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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The Beat Of Her Own Drum

We’re just going to ignore the fact that I haven’t been posting. I have a traveling husband, visiting Grandma and four kids in the middle of soccer season. One just joined the dance team, another the drama club. There’s saxophone and piano and traffic. My calendar is CRAZY! I’ve been back on island for a bit. We are excited to have lots of visitors this fall. I have to admit it has taken me a second to find my groove. I think I’ve found it. I might need a bit of dusting off and polishing up but it’s back. And with that… I’m going to try to get back to posting more often. 

This morning on my daily car ride, I was listening to Arleigh and Hanan discuss 5 SOS and which band member was cuter. Jack was repeating that it was picture day for him and Bria was trying to find a rhythm with two pens on the back window. Arleigh and Hanan got out dragging a giant saxophone case, and dance bag and whatever else was shoved between the seats and Bria just kept banging. 

I made the turn to drive back down the hill (mountain) to get to Bria and Jack’s school. Every morning I catch my breath. I can see Ford Island, The Arizona and The Mighty MO just sitting in the calm water. It was supposed to rain today but it was beautiful again. Before I can point it out, Bria says, “Do you like this beat?” There is another rhythm coming from the window, tapped off the cup holder, and then the pens being rubbed together. 

This kid…

DSCF0784Last year she asked for drums for Christmas. I talked her into a much smaller One Direction guitar instead. I’ve been noticing the constant drumming with anything she can find. I need to ask her teacher if it’s something they talk about at school, maybe in Hawaiian studies. She was born loud. She came out ready to take on the world, and especially her big sisters. This morning while I was braiding her hair I asked if she ever plays her guitar. “Not really. It needs to be tuned and I don’t know how.” Apparently you don’t have to tune the car window. Who knew?

Bria is going to have a birthday soon. She asked if she could swim with the sharks since her best buddy will be off island. She goes all out at soccer. She’s pretty sure she runs her elementary school even though she’s only in the first grade. She has so much more compassion for Jack when he’s having a hard time than any of the rest of us. When he’s not… she treats him like a little brother should be treated. She is ornery as the day is long and as sweet as my favorite strawberry cake. This week, she plans on marrying and sailor and teaching Kindergarten. I asked why. “I want to move around and I know kindergarten best because I did it twice.” I guess I need to send Santa a note about the drum set. I can’t wait to see what she does marching to the beat of her own drum. 


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Her Majesty…Her Highness… Nope Just Dictator.

I like to tell the kids that life in our house is not a democracy. Apparently life in our neighborhood is also not a democracy. I was going to call it a monarchy but let’s face facts. It’s a dictatorship ruled by a six year old. There was no passing reign. Her power was taken by force. 

IMG_1263See what I mean? 

Yesterday a friend stopped by. I told her Bria was about to play with the hose. Jack was playing with the Xbox. She should send her boys down. Kevin was the only smart one. He made sure to grab his swim trunks so as not to upset the dictator. He came prepared.

So while this was going on 



Bria had Kevin outside doing this. 

photoBria decided that all the boys needed to be outside. She was going back and forth asking. I stopped and said, “Bria, Hanan’s home now. I’ll have her come outside and play with you and Kevin.” She gave me that look and replied, “I want boys to play Mom! Not girls!” Good grief!

Before it was over, all the Moloney boys were outside sopping wet, trudging buckets back and forth from the backyard. I’m sure it was at the dictator’s request threat. Did I mention that all Moloneys are older than Bria? Well, all except for the baby who wasn’t playing yesterday. She is a full on force to be reckoned with… or they are just the kindest sweetest boys in the universe. Ray would say the answer is yes. 

I’m in serious trouble with this one!



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