever Hawaii is), and they seriously want to know if I can lend them money?

Nope. No, I can’t. Would I if could? Yes, yes I would.

But here’s another fun fact I’m trying not to panic about.

I left my purse at home!

You guys.

This day is just going…

“I have popcorn,” I offer one gentleman sheepishly.

He waves me away.

At this point I haven’t encountered any humans in automobiles, but as if sent to me by the Gods, another gentleman pulls in front of me and parks.

I muster all be courage I have in me (have I ever mentioned I have some pretty deep social anxiety? Like speaking to strangers is up there on my list with having a lobotomy; just nope.) and approach the gentleman. I ask him if he happens to have any jumper cables.

He looks at me a bit perplexed and I ask him again.

He shakes his and tells me someone is coming to pick him up and he’ll ask them (in broken English, so mad props for replying, dude).

I ask his friend who arrives two minutes later, but no.

At this point I seriously want to cry. But Sweet M is finally calming down, so I lead him back to the playground.

Soon after this K does a mini drive by and gives me her kids’ water bottles and some bugles to tide Sweet M over as she heads to grab my big kids.

Another friend is headed our way, so I’m googling how to jump a car in case she makes it before the tow truck.

Another car suddenly parks. I pick up Bean who is eating leaves and now… sticky? I approach the man who, I’m not going to lie, had a hell of a time parallel parking his little Prius.

I ask him if he has jumper cables, and he kindly tells me no, but he couldn’t jump my van anyway with super chic, eco-friendly Prius anyway.

Well, thanks, anyway. My gas-guzzling van is too cool for you anyway.

Also. During this time there are not bathrooms nearby. I’m on my period. It’s getting ridiculous. And for the first time since I was like thirteen I leak through my pants! Real life, y’all. Womanhood is some pretty glamorous shit.

At that point my big kids arrive, armed with McDonald’s, and I’m pretty sure that Sweet M and I have never been so delighted to witness such a feast. We’ve been stranded for two hours at this point. It’s safe to say we are weak from near starvation.

And coffee. There really are miracles.

The tow truck guy arrives about ten minutes after that. Late. Obviously.

He jumps my van in about 2 seconds flat and tells me I need to take it straight to a shop for a new battery.

But at this point I’m over adulting, and I’m not making those sorts of decisions without J because what if it just needs a charge and not a whole battery? How am I supposed to know?

So I pack all my kids up, bid adieu and many thanks to K, and head home where my other friend, H, meets me.

I have J’s car since I had dropped him off at the airport last week, and I put the babies’ car seats in his car. H brings me more coffee. Bigger coffee. Bless her. The gods are trying to make amends. I get it.

I load Sweet M and Bean up, ready for their naps, and head to the airport.



Merging onto the freeway and going .4 miles takes me 20 minutes. No jokes. Hello, Honolulu.

During these 20 minutes my phone randomly turns off five times.


It’s also on 8% battery and I didn’t bring a charger so fingers crossed my older progenies don’t maim or dismember themselves and someone needs to get ahold of me.

Longest drive ever to the airport. J is there. Still good looking.

Cockroach in his trunk as he goes to put his luggage away.

Fucking Hawaii.

Sweet M awakes two minutes before we make it to the auto shop to purchase a new battery (J decides we need a new one simply based on my story). He needs to pee. We aren’t fast enough. Sweet M is distraught because ohmygoshheistwoandtwoyearoldscannotpeeonthemselveswhentheyaregentlemen!

I mean, I’d be grumpy if I peed on myself, too.

But. With it all said and done. I have a new battery in my van. Car seats have been washed, which inspired me to also clean out and vacuum my van. My 8 year old made a super yummy cake. My darling husband is home rocking babies again.

And most importantly: I got two coffees today.

So basically I’m winning.

In this family, we read.

We are kind of terrible homeschoolers, I admit it. We spend more time on the beach than we do doing math worksheets, but I make them cook their own pancakes and assume it all evens out. Right?

Although we don’t do sit down workbooks every day (we do do them though), we do read. Every. Single. Day.

So much.

I genuinely, genuinely believe that other than allowing them to be outside and playing most of the day, reading to a kiddo is the most important thing you can do for them.

We read during the day. All sorts of great picture books and graphic novels and non-fiction. And every evening I curl up with the big kids and we read chapter books. Sometimes even Sweet M will curl up on my lap with his bottle of milk (I know, I know) and listen with us.

It ebbs and flow how quickly we read through them. Some books we plow through in just a few days. Other books we sip and savor, reading slowly over a few weeks.

There are books that were my childhood favorites, and books I’ve never heard of but were on one reading list or another that I grazed. Books that came highly recommended by others and books that I picked up on a whim.

We read fairytales and light hearted books. We read books that touch on heavy subjects like World War 2 and bullying (heavy topics on very different levels, obviously).

We read books that have tidy and happy endings. We read books that leave you hanging, thirsty for more, so many questions unanswered.

Although Miss H can read all of these books herself at this point, she is still eager to climb into bed and spend this time with me. I am acutely aware that one day she won’t want me reading to her. She’ll shoo me away, and I’ll be lucky to even get a good night kiss.

But for now, I will savor this time I have with her. With Mr. B. Reading into the night, bringing them into the fictitious literary worlds created by imaginative people who took the time to put pen to paper and bring these stories to life. Worlds that I grew up in; worlds that shaped me into the person I am today, and that I know will help shape them into amazing beings, too.

They may not know what a hanging participle is quite yet, nor can they do long division or recite the periodic table; but they can delve into the world of books and have endless conversations about the stories they’re read.

And for now, that’s really all they need anyway.

We had a perfect beach day Sunday.

You know, when you get there early and leave at dinnertime.

We started off at Makua Beach where the three walking kiddos and I hung out on the rocks playing with crabs and watching tiny fish.

We had hoped to glimpse the spinner dolphins, but we overslept so we weren’t quite early enough for them. We will try again though.

Then we headed to Pokai beach where we met up with my brother and his family, as well as some of his friends.

I may have squealed when I first got in the water that I’m done with winter and ready for warmer (don’t slay me, you acclimate, even in warm weather. So it does seem chilly here sometimes).

My brother brought his kayak and J and I braved it with the two babes.

I wore Bean in my mesh ring sling and Sweet M sat with J. I felt pretty badass, not gonna lie, as I paddled that kayak and breastfed that baby without skipping a beat.

I am woman, hear me roar, and all that jazz.

Of course, no awesome beach day is complete without a trip to the ER.

We weren’t home even 15 minutes before Mr. B stepped on something (who knows what?) and we were off to the ER for stitches. Ouch!

He had it made though. Private room with on demand TV. The doctor himself brought him juice and graham crackers.

I’m so thankful that the ER here is freaking fabulous, but a bit disheartened that I can say it with certainty; it’s not a one time fluke. We’ve been there 4 times now during our time here, and every single time they’ve gone above and beyond. Other hospitals ought to take note and figure out what they’re doing to be so amazing.

Needless to say, I’m exhausted and now we can’t go to beach for two weeks.

At least it wasn’t a broken leg.

I think the most challenging aspect of having four babes is the lack of 1:1.

I also think it’s one of the greatest gifts; there is no possibility of them becoming too self-centered because they simply know the world doesn’t revolve around them.

They know that needs and wants aren’t the same thing, and sometimes they may want xyz but someone else has a legitimate need that must be met first. It’s a fine line, of course, of cultivating a loving, empathetic, and selfless little heart as opposed to being jealous and hostile; but the majority of the time they blow me away with how loving and mature and selfless they truly are.

I love getting time with them individually, whether it’s baking muffins or reading a story or a quick snuggle while the others are at play. And sometimes it’s more; movies or dinners or grocery shopping.

I’ve learned with time that 1:1 doesn’t have to be big. It can be building duplos or helping to wash their hair or even just catching their eye while they’re doing something, so that they know that I truly see them.

I’ve often heard people say “I could never have x amount of kids because I could never give them each the attention they deserve.” I get that fear. I do. But let me tell you, you can give them enough attention, and at the same time you’ll never give them enough, even if its just one kiddo. It ebbs and flows and in some seasons you will be swinging high and in others you’ll miss the mark.

Fortunately, it all makes for beautiful life lessons and opportunities to teach the imperfectness of humanity.

I am so thankful for each one of them, and all the little moments that make us connected.

They are precious.

They are loved.

They are so deeply wanted.

Everything else will fall into place.

Corpse Flower, Missing Kid , and a Maimed Leg

You guys, we know how to have fun around here.

Like really have fun.

I made my kids move this morning so we could beat the crowds (hey, you never know – there could be other weirdos out there!) and get to Foster Botanical Gardens to see the Corpse Flower in bloom.

It was worth it.

The smell of dead fish.

The brown, rotting flesh of the blooming flower that towered over me.

The looks on my kids’ faces, confirming what they’ve suspected all along: their momma is a nutcase.

I wrangled Sweet M into the stroller because hey! He’s 2 and a little cray cray and he also insisted on wearing his shark slippers (though that was short lived and he eventually broke free and went shoeless like the feral little person he is).

After we finished waiting in line to see the Corpse Flower (yes, there really was a line!), they got to run free amongst the gardens with some of their friends who joined us.

It’s been pretty crummy weather here all week. Chilly, cloudy, sprinkling here and there. I know, not even fair to complain when it could be snow like back in the Midwest, but I guess we are acclimated now, so.

Our tiny kid gang was roaming free, but in a group, and I suddenly realized I couldn’t spot…wait for it…Wait…can you guess which child I lost? I mean, it’s not even a surprise, right?

Sweet M. No where to be seen.

He loves to hide these days so I didn’t go into automatic panic mode, assuming he was hiding behind one of the larger trees. But once I ascertained he in fact was not, my heart started to creep into my throat.

Well, fuck.

Only six months into this 4 kid thing and I’d lost one. I’m still not sure if I was congratulating myself for having made it 6 months or lamenting it in that moment, to be honest.


I started yelling his name calmly. I’ve learned that I’m super calm and level headed in genuine moments of panic. It never fails to surprise me when it’s all done and over, because I feel wild and unleashed in those moments. Alas.

Suddenly I spotted him near the entrance, another momma and her crew talking to him. Sweet M was all chill and calm and I stared running for him because he seemed like he was a million miles away and I hadn’t seen him in years and I couldn’t believe that in the blink of an eye I’d lost him and oh my gosh.

He saw me and immediately burst into tears, the impact of his baby’s day out coming to an understanding. I think in that moment he realized he hadn’t been surrounded by a single person he knew, and he sprinted his tiny toddler legs to me and threw himself in my arms.

I wanted to burst into tears, but figured one of us should keep our cool, and it didn’t appear it was going to be the 2 year old.

So I scooped him up and mouthed “thank you” to the momma who’d been hanging with him and she smiled and took off with her kids. Probably to see the Corpse Flower. It’s all the rage right now.

Then after my nerves returned to a somewhat stable place and we were back with our friends, Miss H, sitting at a picnic table, suddenly said “ow, I scratched my leg.” She wasn’t too upset so I didn’t think much about it, but my friend looked closer and said there were splinters.

I walked over to look, and I’m not even going to lie, I’m so mad I attended to her before taking a photo of the gnarliness.

It was so much more than a splinter. Somehow she’d brushed her leg against a thick, thorny stick and had large thorns embedded in her leg. Some were in there like arrows and I am still amazed I removed them with my fingernails.

She was an absolute champ. I mean, she wasn’t thrilled, but she sat there and let me remove them all.

We finished our morning shenanigans with invading Zippy’s with our nine kids who seemed to mostly keep themselves composed (you guys, seeing my big kids function in society gives me so much hope that one day all of my kids will be a part of functioning, upstanding society and not completely feral. Just saying.)

Now it’s back to a lazy afternoon of baby cuddles, rain, school work, and maybe a movie.

Oh yeah, and I drank a whole coffee milkshake from Zippy’s with my kids being none the wiser so I didn’t have to share a single sip – so I’m calling today a win!

This Is Almost 30


This is me at almost 30.

I am so close I can almost taste it. If someone would’ve told me half a lifetime ago that this, this is where I would be at 30, I would’ve never in 1 million years have believed them. When I envisioned my life at that point, I was going to be much more educated. A highly successful lawyer. I was definitely not going to be married. And I wasn’t really planning on having kids until I was at least 40 and could afford a full-time nanny to raise my adopted brood. 🤷‍♀️

Oh yeah, and I would be at least 20 pounds lighter because I wouldn’t have four kids, or any steady relationships and thus I would have a whole lot of time to dedicate to nothing but looking hot.🙈

Oh the things I would say to 15-year-old me. That people who don’t go on to higher education are worthy and intelligent humans, too. That the most successful, high paying career is nothing if it isn’t your passion.

That you’re not too broken to be loved or to give love, and that there are people out their still who believe in the sanctity of marriage. Love shouldn’t hurt or make you angry or make you cry – unless they’re tears of happiness.

And that kid thing? You’ll be so happy to “ruin” your body to bring all those sweet blessings into this world over and over again. I probably would tell 15-year-old me to start saving for a nanny though. Nannies are expensive and kids are cray-cray, and you’re kind of committed once you have one. 😅

15-year-old me had big dreams. Such big dreams. But it turns out almost 30-year-old me is living even bigger and better dreams, and would have never believed it back then.

In all those big dreams and life goals, I never once put “happiness” on my list. Not once. But it turns out it’s the most important, and somehow I grabbed it before it could slip through my fingers.


This is me at almost 30.

I feel I can say now, without jinxing things that Sweet M is officially potty learned!

There is something bittersweet about ditching the diapers. Especially when your kiddo says big kid things like “okay” to just about anything you say to him like a big kid, and grunts, “yes, man!” and then laughs hysterically when you’re trying to be serious with him. It’s a huge milestone that you cannot ignore that your baby, well, isn’t really a baby anymore.

I’ve had a lot of emotions lately over this little guy. He was a baby when we moved here. Nearly bald. Hardly speaking.

Now he’s got shiny curls and a vocabulary that would surprise me if he didn’t have two older siblings who’d done it all first.

I reluctantly gave his baby sister her first bites of food this past week, but I’m not eager to give her much or make it a habit yet. And she can blame it on Sweet M.

I was utterly not prepared for him to wean cold turkey the day she was born. I will do whatever I must in order to prevent Darling F from weaning prematurely. You certainly cannot force a child to breastfeed who does not want to, but there are reasons that age 2 is the minimum that the WHO recommends weaning and I’ve got a lot of feels because M was only 18 months old (and I don’t care what others do, these are my own self-imposed expectations).

I know I should be happy that it was on his own terms. That is was a complete non-issue. No tears. He was ready…or forced into it by his sister’s birth, I don’t know.

Miss H had zero qualms tandem nursing with Mr. B and it was kind of the most beautiful thing to witness. And I rode it out, breastfeeding Sweet M throughout my whole pregnancy, even when it was uncomfortable because I was essentially dry because I knew the beauty of the pay out of tandem nursing.

But I didn’t get it.

And maybe that makes me selfish. Being upset because I didn’t get something. But I’m rarely selfish, so I’m okay with it.

We go back and forth, back and forth, pretty much on an hourly basis whether or not having just one more sweet babe makes sense for our family, but regardless, we know Darling F must be much older because I cannot go through her weaning so early, completely unprepared.

It seems like only yesterday that my tiniest babies were Miss H and Mr.B. And now they’re these big, fun, adventurous kids who have conversations and conjure up these big ideas. And Sweet M and Darling F are the babies and all ready Sweet M is growing so big and Darling F is practically 6 months old and time just needs to stand still for one day. Or two. Because it’s all going so quickly and I just want to catch my balance and hold them all so tight and not miss a second of this chaos because it’s all so magnificent and it’s all mine.

Oy. I know it’s sappy. I do. Give me a day. I will be counting down the days until they move out, I’m sure. But for now.

For now, Sweet M has potty learned and it’s a great milestone. It makes things easier. But also. It makes him bigger.

And that’s a great thing, too. Even if it is happening so quickly.

Last week, as I drove Mr. B to kempo practice down our long winding mountain, the roads were empty and desolate as usual at that time of day, and suddenly, and in less time than it would take you to say “hippopotamus” there was a little boy running in front of my car after his ball.

As I put my brakes to the test, and swerved to the right to avoid him, I clipped the telephone pole hard with my mirror.

That little boy was just as oblivious as my own little boy to what had just occurred. They had no idea that in those split seconds all of our lives could’ve been altered irreparably. And maybe, lost.

It was one of those moments, that in retrospect, I’m thankful for. It was eye-opening and a good refresher of what is valuable and important in life, and what isn’t. Life is precious. And in a split second that happy ending can be gone forever.

I don’t blame that little boy’s parents. I don’t begrudge them for not watching him close enough, or for not teaching him better. Because I’m a parent. I get it. My kids play outside by themselves all the time. Even the two-year-old has free reign of our yard. He knows the boundaries, I keep an eye on him up in the window, but that doesn’t mean something couldn’t happen. And just because a kid, of any age, knows what is and is not allowed, or even what is right and wrong, doesn’t mean they’ll always follow it. Adults don’t. Children at least have the excuse of not having impulse control. Their brains are genuinely not capable of it. It’s hard to fault child for simply being a child.

Life happens. Mistakes are made. And I don’t think children should be helicoptered in order to keep them safe. You hope for the best, but at the end of the day, that’s really all you can do. Our children deserve the freedom to learn, play, grow, and even make mistakes all on their own. And the majority of the time those mistakes will be small in the grand scheme of things. They will be learning opportunities, teaching moments, ways for them to better grow as humans. If you’re too busy protecting them at all moments, they don’t get those moments that benefit them in the long run.

So yes, a little boy ran in front of my car. It could’ve been tragic. Instead I have a shattered mirror from swiftly averting my vehicle that I bear the brunt of replacing. And isn’t that how it should be? As adults, shouldn’t we be the ones looking out for our children, not the other way around? We teach them and we teach them, and we model for them, and we pray. And in their moments of unhindered childhood, we hope we have a village that is willing to take on a shattered mirror so that our kids can be kids and we can allow them the freedom of childhood that they so well deserve.