Fear Is A Wonderful Thing: An Adieu

You guys. We went on our first true family vacation, but it was just a few days after my shitshow health stuff, that it’s taken me this long to recollect myself, ha.

So I had originally been planning to take the kids to PCB for the first week of October for some beach time while J stayed behind and knocked out kitchen walls or something (I say “or something” because he has a million projects going on, and another million he’s planning, half of which involve leaving my house in shambles for quite some time. But he’s cute, so I guess it’s fine).

Aaaaanyway. Since I’d had my first surgery in my adult life only days prior, J and I were having some come to Jesus feels and we decided to all go. Or basically, I told him he should strongly consider it because the kitchen is always going to be a project. He agreed because he’d had his own mini-panic attack about having to raise five kids, three of whom are aged 3 and under, all on his own if I’d died on that surgery table. As my dad so well put it, “Fear is a wonderful thing.”


I swear all 5 kids knew. They knew we needed some calm and love and bonding and time to just be. I mean, they were still kids, for sure, I wouldn’t expect less, but they mostly pulled it together.

For a week we alternated between beach, pool, food, and sleep. Basically it was how life should be.

And we all ready knew the first four kids were made for beach living, and Ave proved it’s her zen place, too. So….any day now, J. I can have our house packed up speedy quick. Just sayin’.


Anyway, I’d love to say that peaceful zen came back home with us, but that would make me a liar. We are just in a busy, beautiful, chaotic season of life right now.

In many ways, having only one little babe was much harder than it is now with five. Everything was brand new. It was all a learning curve.

And we are still learning now. Each day as they grow something new pops up. Each kid is so dynamically different from all the others. There is no handbook or one-size fits all. It’s so much fun. And so exhausting.


Five kiddos is 5x the appointments, field trips, laundry, meals, illnesses, activities. It’s never ending. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But with five kids I have to be more intentional with my time. And blogging is clearly one of the things that’s been fading out. For years now. Pretty much since my grandma passed. And that’s okay. I started blogging all those years ago as a way to document and to pass time. To make it easy for friends and family to stay connected. But most especially for my grandma. And it’s been hard to feel like keeping up is really all that important anymore. Not in this way, anyway. Photos on IG suffice.

I’m incredibly thankful for the experiences and opportunities that this platform has allowed for my family and me over the years. But I also am at a place where it’s time to let go and move on.


I’d ideally like to move away from facebook as well (even if it remains, I don’t intend to utilize it for sharing). The weeks this year where I’ve had it deactivated were definitely better for me in pretty much all ways. I read books while I nursed instead of scrolled through a browser. I want to focus more on real, tangible relationships, than social media relationships. And I’m at a place where I also realize that may mean the only people I talk to each day are my kids, haha. And probably my sisters. And that’s okay, too. I’d rather text a friend a photo of the kids, and have a semi-real conversation even if it is through text message, than post a photo for people to “like” and feel that hollow connection for all of two seconds and move on. And the thing is, I all ready do this with some people. So I know it’s not impossible. Or terribly isolating.

It’s not as authentic as face to face, in person relationships. But we also don’t live in a world that allows that quite so easily anymore. But it’s more authentic than the same relationship with 500 of my closest friends…


So for better or worse, I’m taking my dad’s word’s to heart. “Fear is a wonderful thing.” Because it is. It makes you wake up. It makes you re-evaluate. It makes you prioritize.

And I’m going to prioritize simple, slow, and real for now.

But thank you to everyone who has been on this journey with me. And I will keep my IG going as I see appropriate, so feel free to get your dose of chaos on there if you wish (@justplainkilah).

Y’all have been the best.

Well Enough

The thing is, I’m a pretty lousy housewife. I’m not tidy or well-organized, and I rarely have a warm dinner waiting when my husband gets home (I do feed our kids, just not him 😬). I’m great at creating a budget, but not so hot at sticking to it because something always comes up with 5 kids (usually a trip to the doctor).

I’m not going to win mother of the year anytime soon. I get frustrated too easily. I spend more time telling my kids it’s good for them to be bored than I do actually enjoying fun activities with them. My “playing” skills are limited to reading them books. All day. I have no grace when it comes to bed times because I need that hour after they’re asleep to recharge the introvert in me. They will probably remember the mother of their childhood constantly saying, “Is that kind or helpful?” about nearly everything.

I spent last night reading through grad school programs and then just laughed; because I won’t have that sort of time for way too many more years to come. And at that point I won’t have anything to write down useful enough to get me accepted. Can shower one handed while holding a newborn? Good at making mediocre dinners while wearing two babies (as depicted)? Stellar butt-wiper of tiny humans? Great middle of the night cuddler even though I hate being touched while I sleep? I’m not sure any of those will help… .

I am constantly saying I am behind on everything in life. There aren’t enough hours in the day to get caught up. Not enough cups of coffee to keep me running. But maybe I’m not so behind. Maybe I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Exhausted, sometimes a little depleted, but gosh darn it, so well loved. I just hope that these 6 humans I live with and adore so very much will one day be able to look back on all this crazy beautiful blur of season and say the same: that I loved them well enough.

Florida Vacay Pt. 3


Let me continue.

Basically Florida was a blast. The water was warm, the sand was soft, and the weather was gorgeous.

To make it just that much better, Miss H had the amazing surprise of one of her oldest friends coming to visit for the weekend from Jacksonville! I mean, I loved it too because her momma is one of my dearest friends, but the surprise for H made it all the better.


It’s one of the things I love most about kids. How they can go ages without seeing each other or speaking to one another and then they just pick up how they left off. Miss H and her friend M hadn’t seen each other since before we lived in Hawaii – eep! And they were knee deep in fun and giggles in pretty much minutes.

And it was so nice for me to have a friend to just chill out with and talk to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so fortunate to have a husband that I so deeply adore and who is truly my best friend, but man! There are just some things a woman can relate to better. And having a friend who you don’t have to be guarded around or worry about judging you is kind of a magical thing.


Miss H’s other epic surprise was….


Okay, before you judge me too hard, we had agreed long, long ago when we first moved to Hawaii that we would make this dream of hers happen. But time slipped away and it never happened, and I didn’t want her to be the person who grew up and still remembered how her parents promised to take her to a Broadway show in NYC and never did….err….swim with dolphins (I definitely don’t have any lingering thoughts over my own childhood, haha).

So, we made it happen.

And it was pretty epic. Both the experience and her reaction.

She loved the dolphins.


But she was also pretty crushed. She deplored that they lived in an exhibit and were essentially circus animals, because she wanted them to be free as animals are meant to be. It was definitely hard for her animal-loving heart.

So I call it a win-win. We were able to carry out our promise and she was able to do something amazing, but she also was able to truly see the situation for what it was, and I find that to be pretty amazing for a 9-year-old.


Over all, it was a fantastic week and a half and we definitely need to get back to a life of low key, lazy beach days. It’s just so good for our souls.

Every Thing Else is Extra

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


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.