Cake Smash

I know, I know. You’re tired of posts about Lyla’s birthday. I don’t blame you. And I promise this is the last one. Promise. 

Lyla's Birthday Smash

A few months ago a local photographer had posted that she was looking for a baby who would be celebrating their first birthday in April or May for a cake smash photo shoot aaaaand it just so happens that I know a baby that fit the bill so I contacted Karena and we set something up. 

Lyla's Birthday Smash

Karena had an awesome studio set up in her home. She was very warm and welcoming and made the whole experience so easy and fun. I was a little unsure of how Lyla would do because sitting still is not her jam but Karena kept her happy and entertained. I was such a proud little mama. 

Lyla's Birthday Smash

Lyla's Birthday Smash

I got copies of the photos today and I may or may not have teared up a little. Thank you, Karena! 


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pineapple party

Here in Hawaii, first birthday parties are a big deal. We’re talking booking large venues months in advance, major entertainment, awesome food, the works. They are tons of fun and, I think, it’s such a fun way to celebrate the little ones. 

We don’t have nearly enough family and friends on the island to justify throwing a huge party, but I definitely wasn’t going to let miss Lyla’s first birthday pass without throwing some sort of shindig. 

I played around with a few ideas before landing on the pineapple party theme. Honestly, Alex wasn’t entirely convinced that pineapples were a theme but he went with it anyways. (thanks, babe!)

pineapple party

We kept it simple by hosting a few of our close family and friends in our backyard. We didn’t book any outside vendors and made all of the food and decorations ourselves. My family was a huge help in getting everything together and I am so thankful for them all (I’m looking at you Lily, Hoku, Mimi and Keiko!)

pineapple party food

pineapple party

pineapple party sandwiches

Rather than serving a big meal, we made a bunch of finger food for our guests. We had PB&J, cucumber cream cheese and chicken salad sandwiches (cut out in pineapple shapes, of course), fruit salad, teriyaki meatballs with pineapple chunks and an awesome cheese ball modeled after this one (just used a different recipe). 

The pineapple cups from Oriental Trading Company were a hit and made for a great party favor. 

pineapple party

pineapple party

pineapple party

Towards the end of the party we opened presents, had some cake and broke open the piñata (which I made – who knew pineapple piñatas were so hard to find?!)



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pineapple pinata pineapple pinata

No, she won’t remember this party and I’m sure her sixteen-year-old self will look back at these pictures and be like “really, mom? pineapples?!” but we all had a great time. Just look at this smile…

pineapple party

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gamma was here

At the beginning of the month Alex’s mom – aka “gamma” – came to visit us! It was a quick trip but we managed to squeeze in lots of fun! We visited the Honolulu Zoo, took girl to her class at MyGym and took a day trip to the North Shore.Prepare for photo overload…

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And now that we aren’t leaving for the mainland – we are ready for our next visitors! Any takers?!



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the byrds are staying put

Wow. What a weekend. 

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen my announcement that we were moving to Utah. 

Well, you can disregard that post.

Here’s what happened:

Alex had been job shopping for a while and all of a sudden we were flooded with offers. It was exciting, overwhelming and a little bit scary. We prayed for clear minds as we weighed our options. We spent time researching the prospective cities. We looked at homes, schools and recreation activities. We prepared ourselves as best we could. 

At the end of last week, the pressure got to us and we made a decision. We were going to move to Utah. The cities we looked at seem great on paper – a perfect place to raise a family. The cost of living is cheap and the terrain is beautiful. Alex would start in two weeks.We were excited. Kind of. 

Then Saturday came. We started calling real estate agencies in Utah to find a home. We got price quotes for the shipment of our truck and household goods. Alex and I went to “our” beach to say ‘goodbye’ follow by lunch at our favorite restaurant.

And people, I could not keep it together. I was having major commitment issues. Even though there were lots of positives about the move on paper, I didn’t feel like they were our positives. Luckily, Alex and I are [almost] always on the same page. 

We spent the rest of the afternoon looking at places here and crunching numbers. We did some serious soul-searching. It was stressful. Ohhhh so stressful. We were feeling like we were making the wrong choice and were worried it was too late to back out. 

Alex talked to his career manager, the same one that he had already turned in his two week notice to just the day before, and found out that they were happy to put the breaks on his discharge paperwork. 


Even though it was unbelievably stressful, I’m glad it happened the way it did. It was humbling, and the whole experience put things into perspective. We had to re-evaluate is most important to us and what is best for our family. Big life decisions get so much harder to make when you have a little one to consider. 

Without a doubt, we will come face to face with more decisions like this in the future.Next time, I will hopefully know the right questions to ask, and will be more prepared for the emotions that come with these types of decisions. 

But, for now, these Byrds are staying put in Hawaii. And we couldn’t be happier. 

byrds staying in hawaii



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dolphin quest oahu

Yesterday, one of my life long dreams came true. 

dolphin quest oahu

HUGE mahalo to the awesome staff at Dolphin Quest Oahu and my wonderful husband for making it happen!

Dolphin Quest Oahu

The booking and check-in processes were a breeze. All of the staff members that I came into contact with during my experience were friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. 

Located at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, it is easily accessible for locals and tourists alike. Even though we live right down the street, we hadn’t had a chance to really check out the grounds of the resort until now and we were surprised at how beautiful it was! Definitely wouldn’t mind taking a staycation there 😉

During my program, I got to interact with two different dolphins – Kolohe and Hoku. You can definitely tell that the dolphins are well taken care of and that the trainers genuinely care for them. 

I really don’t have to tell you how perfect the experience was once I got in the water, my goober face in these pictures says it all…

Dolphin Quest Oahu

Dolphin Quest Oahu

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maui no ka oi

On Sunday, Lyla and I took a day trip to Maui. My mom was there for the weekend visiting some friends and had wanted the Byrds Lyla to come too. We originally told her that we weren’t able to make it but decided to buy a ticket and surprise her.

Island Air plane

Lyla and I hopped on the first flight Sunday morning and were on Maui thirty-five minutes later. My mom called as I was getting the car seat settled in the rental car and our conversation went something like this:

Mom: “It’s such a nice day on Maui, I’m walking on the beach. Wish you guys were here!”

Me: “Yea, it is nice today. What are you gonna have for breakfast?”

Mom: “I dont know. This beach is so nice”

Me: “Yea, I love Lahaina. So what do you want for breakfast?”

Mom: “You are not here”

Me: “Yes we are! Surprise!”

(insert screaming and a few more “you are not”s here)


We drove to her girlfriend’s house in Lahaina, met up with everyone and then headed to Front Street for some breakfast. After that, we visited where Alex and I got married and spent some time at the beach.


I have never seen her make that face before and I think its hilarious. Sorry, girl.

maui no ka oi

I freaking love Maui. It’s perfect and special. My heart just feels happy there. I guess that’s why they say “Maui no ka oi” right?!

maui no ka oi

The trip was quick but full of love, sunshine and the ocean so I would say it was a success!


Lyla is such an awesome little traveler. Just like her daddy, she loves to fly. When we were flying back to Oahu she looked out the window the whole time and had a giant smile on her face. Such a sweet little bean.

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