“So, I close my eyes to old ends and open my heart to new beginnings.” ~Nick Fredrickson

Sydney is a city of the historic and the modern coexisting seamlessly1.1Chandelier envy1.4 Damn veggies … keep up with the potato1.2Another day – another pub
1.31.5 Never be afraid to climb high, Shortstack 1.6 The Bar. Darling Harbor. Check it out!1.7Ride into adventure
1.8 Talk story catch-up, Sydney style1.9 Local boy sharing the aloha, everywhere we go 1.10 Aussie-Aussie-Aussie1.11Up close and personal with an icon
1.12People on top – I’m perfectly fine with my view from below
1.13 Photobomb by Mama1.14 Backpack brigade 1.15 Manly – oh how I love thee1.16

Aussie ‘Ohana 1.17Hello, 2016 – Sydney, Aus
1.18 Mapa the Wombat – our newest family member 1.19 Apparently my father needs this book – he finally has a smart phone … and has found emojis1.20Family photographer
1.21 A much-needed beach walk yielded Aussie beach treasures1.22 Paterson dudes1.23 The best traveler EVER1.24 Get them zzzzzz’s 1.25

Another year closed, another one opened. I hope that all of you had a blissful holiday season. Be gentle with yourself as we slide into 2016. The years – our lives – are not competitions. I’m thankful that 2015 has come to an end and I’m searching for a guiding thought to carry with me in 2016. As always, this year is bound be filled with change and growth and I can only hope to be ready to flow with the tides.

Hau’oli makahiki hou, my darlings … may it be a good one.

10 Years

10 is a good round number. It’s easy to count by 10s. It simplifies things.

10 years ago today, the most amazing person pushed (literally) his way into my life. It wasn’t without some chaos and uncertainty. But, in a surprising way, he simplified my life.

Shortstack chose me as his Mama. I believe that. He chose me to love him. I am lucky enough to have that honor and privilege.

bd1 bd2 bd3 bd4 bd5 bd6 bd7 bd8 bd9 bd10 bd11 bd12 bd14 bd15 bd16 bd17 bd18 bd19 bd20

Hau’oli la hanau, baby boy … your mamas love you to the moon and back a gajillion times over!


I Choose Me

We spend a lot of our in-between time in cars. From home to school. School to practice. Home to events. Over the Pali to Papa’s house. School to the library. For short bursts of time, after all, we live within a 14-minute commute to most of our usual haunts, the Shortstack and I often have the most entertaining and insightful conversations as I battle traffic and he reminds me that I don’t need to yell at other drivers. {Sidenote: I’d stop yelling at other drivers if and when they learn how to drive well.}

Escaping the relentless icky-sticky heat and humidity, Shortstack and I were headed to yet another library so we could get through his homework while simultaneously cooling down before soccer practice. As I wove my way around the parked cars down hill on the narrow 1.5-lane street, Shortstack walked me through his awesome day and we debriefed about the family schedule for the week.

“Mama, you have class this week, right?” {I recently returned to school to pursue my teaching certificate}

“Yep, baby. I do.” {2 weeknight evenings – usually after dinner is prepped and a significant dent in the homework is made}

“Mama, do you wish that you could never have to leave me?”

“What do you mean, baby?”

“Well, if you could choose, would you choose to go to class or stay home with me?”

Whoa. Huh? Since when did I raise a needy child? Since when had our love been dependent upon the amount of time spent holding hands? Since when was this ever a realistic conversation to have with my child?

“Oh, baby. I love being with you. And with Mama. You two are my favorites but …”

Okay – how was I going to answer this without sounding like a selfish bitch? How would I talk our sweet boy – the one who usually wants nothing more than to hang out with his people and have fun, hold hands and give kisses, curl into his mamas and be together – yes, that sweet boy – how was I going to tell him that right now, yes. I choose to go to school and I DO NOT regret it one bit. In fact, this Mama not only needs to go to school, she WANTS to go to school. Yes, of course. to learn. To change her career. To become more of what I want to be. But also, this Mama wants to go to school to have a little bit of time in her day when she feels a bit more than just Mama and wife. When she feels like the time spent on herself is not selfishly-taken or needs to be accounted for to someone else as justification. When she has conversations with people who don’t know her but want to and who see her in different ways and roles. She wants to step out into a space where having dinner ready and doing 4th grade homework isn’t the only tasks on her calendar because what happens in her brain is as valued as whether or not the Costco shopping has been done and IXL has been conquered.

How was this Mama going to answer this question, say all of these things and still reiterate that there is no way that I’d rather be doing anything in this life more than being Mama and Wife – being nurturer and home chef – being PTA and soccer parent, cheerleader and open ear? How to answer this question so that he understands that I am so crazy-blessed to have this life and to be loved so completely by my little family and I know it. And still, be selfish enough to want more. To need to be a bit of just me. To have those few hours a week that I’m not Mama and Wife and I can become better? And that little bit of selfishness is NOT A BAD THING.

“Baby, you know what’s pretty cool about love? When we love someone, we don’t have to ask our people to choose. We don’t have to tell them, ‘you need to choose to be with me or go do what you want to do.’ When we love someone,  we say, ‘we love you – and we know you love us, so go do what you want and be a better you because that’s all I want since I love you. To be happy.'” 

Not the most eloquent of answers, for sure. But he seemed to get the gist.

“Oh, so because I love you, it’s okay that you want both?”

“Yeah, baby.” 

Because I love you baby, I want you to do what you need to do – make the choices you want and need to make, explore the paths that open up to you, take the chances that you think are right, go the ways that you feel pulled all so that you can become the best version of you that you wish to be. I want you to be with or away from me as much as you need to so that you can figure out how to become the person that you wish to be. That, my baby, is how much I love you. I love you so damn much, I’m going to fight the bone-deep inclination to hold you tight to me forever so that you can come and go as you need to and I can get to know the soul of the man that you choose to become.

Now, if only these deep conversations could happen when I’m not driving so that I can continue to employ the highly-critical  grumpy-ass driver persona that I have refined over the years. And you can love me for that as well.


I’m starting to see glimpses of seasons changing on my instagram feed and as I browse through my blog roll with my coffee in the mornings. Not here, friends. We’re still suffering from one of the most miserably hot and humid summers in memory here in paradise. I know I shouldn’t complain – we’re not dealing with 110* heat (or more) and we don’t have feet of snow piling up outside our door, but the weather has been oppressive and my family has heard my opinion of said weather for months on end. I know they’re sick of it – I sure am!

I reopened my Etsy shop this past week (www.kekaicreations.etsy.com) – more items to be listed soon but these adorable owl beanies are in need of cozy, new homes!Processed with VSCOcam

Yes, Christmas lights are in effect. They’ve been making my early mornings at my desk much more inviting.

He’s an artist at heart – and his dream house for our ‘ohana makes me melt.

There’s nothing little about the boy anymore – squeezing into the car can also mean getting stuck.36d

Sometimes soccer mornings are fuzzy.36e

Handsome haircuts reveal the preteen in my little boy.

Volleyball games are even more fun when our peeps join in.

It’s been busy – it’s always busy. There were fewer pictures this week, but more items checked off the gotta-do list. We’re looking forward to catching up with some of our Aussies visiting the islands this week and making our way through the short week with our heads attached and our smiles bright.

Keep on keeping on, friends!

33 – 35/52

You can start figuring life out when you figure out that you don’t know much at all.

#gobows – Fall starts with soccer season in our house. Picnic dinners, friends and pretty skies. No complaints.35a

Selfies and smiles and soccer fields. 35b

This boy. Whatever goes on in the mind astounds me. 35aa
Mango trees and white fences are at the top of my dream house list.35bb

Mangos and fabric have filled my days – and my ‘opu.35c

Word art with meaningful messages. Ain’t nothing better. And it’s pretty sad – or possibly pretty damn great – that this is the ONLY picture I took from our beach house getaway weekend with my sister.35cc

The morning light is changing. summer is leaving us but we seem to be stuck with the heat. I’m hoping that changes pretty damn soon.35d

Hot days mean library hours. And coconut trees from the inside out.35e

I have a thing for gingerbread houses. On the beach – or at least only steps away.35f

Bananas come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

Na pua … pretty, pretty flowers. 35h

Beach life.

Bold and blue … that door! I want one!

30 – 31 … 40 – 41 … I think I’m getting better with age. I had no idea that my life would be so damn complicatedly beautiful a decade later.35k

Saying goodbye is so hard. I know that it’s not a ritual that I’ve mastered. Especially for those I love best.35l

Busy hands and coffee. 35m

HOW DID I GET SO LUCKY? Be still my heart!35n

Unrepentant bibliophile.

Okay – I have a yarn addiction too. But you should have already figured that out. Oh, and 4th grade math sucks. 35p

Mama’s coffee – hand’s off.

Irish bars and Wahine soccer – a perfect fit.

When you live on a island where it’s hard to find good biscuits, you make your own. And sit down with a book. And coffee. 35s

Waking up is hard to do.35t

I found a slice of heaven. And rainbows too. 35u

Intense Obsession = chocolate. Yes.35v

Chef Zone is a dangerous place to let my sister and I loose in. Oh – and it was {literally} freezing in the cold zone. Wear the full-length jackets. I promise – it’s the only way to get the cold-stuff shopping done. 35w

I tried my hand at being tech-savvy. Dead router required fixing and I figured it out. There was a bit of swearing and a ton of questions. But, in the end – SUCCESS! 35x

Stormy skies after my first week of classes.

Seriously – how lucky are we??35z


“You must listen to your heart and follow it or it will find a million ways to remind you that there is something missing.” {luna adriana ardiansyah}

It’s hurricane season here in the Pacific. We’ve had a few tease us but so far, we’ve been untouched. This is what storm prep looks like at our house. Sidenote: this scotch is a great addition to your home bar – smooth enough to drink neat and good for mixing with a touch of mango juice and ginger ale.

Beach walk treasure – bleached coral as delicate as lace.32.2

The weather’s been muggy and I’ve been grumpy, but the skies have been fantastic.32.3

The flowers that endure the shoreline winds, the waves, the salt air and ocean mists are those that are the strongest and, to me, the most beautiful.32.4

Passing on tradition. This papa was with his boys, teaching them net fishing and talking story. So beautiful to watch and I can’t help but to think that these boys will we grounded by the comforting weight that this heritage carries.32.5

Leave your slippers at the door – or the beach. Just make sure you don’t take a better pair when you leave. 32.6

The dry side.

Tagging Shortstack’s personal library of graphic novels and comics so they don’t get mixed up with the library stashes that he comes home with each week. I found this superhero tape at my favorite office supply store and have put it to good use from library creation to snail mail decorations.

I feel uncomfortable when I walk into a house and don’t see any books lying around. I suppose you can surmise that I am supremely comfortable in our home. Books. Everywhere.

Mid-day snack. We’re blessed with friends that share their homegrown avos.32.10

Lumpia and homemade napkins for hosewarming. A couple of months ago I chose to eliminate the daily use of disposable napkins in our home. I took myself to the fabric shop and chose two contrasting, complimentary, 100% cotton fabrics and created a couple sets of everyday napkins. We’ve been using them ever since and every one in the house loves them. I made these for friends who are feathering a new nest. And, yes, our table cloth is as loud as I am. 32.11

Alpacas. Nuff said. <3

Migraine Mediation Failure

I hate migraines. I know, who doesn’t? But I’ve completely wimped out on migraine tolerance over the past two years since my breast reduction surgery was successful in also reducing the frequency and intensity of my migraines. So when a migraine decides to punish me now, I collapse like a wet newspaper. The past 3 days have been all about minute movements and steps for self-preservation. Drugs haven’t helped. Neither has yoga. Or massage. Or water. Or walking. Or – or – or. This morning I crawled my ass out of bed at 4 AM to sit on our couch and whimper to myself, tears leaking out of my eyes as it caused to much pain to actually cry. Fucking migraines.

The edge of the pain has dulled a bit from this morning thanks to my wife digging her elbow into my overly-tensed neck muscles. It started to rain and the whole house smells like that pre-storm moment when you know the rain is going to invade and you have your fingers crossed that it’ll be long and violent enough to justify crawling into your bed cave in pjs with a book and your love. But, I know it won’t last that long or rain that much, so I have my book and I’m wrapping up a couple of finished blankets to pass into the hands of friends for their loves.

My book club (woohoo! I’m part of a book club!!) is reading The Pillars of the Earth this month. I wasn’t convinced that I’d enjoy it. I’ve heard raving reviews – one of my friends calls it one of her favorite books – but I just heard too much hype about it and, after all, it is an “Oprah book club” book. Nothing against Oprah; actually I really like her and her brand. I just don’t tend to put much stock in the popular or trendy choices of books. I think there are too many other stories and books out there that are waiting to be discovered and offer an original voice. I also wasn’t sure this type of story was what I am feeling right now. After all, it’s the end of summer – my attention span is that of a jellyfish and I’m likely to float right by anything that requires deep thinking. But I admit, I’m sucked in. The story is GOOD. The story is messy. The story is real. I’m not seeing the strings being neatly placed in a row for tidy tie-ups at the end. The characters are provoking as much disappointment and dislike as they are interest and compassion. I am definitely not flying through it as quickly as I normally do (blame it on the migraines and the season, or at least I will), but I look forward to picking it up throughout my day and soaring through as many pages as my time permits.


As for my yarn life, oh! I’m in love with a mermaid. Well, a mermaid pattern, that is. My wife found this pattern for me on Facebook (yes, social media has it’s value) and I’ve been working up a few over the past two weeks. Next up is one in greens for a friend who’s been in love with Ariel and the Little Mermaid since her childhood. How awesome is it that, even in her 20s, she holds onto her mermaid dreams? I finished a wave blanket for our friends who are expecting their first grand niece/nephew in the fall and a collection of yarn flowers for my sister to use in her office decor. In the works are a set of 8 minion beanies (again, for my sister) -who says that work colleagues can’t have a little fun and keep the atmosphere light while working the grind and getting things done. I’d venture to say that their patients (they all work in rehab PT) will have a good laugh at these awesome PTs doing their thing with minions on their heads.

I’m going to jump into a yoga class this morning. Oh, well I’ll likely limp into a yoga class this morning. But I go with intention and hope that the movement and meditation will stomp out the lingering threads of this evil migraine. And if that doesn’t work, you’ll find me curled up in a ball on the living room floor this afternoon.