Purpled Up

Kids to school on time: Check

Kids wearing purple for school: Check

Appropriate footwear for field practice: Check

Lunches: Check

Mom resembling Barney in her purple outfit: Double Check 

Praying that there really aren’t Purple People Eaters…Wait. Were they purple and ate people or did they eat purple people? I give up.

Take a picture of everyone wearing purple: I’ve got nothing. 

April is designated the month of the military child. I have some pretty great ones to hang out with around here. These kids are awesome. They step up to the challenge and roll with the punches EVERY SINGLE TIME. In support of their friends all over the world we put on our purple yesterday. 

Bria was so excited when we got to school. I was thinking on the way over there. My kids are pretty privileged compared to most of the local kids. In fact, we’ve been talking to one child about entitlement and her attitude while consoling another when her friend lashes out because she sees my child as having more. (Parenting is hard. I need a parent’s award. Kids need awards just for surviving each other in middle school. Another blog…I know.) Anyway, I was thinking that it wouldn’t surprise me if there weren’t many local kids wearing purple. As I made my right turn, Bria was squealing. There was purple everywhere. I will admit tears welled up in my eyes. 

It just so happened that we were chatting with Grandma that morning on our drive in to school. I was telling Mom how much it touched me and may have mentioned that I think Bria is the only white child, maybe only military kid in her class. Bria stopped me right there. “No, Mom! There is only one brown kid in my class. Everybody is white. There’s …and she lists off the names.” Oh my word that made me laugh. Bria is the only while child in her class. Every name she listed is either Hawaiian or Asian. I wonder what color she thinks pasty mainland kids are. 

I read an online news feed about military spouses called Spouse Buzz occasionally. A week or so ago I lost my mind. A friend posted an article that I missed in honor of The Month Of The Military Child. It listed 13 ways the Obama girls are like military children. The comparisons were stretched so thin you could see right through them. One of my favorites is that their Dad’s job is dangerous. Um. Yes. He also has a security force surrounding him sworn to protect him at all costs at all times. I don’t think it’s exactly the same when you’re In Country. I was irritated with some of the comparisons but even more irritated when I read it was written by a spouse. I’m sure President Obama’s daughters make huge sacrifices, their privacy is top of the list but they really aren’t the same. We are currently in really nice military housing but it’s not the dang white house and there isn’t a maid. If there is, she needs to be fired which would also be fine with me because does that mean more beach time for me if I’m fired? Anyway why compare the two?

As I pulled into the school I was wondering why on earth we were celebrating my super privileged compared to some of their peers kids. Then I remembered. They give up everything and move a world away from our families. They set up shop in new places and learn to make friends quickly. They are helpers and learn to step up when the military member is away. They savor every moment they get with their grandparents because they know it might be a very long time before they see them again. There are too many things to mention.

I should’ve learned my lesson. There is no comparison between my kids and civilian kids. Each make various sacrifices. I’m totally okay with celebrating mine for all they do. 

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To Be A Congress

IMG_0037Tonight Bria asked me if the president could appoint a new president if the president had been president for a year and just didn’t like it. Are you following? I had a headache. I said, “No.”

Bria doesn’t take no for an answer. She asked me if the president could just write a law making someone else acting president. Um. “No.” Headache or not, I know when Bria is like a dog with a bone. I explained that the president isn’t the one who makes the laws he just happens to be in charge of them. “Oh.” 

Do you know Bria? It never ends at “oh.” “Who makes the laws?” “Congress.” 

“Okay then, when I grow up I want to be a congress.” 

She looked back and grinned. “Or a teacher. Or a vet. Or A Mom. Or All of it. I’ll be a mom no matter what.” 

Ray told her she could be whatever she wants to be but maybe she should take a closer look at the Marines. 

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IMG_2320Mom used to call it “Briaese.” I call it Briaisms. Whatever you call it, it’s usually funny. It can be the way she says everything is “Opposedly” going to happen instead of supposedly. It’s her use of the word “duh!” I had no idea she was a product of the nineties… Mostly it’s the funny ideas that float freely. I want to remember it all because I’m well aware one day she’ll be talking to her buddies and not her mama.

Last night was her first soccer practice. That means I get Bria in the car all by herself. She talks from the moment we get in the car until, well infinity… Yesterday it went something like this.

“Bria, I think we may have to put off piano lessons for a little while. It’s getting to be too much.”

“Okay mom. I need to learn other stuff anyway. I want to learn the trumpet, the trombone and the tuba! And really the bass drum. (Pronounced like the fish instead of base.) Did you know it’s the biggest?”

“Well, you may have to wait for middle school for band instruments. They haven’t started you on the recorder yet.” 

“But I saw the symphony!” She paused. “Miss Saito lied!” 

“Excuse me?”

“We saw the symphony and she said there would be a bass saxophone (still like the fish) and an alto sax. There were none!”

“Honey maybe the musician was sick or had a doctor’s appointment.”

“It’s still a lie.” (Insert discussion here. It may or may not have included how sometimes she says stuff that she thinks is real but isn’t and her sister says she’s lying. Insert another discussion when I get home. Sigh…)

We arrive at the soccer field. “Mom, can you carry my ball? You’re good at carrying balls.” 

“Just dribble it, Bria.”

After practice. “Mom I don’t like the new coach. She wants me to kick with my laces.”

“I think Coach Sheri used to ask you to do that.”

“Yeah, but she didn’t care if I scored a goal with my toe! I can control it with my toe. I don’t like it.” 

“It wasn’t even a good practice Mom. I’m not sweaty and there was no scrimmage.” The child is 7! 

I got home from a walk around the block to find Bria with a sucker in her mouth. “Mom, I’m eating candy and it’s okay. I didn’t eat my yucky salad. I ate cheesey broccoli at Katey’s house. It was SOOOO GOOOOD…so it still counts for candy. Okay?” Bria and Katey, I’m sure at Bria’s urging, try to eat together whenever it is physically possible…especially after soccer practice.

Just another day with Bria…

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Breaking News

Big news in the Stiff house! Bria can no longer channel Nanny McPhee…

After what seems like months of a new tooth growing in way the heck behind a baby tooth, Bria finally lost the one that was sticking straight out of her mouth. Hip Hip Hooray! In even bigger news our slacker tooth fairy even remembered to come on the first night the tooth was pulled. That friends, is nothing short of MIRACULOUS!!!

So here’s what happened. I was doing my best to wrestle with a rug I was cleaning. Our windows are open and I hear Bria and the one and only BFF Katey running at the front of the house. Katey is yelling “She’s bleeding! She’s bleeding!” That is never a good sign. 

Bria walks in grinning from ear to ear with a mouthful of blood. This might make other parents cringe but I learned from the master. “Don’t stand on the carpet!” That’s a line Mom said once when I drug Tye in from an accident with a can lid. Plus I had just cleaned it. Anyway… Shockingly there is a still that darn tooth in her mouth. I asked what happened. Bria went to Katey’s door and the dog jumped at just the right time. Bria’s mouth and the screen door collided. It must not have been too hard because she wasn’t crying. She wanted to get the tooth herself but the precarious procedure had to be performed in a bathroom in front of a mirror. Clearly she needed the mirror so she could witness firsthand her gruesome work. 

She pulled it out and placed it in the ziplock bag for all the world to see…well, the kids in our neighborhood anyway. 

In other news, I’m taking a collection for her braces. That kid’s mouth is a hot mess!

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Find Your Aloha

Have I mentioned that I love it here? One of the things I love most is the spirit of Aloha. I think when we moved here I thought you said Aloha for hello and goodbye. It really means so much more. I joke about finding my aloha like I need to find my happy place but really I’m talking about so much more. That’s why I really appreciated a little project Jack brought home from school.

Jack came home with a little green bag. Inside the bag we found Aloha Bear. He was a total haole. (I can say that because I’m haole but at this point, I’d like to think I’m hapa. That’s another blog post.) Aloha bear is a little white bear dressed up in a black suit, clearly from the mainland with a giant handmade lei. He came with a book called Aloha Bear And The Meaning of Aloha. The book was well worn and dogeared with notes from past first graders scribbled on the inside cover. It also oozed aloha. Jack’s assignment was to read the book and discuss with his family what our meaning of aloha is then write about it and draw a picture. I can’t tell you how much I LOVED this little assignment.

We read the book. Aloha means hello, good-bye and love but that is not all… Bria lost her aloha for a second when she realized it was Jack’s assignment and not hers. I told her she could make her own aloha picture anytime she wanted and better yet, help Jack. Bria’s definition is the one Jack used, “Aloha means to love, to share, to care and to be kind to others.” I just love that kid! I think everyone should be filled with a little aloha spirit.


Granted, the laid back atmosphere and views like the one above does seem to make it easier for us to play nice.

It’s easy to find aloha here…

I told someone yesterday that yes I like to take surf lessons but no I don’t consider myself to be a fabulous surfer. After everything that has gone on in my life in the last couple of years, I love that for a couple of hours all I have to think about it is paddle out, wait for the wave and then where do my hands and feet go. I don’t have to worry about anything…except maybe the crushing wave or the occasional shark. When you go out with friends… well, there’s not much better. It is like having my very own recharge button.


I kid Ray all the time. I tell him if he actually insists that we leave. (I’m very aware the insistence is the US Navy but Ray is an easier target.) I’m going to tattoo the islands on my wrist with Be The Aloha at the bottom. I need to take the reminder with me.

Aloha isn’t just no cares. It’s love and kindness and doing the right thing for the people around you whether you want to or not even when it’s hard. Ray and I toss around James 4:17 a lot. “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” Kind of hits you over the head doesn’t it? The thing about having an aloha spirit is that you don’t need to be reminded of James 4:17, you are always ready to show love, kindness and compassion without any expectations of return. The greatest thing is, the aloha spirit is contagious! If you share aloha with someone, you can bet they will spread it to someone else.

If you are spreading aloha… everything else is nicer and happier and less stressful…kind of like these two…

There are times that I talk to people that are so busy, so wrapped up in everything going on that they can’t possibly share aloha because they have none. There are times when I stop and look around and think maybe I’m only sharing aloha with my little family because I think that’s all I can muster. That’s when I need that recharge button because once you start going, it’s easier and easier. Making other people happy has a tendency to make me happy too. Weird huh?

If you are interested in reading Jack’s book, I saw a used copy on Amazon.

I’m off to see where I can spread some aloha today…

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The Middle

There are times that I question if I post about Bria too often. She is really at that fun age where she’s figuring everything out. She also doesn’t seem to care if her picture is plastered on the internet. Arleigh and Hanan often want veto rights on images. Sometimes, her little stories are just too good not to share.

Bria wants to take her baths by herself now. Thankfully, she wants me perched in the bathroom so she work out the day with her Mama. This week, I was watching her try to rinse the suds out of all that hair… it can take awhile. She was listing off the things that she wants to ask Santa for this year. It’s not a long list but I was hearing cash register sounds in my ears. Good grief. She really wants one of this Nabi tablet things. (She also wants a new bike with a basket and a phone if she could swing it. Not happening.)

The child looks at me with her serious look and says, “But Mom, I don’t know if I’ll get it.” I thought she might be considering Santa’s magical budget… Nope. “I might be on the naughty list…”

Um. Wait a minute. Neither of her sisters ever even considered that they might be on the naughty list. What has she done? How do I deal with this? How do I not bust out laughing when she so freaking serious? I just ask, “Bria, why do you think you might be on the naughty list?”

“Because Mom, sometimes I’m really good and sometimes I’m not. I think I might be in the middle so it could be either way.”

Bless her… my in the middle kid.


I could learn a lot from Bria. As long as she feels the support of her family, she isn’t afraid to try anything new. She fights her way into keeping up with her much older sisters. At the beach this week Arleigh and Hanan were passing a soccer ball. Most little sisters would insist for a pass. Not Bria. She made herself the monkey in the middle and did a great job of stealing the ball from both girls. Sometimes that stubborn I can do anything I want streak gets her into trouble. She still whines to get her way. She can throw a fit if she thinks she needs to but 90% of the time, she’ll take whatever is front of her head on first. Unless, this is in her words “I can’upposedly get distracted.” That’s usually by something else she just really needs to conquer. I’ll take her in the middle for good or bad…it’s Bria.

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