Celebrating 9 Years of Love

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I still remember the moment I knew I was going to marry Keola. We were driving around Kahana Bay on Oʻahu in his little maroon pickup. It didn’t have AC, (or a working gas gauge for that matter) so the windows were open and blowing my frizzy hair absolutely everywhere except where I wanted it to be. It was sunny, but the leaves on the trees that lined both sides of the road cast blotted shadows in a rapid game of peek-a-boo between the sunlight and our faces. I had just finished my usual gaze at the “Sleeping Giant,” the profile of a large sleeping man visible from the north wall of the valley, a natural formation but I always wondered what his story was. It’s one of the markers that as a little girl, was a sign that we were 15 minutes away from our grandparents’ home in Lāʻie – one of my very favorite places on earth. The road unfolds over the river, temporarily turning into a too-skinny white bridge and serves as a man-made divide between the valley on the right and the bay on the left. A carpet of needles from old ironwood trees blankets the sand, hiding pinecones like little grenades should you be unlucky enough to step on one with your bare feet.  The river mouth that met the ocean always looked dirty to me and I never had any desire to swim in it, but that never stops the local kids in the area from passing every free daylight hour (and beyond) in its’ waters, splashing around on old dingies, canoes and makeshift rafts, swinging from branches, seeing who could make the biggest splash. It’s one of those places that never seems to change.

We were just passing the river mouth as I leaned my head on his shoulder. I glanced up at him (probably belting the wrong lyrics to whatever was on the radio) and I just knew. This was it. This was the guy I wanted to be with. My best friend, my partner. I wanted to feel the peace of that moment over and over again, and somehow I knew that I would. I kept that moment to myself (not wanting to freak him out) but I knew we would be together always.

I don’t exactly remember when I had that epiphany, (probably sometime in late 2004) and let’s face it, trying to remember ONE anniversary is hard enough. But I do know that nine years ago today (technically tomorrow since I’m writing this the night before) we made it official. We took a giant leap of faith and never looked back. If I thought hard enough (alas, it’s too late at night for my mushy brain to attempt such a feat) I could probably tell you how many times we moved, how many jobs we cycled through, how many cars we’ve owned. But those are just statistics, little mile markers that remind you of what life was like back then that you’ll find in every marriage. Those things don’t define our marriage. It’s just stuff we had, stuff we did to earn money, places we lived because we had to. Now when I look back on our nine years together, I think about the decisions we made and why we made them, the tough conversations we’ve had, the moments of total honesty that led to greater connection, the periods of struggle where every day felt like a marathon, the times he held me up, the times where I held him up, the moments of complete, wide-eyed wonder and beauty that accompanied the birth of our children, the mornings where all we wanted to do was throw the covers over our heads and hide…

It’s been a messy, bumpy, stinky, noisy, sticky, chaotic ride, far from that initial moment of clarity I had all those years ago. We are not without our troubles. Sometimes it feels like we’re just trying to find our way through a dense fog. The honeymoon is DEFINITELY over. Heck, I’m lucky if I get half an hour with him tonight before I pass out on the couch. But memories are wonderful things, little time machines that transport us to different versions of ourselves if we need it. And when I need it, all I have to do is picture that winding road with the trees filtering out the sun, the ocean, and a cute boy, singing his heart out. That feeling of completeness comes rushing back, and I know, even nine years later, that I’m still right where I should be.

Happy Anniversary Hun.

Hi Again!

Where do I even start? After all these months of not blogging…I don’t know where to begin. Life has been so full and crazy and BUSY. I guess I’ll just start with an update and move on from there.

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1) If your only contact with me is through this blog, then you surely don’t know that I’m PREGNANT! I was trying to find a photo of my belly and I realized I have ZERO belly shots this time around. Oops! Our third girl will be joining us sometime in July (unless she wants to make me suffer and stay in there till August, which is totally possible because she’s due July 24th.) Let’s hope she’s nice and doesn’t make me wait. It’s been tough being pregnant with a 1 year old. She’s constantly climbing all over me and begging me to carry her, etc. (see above). BUT on the flipside dealing with a 1 year old has kept me in pretty decent shape considering I don’t work out AT ALL. Still, it isn’t easy and I get tired a lot.

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2) Noweo finished up her first year of preschool and is on to Kindergarten. Here she is stamping the shirt she wore for their little “graduation.” What???!!! Yeah. It’s crazy how old she is. I’ve been doing this motherhood thing for five years???? Half a decade???? Unbelievable. It’s certainly true for me, that the days are long, but the years are short. I considered home schooling…a lot. I’ve read so much about it and wanted to try it out buuuut ultimately we decided to try Noweo at my old elementary school, where my mom also works. It’s an excellent school and much smaller than the one she’s supposed to go to, so I think she’ll get great attention there. I’m looking at her education as a grand experiment where none of our decisions need to be final. We will probably re-evaluate schooling for our children every year and make adjustments as necessary. That took a big weight off my shoulders because I was seriously agonizing over this and putting it off for months.

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3) I worked really hard on SoPupuka for the first half of this year, but now I’m kind of running out of steam because I’m very pregnant. I’m constantly at a loss as to what to do and where I should best focus my time/energy/money. This first half of this year was by far my most successful ever, and I’m so happy about that, BUT it’s also quite a lot of work because I’m printing and tagging and packaging and doing it ALL myself. After a long day of wrangling the kids and then working after they went to sleep, my body would be screaming for rest so I’ve had to slow down. I’ve noticed through this whole process that I’m such a control freak and perfectionist that I have a hard time asking for help. I think I need to do that more, and find ways to work smarter, not harder.

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4) Keola is facing unemployment again. We’re not sure if his job will receive funding but we are at the point where we’re tired of having our lives dictated by whether or not some nameless feds sign a piece of paper to reinstate funding. There’s simply no security in it. He’s worked his butt off and we’ve all been raised to think that we’ll be rewarded according to how hard we work but that simply isn’t as true as it used to be. The photo above is from a conference he spoke at presenting his own program that he built from the ground up. He’s worked hard and still some stranger has the power to take away everything he’s worked for with the stroke of a pen? How messed up is that? SO, we decided we’d rather try to make it work on our own. Is it scary? You bet. Especially with another little one on the way, but today we talked to a friend about what are plans are, and he said he thought it was cool that we’re going all in and betting on ourselves. I never thought of it that way, but that’s exactly what we’re doing, and the truth is, if you can’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? Are we as ready as we’d like to be? No, but we’re a good team, and we’ll figure it out.

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5) Keola’s writing a book! It’s actually a REALLY cool concept but he doesn’t like me explaining it because I always do such a horrible job. The basic premise is what if Hawaiian deity were actual people who lived and worked among us? …AAAND that’s all I’ll say about that. The characters have amazing depth and I feel like if I started talking about the actual story, I could go on forever. I’m so excited for him and for this idea. Serious.

And that’s about it. I know I said I wouldn’t blog here anymore, but I had to make changes to SoPupuka which eliminated the blog I was supposed to be writing over there so here I am again. I want to blog a lot more but at the same time I just want to be chill about it and make sure that I’m enjoying what I’m writing and not putting too much pressure on myself.

Talk soon!