Rapunzel No More

When Arleigh and Hanan were little we called their playroom the Princess Room. Arleigh wanted to be Ariel. Hanan wanted to be Belle. Five years later, we added a new little princess to the mix. She was so busy trying to keep up with the bigs, we said more than once that she is no princess. She was full on dictator. Her rule would not be inherited, but taken by force. It hasn’t stopped. 

After a rather traumatic haircut experience as a child, (Dorothy Hamil… need I say more?) I’ve let the girls choose their own haircuts. We all fawned all over Bria’s curls. All the girls have had different hair, Arleigh’s is thick and straight. Hanan’s is thinner with natural waves that leave her with perfect beach hair all the time. Both big girls have always grown it out and craved new hairstyles. Bria was the polar opposite. She was born with ringlets. 


Those little curls grew out. 


They grew and grew and grew. Bria didn’t want anyone touching her hair. She had dreams of being Rapunzel. Other than the occasional trim from Aunt Angie, it remained untouched. She had no idea we weren’t calling her Rapunzel, it was more like Samson.

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Oh my goodness, if I keep looking at pictures I’m going to start trying to convince Ray we need one more. I love love love every stage but that 2-4 age range I could eat up. 

The long pony tail became Bria’s signature hairstyle. It was her go to to keep it long but out of her face. You may recognize it…


Since we’ve been in Virginia, the ends were white, the top was dark and it was horrifically damaged from our time in the salt water. Just before Christmas Bria started asking if she could donate it. She was ready but this mama wasn’t. 

The last few weeks, brushing it out was getting harder on both of us. Yesterday on day 9 home from school we decided we would head out and see what we can do. We researched lots of places. I didn’t love what I read about Locks of Love but in the end, the salon we went to would take care of all of it if we used them. Let’s face it. I have a pile of boxes on my counter. If I had to send her hair somewhere it would never make it so we let the salon send it to Locks of Love.


You can see, it was time…down to her waist and slightly damaged.


Yikes. It’s happening. Be still my heart.


I think it’s safe to say we were both a little shocked. In the end, it was 11.5 inches of hair. 


That was 11.5 inches of hair cut of Samson’s Rapunzel’s Bria’s head. I will admit my heart stopped a little.


As the stylist finished, this was our outcome. How many people can have almost a foot of hair cut off and still have this much?

We celebrated with a pretzels and a trip to Target to finish off some Christmas gift cards. Her eyes are closed, but I have to admit it’s pretty cute. 




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The Obligatory Children Update

Since I haven’t been updating and our trip to Kentucky was so ever loving short over the Christmas break, I’m interrupting my newly found string of adventure posts with updates on the spawn children. So you’ve been warned. My family has made it clear they want to know. Here comes the proud mom post… Feel free to ignore it if you must.

The oldest…


Arleigh is a typical teen with a phone glued to her hand. She has added instrument number 4 to her repertoire. Crazy since I can’t read music. Seriously, I told you this would be the proud mom post…She was just recommended for a writing course that we’re pretty excited about. She’s decided to she wants to find a way to write for her career and she’s really, really good at it. Maybe she should take over this lame proud mom post. 

The second…


Hanan is preparing for high school. Sigh. This is the week her course application was due. She’s joined a recreational cheer squad which has helped her find her aloha and that means this mama is closer to finding hers. Life has been an adjustment for all of us. She is at a large school and was happy to receive a supporting role in a new theater production. So basically, the kid is busy. She keeps me on my toes all the time and I’m happy to say that she’s turning into quite the responsible young lady. The social aspects of middle school are hard. No, really, really HARD. I’m constantly amazed at what she has to navigate. 

It’s hard to find pictures of Hanan by herself. She’s at a stage where she constantly hides from a camera if I’m taking the picture. Funny how I see selfies all over her Instagram but I can’t take pictures. She’s also at the age that she’s forbidden me from speaking about all sorts of things. Here’s a list…

  1. Boys.
  2. Accomplishments.
  3. School.
  4. The social ramifications of knowing who was suspended for what. (Scary.) 
  5. Basically all things Hanan.

So I’ve broken a few rules but again, proud mom post and all.

Number 3…


Have mercy. This child! She is so so fun and so so aggravating. Clearly, she doesn’t love the metro at all. When she is not busy irritating the living tarnation out of her sisters she has taken over as Jack’s body guard, instructor, tutor, boss, playmate, aggravation, and most recently roommate. It’s helping her finally sleep through most nights though so I’m good with it. She’s found a her passion in playing soccer, even the crazy fast indoor soccer. During her first game, one of her teammates left for a trip to the ER and needed stitches on her face. Pray for me. Did I mention that after four years of asking, Santa finally caved and brought drums. I thought, there’s a basement with a door. It will be fine… There is a constant state of saxophone, piano, guitar, and two kinds of drums happening in this house almost every afternoon. Sometimes it’s beautiful. Sometimes it’s noise. Just pass the Tylenol…please. 

Number 4…


Mr. Jack… He genuinely likes life on the mainland especially with so many firsts, like Build-A-Bear. (Thank you Uncle Jim and Aunt Carolyn!) He still asks when we’re going back to Hawaii. In fact, when the metro drove by Reagan National Airport, he was sure that’s what was happening in spite of the fact that I hadn’t packed a darn thing. It’s not all sunshine and roses over here. He’s doing great but we had a rough morning. It happens. He loves going to a new speech therapist after school. Legos for Christmas are still a favorite. His favorite is a new helicopter from Uncle Mike and Aunt Sharon. He has such a sweet disposition, he puts up with all his bossy sisters really well. Except this morning… boy howdy. When it’s rough around here, it’s rough. Of course it doesn’t help that he now feels the need to tell me his eyes are freezing every time we leave for school. None of us enjoy the cold anymore particularly at a bus stop. 

In case you’re wondering about the adults, we’re good. It’s a busy season at work for Ray. The kids make it a busy season for me here. We do occasionally enjoy a night out by ourselves…when he can get away from work. I even enjoy the nights out when they’re for work. 


That was taken at his Christmas party. We had a really good time and won a wine opener that for the life of me, I can’t find. (Not that I’m looking at 9 in the morning.) 

We’ve all jumped on the rat race that is Northern Virginia and are finding the aloha in our mainland adventures. If I haven’t heard from you, it’s your turn. Let me know how things are please.

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Student Of The Week

Bria was selected to be Student of the Week in her class this week. She is super excited about it. She brought a poster home on Thursday and worked all weekend to color it and fill it out. This kid cracks me up.    

I would love to show you the entire poster but she gave entirely too much information to put out on the open internet. She carefully chose how she would fill out each question. At first she thought she would write that she has two dogs, Haole and Tucker as one of her interesting facts. Then she thought better of it. She needed facts that would bring questions. She also wanted facts that no one else would have. There is a reason Ray calls her little b. Haole and Tucker were promptly added to her family list. 


Here’s what she came up with:

  1. I am the only kid in my family that was born in the United States.
  2. I walked across a volcano and into a lava tube.
  3. I swam with sting rays and fed them.

If you notice her picture, she wanted to go ahead a cover that she also swam with dolphins. The picture freed up more space for fun facts. 

Other fun things we learned about Bria include her favorite food being apples with peanut butter. She also likes school and loves soccer but we knew that already. My favorite is that she wants to be in the military and a teacher. She says if she teaches the military she’ll get both bases covered. 

Today she shares a favorite book with her class. It was tough for her to pick but her favorite is currently The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. I must admit, it’s a favorite of mine too. I may have died a little when I got to peach crayon’s complaint. (Spoiler alert: He’s naked.) See, now you’ll buy the book just to see what I’m talking about. You people are shameful.

Tomorrow Bria can share a picture and an object and tell her class why they are special. Again, it’s a problem. Does she take in the Coke bottle with her name or her favorite stuffed animal? 

Thursday all the kids will write Bria letters that will go in a book. I just love these. Jack received one in Hawaii that I will treasure forever. 

On Friday she gets to bring the book home. I can’t wait.

It’s a big week for our little britches. She is busy soaking it all up. 

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Briaisms With Hashtags

First, thank you Thank you THANK YOU for all the kind words, support and prayers we received on Jack’s behalf. As a brief update to the update, we have a new IEP appointment scheduled. I’m trying to schedule doctor visits. School consultations and a brief visit with the PCM indicate that Jack may have institutional autism and that can cause his development delay. I see symptoms of that daily so I tend to agree and I’m pretty sure Ray would say the same thing. If I could be so bold to ask for specific prayer it would be that I don’t melt down during his IEP meeting, that Jack gets in to see the developmental pediatrician ASAP and that we find the therapies he needs to help him become independent. As frustrated as I was at the transition into this school, I think we are in a good place to help him grow. Thank you again for loving on my kiddos. Now on to the funnier side of our crazy Stiff life.

Bria doesn’t give me the one-liners that she did as a four-year old. She can still keep us in stitches or questioning our parenting skills. Her friends do to. Last week we had friends over. On the way over the little boy in the family said, “I sure hope I can play Infinity at their house.” His mom said she was sure he could play with Jack. Little A said, “No, Mom. It will be up to Bria. She makes all the decisions in the house.” Funny. I’m sure Bria thinks she does. #shewantstoruletheworld

Bria is back on the soccer field where she loves to be. Her new team name is the Cheetahs. It’s been an adjustment for both of us. New rules. New kids. New attitudes. Bria, bless her, to be as stubborn an ornery as she is for me, she listens to her coach. She moved from a team of 7 to a team of 14. Kids are all different. After her first practice I guess she thought the other kids decided she was passive because she listens. They decided they would have animal nicknames that matched the first letter of their name. Coach James is a jaguar. She asked what I thought she should be. I started listing off animals that start with a B. Beaver, Badger, Bear, Bee, etc. She said, “Mom, I’m Bria the bear. They need to know I’m aggressive.” Okay then. #lookouthereshecomes

Bria came home Thursday and said she is running for Student Council. As I filled out the paperwork I reminded her that the kids vote and she is new. “Mom, new people bring new ideas. Not that many people are running. I want to do this.” Heaven help me if she doesn’t win. #firststeptorulingtheworld

Apparently in second grade you also talk about presidential races, it’s that or her Dad’s obsession with the news. Bria recently told us that it’s time for a girl president. We asked her why she thought that. “Well, we’ve only voted for boys. Girls can do anything boys can do and people need to know that.” Okay then. We asked which girl she wants to win. She said she’s still deciding. #stiffforpresidentiscatchy




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First Day of School

On Sunday we were visiting another church. (I promise I’m not just bragging about my kids. This story has a point.) The children’s minister looked for me between classes. She told me that she briefly met Arleigh and Hanan and how she was amazed by their spirit of adventure. Apparently she asked them about things they would love to do. She wanted to know about Jack. Then she said, “Do you know you have a very bold daughter?” Yeah… sort of aware. This could be good or bad but I just smiled and waited to see where she was going. It was Bria’s first time attending this children’s ministry. They do a few things in an age appropriate class then all the grades gather for a small worship service. She is in second grade. She volunteered to read the morning scripture. She stood in front of the large group and read without nerves or jitters. Then she sat down. I wish I was there to see it but we were in our own class. The sweet lady told me how she’s not used to visitors behaving like that. Funny thing is, military kids don’t always know how to be visitors. 

Yesterday Hanan went to school number five. That’s not even counting the two different preschools she attended. She got on the bus with a neighborhood friend. She knows. Find your crowd fast. I’m super proud of her. 

Arleigh started high school. How is that even possible? School number five for her in nine years. 

Not going to lie. This has not been easy. With the start of band camp we had some pretty nasty days. It’s amazing to see her confidence grow. She walks around a huge campus, finding her way without problems. I remember being all nerves going to high school. Sure there were people there I didn’t know but there also almost 40 that I had been with since kindergarten. At parent orientation, I watched as kids who had been in this school district forever melted down. My kid found her way without breaking a sweat.

These two hooligans started second grade at their second school.

First bus experience. New school. Bria was slightly offended at the bus stop when a very little boy asked if she was going into kindergarten. Later a mom asked if she was in 3rd or 4th so all is right with the world again. They rocked their day. They made it home and are ready to go again this morning. 

The thing about military kids that amazes me is this…

That is the hardest part. The good-byes. I’ve been there. There are moments when you think you don’t want to open yourself up to a new relationship because that means there will be a goodbye. My kids are brave and fearless and they have no idea. They solidify relationships quickly because they don’t know how long they have. 

I’m happy to report that all four rocked their first day. There were a few hiccups and a couple of sad parts but for the most part everyone is happy and ready to go back today. Thinking about our other moves, that is nothing short of amazing and worry of a prayer of thanks. Yep. Totally bragging but my kids are rock stars and so are their military kid friends. 

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The Nana and Papa Chronicles

We’ve been enjoying Nana and Papa’s company for a bit now. We actually made it out of the house into town on Monday to the Air & Space Museum.

I’m not sure exactly when Bria and Jack decided to get so tall. Good grief! I won’t mention the fact that my oldest is trying to look taller. (I see that Arleigh Grace!) 

We watched an IMAX movie about the Hubble Space telescope. They decided to play IZ at the beginning of the movie. Everyone waited for my reaction. (I may still pine for our island life a little.) Then in the middle of the movie they mentioned how beautiful Hawaii is from space. Seriously, it’s beautiful from any vantage point. I really am trying to embrace D.C. living. I promise. In other news, Bria and Jack are both considering being astronauts for Halloween now. The choice is between astronaut and wolf for Bria, Hulk, TMNT and astronaut for Jack. 

All four kids acted like kids and had a great time. 

After minor disappointment that it wasn’t like the Science Museum in Huntsville, they found the interactive room and LOVED it! 

It’s nice to get out and let them learn and have fun. I’m sure the teens didn’t think it was possible but we managed. 

It was a short day because Arleigh’s band practice is ongoing until school starts. We’ve just enjoyed having Nana and Papa around this week in between all of our many school functions. It’s Friday and that means FOOTBALL. Arleigh has her first public performance with the marching band and we’re all pretty excited to see it, especially Nana and Papa. We’re off to soak up the rest of our time with them. Have a great weekend!

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