Keeping It Real

Let me let you in on a little secret. Every now and then, my kids act like little monsters. I don’t want anyone to think we are perfect. The reality is far from it. 

We have our moments. They can be incredibly selfish. 

Sometimes they have smart mouths.

  Occasionally they let a lie slip out.

Every now and then, just when I’m lulled with the compliments of strangers they take a moment to really put me in my place by totally embarrassing me with their behavior. 

Did I mention that our current situation includes me traveling with four children by myself? One managed to test positive for both the flu and an upper respiratory infection during this trip. There have been many sleepovers and adventures. Apparently when kids get tired they obtain some sort of license to be little a*^%#+ well let’s just say cantankerous. 

They are self conscious and shy to the point of coming across as rude. They are prideful to the point that you want to role your eyes. They are mean to their siblings. They are whiney. They are manipulative. They are hyperchondriacs. They are sensory overloaded. They are picky eaters. They will order everything available on a menu and then ask for ice cream. They are horrible guests. They can yell, scream and oh yes tantrum like no one else. They also know how to weep quietly in a closet. Sigh… 

I am also probably all of these things. When I see it in my kids, well… Holy crap! I want to cuss. I want to cry. I want to shake them! 

The truth is I have good kids. They lull me into a good parent coma. I’m running on autopilot. Things are awesome…. Until they aren’t. When they aren’t, because most of the time they are great, their bad looks like a full scale global thermal nuclear meltdown in my eyes. And then I have one. You know, like right now, writing this. Who are these little devil minions and where did they put my children? 

Right now, I’m going to choose to be like Scarlett O’Hara. “Tomorrow in another day.” If someone finds a manual for these darn kids, could you please send it my way?

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Just Sayin’

Spring break is hurtling at me. There is a prediction for snow this weekend. The weather here is apparently bipolar. I’m just sayin’!

Packing four children up for a trip is the devil under awesome circumstances considering the amount of laundry that happens around here. Add to that the fact that the weather really is bipolar, beautiful sunshiny 80 degrees this morning, two inches of snow tomorrow… How do you prepare? Just sayin’!

I’ve been married for over 20 years. I’ve been a Christian for much longer. Same for Ray. Interesting that J-Date the premier Jewish dating service is trying to recruit him. 


I find it even funnier that it’s being sent to a Stiff. That sounds much more German than Jewish to me. I did ask if there was something he wanted to tell me. Just sayin’!

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Facebook Memories

Have you noticed that new button on Facebook? It’s like my Timehop app. You can see exactly what you posted on that day several years before. Yeah. That button.

I have a love/hate relationship with that function on Facebook. I started Facebook when Bria was tiny. There are lots of her firsts documented. I miss those ringlet curls and that chubby little face. Arleigh and Hanan’s videos they used to make in their playroom or Jack’s funny faces when he was amazed by something new. I have proof of every adventure with my little tribe. It lets me step back in time and have that bittersweet nostalgic moment. 

Lately, with beautiful weather happening here but the constant talk of snow still coming… It’s sometimes hard to see pictures like this.

Three years ago. Ray discovered his love of the paddle board with ohana!

Two years ago…the kids climbed a volcano and stood on the beach with hands full of snow.

And on this day last year…


And Ray

Went surfing with me.

Somehow all these DC adventures are a little anticlimactic after all of that. Of course these were Spring Break days and not our every day go to school and work life…

And if you’re tired of hearing me talk about Hawaii. Sorry. I’m not sorry. I sure do miss my super spoiled hiking, surfing, Princess, had lawn ninjas to take care of my yard life. I’m so glad I got to experience it even if it didn’t seem long enough.

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Don’t You Hate It

Don’t you hate it when you write an entire blog post on your phone while the kids are showering thinking you are a super great multi-tasker and then lose the whole darn thing? I hate it when that happens.

Don’t you hate it when your kids obviously have sibling rivalry issues, fight over everything from clothes, whose turn it is, who rides in the back of the truck, who has more… you get the idea. To the point that you start constantly referencing Matthew 20:16 and one of the children uses it as a personal challenge to compete with complete vigor to now be last so she can be first? Yeah… clearly I didn’t think that through.


Matthew 20:16New American Standard Bible (NASB)

16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.”

Don’t you hate when you start preaching what you consider to be totally Spirit-led sermons on love and kindness and treating other people ESPECIALLY YOUR SIBLINGS the way you’d want to treated only to attend church and hear a wonderful sermon and think you are the one who should have listening to your own sermons? Apparently I have lots to work on. Sometimes it’s easier for me to love the people others consider to be unlovable than the people right in front of me. Is that weird?

Don’t you hate it when the weather finally warms up and you get your favorite slippers out…(Flip flops) and happily wear them even though you haven’t had a pedicure only to get home to a giant blister? What the heck man? A few months on the mainland and my Samoan like feet are now prissy little caucasian feet? What really stinks is that I apparently now have prissy translucent white feet that look like hobbit feet. Don’t you hate it when you’re feet look like a hobbits? Gross! 

Don’t you hate when after recently bragging on your son’s behavior and noting how much better things have been you get a call from the teacher saying you HAVE TO arrive at the school immediately because he is having a full scale global thermal nuclear meltdown? Don’t you hate it even more when you arrive to a smiling kid who has no way to tell you what was wrong runs up to hug you and says, “Hi Mom! You’re at school?” Good times. 

Don’t you hate it when between your child that had nightmares every night and your dog that suddenly needs to pee on every tree in the middle of the night keep you from getting more than an a couple of hours of sleep at a time?

Don’t you hate it when your wife constantly texts you but it’s only memes like this?

Don’t you hate it when you know you previously wrote five more don’t you hate its and you are so tired and so busy thinking about your schedule and what needs to be done that you can’t possibly remember what you were going to say?

Don’t you hate it when someone ends a blog post like this?

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Happy Birthday Jack Jack!

I know where I was exactly eight years ago…on a beach that was a bit more than chilly with a bundled up 5-month old waiting for her sisters to cross their portion of the Shamrock Marathon. It was a gorgeous sunshiny day in Virginia Beach. I don’t know where Jack was. I’m not sure if he was already here or preparing for his spectacular entrance into the world. I remember what I was thinking that day as Arleigh and Hanan ran together across a finish line. I was thinking I was tired but I couldn’t imagine Bria growing up to run across the finish line by herself. Eight years ago I was still a few weeks away from being pregnant with Jessa. I had grand ideas of what our family was supposed to look like and how things would go. 

Obviously my heart still pines for the sister we lost but I also know that Bria is totally okay actually more than okay with running a race by herself with all of us standing by to cheer her on. It’s days like today that I stop and think about what ifs and thens. My now is so much different than I ever thought it would be. My now still has one empty spot that is glaringly empty but my now is pretty great. When Jack came to live in the orphanage he was about the same age Bria was when I was wagging her up and down that beach. What would that have been like? To be asked to leave her, to think that was better for her, to walk away? I can’t imagine the pain except on some level, I ache knowing Jessa isn’t with us in our day to day tasks. So today is one of those days that I think about some other someone on the other side of the world and the pain she must have knowing he isn’t with her. I know on those anniversary days the pain is even more pronounced. I feel for her.

Today I’ll stop and wonder about Jack. I think about his birth parents, especially his mother. I’ll be honest and say for a little while, especially considering the institutional damage that’s been done to him I was pretty angry with them, with China and with all that he was forced to endure for three and half years. Now, my heart aches for them. I wonder if they wonder about him. I wonder if they’ve looked for him. I would like to be able to tell them he’s okay. In fact, I would like to be able to tell them he’s better than okay…He is so loved. 

Instead of sitting here misty eyed, I’ll tell you 8 great things about my newest 8-year old. (I do have two of them.)

  1. Jack is currently working on inference with his speech therapist. It’s a fun time to watch him grow. His world is literally growing exponentially in front of him. We get a front row seat. In some ways, he really is like a four-year old. In other way, he’s an eight-year old just like his sister. It’s an adventure that all get to go on with him and it’s changing all of us for the better.
  2. Currently Jack says that when he grows up he wants to be a builder and build things with his Dad, like towers. I joke that I’m not sure Ray even knows what he wants to be when he grows up and leaves the navy but now he has something to shoot for!
  3. Jack loves Avengers, Infinity and Legos. Put all three together and we have one happy boy! 
  4. Jack still has problems expressing himself. When he is really frustrated he says, “Can you pack Mom? We need to get out of here.” When I ask where we are going to go he says, “Back to Hawaii.” We commiserate a lot. 
  5. Jack may want to go back to Hawaii but he loves the trampoline and swings in the back yard. He just hasn’t learned that he really needs shoes even in the freezing weather. I often catch him and have to ask him to please at least put socks on those poor frozen feet. I swear, people would think I’m being cruel.
  6. Jack is working on math at and ABOVE grade level. Woo hoo! Because of his language and speech delays, reading comprehension is still not where we want it but it loves to read, especially about Avengers and Legos. 
  7. Jack’s favorite foods are currently pizza and macaroni and cheese. He asked for both for dinner tonight. He still hates mashed potatoes. He gags when he eats them but will pretend to like them just to please us. 
  8. I’ll leave you with this video Arleigh took. Jack was pretty excited to sing Happy Birthday to himself and blow out candles on his very own cake. It’s a tad different than the pictures we have of him alone with a cake we sent to him on his third birthday.


We love you Jack Jack and we’re so glad we get to do life with you. It’s such a great blessing to get to be your Mom.

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Bria For President

It’s been a long week. Thankfully Aloha Friday is just a few more hours away. Mom had surgery today. (Thanks Nana Bonnie for taking care of her. Thanks everyone for the prayers.) The surgery was a success. She has a tough recovery ahead but she’s totally got this. Anyway, teen drama that I’m not allowed to discuss, carpools actually being an available taxi at my children’s whim and all that… well, I just don’t have a blog in me today. 

If I did it might look something like this.

In other words, if you don’t have anything nice to say… and apparently I didn’t sleep last night. Nice is hard when you’re tired and grumpy. 

So in light up the election year, I thought I’d just repost a post from last year. I’m totally writing Bria’s name down when I vote. She is my write-in candidate. She could do a better job that any of our current candidates. 

To Be A Congress

Posted by  on March 9, 2015 in Bria | 2 comments

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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