17 miles

One of the perks of living in one of the most beautiful places in the world is that 

on any given day there is an adventure waiting to happen.


On our check list of “things we must do while living on Kauai” has been to kayak up the Napali coast.


Last year we swam a teeny tiny portion of it {you can read about it here}

and even though the swim was something i never really wanted to do……

i did it.

I probably won’t do it again

{call me chicken sheet if you want}

 i’m not a swimmer but there are things in life that you just can’t pass up on doing

because it gives you a notch on that tree of life that just proves you can conquer .

When and if that day comes that we leave our life here……..

i want to look back at it and smile that those were the days of our lives.

Like sands through the hourglass….

{raise of hands people on who watches that soap???}

I’m more of a Young and the Restless sort of groupie……if you must know.


tap tap tap

This year on our list of things to do was to kayak 17 miles up the Napali coast

two arms

open ocean

17 miles



{up above is Bryan’s super secret hand sign for get me out of here…asap}

do people actually WANT to do things like this???

We’ve seen the coast by boat……numerous times…..but to kayak it…..

holy sheet people….holy sheet.

The shop i work at a few nights a week shares it’s space with two guys who own Napali Kayak

a kayak company that will take the fool  people who actually wants to kayak the 17 miles up the coast.

I’m there working when the van pulls back in around 730 pm bringing back all the kayakers and their gear.

The people get off and high-five each other……showing off their blistered hands and proving that they could do it……

so why couldn’t i do it? 

I like blistered hands

I like high fiving people.

This last June my aunt, uncle and grown cousins came to Kauai to spend 2 weeks with us.

We did some amazing hiking….showed off the island and even talked them into doing the kayak trip with us.

The day before we were supposed to head out a northeastern swell came in and the wind picked up.

The guys cancelled two days of kayaking……and we were one of the cancellations.

oh thank you god

i prayed that day because deep down i really didn’t want to commit.

did i mention 17 miles

blistered hands

chapped lips

no vodka?

Fast forward to this last monday when i show up at work and all i could hear was how


the water conditions were going to be on wednesday.


My boss said it was going to be EPIC


The kayak guys said it was going to be EPIC


so i called bryan at home and asked him if he was feeling


and he said yeah.

I asked if he felt epic enough to want to kayak the coast the day after tomorrow and he said hell ya.

so i walked out and asked the guys what are the chances that us two could get in on that

EPIC wednesday kayak trip.

We were the last two openings they had…..it was meant to be.

so i went home and cried because i’m a sissy inside and needed to prepare my mind that we were really going to

do this and there was no backing out now.


my biggest fear really wasn’t that we were going to be lost at sea

or that there would be sharks

and i was really ok knowing that i would be so blistered that i would need a hand transplant one day

no….none of that really bothered me.

what really scared me was that i was going to do something that i wouldn’t be able to finish

that i would set myself up for failure.

What bothered me also was that we were going to be gone for 13 hours and i needed a crew of people

to take over the home front so that me and the mister could do something like this.

We had to be at the Kayak shop by 6 in the morning…which meant my kids were going to have to get up themselves

feed themselves

clothe themselves

maybe brush their teeth and god forbid should they possibly make their beds

but to get out the door and onto the bus without me there.

that is freaky

because we were going to be out in the ocean with no communication for 12 hours.

but i had friends in place to cover all the checking in and making sure no one was lost

or never made it on a bus.

It took a village….seriously……

it took 4 different friends and one babysitter to make sure all my kids

made it to where they had to be and so on and so forth.

good lordy

I had to have a cocktail just to figure out all the arranging.

but guess what

no one cried and no one got lost or left on a bus or anything.

{except for Fin who called a little after 630 to tell us he wanted us to come home…..

but i told him where the chocolate chips were and all was good in the world}



after we checked in at 6 am….we loaded up in the van with all the kayaks and headed up to Haena 

where we went over safety rules and all that good stuff.

There were 5 Kayaks all together……and that included one of the kayaks which had Annie who was our

fearless leader for the day.

One kayak had 2 locals who had done this before…….and the other two kayaks had tourists.

Each kayak had 2 people in it.


There is no way we could have done it solo

no way

no how

but that’s not to say it can’t be done.

When i tell you that the day was going to be EPIC …..the guys were right.


There are only a handful of days over the summer that the water is like glass and the wind is so light

you aren’t fighting it…..nor were there any swells…..which meant we were able to go into 



sea cave

and explore to our hearts delight.







About 12 miles into the adventure and right when you really think you might die

and your lips are getting chapped 

we pulled into Miloli’i beach for a picnic lunch.

We had a whole hour and a half to explore

or sleep

or sleep

or drink a cold beer that bryan stuck in our pack at the last minute

then sleep

before we had to load back up and finish the last 5 miles

two arms

open ocean

only 5 more miles to go.



we pushed off after lunch and about a mile into the last five….

we saw a little boat up ahead of us and the people were waving at us…

so of course i was all like

waving back at them

let’s go high five everyone a bit early but i’m down with it blistered hands and all

when we realized they weren’t waving at us for the hell of it….



they were waving at us to let us know there were 2 monk seals in the water playing

{wink wink}


very rarely does one ever see two of them…..

mostly they are alone and lying on the beach in the warm sand all happy

with no blisters or chapped lips.

 it was one of the highlights of the entire trip……


after that little display we knew we had to forge on…..

just a few more miles to go…..

and as you can see in the next photo…..some people started to poop out.

note to self: next time sit in the back so no one knows you aren’t paddling


and just as we were thinking we really couldn’t make that last two miles….

we rounded the corner ……the winds picked up

and i mean picked up so much so that the winds brought us right into view of our landing beach.

oh happy day


we all lined up and took turns coming in for the landing…..

and i would like to happily announce that we did not flip the kayak over once….




not climbing in and out while we were in the ocean

not coming in for the beach landing at Miloli’i  

and not coming in for our final landing at Polihale beach.

DSCF0110We did it.

17 miles of open sea kayaking up the Napali coast.

all 17 miles were so worth the blistered hands….

the chapped lips….

the shoulders that felt like a semi truck ran over them…..

the no vodka.

This was one of those times that we can look back on and know we did it together….as a team….

and we lived to talk about it.

We got out of the van after the 2.5 hour drive home and we all high fived each other….

like i knew we would…..

blisters and all.

not normal

What happens when a blogger stops blogging?

The world doesn’t end…….

that i know. It’s a fact.

A writer never stops writing.

A cook never stops cooking.

Kids never stop whining.

{maybe one day they do….i’ll let you know}

I wish i had some sort of mighty plan that i was going to lay out here today ….

but nope….

i don’t have any newsworthy anything to blog about but here i am…..

peeking my head in to say hello….

and i realize it’s been months since i last blogged…

and it might be months more till you see another post….but today i am here.



I told a few of my friends that today i would blog…..

and that was a few weeks ago….and here we are the beginning of middle of August

so i’m pouring myself a cocktail since i just got home from work

and as i sit here there are a pile of dirty dishes in the sink….

a skinny margarita was what i just poured if you must know

{and yes….it’s my new drink of choice}

 just so we are up front and honest from here on out….

this isn’t the blog for you if you have a problem with fine boxed wine.

or vodka

or tequila.

There are lots of amazing blogs out there where moms don’t drink or feed their kids gmo’s or

fake call into work sick or crash weddings or move their families to an island with no regrets….

or take photos of  their kids pet mice or hijack the mannequin from work.

Tons of amazing blogs out there…..that don’t do that type of stuff.

I’m not one of those.

The Buicks are not that normal….we admit it.

not normal


as a matter of fact….

after just one week in his new private middle school…..Mason’s teacher up and quit.

not normal

It might have been due to the fact that Mason is a horror child……maybe

or it could have been the fact that 30 kids…a brand spanking new school and curriculum sent her over the edge.

Who knows…..

but today we have a new teacher and i feel good about it.

We feel good about it.

and most importantly……life goes on right…..

this is our life


I just want you to know that i have not fallen off the deep end.

I’m here.

Life has taken over……we’ve had a great summer……and the kids started school this last Monday…..

a few weeks ago…..

which was a blessing.

I am not one of those moms that took a million photos and hash tagged them





I am not that mom.


shoot me

right here and now.

I just want to make it clear.

we fall in lust

we fall in love

we get married

{or we don’t get married}

we make babies

{or we get dogs and cats}

if we have babies all that is embedded in our brains is that the time will fly and the next thing you know your

kid is getting married {or not} themselves and you wonder where that time went.

Whatever happened to just enjoying those moments and looking back on them with fond memories instead of 

constantly saying…

“omgoodness….where did the time go”????

it goes people

faster than you can blink.

I think it makes us feel better……and now we can hash#tag everything with


I actually was excited for them to start school

I love my kids….i do….honest.

{and kudos and a million to you homeschooling momma’s out there}

but my kids belong in school and if it was a year round school then maybe you would have seen me

blogging a bit more but no….we had 2 months off and of course we did enjoy every minute of it….

but sheet howdy

summers around here can be long.

Groundhog day long.

Fin and Lola started right back at an elementary school somewhere in hawaii

3rd grade and 6th grade

not normal

who the hell gives out their kids elementary school name right?

i do.

waving her hand high….

guilty as charged.

Like you wouldn’t be able to find my kids

but trust me….you don’t want them.

Fin still doesn’t wear underwear and lola now wears boys shorts and Mason smirks and rolls his eyes……

and the last time i checked…..

they had been out of toothpaste for a month but considered brushing their teeth with just water and a toothbrush


not normal


The first day of school was amazing.

I woke up early….i sang….i took a shower….i might have even shaved my legs.

I made everyone lunch….i even made a pot of coffee and had 3 cups before even one child woke up.

The first day was beautiful.

I even had my 2nd annual Kauai moms and mimosas get together……

which officially tell me that we have been here 2 years.

2 years



The first day of school was beautiful.

I even went to work as usual….at 2 o’clock….and feeling mighty fine after 8 or 10 mimosas.

I am that girl

I think i even had my best sales day ever.

or not….hard to remember….


actually not…..i just double checked.

But those mimosas were good….damn good….and the kids were back in school.

That is till i got a phone call at work from bryan asking me if he should take Fin to the doctor

because his eye was swelling and the rash that he had on his belly was starting to spread.

He asked me why i sent him to school……

so i asked him if he wanted sex ever again.

not normal


The weekend before school started….Fin had what looked like bug bites on his stomach…..

and those bug bites spread a little so that on the first day of school he had 3 or 4 around one of his eyes.

By the end of the school day his eye was starting to swell and the bumps on his torso were looking raw.

Bryan took woogie to the doctor.

Bryan’s first time ever to take one of our kids to the doctor.

An award in heaven was given that day…..

Anyhoo……back to Woogie….

{think woogie from the movie “something about mary” }

 we nearly put him on a plane to Molokai  to go and live with the lepers.

Fin had blood work…was put on 2 different antibiotics missed the rest of the week of school….

and come to find out a week later that it was caused by the sap of a Mango


mango sap rash

don’t google rashes……it’s not a good thing to do…trust me

but apparently the sap of a mango is the first cousin once removed to poison ivy.

As of today….Fin is back to being Fin…..and that’s a good thing.



We’ve made some great new friends over the course of the last few months……

and everything just seems to be falling into place.

What i’ve learned in the last few years…..and i can offically say YEARS now since we hit the two year mark

in the last few days is this:

we love our life….we do.

beach life suits us.

I love that i can get up in the morning at the crack ass of dawn and take them to jump off rocks into salt water

I love that i can take them on 8 mile hikes to waterfalls

not normal



i love that all three kids signed up for the Hanalei bay swim challenge and completed it…..


even though two of the three children go out and said they were never


ever in the history of the world going to do that ever ever again.

But that day…they did it.


This summer we could only afford to send the kids to one week of tennis camp…..

apparently i was the only happy one that they were going to camp

not normal


On july 11th….

bryan and i hit our 15th year anniversary.



So we did what any normal couple would do on their anniversary…..

we tried to go out to dinner.

There is this chef named Justin and he bought a food truck and named it Kauai Ono...

 rented some property in the middle of Hanalei

where he parks the food truck but 2 nights a week serves a 5 course dinner under a pop up tent.

Word on the beach was getting around and so i called to get us in.

Justin said it was a good week or two wait.


That’s what i get for calling the week before our anniversary.

sheet sheet sheet

Then i emailed Justin on Wednesday

{the night before our anniversary}

and asked if he had any cancellations for the following night and he 

got right back to me that he just had 2 cancellations for that night. 


It was 5:30 when he called.

Dinner was at 6:30.

We were at our pool making out we were watching the kids swim.

We had 45 minutes to shower…..feed the kids dinner….

get a movie situated for them

aka: meet our babysitter for the night

{and because it’s against social media law to actually say aloud that you left your kids at home alone

till after the fact that you actually did so}

not normal

I showered….but didn’t have time to blow dry my hair…..

quickly threw on something….i don’t remember what…

while i was making some Kraft mac n cheese and realized i didn’t even have milk….

so i used sour cream instead of milk and guess what????

no child even knew.

{the truth my hand is sitting on the bible……it worked and no one knew}

Bryan and i flew out of the house…..and last minute realized we didn’t have wine……

so i ran back into the house and looked at our empty  box of fine wine so we had to bring out the good stuff.

I had photographed a family the week before that was visiting from Napa…..

and they surprised me with a real bottle of wine.

The kind of bottle that has a real top…the kind you pour from…..not the kind you twist the nozzle and it streams out of.



We arrived right at 6:28

not a minute late……but 2 minutes to spare.

I think we were the only locals that night…….

{we are allowed to call ourselves locals now that we’ve lived here 2 years….

my kids just confirmed that for me}

My hair was still wet….

and Bryan put his hands together started saying a little prayer

that there were would be little Mason jars on the table 

for both wine and water to drink out of……

He seriously loves when i get up and start taking photos.

Ask him.

He loves that sheet.

One of the best parts of the evening was when we sat down and the couple sitting next to us

introduced themselves as blog readers.

i kid you not


here we were on our 15 year anniversary dinner and we were sitting down with a couple that 

knew everything about us…..but by the 2nd course…..

they knew that we were horrible parents by leaving our kids at home by themselves

and the facade was gone.

We couldn’t act fake and had to be normal.

We drank toooo much wine and had tooo much fun and made new friends under a tent in the middle of the pacific.

not normal



 Here we are….back to the time at present.

It’s the middle of August…..almost the end…..

and life keeps puttering on for us.


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

…..it 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…..you 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

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