Every Thing Else is Extra

Our 5th baby is due in less than 9 weeks.

What!?

When I was this pregnant with our darling Miss H, I all ready had a full nursery set up, car seat installed in my car, a hefty gender neutral wardrobe washed and folded neatly into a pretty little dresser, boxes of diapers and wipes piled in the closets, tiny little baby towels and wash cloths folded neatly in the cupboard, and every sort of baby contraption you can imagine floating around my house.

Oh, how the tides have changed.

We admittedly got rid of nearly all of our baby stuff before we returned to the mainland last fall. Bean was nearly a year old and we were probably done having babies because it made sense and was practical (I mean, 4 kids probably isn’t practical as is), and although we both talked a lot about having one more (I told J I wanted 5 before we ever got married. He asked it we could start with just 1), we weren’t even sure how we could work it in timing-wise. We had so many plans, and J is always gone, and we kind of had the next few years laid out for ourselves and a sweet new human just didn’t seem to make the cut.

Until he did.

And honestly, it’s the best thing that could have happened. It was a surprise, but not that much of a surprise because, well, we do know how babies are made, even if neither of us ever learned that in middle school health class….

But the planning that has gone in for this darling Fimito is mostly nil. And not because we don’t care about or adore him just as much as that first babe, but the things that seemed so important with that first baby, we’ve learned with each kid isn’t so much so. (Yes, babies need diapers, but otherwise). Also, when you have four other busy, crazy kiddos to chase after, there isn’t a lot of time to sit and ponder and marvel at the tiny life growing within. Except at 2am when you’re awake with Charlie Horse cramps, praying this will be the last of them (the muscle spasms, that is.)

The gadgets and gear aren’t all that important, you learn. We have a crib, not even put together yet, for this babe. Maybe we will use it. Maybe we won’t. He doesn’t have a bedroom anyway, so it’s kind of moot. (Obvs he will be rooming with us for the foreseeable future). There is a car seat from Bean that needs to be washed, and maybe I will install it before we need to use it to take him to the pediatrician the first time. Maybe we won’t. We will see how it goes.

I’ve got a box of newborn cloth diapers to wash. And I did buy three newborn onesies for him and a sailboat gown (because J says if we didn’t have a fifth kid we could have had a sailboat. In the Midwest. He’s almost 50. He’s probably losing it, ha). But mostly, we shall wing it. It’s not like we can’t get things as needed. And who even knows what we will need?

Diapers, milk, a momma, papa, and a bunch of crazy siblings to love him and adore him is all ready in check. Everything else is extra.

Yellow Belt

Today this sweet boy of mine earned his yellow belt in kempo.

Cool, right?

There are no words to express all the feels I have about this. He literally defied “limitations” he didn’t even know were there.

When he was 14 months old he had lead poisoning. With high numbers. Numbers that just kept climbing instead of decreasing month after month.

His pediatrician was not an alarmist, but she was honest.

Lead affects the brain.

It creates life long behavior issues.

It creates neurological limitations. The inability to focus. The inability to remember simple routines. (Think of many symptoms of having ADHD, she said.) It can even affect balance.

Honestly, it can do so, so much more.

When B was diagnosed and those numbers kept rising, I was vocal about this scary invader. VI learned so much, and like to think that maybe I helped even just one other person learn things and prevent their babe from getting sick during that period of our lives.

What a quiet, evil, poison.

But I was quiet about what the future may have in store for B because I didn’t know how to handle all of that guilt of not protecting him from a ghost I didn’t know he needed protected from in the first place.

I wanted him to bring his best game and not have excuses to fall back onto.

Truthfully, I didn’t want it to be my fault that maybe he wouldn’t get the most out of this life, even if it was just the “little things” affected.

But today.

Today he earned his yellow belt.

It seems like such a small thing, but for me, it’s everything.

It’s proof that he is not the limitations to a diagnosis he doesn’t even know about. It’s proof that his life’s truth is that he can do anything he puts his mind to.

He is more than the scary number of a blood test.

He is strong and fierce and a force to be reckoned with.

Look at what he’s all ready accomplished in his short life.

Despite the odds.

Trick or Treat at the Zoo

I have no idea how trick or treating works in Honolulu. I’ve googled my heart out, but I don’t know trick or treating hours. So to save myself the wrath of furious tiny humans, we ventured to the zoo this morning for trick or treating. 

Besides, who doesn’t love seeing animals while getting to fill their bags with goodies (and not be overwhelmed with too many treats)?


The kids were super excited to explore the zoo with J. I realized half way through that he’s never actually been to the Honolulu Zoo.

Funny how all our memberships for zoos and museums include his name, but he rarely gets to utilize them because we spend the week days at these places when it’s significantly less crowded, and thus, he’s at work. 


We pulled out the double stroller. It was so humid I was hoping my little love bug would let us stroll with her in the stroller instead of curled up on my chest. 


She did for all of four seconds. But she’s still a bit too small this particular stroller. Bean is cozy in our single stroller but then…Sweet M has no where to sit. I will try again in a few weeks. 

When I put her in and she started to cry, I immediately retrieved her. A woman walking by immediately squawked, “Oh, you’re spoiling her!” To which I balked, “Better to be spoiled than emotionally detached.” I wish I’d have been wittier, but alas. The exhaustion of mothering four kiddos might be getting the best of my wit.

The big kids were super excited to wear their costumes all day. Miss H is a witch (again), and Mr. B is a power ranger (surprise, surprise). Sweet M is technically a bird – he has wings. But he wasn’t really into the costume thing. And Bean is a white mouse. Because she squeaks, obviously.



Although the kids enjoyed the trick or treating part, they definitely enjoyed the animal part. They’d live at the zoo (okay, preferably in the wild…) if they could. They’re such animal lovers. 

Per usual, the peacocks stole the show at the Honolulu Zoo. They’re always my kids’ favorite. 


We had an amazingly fun day, and the kids got their trick or treating in just in case I drop the ball on them come Tuesday. 

I don’t think they will mind. 

Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden

It’s not a big secret I’m not really an outdoors and nature person. Being sweaty and dirty isn’t entirely appealing to me. I’m not a fan of insects and animals. Basically, I’d rather have a book to read while sitting inside in air-conditioning, ha ha.

Alas. I don’t even have air-conditioning here in Oahu. And I can’t remember the last time I read a book that wasn’t parenting related.

And if we are being completely honest, this island is so beautiful, even the least outdoorsy of people can’t help but be out and in all of all the beauty and wonders of it. I don’t mean that in a hokey way. Like, it’s genuinely breathtaking. Everywhere we go I just find my jaw dropping and my eyes growing large as I try to take it all in. Even places and things I’ve seen more than once are still so amazing.

It’s my goal to take advantage of all the time we have here. To see and do everything. Time is precious and our kids are young. I want to hike and explore every nook and cranny that is safe to do with kids. I want to walk on every beach that isn’t going to engulf my children in one fell swoop, ha. 

I’d be a liar if I said the island life was all romantic and dreamy. There’s a lot of downsides. But oh my goodness. There are so many upsides. And one of the biggest upside is the beauty of all this nature around us.

This weekend we decided to leave Honolulu and all the crazy Fourth of July tourists and festivites (yes, we’ve only been here 3 weeks and we are all ready over the tourists) and head over to Kaneohe and check out their botanical garden.

It is so kid friendly and relaxing. We will definitely be back there.

The pond was full of Koi fish much to everyone’s delight. And so many ducks. Which is, of course, Sweet M’s current favorite word. And the ducks are so used to people, and people feeding them (I have feelings on this, but for another day), that the kids were able to pet them, which completely made their entire day.


I feel like every other sentence out of my mouth was “They’re still wild animals,” while trying to prevent Sweet M from plunging (okay, he wanted to jump) into the pond. I mean, all those fish couldn’t help but captivate him!


This area was particularly nice because it was stroller friendly. We are avid baby wearers but it’s also really hot here. Have I mentioned that? And when it’s not crazy hot, it’s still humid. And since Sweet M is pretty cool with the stroller, we take advantage of it when we can. 

It started to rain pretty hard when we were leaving, which I’d anticipated as we saw the thick clouds rolling in above us. Again, a beautiful sight to behold.

I’m not going to lie, all this nature definitely makes me feel closer to God. What an amazing landscape that’s been created by the universe. It’s so awe-inspiring. 


J wanted Korean BBQ for linner (lunch/dinner) but we couldn’t find the restaurant we were looking for and I saw a Thai place, so we ducked in since we were starving. It was 3pm, so off hours, and we were the only ones in the restaurant.

The food was so good and everyone was so fantastic with our kids. They gushed over how well-behaved and sweet they were (don’t worry, we have plenty of restaurant adventures where we are just trying not to lose someone because they’re crazy, ha). 


The chef came out when H commented on her salad about how much she enjoyed it, and was so delighted with them that he presented them with silly string and a grand desert. Needless to say, the kids were tickled to death! 


The day before, Friday, was definitely the most challenging (mentally and emotionally) for me on the island thus far, so a super happy and fun day was so very much needed! 

I cannot wait to share what other small adventures we find ourselves in here in the next year. 

Oh, and here’s two photos of 2 out of 3 of my favorite tiny people. It felt really good to pull out my real camera again, too! 

Miss H is 7! 

My best (oldest) girl turned seven on the last day of March.

She had chosen in February not to have a big party and instead do an extra day at Disney World. Because honestly, tickets for the three of us for a day at Disney World was rather comparable to what we would spend on a birthday party. I know. I know. I have some birthday hangups of my own. So I tend to go big or go home. But I’m also learning to let it be enough. And we had a super simple birthday for Sweet M this year. And I plan to make birthdays a lot more simple from here on out.

Still, we let her dictate what she wanted to do for her birthday.

It also coincided with it being the day of the big ultrasound for our little baby Jelly Bean, as well as Miss H’s last day of school. (Remember, we are purging for a reason. We pulled her out early, so we can enjoy our last few weeks here).

She requested strawberry cupcakes for school. So I dove into the world of vegan cupcake making, as one of her friends is vegan. And I think it’s much more cool to include everyone than to make one separate thing for someone just because they have different dietary restrictions. I didn’t want him to feel excluded.


I’m definitely not going to win any awards for my baking skills. Or my cake decorating skills. But it could’ve been much worse ha ha.


Miss H is obsessed with flowers. She loves them as much as animals. She’ll probably grow up to be some botanist who rescues animals. She was so tickled to death when her godparents sent her a flower cake for her birthday. I’m fairly certain it was the highlight of her day.


And then that evening, my sister drove up from Louisville. We very quickly did cake so the boys could enjoy it, because I knew they would long be in bed after we returned since our kids go to bed crazy early.


We picked up one of my good friends from a conference and we headed over to the mall for some pedicures. Miss H had been asking for a pedicure for quite a while. So I figured this was the time for that.


She wanted to walk around and shop at the mall. Something I haven’t done in ages. But both her little brothers needed some new summer clothes, so I obliged. You guys, this girl is growing up! She did get two dresses, but she didn’t bat an eyelash when we left with bags of clothes for her brothers, and only two things for her.

My sister bought them matching best friend necklaces. Because Miss H is afraid she’ll forget her after our big move. It’s kind of the sweetest thing ever. I’m not sure what I’m going to do not having my baby sister to call on whenever I need.


We finished our night with some takeout sushi. And just like that, I have a seven-year-old lady. 


And I swear, just yesterday I held her on my chest within seconds of bringing her into the world. No one told me how fast these years would go. And no one told me that I would feel like my life had only just begun the moment I brought life into the world. I had no idea how much I had to learn, or how much I had to grow, until I became her mother. She is the greatest blessing I could’ve ever asked for. She is an amazing, compassionate, empathetic, bright young lady. I am so glad that God chose me to be her mother. Despite all my faults and imperfections, and how many times I stumble and get this wrong with her, I’m so glad she’s mine. My great big seven-year-old.

A Safe Place for Mr. B: His Dinosaur Room!

This has been a long time coming. 

When Miss H and Mr. B left the family bed a year and a half ago, B didn’t mind because they moved into the same room. The transition at that time was by far easier for him than it was for H.

But when H was ready for her own room at the end of summer, B was not so keen, but he kept on going. 

I knew with the loss of his roommate and the addition of his baby brother into the house, which meant the majority of his toys would no longer be allowed in communal space, I wanted to create a place for him that was uniquely his. A place where he felt safe. A place he was comfortable and happy to play unaccompanied when needed. 

He’s a sensitive soul, so I didn’t want this necessary change to be perceived as being abandoned or banished (I’m a middle kid, too, B, the struggle is real!).

B has a passion for dinosaurs. “Paleontologist” is at the top for his future career (though FBI agent and mad scientist aren’t far behind). So we took it and ran.


Fortunately, I did not have to re-paint. Because Momma don’t have time for that these days (I did have to do some touch ups though). I made that swanky banner over his bed. 

His art wall is a mash-up of Hobby Lobby art and things he created himself. Swoon.

The adorable little reading nook and bookshelf was the last addition I put in this room to complete it. I wish I’d had such a fun space when I was a kid (or now!).


This room is by far the smallest in our house. It has only one window.  It has the same black out curtain that has hung there since we first made this Miss H’s nursery (a lifetime ago!). I almost changed it out, but there is something nostalgic about it for me, and Mr. B doesn’t seem to mind either way. 

He’s got a little white IKEA table with a basket of art supplies for his leisure. He’s not a big crafter like his sister, but a kid should have options, ya know.

He loves Legos. So the Lego table I made them a few years ago ended up in his room when it had to be relocated out of the living room. 

He’s also really into hot wheels. So his automatic race track got shoved in the corner with his car case; though I think they’d be better suited over in his book corner on the rug. We will see.

All of his clothes are in his closet, but no one wants to see that chaos. Pants and shirts hung up. Socks, chonies, pjs, and swimwear in a 3 bin drawer. 


More dino art from Target and Hobby Lobby. 

The little white shelf harbors a bin of his power ranger toys (his most coveted posessions), Legos, and a few random things. On top is his piggy bank and a “Blueberry” picture he recieved as a baby (it’s what we called him in utero).


And his little reading corner (sorry for such a shotty photo). My favorite part of his room.

His reading nook is there. A fun transportation rug from IKEA (see why the hotwheels should be over here?) fits perfectly in this space. IKEA photo display shelves are rigged up as book displays and a great space mobile hangs from above.

Cute dinosaur decals I snagged from Menards completes this space. Plus an adorable canvas of my darling H and B. And of course, his little guitar. This musical kid would have made my paternal grandpa proud. I so wish he’d have been around to meet my brood. I know he’d have loved them as much as I do.

Mr. B has been dealt so much this year: becoming a big brother, his sister going off to school all day, his momma needing to give more attention to the baby, he’s anxious over our president elect, etc. I know some days have been incredibly difficult for him. I know he’s felt so displaced at times.

A safe place of his own won’t and can’t make all of those big changes null and void, but I sure hope it helps make those transitions a smidge easier. Lord knows I’d move heaven and earth for that kid.

The Day Sweet M Paused the World

Oh boy! What an eventful past few days we’ve had around here. 

Sweet M has been battling a cold and cough for the past two weeks, as have Miss H and I. I’m a pretty non-alarmist when it comes to illness, so other than popping in some essential oils in the diffuser and upping everyone’s vitamin C and zinc intake, I don’t typically do anything unless someone is really feeling poorly. 

Thursday was rough. Sweet M was just sad all day. 

I had several loads of clean laundry to put away (and just as many to wash!), so I had planned on getting Sweet M down for his afternoon nap and then slipping away to get that done. 

But as he fell asleep in my arms, his head nuzzled into my chest, I decided the laundry could wait and I just held my darling, sleeping baby. 

After a while it dawned on me that I wasn’t hearing his congested breathing nor did I feel the heave of his chest against mine. 

I looked down and his mouth was purple. The skin around it in a perfect ring coming away from his lips – purple. It was a sight I’d never seen before; one I didn’t truly realize could happen until that moment.

Instinctively, in what felt like slow motion as the world around me paused, I jerked him up and away from me. His eyes popped open and he gasped furiously for air. Then he began to cough violently, followed by deep sobs.

It’s the only time in my life that I’ve been so happy to hear one of my children cry.

I tried to no avail to reach J, hoping he’d put my mind at ease. So then I called the pediatrician, assuming they’d advise a wait and see approach as they often do. Instead, the asked me to come in immediately. 

I picked up Miss H from school on my way, and went straight to the pediatrician. 

They hooked him up to an oxygen monitor where his levels where in the 80s. The doc and I talked, where he ascertained it sounded as if he simply choked on some drainage in his sleep. He said it was a rare fluke and he didn’t anticipate it happening again. 

As Sweet M’s oxygen levels finally raised into the 90s, he told me it was a good thing I was holding him. He didn’t need to say more. My brain had all ready gone there.

If I’d laid him down and gone to do laundry like I have hundreds of times before, and he’d choked, maybe I’d have found him after it was too late. 

That’s so much to load me down. 

I know the “what if” game is a dangerous one, but it’s all too easy to get sucked into for those who deal with anxiety. 

We all know life is precious and can be snuffed out in a second, but we often live as if we are invincible anyway. Because we have to in order to live happy, productive, fulfilling lives. It’s simply necessary. 

But man. I had to sit with the realization that my baby is in fact not invincible. That’s a hard fact to stomach.

It did make Friday and today, when his cold finally included a fever and he was the saddest, neediest baby in the world a cake walk. I was all too happy to put the world on pause and love him up. 

Y’all, hug your babies tightly. Tell them you love them. Life is fragile and fleeting. 

A Girl Called Fearless

When I grow up, I want to be Miss H. 

She’s the real deal. What you see is what you get. And if you don’t adore her – tough cookies. She doesn’t care (or notice), and at the end of the day, it’s only your loss. Because she’s amazing. 

From the very beginning, this girl of mine has been fearless. She flew into this world ready to conquer it. 

Friday we ventured to an indoor rock climbing facility. She’s done rock climbing before, but it has been a while. 

In the beginning, she was leery. She’d climb half way, then come back down. 


“I’m scared,” she said.

“Okay,” I replied. “But you’re brave.”

“Being brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared,” she rolled her eyes at me. “But you do it anyway.”

And that was that. 

She was off.


She conquered nearly all of the walls except the ones where the rocks were litterally too far apparent for her to reach. Walls that sloped and curved? She was a master!


“Mom!” She hollered at me at one point. “Look at me! I’m way up here! I’m not even scared anymore! I’m fearless.”

Yep.

Fearless. 

Pros and cons.

On the bright side, nothing scares her enough to not at least attempt it.

On the down side, nothing scares her enough to not at least attempt it. 

Lifelong Friends

I’m an introvert. I’m really bad at small talk, and large groups of people gives me extreme anxiety. Hell for me would be being in an auditorium full of people, forced to discuss the weather with them. 

Because of this I tend to come off as stand offish. I try really hard not to, but alas. I’m coming to terms that it’s simply who I am. 

It makes me cherish the friends I do have though. Those super close ones who more or less forced me to be their friend when I was totally content going solo but am now eternally grateful they wouldn’t let me walk away with my nose in a book. 

Those are the people I’d go to the ends of the earth for. Some of them I’ve been friends with since I was itty bitty. Others I didn’t meet until college or motherhood. They’re all invaluable. 

When you find a friend like that, the kind that’s there for the long haul; you hang on to them. 

So last year when one of H’s closest friends moved to Florida, I didn’t fret the way she did. Because I knew all ready that some friendships just cannot be hindered even with distance. 

So then this happened Tuesday night. 

My 6.5 year old and her dear friend who moved far away. Tears, y’all, tears. What a gift. 

Miss H isn’t the into introvert her momma is. She’s all ready had more friends in her short life than I likely ever will. She’s so likeable you’d have to be a sociopath to not instantly adore her. 

And yet. Oh, yet. She’s still human. And she’s going to have those forever friends too. And I’m so very happy that I get to watch those relationships blossom. 

I’m so happy to see that at such a young age Miss H all ready knows who (some anyway) of her lifelong peoples are.