Thursday, October 23, 2014


Oh how I love watching these two grow up together. There is no end to the imagining and dressing up and pretending and giggling that goes on when they are together (which is of course all the time.)  Their friendship is deep and true and beautiful.
-adorable zinnia print dresses by YiaYia!

Friday, October 17, 2014

one colorful day

driving Oahu
When Shawn has a day off, we all have a day off. This is why we home school them! we remind ourselves. And off we go, wherever we want to, leaving the school books behind.
Monday it was the Dole Plantation. We went all out tourist mode buying tickets for the train, the maze, the garden tour, and splurging on a theme-park-priced lunch of kalua pork.  
dole pineapple fields
We rode the open-air Pineapple Express through a cool mist rain shower and pineapple fields.  There were also things like bananas, sugar cane, star fruit,  papaya, mangoes, and coffee. Coffee.
Mighty Mindanao
Also the Mindanao Trees. I have no words. Let's all just stare at this wonder for a moment shall we?
The highlight for the kids was the World's Largest Maze. I'm not even kidding. Running through that maze in the blazing sun and getting hot and lost and turned in circles was their Favorite Thing. Donovan fell asleep in his stroller and Kate successfully hunted giant snail shells while the two bigs felt they'd won the day for getting all their maze stamps. Win, win, win, win.
dole whips for all!
Full Disclosure: I was pretty much done with the maze about ten minutes in but I sure got a kick out of watching them. After that we were all happy to cool off over Dole whips. It's just pineapple ice cream or frozen yogurt or something but it's called a whip so it tastes better.
baby pineapples!
These new little pineapples were really red. I don't know why. I guess they all are at first? And pineapple plants are super spiky so the job of harvesting these babies cannot be fun.
Waimea Bay
So after all that touristing we took a drive chasing rainbows in big blue skies for the rest of the day. We stopped here and there to dig our toes in the sand and watch the swelling North Shore waves. We literally drove to the end of the road and then turned around and went home. Happy.
Oahu Rainbow

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

at day's end

Dinner's aftermath is left on the table because we want to catch our golden window. Dishes can wait.
The kids jump on scooters and lead the way to the shore. They are wild and free and hard to keep up with.
A few minutes later we are clambering over rocks to say hello to the ocean.
Hello, Ocean.
glass steps to the sea
Sea turtles play where the waves break while the kids play in tide pools teaming with bitty crabs. They fill buckets and fight over the one red scooper and exclaim over this one and that.
The sun moves lower... lower... coloring the sky with brilliance.
Hello, Sky.
We watch and listen and watch some more and there are no words.
Our hearts are filled with every crashing wave and every changing cloud.
The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1
Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them. Psalm 69:34
Yes. We will praise him.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

finding our home in hawaii

As of today, we have been here for forty days. (I counted it twice because it feels like so much longer.) On August 13, we boarded a plane in Houston, Texas after three months of being in-between homes (but enjoying every minute of our visits with family.) About ten hours later, we were standing on Waikiki Beach, totally unable to take it all in...
moving day
first look
We spent our first days on the island in a strange jet-lagged limbo of real life and tourist life. One morning Shawn would be dressed in his Alpha's and headed out the door of our hotel-room-home to his job, and the next we'd be flip-flopping it to the beach. It was surreal to say the least. (Oh and p.s. they're not flip-flops here, they're slippers.)
We stayed in Waikiki for a few days (no, a week? two? time lost all meaning...) before moving to a resort on the Windward side of Oahu. The resort had it's perks -beautiful views, a great breakfast on the open-air lanai every morning, and a lovely pool. It also had some drawbacks we didn't see coming such as way too little space for our six-bodied family and no air conditioning (well OK in all fairness it had a small AC unit in one room so if you wanted to sleep standing up next to that particular window you could keep cool.) There were other inconveniences but first world problems-that-aren't-really-problems for sure so we did our best not to complain. We were surrounded by the most amazing scenery, we had time and space to explore, and we were seeing God's provision at every turn. We were just really really ready to not be living out of suitcases anymore.
Paradise Bay resort
Makapu'u Beach Park
a windward rainbow
Shawn and I went into our appointment with military housing knowing what we would hear but still half hoping for better news. A twelve to twenty-four months wait for a home on MCB Kaneohe Bay was the news we expected, not the news we hoped for. We began meeting a lot of other military families in the same boat. We were all in some stage of the long transition process, living in hotels for weeks- some for months, looking at the same listings on Zillow and getting the same "already rented" responses to our inquiries. We were all frustrated and tired and hot and anxious. We were all feeding our toddlers on the floor and wishing for just one home cooked dinner free of french fries and chicken nuggets.
kayaking with dad
In between our play time and house hunting time, we actually managed to show up on time for our first day of Classical Conversations. We were sweaty and tired and unprepared, but we made it. It was a new group full of new faces but the most familiar and comfortable place we had been to yet. It was a breath of fresh air, a "welcome home" we so badly needed.
first day of CC
Looking back, I realize how short that time really was. About two weeks after arriving on island, we found a furnished town home in a great location ready for us to move in. Seriously great. It's a long drive to work for Shawn (made doubly long by the horrendous Oahu traffic) but it's our own space for a little while and it has beds for everyone and air conditioning and a kitchen where we can cook real food and amazing swimming pools and gorgeous beaches down the street...and did I mention it's great? It is.
There have been so many good things crammed into these weeks.
Donovan is walking, Shawn and I celebrated our fourteenth anniversary, Kenna had her cast removed, our kids have fallen in love with the ocean, Tristan, the one who shed the most tears over leaving Florida, is truly enjoying Hawaii, Katie learned to roller skate, Shawn turned 40(!) we found a great church, and we even had friends come to visit. Our lives have been filled to the brim and overflowing.
Life here is going to be an adventure. I'll do my best to share it with you often so if you're still actually hanging around this little space, mahalo! Be back soon!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

distracted by beauty

Aloha! I'm alive, really I am. It's just that I am here. Here. Looking at this kind of beauty every single day and completely overwhelmed by it. I hope you've been following along on Instagram because we have been exploring and adventuring since the moment we arrived on Oahu and I love sharing daily bits and pieces there. I really do want to share some bigger pictures here in this space. I don't really know where to begin so I will just begin where I am, which is totally in awe...
More to come soon -promise!

Friday, August 15, 2014

the one year old

donovan zachary on his first birthday ~ august 6, 2014 ~ college station, tx.
On August 6, as we were traveling through Texas, Donovan turned one. We shaped a watermelon into a birthday cake and sang to him as he just looked at us, tired and confused. It wasn't the most festive of birthday parties but that it in no way lessened our joy in marking one year of this little boy's life. We didn't have fancy invitations or pinterest decorations or even a gift for our baby boy, but we had everything that matters- family, a healthy kiddo, joy. I can't believe it's been a whole year since we first held this tiny boy. He's still tiny by the way, weighing in at a whopping fifteen pounds. He's sporting the cutest head of soft baby hair and seven smiley teeth. He hasn't felt the need to use real words just yet but we can tell walking is just around the corner. His siblings worship the ground he crawls on.
Every day he's a surprise. An incredible gift. And he's one. Our baby, Donovan, is one.
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