4 + 1 = CINCO || Our Girls’ Birthday Party

Lyla and Etta Rae have birthdays only three days apart which makes for a fun week of celebrating in our home. While we don’t plan on having a big party every year, Lyla is way into birthdays this year and you’ve gotta celebrate the first birthday – right? πŸ˜‰ So we decided to throw a joint party this year. 

When I pulled out my calendar to choose a date – I saw that the Saturday after their actual birthdays was Cinco de Mayo.

Lyla was turning 4.

Etta Rae was turning 1.

4 + 1 = 5.

Five = Cinco. 

And thus a theme was born πŸ˜‰

Our backyard is pretty awesome for hosting so we took advantage of that and threw the party at home. 

We strung up some balloons and colorful paper banners and laid down some borrowed Mexican blankets in the yard. The Coco soundtrack was on repeat (anyone else as obsessed with it as I am?). It was simple and effective. Just the way we like it. 

Of course, the most exciting part of any party is the food – right? I kept that pretty simple too. I assembled both chicken and beef burritos, cut them in half and then kept them warm in the oven until it was party time. We bought the chips, churros and 6 layer dip from Costco (if you’ve never ordered enough churros to fill one of the large Costco sized pizza boxes – you aren’t living πŸ˜‰ ) The pico was from one of our favorite local Mexican markets. I also made some guacamole, street corn salad and put together some chili-lime fruit cups. 

I covered our dining room table with Kraft paper, laid out the food, sprinkled some festive confetti on top and called it a day. Very unoriginal but oh so easy. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. 

The girls had matching dresses which I thought was the cutest thing ever. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to make that an annual thing. 

We piΓ±ata-ed…

We caked…

We partied…

Thanks to all of our family and friends who came to celebrate with us!

Happy birthday, my girls <3

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Let Your Light Shine

Over the past year, God has been showing himself to me big time. His word has come ALIVE to me as it never has before. His presence and goodness is so obvious to me in every aspect of my life. It is glorious and exciting… and a tad bit overwhelming. 

I feel like my mindset, values and beliefs are very different than most of my peers (based on what they choose to share on social media, anyway). Every day, I scroll through social media and am so disheartened by the things that I see. Anger, hatred, gossip, murder, abortion, broken families, etc.  On a lot of seemingly polarizing subjects, I hold the seemingly unpopular opinion. Because of my fear of confrontation and my weird desire to be approved of, I don’t share. I take a step back. I stay quiet. I dim my light. 

I hate how that makes me feel. As believers we are called to reflect the light of Christ, not hide it.  

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14- 16 (NIV)

God wants me to make a change. 

He started whispering this on my heart last year when I was in the hospital. 

But I was “busy”. I had a newborn. And two toddlers. And a husband. And a move across the ocean to coordinate. And a home to take care of. And and and… (insert eye roll here)

I turned up the volume of the world and pushed his voice to the side. 

Rude, right?!

But, being the loving, patient God that he is, he just kept on whispering. (And when that didn’t work, I think he just walked over and hit “mute” because I hear him loud and clear now haha) 

He wants me to make a change. To shine my light. To use my gifts. 

I’ve figured out that part, but I’m not entirely sure on how it will look yet.

My faith walk has always been pretty private- I’m not ashamed to admit that I am a believer but I’ve never really been one to shout it from the rooftops either. 

I’m not totally confident in my biblical knowledge (my husband on the other hand is so great at this, I have a lot to learn from him!) I definitely don’t feel like any sort of authority when it comes to the Bible.

A people-pleaser by nature, I hate confrontation and care way too much about what people think about me…and my kids…and my family. So taking this step, writing this post, hitting “publish” is a little terrifying to me. 

But I’m learning that it’s ok. 

God meets us where we are. 

I’m finding a new freedom in just being me.  I’m not perfect. I don’t have all of the answers. But I do know what I believe, what values are important to our family, and how we want to raise our kids.  

And really, it’s not all about me.

I’m here to boast less about myself and more about Him. 

To answer a call that’s been in the works for a year. 

To show that the gospel is real and true.

To shine a light on the world because, let’s face it, this world is a dark place and we so desperately need the light that God provides. 

“…in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:6 (NIV)

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Etta Rae is ONE!

I truly can’t imagine our life without her (so cliche, I know). She has been the perfect addition to our family. I can’t get enough of her sweet smiles, giggles or cheeks. She has the softest skin that I have ever felt. She looks just like her daddy. Her big brother and sister are easily her favorite people. Girl loves to eat and gives the sweetest kisses. She knows what she wants and isn’t easily convinced otherwise. She started off being “too cool” for us – giving us quick little “ha”s when we tried to make her laugh, but we’ve broken her πŸ˜‰ I feel so blessed to be her mama and am looking forward to watching her grow. 

We love you sweet baby Rae <3

I don’t think that I ever shared her birth story on the blog, and as I sit here and reminisce about the last year, I feel like sharing how our beautiful baby made her way into the world. So, if birth stories aren’t your thing…I’ll see you next time πŸ˜‰

A year ago today, I was miserable like only a woman in her third trimester can be. Of course, looking back on it now, it doesn’t seem that bad and I wish that I could do it again. Bringing a baby into the world is such a special thing and I would sign up to do it a million times. 

I had a doctors appointment in the morning – just a standard checkup. Even though I wasn’t due for another two and a half weeks, I was ready to have this baby and was a little annoyed that I was only dilated to 2 cm. When I got home, I just remember feeling super uncomfortable and too hot to stay home (Hawaii in May with no AC) so I packed up Lyla and Simon and headed towards town. I had decided to take them to the Children’s Discovery Center but as we were passing the airport I was just feeling so uncomfortable and fed up with being pregnant that I pulled over and called Alex.

Even though he was working, he picked up the phone and listened to me cry and complain (he’s the best) and agreed to meet me at the Kahala Mall (A/C and close to my auntie’s house). He probably knew that I was going to have the baby once I started crying about nothing in particular – it seems to be a theme for me in the last hours of all of my pregnancies haha. 

I got to the mall with the kids first so I took them to Fun Factory. Alex met us there and we all walked the mall for a bit. I started having contractions that were pretty predictable so we decided to split up – he took the kids to auntie’s and I went to the hospital. 

I checked myself in at the labor and delivery unit and was put into a triage room to be monitored for a bit. My contractions were still consistent but I was still only dilated 2 cm and my water bag was in tact. The nurse told me that I wasn’t far enough along to be admitted at that point but gave me the option of walking around for an hour to see if that would help. 

Despite her advice of staying on the third floor “in case something happened”, I spent the next hour walking up and down six flights of stairs – lunging and squatting on each landing. Determined not to be sent home. Praying that this would be the day. 

After my hour was up, the nurse checked my progress and I was at 5 cm – time to be admitted! I called Alex and told him to make his way over to the hospital so he got the kids situated with my cousins and met me. 

Throughout the admission process, I had the sweetest nurse (really though, all of the L&D staff at Kapi’olani are amazing). Lyla and Simon’s births were completely natural but I was kind of over being uncomfortable (see a theme here?!) so I was thinking about getting an epidural but I was scared. The sweet nurse answered my fifty billion questions about it and helped me feel at ease about the whole thing so I went ahead and ordered it. 

Best idea ever. 

The rest of the night was pretty uneventful. My doctor met us there, monitored me for a bit and eventually decided to break my water. Once that was done, things progressed really quickly and it was time to push. I pushed twice and she was out. 

Like all newborns, she was perfect. A little slice of heaven here on earth. Instantly, my heart was overflowing with love for this new little human.

It still is. 


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“Time just keeps slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future

Our oldest girl is FOUR. Not sure how that happened so fast. 

She is kind, thoughtful, charming, endearing, agreeable, musical, funny, playful, smart, talented, empathetic, inspiring, cheerful, gracious, pleasing, animated, bright, joyful, light hearted, merry, lively, gleeful, and carefree. 

I can’t remember the world without Lyla in it – nor would I want to. 

Happy birthday, my girl. Thank you for making me a mama.


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A Weekend in Orlando

I’ve been itching to get to Orlando to see some of our great friends that live there. Bringing the whole family just wasn’t in the cards for us right now so Alex stayed home with the two oldest and I had a getaway weekend with our baby girl. 

We flew out on Friday morning. (Shoutout to Mimi for watching Lyla and Simon while Alex worked). Etta Rae was super into watching the activity outside. 

She was also super into my smoothie. 

Our flight was nice and uneventful, just the way we like it. Etta Rae slept for the first 2 hours while I watched a movie. She then spent the rest of the flight eating every snack that I had packed for the weekend. 

We landed, picked up our bag and walked outside just as Lisa was pulling up. The air was nice and heavy and it made me realize how much I miss the humid air in Hawaii. 

First stop was Tijuana Flats for dinner. We took our food to go and headed to Lisa and Kyle’s. We caught up while we ate and then it was straight to the shower and bed for Etta Rae and myself. 

A long day of travel wiped miss Etta Rae out because she slept for a nice six hour stretch (which she never does at home) and woke up all smiles.

We had some breakfast and got ready for our day. 

First stop was Publix to replenish our snack inventory. We found what we needed quickly and then, much to Etta Rae’s dismay, we got back in the car. She hates her car seat right now and starts fussing basically as soon as she sees it. If only she knew we were taking her to Magic Kingdom!

It was such a beautiful day to be in the parks! We hit up some of our favorites (Jungle Cruise, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh), got caught in a classic random Florida downpour, and took pictures at the purple wall.

We hopped on the Monorail and rode over to Epcot. Etta Rae was due for a nap so we strolled through the World Showcase just talking and enjoying the park. When she woke up, we spent some time in the DVC lounge and then introduced her to a classic attraction (and arguably me and Simon’s favorite) – the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros. I’m pleased to report that she loved it as much as we do and spent the ride pointing out and waving at Donald Duck. 

After the tour, we said “adios” to Epcot (see what I did there?) and hopped back onto the Monorail. This time, to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. We were lucky enough to score a last minute reservation at ‘Ohana. Ohhhh yea. 

Kyle met up with us here and, because we were early, we grabbed some drinks and headed outside to a grassy area to wait. Dinner was awesome, as usual, and we had great service too. Our server was from Hawaii and let us know that is family was from Ewa – with a house right near Hau Bush – small world! I think we both got homesick talking to each other πŸ˜‰

Etta Rae loved her first ‘Ohana experience. Especially the noodles and the bread pudding. I guess we can keep her. 

After dinner, we rolled our full bellies to the car and headed back to Lisa and Kyle’s for bed. 

Sunday morning we grabbed a yummy breakfast at My French Cafe and drove over to Winter Garden for their Spring street festival. 

Winter Garden is the cutest little town! We grabbed a beer at Crooked Can Brewing Company and headed back to Lisa and Kyle’s. We had a nice, quiet afternoon. Etta Rae played with the puppies and we watched The Greatest Showman. It was my first time watching so I was excited! I enjoyed it but definitely think it was too hyped up. What did you think of it?

That evening, we headed to Yellow Dog Eats in Gotha. This is one of my brother’s favorite BBQ places and I was a little afraid that he would disown me if I was in Orlando and didn’t try it out πŸ˜‰ Luckily, I was not disappointed. Soooo so tasty. A few of Lisa and Kyle’s friends joined us and it was so nice to meet them. 

Monday morning we took Etta Rae to the playground for a bit, went to Disney Springs and then picked up subs at Publix for lunch. YUM.After lunch, Lisa brought us to the airport and we made our way back home.

^^ Etta Rae on the last flight haha

We had such a great time visiting Lisa and Kyle and can’t wait to do it again! Hopefully with the whole family next time πŸ™‚

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