Somebody found out on Tuesday that she would need glasses.

Somebody picked out the perfect pair and heard it would be 7-10 working days until they were ready. Somebody also heard that I would get a phone call when they were ready.

Somebody asked me every 15 minutes and after every phone call if her glasses were ready.

Somebody got a phone call yesterday afternoon.

Somebody got in the car after dark, drove in the rain, wearing glasses because she got makeup toner in her eye, all things she hates to do to get somebody glasses. Not saying who, but she is pretty cute!

photoSomebody left her ID at home yesterday. 

Somebody wasn’t allowed on the bus without it insuring that the rest of the family needed to leave 20 minutes earlier on the morning when somebody hadn’t finished his homework. 

When somebody was asked why on earth she left it at home somebody replied that her mother made her clean her room and since it wasn’t laying in the middle of her floor she forgot it. Not saying who that somebody is but she is pretty cute too…and growing up way too fast…

IMG_2646Somebody was watching The Agents of Shield one night. It’s amazing what somebody lets her six-year old watch on television. As a female agent was hanging from her hands being tortured, somebody said, “She should just kick him. I would kick him in the face…HARD!” Somebody would too. I won’t say who it is but I bet you can guess. 

IMG_2628Somebody really couldn’t understand where his Daddy was last week. He kept saying he wanted to go to CD. (Ray was in DC.)

Somebody was also really excited when he came home from school to find his Daddy at home. He walked up said, “Hi Daddy! I need to call Grandma.” Somebody stayed on green. Somebody thought Grandma needed to know RIGHT THAT SECOND. Somebody called his grandma! Not telling who, but he has a pretty cute missing tooth grin.



 Somebody hit publish before she was finished adding pictures. This time I’ll tell you…Somebody is one tired Mama. Time to take the kids to the pool. 

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Big Island: Volcanoes

So Volcano National Park is another highlight of our trip. I think everything seemed to be a highlight of our trip. 

We decided to start our morning on the Kilauea Iki Crater Trailhead. Thankfully we started pretty early. A volunteer told us it stays roughly the same temperature the whole time but we heated up quite a bit as the sun came out.  We started in a jungle, going down. 

DSCF0631Then came to this sort of terrain.

DSCF0656Then we walked back up and out. It was honestly a lot like a very hot Iceland in the middle. I can’t say I ever saw a lush jungle like that in Iceland though. The steam vents were neat for the kids to see and we didn’t smell that much sulfur. I didn’t get as many pictures as I would have liked because we were always aware of all the kids, but especially Jack. I had to keep reminding myself that two years ago, he couldn’t walk more than a few steps. He did really great considering the terrain. We just had to go slow. 

This trail is roughly 4 miles. Apparently when you go down and backup with the switchbacks, the national park service claims it’s the equivalent of climbing up a 40 story building. It didn’t seem that hard to me, but we were really high when we started. The trail shows what happened after an eruption in 1959. Kilauea actually means “spewing.” It was evident that that’s what happened. 


DSCF0655The girls loved following the Ahu. Bria was actually pretty great on the trails. 

DSCF0665She made sure she was going to keep up with her sisters no matter what. 

DSCF0669The trailhead overlook comes out close to the Thurston Lava Tube. It was literally and figuratively a cool little break after the four mile hike.

DSCF0677Our view from the top…

DSCF0682At one time, that was a lake of lava.

We had lunch and set off down Chain of Craters Road. We drove all the way to Where The Road Ends.

DSCF0716Lava would be the reason for the end of the road.

We saw the Holei Sea Arch. That’s where I watched a tourist nearly fall off the side of the cliff after climbing over the yellow ropes in a long skirt. 

DSCF0702I was behind the yellow ropes thank you very much.

The walk to where the road actually ends is much longer than we thought it would be, thankfully it was on the road. 

DSCF0710Then we drove to Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs. It’s only a 1.4 mile round trip hike to see images that were etched in stone.

DSCF0722It was at this point that Jack started to give out. This terrain was much harder for him to walk on. He was tired and frankly couldn’t believe we were getting out of the car to go again. Plus, for all he knew we were tackling that 40 story building again. We finally decided it was faster for me to not hold his hand and tell him to follow Ray. The girls were having fun following the ahu stones and running ahead. About half way to the petroglyphs Jack started the mumble. It took a minute but he started to get louder the more frustrated he got. He was chanting, “Solve the problem. Solve the problem. We need to take a break.” It was really hard to not crack up. Around this time he also tripped. Now he’s really mad. 

The girls were on their own program at this point. I found out later Ray was trying to encourage independence while I was fuming about our family vacation being me hanging back with Jack following Ray. We finally got to the petroglyphs. 

DSCF0726Thankfully there was a bench so Jack could take a break. The walk wasn’t very far but oh my word, I was going to have to get Jack back to the van at some point. He’s not little anymore. Packing him out would not be fun.

Our walk started. Little man was not happy. The girls were running ahead seeing who could find the ahu first. Jack is muttering under his breath. He clearly at this point thinks we are mean, cruel awful people to force this on him. He hit a crevice and went down, flat. He caught himself so his face didn’t hit. Falling flat actually worked to his benefit, the lava rock didn’t scratch anything but he was pissed. Sorry for the language but there really is no better word for it. He starts full on screaming with a totally fake cry. Jack doesn’t cry a lot, still but when he does you know it’s real. This was different. I immediately snatched him up, checked for marks. He’s fine but yelling like someone stabbed him in the back. 

I start to carry him. I have at least a half mile to go. This is not going to be fun and I’m a little worried about tripping. Ray tells me to put him down. This is good for him. He’s never had to use his muscles, we’ll go slow, it’s only a half mile. He offers to hold his hand. Now, I’m walking just ahead and Ray is telling him to follow Mama. For whatever reason, Jack slows way down when you hold his hand. Ray dropped his hand. The second he did, Jack sat down. “I NO GO!” He was done! 

Ray finally got him going again. I was trying not to break out in hysterical laughter. I really wish I had video of it. Ray is telling Jack that he’s a big boy, he can do it. He just had a birthday. He’s six now. Jack said, “No. Not 6! I’ll erase it for you!” Then he started wiping wildly with his hand. We got him to the car. At that point, he was so relieved the real tears started to come. Poor boy. We decided to forgo the next hike and headed back to Jagger Museum instead.

DSCF0745 DSCF0737I don’t know if my kids will remember the stories about Pele. I will. I can tell them anytime they ask. 













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Alien Pee and Highlighters

I’m still around. Ray is away. I’ve had a ridiculous number of appointments plus no backup taxi driver. Things are a bit nutty.

How nutty you ask? I have a child who insists on shoving me over in my own bed EVERY NIGHT. At this point I’m too old and or tired to care. Half the time she wakes up not even realizing she made it to my bedroom.

A few days ago I woke up to this…


What’s that you ask? We’ll for about 15 seconds the only thing I could think of was that an alien had peed in my bed. Yep, that’s the first thing I think of. It wasn’t Tucker…

Little britches apparently brought an uncapped highlighter to bed with her. It was under the sheets and the quilt. I certainly don’t sleep with one.

In other news… Even though it was still wet, I couldn’t get it out. Think Ray will notice an alien pee stain when he gets home? Maybe it’s an excuse to buy new sheets. If I buy new sheets do that mean a new comforter too?

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All In Surfing Addition

When we were thick in the middle of the adoption process, Ray liked to say he was “All in.” In fact, Ray coined it and we both started saying it. If we were going to do it, we wanted to jump in and do it. That’s what we did. Since then, it’s something I think about and try to apply to lots of different aspects of our lives. 

I’ve been known to mention that I don’t want my kids to live in fear. I want them to give their all and try new things. Sadly, I wasn’t doing what I was asking them to do. Today I did.

I’ve thought about surfing since we moved here. Oh to be the cool girl on the board, cutting through the waves. Well, I’m here to tell you that I am certainly not cool and my days as a girl are long behind me but I did manage to stand up on a board during my very first surfing lesson today. When we got here I thought I didn’t have enough upper body strength or balance. I was also managing to do what drives me up the wall when my kids do it. I didn’t want to look like an idiot or be the only one who couldn’t possibly get up. 

Then I met Joe.



He was with me on my first paddle to the Mokes…and pointed out the sharks. We had a bit of an argument today. I’m no longer quite shark bait. We’re almost the same color. (sharks prefer white meat according to most locals) He thinks that everyone that wants to try to surf, should try to surf. 

I paddled out. I was too high on the board. I paddled out. I was too low on the board. Third time’s the charm yeah? Nope. I wasn’t fast enough. I paddled back around in line as fast as I could. Yes, my arms and especially my back are already sore. Fourth time, I got up. I can’t even begin to explain the feeling. I’m officially a junkie. I kept paddling out and coming back. I didn’t make it up every time, but the times I did…worth every second. 

So a couple of things… I need to thank my buddy Lorraine for being game and going along with me. I also need to thank the trainers at Dumbell Fitness. I never really understood that a burpee would have such a high pay off until today. Burpees, pushups and planks really are my friend. 

I sadly didn’t get a single picture. I had witnesses though. What I hope my kids heard in my voice when I was talking about it was that I didn’t care that my shirt wasn’t staying put or that I kept falling. I was having fun. I didn’t care if I didn’t look like Bethany Hamilton. I don’t see many surfers who do. I was having fun. I didn’t care who was watching. I was getting up on that board for me, to try something new and do the very best I could do. Sadly, I wish I hadn’t waited until we have just over a year left here.

I’m already planning the next ladies’ day adventure with Joe. (And also begging Ray to extend but it’s still not working.)

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Big Island Adventures: Kona to The Volcano

I would be remiss if I didn’t start my post with a big old GO CATS! Holy cow! They made it to the championship! You know where I’ll be this afternoon.

Our next day on Big Island, we checked out of our room in Kona and made our way down the south side and up to Volcano National Park. It is a winding road and I gave the kids some dramamine. This point is important because someone please tell me, what’s worse? Throwing up or grumpy kids? I guess if they’re throwing up it’s both. But that stuff made for some extra grumpy children. The car portions of this journey were beautiful views on the outside and whining, car sick grumpy kids on the inside. We scheduled lots of stops to break it up. The first was south point. It’s the most southern spot in the United States. You thought it was those good old Florida Keys didn’t you? Seriously, you have no idea how many times I’ve been asked if I’ll be in the states this summer. Yep…even when I’m in Hawaii. 

DSCF0520The kids jumped out of the car. It was windy. I immediately started to have a panic attack as Bria followed Arleigh and Hanan to the edge. We rushed over and made them move back so this Mama could catch her breath. What happened next is a story that will be told for years, probably to grandchildren. 

The wind was whipping. The drop off was huge and there were two ledges that walk out so you can see WITH NO GUARDRAIL. I yell at them and shake my head. We each took a second to look over.

DSCF0510The water was super clear. This picture is weird. This was the top of the ladder. The drop looked to be around 50 ft. Our guide book said to tie off because the currents are so strong here. Nothing like having four kids literally on the edge of the earth. Of course, Bria wanted to see too. Ray was holding onto her and the rail. Arleigh came rushing up behind them and tripped bumping into them. I’m pretty sure I had a heart attack. Arleigh was scared too and started to laugh nervously. That just set me off more. We were both a little pouty for the rest of our stop. It was amazing to see.

DSCF0515 DSCF0531 DSCF0521 DSCF0520






We really wanted to get to green sand beach but decided that Jack couldn’t handle the hike. We weren’t too sure about Bria either so we’ll put that off for another trip. I so hope there is another trip. Big Island isn’t where I would want to live but it was a great family vacation spot. 


DSCF0538 DSCF0539Our next stop was Hana Hou. It’s the southernmost restaurant and bakery in the United States. We decided that we needed to go ahead and have lunch while we were there. I’m so glad we did. It was a little like the restaurant that I worked at in my hometown. Let’s face it. I feel right at home anywhere that anyone says, “Aloha y’all!” 

The breads are made right there. We split sandwiches so we could enjoy some of their fabulous pie. After a sampling of three, we all decided that the Honu Pie was the absolute favorite. They were all delicious. Honu Pie is what we Kentuckians call turtle pie. It’s somehow especially tasty when you just thought your children were saved from a near death experience.









Later we continued our drive and stopped at Black Sand Beach. First, I made Ray stop for a second so I could take a picture of a street sign we had been seeing everywhere. Is it just me or does it look like the little dude is running into the tsunami instead of away from the tsunami?

DSCF0548We had a nice little surprise on Black Sand Beach. Our neighbors were also there to play. 

DSCF0551These two are thick as thieves. They are so cute together. They’re plotting to be on the same soccer team. At any given moment you can find one of them at the other’s house. So it was pretty exciting for them to bump into each other on another island. 

Hailey and Hanan are pretty tight too.

IMG_2528Between that and the turtles, it was a pretty good day!

IMG_2532 DSCF0603 DSCF0599 DSCF0567 DSCF0581 DSCF0572 DSCF0564 DSCF0594 DSCF0582 DSCF0549 DSCF0560 DSCF0609We left black sands and finished the drive to Volcano National Park where we had a military cabin waiting for us. The sun had started to dip. As we drove in, Bria said, “Why is the sky pink?” You might be fooled into think it was a wonderful sunset but it was actually the glow of the volcano. We headed to Jagger Observatory after roasting some hot dogs and marshmallows in the fire place cabin and we were totally amazed.



DSCF0627 DSCF0626 DSCF0625


It was another great day on Big Island.









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Notes On A Saturday Morning

It’s a typical Saturday in the Stiff house. There is a soccer game, a birthday party at a far flung beach, a child at a weekend long sleepover at the same beach, a dinner date with some passing visitors in Waikiki. Yeah, we’re packed. As if this weren’t enough, let me also mention I’m trying to parent a 13-year old. (Trying is the OPERATIVE word at this point.)

Can I just tell you something that I wish someone had reenforced to me at the same age? Wait. I’m sure someone did and I wasn’t listening. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and all that. The appearance of impropriety is the same as impropriety. I don’t think I really grasped the concept until I became the wife of a military officer. At that point, the drilling into my brain worked. How is it that it seems like some of the younger military wives have missed that? That’s a post for another day. 

Simply put, I’m trying to tell my daughter that perception is reality. That combined with the golden rule makes middle school really, really difficult. I’m not unaware of this point. Middle school is hard. It was hard for me back in the day. I’m sure it’s even more difficult when you are the minority and cultures are a bit different. Add to that parents who are preaching to live in the world not of the world. And this is one parent who is basically saying do as I say not as I do. I’m floundering over here and having a hard time telling a child to make the right choices when I don’t always make the right choices. DSCF0284

Good grief. That’s all. Thanks for letting me get it off my chest. I’m just going to go look for my aloha at the beach. Surely it’s around there somewhere. 

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