the meaning of Ohana

first and foremost…..if you look right above…you might notice my new header.

My friend Sara over at Sadie Olive designed it up for me after i mentioned the fact that it had been almost

18 months since i’ve updated the blog header so she took it upon herself to help me out.

I think the mason jar cocktail on the beach pretty much sums it up.


Hello monday….nice to see you.

I used to me a Monday lover.

{not to be confused with an everyday lover}

Sunday would roll around and i would think to myself….it’s almost sunday night and sunday night means 

Mad Men is on…..and i love that….but it also coincides with Hawaii Life on HGTV…..and since we don’t have dvr

{god forbid i write this out loud……}

we watch television in real time around here …


there i wrote it……

hate me but you don’t need to feel sorry for me…..

because having anything extra like the once loved dvr

is out of the question….end of story.


Back to the real story though….

check check

sunday evening rolls around and i have to pry myself with fine boxed wine

to stay up till 9 pm because we are on real-time here….

{and a good 6 hours behind the East Coast in case you were wondering}

to watch my beloved Mad Men…..but that is not what i’m here to talk about.

I was telling you all about how MAYBE


that come Sunday………… i’m thinking about Monday.


Because monday is a school day.

Is it wrong to love a school day i ask you???

Is it hate the sin but love the sinner?????

or hate the sinner but love the fine boxed wine???

{now before you go all holy on me and start in on the ……”i’ve homeschooled for 243 years and i wouldn’t

change a thing ….and i love mondays because i can be around my kids even more and did you know my kid

can count to 28 and he’s only 14 months we still co-sleep with our 16 year old who is actually taking college courses

at the local college….}

Not anymore though……we are going onto week 2 here in Hawaii of our 2 month summer vacation….

and normally i might mind….but we’ve had family in town this last week….so when i looked at the clock

and noticed that it’s Sunday evening and i wasn’t having heart palpitations……

it meant my family was doing a good job of helping me forget that it is indeed summer vacation and the kids

are home every single day for 2 months straight.




{i’ve been known to call summer here in Hawaii…….GROUNDHOG DAY}


wake up

pack up

go to beach

come home


go to bed



Please don’t think i’m complaining…..but when you live on a small island and really can’t afford all the

camps that are offered everywhere….it really does turn into GROUNDHOG DAY.

{and i refuse to admit that my 24 year old cousin who is staying with us right now just came down to tell me

that she would like me to catch the cockroach that is running around Lola’s her room……

yes…..i refuse to admit that summer is here and there might be cockroaches the size of  3 year olds living amongst us}

Family_093this had nothing to do with groundhogs day though…..

nothing at all.

I once painted a wall in chalkboard paint while i watched Bill Murray reenact Groundhog day on the tele.

Family_007 Family_009


Last Wednesday i had gotten a phone call from one of my friends back home in Illinois

telling me that there was a moving truck in front of our home.

I haven’t gone into the full detailed summary about our house back there……but as you know

the tenants had  stopped paying rent……

and we were in the throws of trying to get them evicted.

It’s not pretty nor is it easy or cheap or anything.

A lot of alcohol was consumed over the month of May…..i kid you not.

We’ve also had a lot of company this last month and it’s just hard to sit down and have a normal discussion ….

and needless to say it was just stressful all around.

I swear if we got one more note from our neighbor letting us know that our yard looked like sheet…


i mean seriously?

We know.

Thank you very much.


Two years ago we were on beginning of what we thought was going to be the best year of our lives….

we knew we had a chance to jump into something that a lot of people wouldn’t think twice about.


and the best part was that we landed with both feet on the ground.


Yes we realize that even though one set of feet didn’t have the monotonous  corporate job….

and the other set of feet didn’t have the weekly flea markets and girls nights out….

what we did have was each other.


with a different type of life….

even though we wouldn’t forget the old one.

We were ready for it…..and all of its challenges.



We found out on Friday that the our tenants had finally vacated our home….

the same day we got notice from the city that they had stopped paying their utilities as well.

As i sit here and write our story about our ups and downs…..i also realize there will always be people that 

feel the need to cast judgement and tell us how we should be living our life.

Case in point: neighbor back home who actually  emailed us and told us that it was time to stop dreaming

and come back to the “real world” and take care of our yard that was overgrown with weeds.

I kid you not.

I wasn’t even going to write about this but now that i’ve had a few glasses of fine boxed wine….

my fine dignity is flying out the window.

How were we to know our tenants would stop paying rent?….

 and we are at the mercy of hope and process servers.

We had originally moved to chicago because the company that Bryan was working for had moved us there from Colorado

for his job. It wasn’t a happy move…but we did it because we wanted what was best for our family.

4 years down the road the same company laid him off.

We had made amazing friends….

the kids had made amazing friends….

we loved our house…..

but we never loved the frigid winters.

We never gave it a second thought after Bryan was let go to not do something else with our lives….

and yes…

we miss our friends…..and the kids still talk about their life in Illinois

… was 4 years of some of their best memories…..

Halloween with the neighbors…..

the annual Christmas white elephant exchange….

 wonderful Lincoln school…..

book club….

Trader Joe’s and crashing wedding receptions.

The list goes on and on……..


Family_Digital_018but change is good.

And we know the friends from back home that will be life long friends……

they care about us no matter what.

Because the lifers will always be lifers.



and life goes on.

So….take it all in….because life is so short….that we know.

Life is for living…..wherever that may.

You have to do what is right for your own family….and this is what we felt was right for ours.


{even though there may be weeds and the grass is taller then the boy who mows the lawn…..}

and who knows… might have a cockroach in a jar sitting in the kitchen because your cousin made you

come up to her room in the middle of the night to catch it…..

just make sure you don’t catch it in a jar that you plan on drinking  out of at the beach just like the header up above….

because that is not real life.

reality check

it is real life.

This is real life.….

and we love it.


{Photography was done by the wonderful Bryce Covey}


Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten”

-Lilo Pelekai. Lilo and Stitch


  1. Great post Kasey! I am so happy for you and your family, who cares what any of the negative nellies say. I still can’t believe someone told you to come back to the “real world”….. That must be someone who is unhappy with the path their life has taken. Keep on doing what your doing, you all look happy and healthy and it is working well for your family. I informed my husband that after we get our sons out on their own, we are selling everything and moving to Turks and Caicos! We just celebrated our 20 year anniversary there last week and it is my new love. :-).
    Enjoy your Groundhog Day summer… sounds AWESOME!

  2. This brought me to tears. Enjoy your life…You deserve it!!!

  3. This post made me smile, Kasey. Thanks for this. Thanks for the realness. You make me feel better about my realness. Sometimes I think to myself, maybe I should try to be “that mom.” You know the one. Pinterest projects up the wazoo, nutritious and delicious home cooked meals every night, worship music playing in the background. But then I get tired and it only lasts for a few days. Luckily, my kids still feel loved, I still think my husband is hot and life is still oh so good. Keep doing what you’re doing, because you’re doing a great job!

  4. Kristin says:

    Kasey, these photos are simply amazing. I know you’ll never have any regrets about picking up live and moving there.

  5. I admire your family for making such a big move. Life that is lived more simply really seems like it would have more benefits of closer relationships. I wish I had the opportunity to make a big change like that. I think it would be really healthy all around. I’m also happy for you that your “tenants” moved out. Happy Monday!

  6. Tracy B says:

    Beautiful tribute to life in general. Poop on the neighbors. They’re just jealous!!!!

  7. tell the neighbor to cut the lawn if he/she has such a problem with it

  8. No matter where you are, life brings ups and downs, might as well live in Hawaii 🙂

    Such a funny perspective from your old neighbors….. In my neck of the woods, if your neighbor is clearly struggling, and their grass needs mowed…. you just mow it for them when you are out doing yours.

    About to uproot and start our own switcharoo adventure, not in Hawaii, but the move will allow for a sailboat which comes with a whole dreamy lifestyle of it’s own. 🙂

    Carry on living, and thank you so much for sharing the dream. ❈

  9. kasey, LOVE your blog and your writing. Life is short and this is all ya get. So I love that you’re adventurous and enjoying it all. you will look back on this and your kids will too, as just an amazing part of life. As for those neighbors, could they help you?! Could they be decent and offer to mow or help the renters with the lawn? And do those neighbors who complain ever leave their little area, do they ever dare to venture out , dare to travel & grow? do they ever dare to dream of another life? I say Bravo to you!! Look what you are teaching your kids, and how lovingly you are sharing the world with them. Congrats on your move and another year there. Keep Writing! you’re honest and funny and that is all good. 🙂 happy summer – and girrrrrl there is nothing wrong with wine or some free time !!

  10. Patti H. says:

    Beautiful photos! In fairness to the neighbors, I wonder how many of us commenting here about how bad they are for not helping out by mowing Kasey’s lawn or simply understanding, would be okay with having your neighbors yard look like “sheet” for some indefinite period of time. I wonder what kind of a blog post Kasey may have written about neighbors like that when she lived in that area. It SUCKS for Kasey to have to deal with it while half a world away and it also SUCKS for her neighbors right there to have to deal with it too.

    • Yes Patti….
      in consideration to the lovely neighbor that sits in her yard chain smoking ciggie and ciggie and having to deal with looking at our overgrown yard probably does SUCK.

      • Patti H. says:

        Oh, since she smokes, I definitely have no sympathy for her. Maybe if she was drinking some fine boxed wine, instead.

  11. Cathy S. says:

    I love your honesty (and your humor, too) because it is such a breath of fresh air! You are living a life that many just dream about so continue to enjoy your great adventure and I love the fact that you are willing to share it with all of us. You really should be writing a book about this adventure because I know for sure, it would be a best seller… and I’d be the first in line to buy it!

    Enjoy your life and your beautiful family 🙂

    PS: Your family pictures are real treasures!

  12. Victoria says:

    I’m confused as to why people feel the need to judge you harshly. I mean, you appear to not only have a very stable marriage, but a very loving and healthy one. You’re both working honest jobs, raising your kids well, they always look happy and healthy. It’s not like you ditched your family and moved to Hawaii alone or anything! And since when wasn’t Hawaii considered the real world? Last time I checked it’s a valid part of the U.S.

    I’m sorry about the rental of your house. I have a good friend who owns rental property and some of the tenants are, unfortunately, horrible…they’re ripped out towel rails and such after not paying their rent, left holes in the wall etc. so hopefully an unmowed yard is the worst of it for you!

    Thank you for sharing your adventures with us Kasey!

  13. Best pictures of all for the Buick family. You have always had a beautiful family (including you)…but now you are all even more beautiful and handsome. Glowing smiles and tans and all looking so fit and happy. When you look back on these memories you will surely smile, give a little sigh and think fondly of your days in the sand.

  14. You are definitely living in the real world and best part is you’re actually living life to the fullest and in the simplest manner, there’s nothing better than that! Kauai looks great on your family – you’re leading an active life and you all look so happy. There are always going to be “those” people that are negative, they are just people that don’t like change and like you said, “change is good”. I have moved alot over the years and change was always a good thing for my family too – it teaches everyone how to adapt to many different lifestyles and cultures. Beautiful photos of your family, Kasey!

  15. i love you friend
    & girl. you’re looking fine in those short shorts!

  16. So happy for you!!!!!!

  17. All one has to do is take one look at your family in these photos and they will know. You are doing the right thing. Those are some happy kids and that is all you can ask for. And, you know what, dvr’s are a time-suck!!

  18. Jamie Parker says:

    I am personally, super happy that Kasey and family live on this island!!! She is a breath of fresh air, even to an island that has plenty of it. Keep living the truth. Keep living the real world, Kasey girl. I sure do love you.

  19. Hi Kasey,
    Keep doing what you and Brian are already doing, giving your kids a good life filled with love.
    And I love these gorgeous photo’s!
    Thanks for sharing and for being you.

  20. Kim Mertz says:

    Kasey, I am so happy our paths have crossed here in Kauai. You have been an amazing friend to me and from glancing at the above, to many others as well. My family truly enjoys your beautiful family and we are blessed to have you on this small island. You touch everyone you meet and hold AMAZING qualities, you are an inspiration.

  21. I know I say it all the time but I love the way you write! I just love you and your adorable family. I’m glad you all rely on each other for happiness….that’s how it should be….and it’s working for you:)

  22. Awesome post!! I always read, never comment, well, except that one time about crashing the wedding reception. 😉 But anyway, I LOVE what your family is doing. What an inspiration!! 🙂

  23. WONDERFUL post & INCREDIBLE pictures…your family is just beautiful!! You look fantastic in your cute sun dress & shorty shorts…I’ve gotta get back on track.

  24. Maura Bryden says:

    Kasey, I’m from the UK and stumbled across your blog about a year ago. Since then I have loved reading about your life in Hawaii. I would love the chance to move my family there (you’ve heard about UK weather yeah?) it sounds like you and your family are having a great life there. Keep enjoying it!
    p.s. your photos are amazing!!

  25. Claudia says:

    Beautiful! Nothing but admiration and applause for your daring move to Hawaii… 🙂 Complaining neighbor back home needs to step back and see just how foolish it is to worry/complain about a yard not up to his/her expectations….life is too short….and you should tell him/her that you are very much living in the “real world”….one of joy, love and light…

  26. Krisztina says:

    I admire your courage to live life to the fullest! I think most of us (me totally included) have a lot to learn from you … and I do … so, thank you!

  27. People can be so cruel. Some just can’t be happy unless they have something to complain about. You’ve all faced a lot of hardships in your move but you always seem to see the bright side of things, the funny side. Family has a way of making that possible. Keep on keeping on!!

    Love the pictures!


  28. Beautiful pics girl. Your family all look very happy. I think you are incredibly brave for changing things up. Lord knows moving half way across the world, with real life issues isn’t easy. But you did it and I think it’s amazing. Love living vicariously through you;)

  29. The pictures are wonderful. I love that there is a family brave enough to take the leap of faith that you did. You children will forever be grateful for the lessons you have taught… as long as you have each other, what else really matters.

  30. Have to say I was shocked and saddened to read your most recent post. It seemed you used your blog to paint a very misleading and inaccurate picture and get in a couple of cheap shots.
    I know many of the people in your neighborhood. This is not a case of a few weeds and grass that is a little overgrown. This did not just happen in the last few weeks.. It has been a problem for the last 2 years. I personally know of 4 separate neighbors that have been in contact with you in the last 2 years asking that you take care of your property.
    Someone sent photos to you so that you could see that your grass was 20-40 inches high and that you had/have weeds 15 feet high. The only time in the last 2 years you have done anything to maintain your property has been in response to communication from your neighbors.
    At least 3 different neighbors have tried to help take care of the yard; one took care of part of your yard the entire time you lived here. Some of these neighbors are in the 50s and 60s. I think many people lost some of their sympathy when you and your children came back a year ago and did not even spend 1 minute or 1 hour weeding. That would have been a good time to teach your children about being responsible for belongings and taking care of property and being a good neighbor. I am not sure it helps to plead poverty and on every blog you mention buying and drinking alcohol. Another case of something that could be a good lesson for your children: give up the booze until you can pay to maintain your property.
    I believe it is a good neighborhood. People loan each other tools and ladders, they help to move heavy items, they help each other clean up after storms. I believe several of them would purchase items from your little sales, loan you equipment and give candy to your children. Some you socialized regularly with. These are the same people that just want you to take care of your property.
    I am sure if your readers had to live on a street with the above mentioned level of decay and overgrowth, they would also be worried about their property values, trying to sell their home, get a home equity loan or have company over to constantly comment on your home.
    I think that most people have sympathy with those that have suffered during this economic downturn; people that have lost their jobs, people who have lost their homes or found that their homes are worth less than they owe on it. You mentioned judgement; I don’t think people are judging you for moving at all; I believe they wish you well. They just want you to be a good neighbor and not leave an eyesore for them to look at.
    I am not sure what read comments about your children being tan and photographed on the beach have to do with good parenting, or more importantly, the condition of your property. But I was shocked to see your cheap shot about a neighbor who smokes. What does that have to do with your neglect of your yard? Her landscaping and gardens are incredible, along with several others. What kind of example is that to your children- that if you do something wrong, blame others?
    When I was little, I was taught that if I was in the wrong to:
    1. Own up, admit it. You should post the photos that you were sent so that your readers can see what your neighbors have been seeing for 2 years. You should admit it.
    2. Apologize when you are in the wrong. You should apologize to all the nieghbors for not taking care of your property and apologize for cheap shots.
    3. Don’t do it any more. In your case, take care of your property as long as you own it.

    • Missy F. says:

      Aren’t there lawn services that can be hired on retainer to deal with this sort of thing? I know property management companies can be expensive, but I think lawn services can do basic upkeep for pretty cheap. Or even a neighborhood teen?

    • Hooray for Sara!!! Thank goodness someone said it. Enough with the poor me and my beautiful family in Aloha Wonderland. We all have responsibilities. Wherever we find ourselves, it is OUR job to take care of our own properties. Leave the neighbors out of it and just take care of your business. Geez, all I can think about after reading this is how much I’m dying for a ciggy.

    • Sarah (another neighbor) says:

      I am dying here. Apparently you must be good friends with said neighbor and her immaculate yard. I am a neighbor as well, and friend to the Buicks. I’ve seen the yard, it’s definitely had some issues, I know they have asked myself as well as other friends/neighbors to keep an eye on things and please let them know what is going on. Maybe you didn’t realize that they rented the house out for what they could get for it and have been paying the difference for the last 2 years because they wanted to keep the house,(sorry kasey, but I don’t think Sarah would have been so high and mighty if she knew that)
      but you would’t know that Sarah, would you? because you are just friends with the beautiful looking yard neighbor and think the grass should be nicely trimmed and the edges just right and tight on your corner. I laugh that you say the neighbors worry about their property values since the Buicks have left. Have you seen Main Street lately? Did you ever notice the outpatient rehab center on the corner? Oh, did you also see rental across the street? I am dying.
      Kasey, you keep on living life with that beautiful family of yours. Loved the photos!

  31. You tell her, Sarah! As if all of the ellipsis usage wasn’t distracting enough, have to listen to some sot plead family in the name of brazen irresponsibility. Excessive punctuation and and finger-pointing be damned. I’ve already wasted to much time on this joke of a blog.

  32. I think the important thing here, is that you look really cute in those denim shorts. Screw everything else.

  33. Holy gorgeousness photos!

  34. We are coming to Kauai in 3 months. I would love to pick your brain about some fun things to do while we are there. Off to email you. Love your family photos, they are beautiful.

  35. I love your posts so much, and these pictures of your family are just amazing! Bravo for your bravery and boldness, truly you are spreading goodness and courage by sharing your story and living by example. xo

  36. Jessica Sullivan says:

    I loved the bit about the cosleeping 16 year old too funny! Week 2 of Hawaii summer here too except my little surfer has a cast on her arm until next week. I miss the beach!

  37. Do what you need to do, and there will always be questions or accusations from others. Been there done that. Take the wave your on, literally sometimes out there, and remember everyone finds themselves in predicaments that there is not perfect solutions. We are all human ! Don’t let it fool ya. Really, keep enjoying that atmosphere out there, and now I want to check out 12th Ave and that yard! Don’t sweat it too much.

  38. That’s why I’ve never wanted to be a landlord. Hopefully your home sells quickly.

  39. Kasey, can you shoot me an email? I can’t get through to yours….

  40. Your pics are beautiful… the first one made me scream, “That looks like where Lost was filmed!!” 😉

  41. Chris in FL says:

    Just read through some of those comments. GOSH….makes me want to say….sell your house quick and don’t every come back to that neighborhood!! Whatever happened to “love your neighbor as yourself” They’re just jealous and have way to much time on their hands as they sit there and complain about your yard! Seriously. And what nerve do they have to tell you how to raise your kids!! Makes me mad.

    But you know what….I am so happy you are enjoying life for what it is, TODAY! That’s what’s important. 🙂 You sure know how to enjoy it. 🙂

  42. Kasey, so happy for your family. I think you’ve been incredibly brave through all these changes. I’ve read your blog for a while. We moved to Saint Charles right around the time you left. I’m so sorry we never got a chance to meet, I think we would have been pretty close neighbors as my own little guy starts Kindergarten at Lincoln in the Fall. Will you be coming back to move your things from storage? Have the mother of all yard sales? If so, I would love to meet you and maybe even lend a helping hand. We’ve moved more than our fair share so I know what a pain it can be. All the best to you and your family.


  43. Rebekah says:

    You’ve probably been asked this many times, but where did you get your little red table with the white legs that I always seen in your beach picnic photos? I love it!!

  44. Love your blog. Your decision to move your family to have a chance of a lifetime to live on a gorgeous island is beyond amazing. All of the pictures are beautiful. You all are so very happy and joy-filled! Loved the quote you closed your blog with! Completely agree.

  45. Domenico says:

    I love the fact that you and your husband packed three kids and moved to an island with no foreseeable career, much less jobs. I love how happy you all seem, however, being on a debate team I see both sides. From the way you talk about your husbands last job it sounds as though you might have come from a nice neighborhood, so I can see where your neighbors could be a bit miffed.

  46. love your decision and your courage as well…as always nice pictures and marvellous writing…love, ciao and remember someone is proud of you…monica

  47. Are you sure Ohana doesn’t mean “You will never hear from me again?” I miss you and your adventures!

  48. Kasey,
    My wife and I have now been home from our dream 20-year anniversary trip to Kauai for over a month now. This morning I was feeling the longing for Hanalei, listening to Dennis Kamakahi on Spofify, and via Google I found your blog. I can’t stop reading. I want to share a few things with you and your family.

    The tumblr blog of our trip:

    Our cousin Jay’s blog of wave photography (he lives in Honolulu and came to see us while we were on Kauai):

    A quote from one of Jay’s photos: “Never let fear mold you into the something you will regret becoming and the one you were not created to be. Dig deep and find it.”

    My favorite quote from The Shawshank Redemption: “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin'”.

    Keep digging! We will be following your story, because the pang inside of us is not going away and all we can think about is getting back to Hanalei! Maybe we will meet some day. Like Bryan, I discovered that I LOVE surfing! \ooo/

    Mahalo and Aloha

  49. Just seeing if you are still all out there and alright. Miss your blog.
    Hope all is well

  50. Kasey…..I have to admit when I read that you and your family were packin up and going to Hawaii…I thought you were crazy. Now I know you are crazy like a fox, sister! You are doing what so many of us, me included, wish we had the courage to do….live simply. I love hearing your story!

  51. Just found your blog and I’m “catching up” or stalking your life on an island – however you want to put it!!! As I was reading along this post stopped me in my tracks … you are doing an amazing thing for your family and the negative comments come from people who either don’t have your zest for life, are jealous or are minding someone else’s business when they ought to mind their own. We love the Big Island – even got to spend a Christmas there a few years ago – so I can imagine how amazing your island must be. Your kids will look back and remember all the amazing things they “did” not stuff they “got” Enjoy for however long it lasts, keep posting island life for those of us who wish we had thought to do what y’all are doing, tell the nosy neighbor to be a good person and mow the grass if it is so awful and they can’t stand to see it like that!!! Jeesh!! people!! I’m following along on IG, too, and getting my island fix. Life is too short – I know- to worry about the negative people. Keep on and remember most of us would like to be “natives” of any Hawaiian island!!!

  52. Thank you for blogging again. Those people who live in the real world need to calm the f* down and take a chill pill. Bad neighbors are everywhere, get used to it.
    I love reading your blog because Hawaii is my happy place. I just got invited back down for next summer which would mark my 10th anniversary of going down the first time. I am so excited.
    You are always so real in your posts. Love!

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