Sunday, July 6, 2014


todd has wanted to visit moloka'i from the moment he first heard about the island. when we first moved to maui he had a few students from moloka'i & they constantly raved about it. in fact, my friends that have visited all the islands say that is the most amazing of all the amazing hawaiian islands. molokaians say that moloka'i mo bettah. although, i was more than a little interested to see check out moloka'i for myself i was terrified of the getting-to-moloka'i process. you see, you either have to take a teensy little 1 engine 10 seater plane or cross the second worst channel in the world via ferry. neither of which sounded appealing. i conceded to the idea that as much as i wanted to visit moloka'i it just wasn't itn the cards for me. so for todd's 30th birthday i gave him a weekend solo on moloka'i. after his 31st birthday had come & gone & countless times encouraging him to go he still hadn't made it to moloka'i. he said he wanted us all to go experience it together. so i talked to everyone i knew, i read every review & i finally agreed to take the ferry. and that is how our moloka'i adventure went from a dream to a reality.

 todd found a great deal on mokulele so he, cooper, & mylo flew to moloka'i. todd said the flight alone was worth the trip. they had gorgeous views of the island & the pali coast. tj & i had a boat date on the ferry. it worked out perfectly. the crew said we had abnormally smooth conditions & we even passed a pod of dolphins along our way. we spent the next few days covering every possible inch of the island & taking in all the incredible beauty. it amazes me how i can live on maui & honestly know it like the back of my hand, yet, i can visit other islands & literally have my jaw drop in amazement. every side of the island was gorgeous in it's own unique way. there were plants & terrain i've never seen before. there were so many vibrant shades of blue, green, & brown that made the whole island feel alive. moloka'i definitely lived up to it's reputation as the friendly isle. the people were the kindest i've ever experienced. the whole island is full of aloha. it was incredible to see the moloka'i lifestyle. the sign outside the market reads, "aloha spirit required. if you're not ready to share it than please come again another time." we should all follow that mantra every time we get out of bed.

we loved every inch of moloka'i, because every single inch is breathtakingly gorgeous. and we covered every bit of the island that we possibly could in our few days. we visited the east side, west side, north side, south side, & every spot in between. my favorites were halawa valley, the make horse tide pools, & being relieved from photography duties. todd loved the pali coast & cinnamon butter hot bread. cooper loved finding treasures among all the rubbish & finding an awesome cave at mo'omomi & ono dragon fruit. tj was super excited to drive around in a truck & hunt for treasures on mo'omomi. mylo loved the park at one ali'i, & moloka'i pizza.

halawa valley


mo'omomi dunes

papohaku beach

fishponds, kamakou preserve, dragonfruit (probably the only thing that costs less on moloka'i than maui.)

make horse beach & tide pools


we opted to camp since we could easily bring all our gear on the ferry & the boys have been begging to bust out the tent all summer. i definitely, recommend taking any & all food with you. the selection is very limited & so overpriced. we wanted to try a night at each of the different campsites but due to torrential rain upcountry palaau was ruled out at the last minute. camping at papohaku was gorgeous & felt like real forest camping even though one of hawaii's biggest beach was only a few yards from our tent. our favorite was one ali'i. it is so centrally located at close to kanemitsu's so it makes for an easy late night hot bread run, which is a total moloka'i must. at one ali'i our tent was only feet from the beach & we had the most gorgeous views of maui & lana'i. the first morning we woke up a huge fever of stingrays right outside our door. it was incredible.

 the boys loved camping. i mean, what little body doesn't love tree climbing, crab hunting, flash lighting, marshmallow roasting, & late nights in a tent. it was like heaven. i was shocked with how well they slept. but i guess when you play hard you crash hard. cooper was the best little helper. always gathering wood for fires, building the tent, or finding any other need he could fill.

our moloka'i musts are: kalaupapa, halawa valley, kamakou preserve, mo'omomi, phalic rock, kanemitsu's bakery hot bread, pali coast, make horse beach.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

a mighty mylo party

given mylo's super hero obsession & his most common nickname it seemed like a no brainer that his birthday party would be themed mighty mylo. wanna know my favorite super hero characteristics of mr. mighty? 1. his second persona he takes on each time a costume of any sort is put on his little body. he goes from a chill little guy to a confident, strong, kind of domineering super hero instantly. 2. his super hero story lines. oh his super heros don't just fight, his stories have actual plots. and they are rather entertaining. 3. his sound effects. they are dead accurate & pure genius. this kid is a total kick to hang out with. 4. the deep raspy baby voice he gets when he becomes a super hero.

mighty was ecstatic to discover his party. for as observent as he is, mylo seemed to miss all the party planning talk, shopping, & crafting. so he was caught a little off gaurd when he woke up to our morning celebrations but he was totally shocked & absolutely stoked when he arrived at his party (todd took the morning off so he could hang out with mylo while cooper, tj, & i set up the party). all of mylo's most favorite friends showed up. these are the kids he plays with at least twice a week. they are really more like family than friends, we call them our maui cousins. honestly, these people are amazing. as soon as they show up the oms start lending helping hands & they don't stop searching for ways to serve until the party is cleaned up & we are on our way home. we are so blessed to have these amazing people in our lives.

this was the first party i've ever thrown that involved actual party games. normally there's some sort of major activity to participate in but this time i wasn't really feeling it so i stuck with the easy stuff. we pinned the mask on the mylo, bowled for buildings, searched for super heroes & demolished a piñata (my first ever homemade piñata, might i add. i was so worried about it falling apart pre-party that it turned out to be indestructable by toddler standards. but with the help of todd & his pocket knife we were able to get the job done.) mylo wasn't much in to the games. he spent most of the time going down this super speedy slide. he did love the piñata & the buildings are his favorite new toy. he loves to knock them down or use them as houses for his duplo figures.

i made super hero masks & capes for each kid. this was a major hit. i think i could have skipped games all together & just let them run around in their costumes & they would have been good. my super talented friend, suzy, painted & personalized these absolutely adorable peg dolls specific for each kid. i was amazed with the detail she put in to each. it was obvious which doll belonged to which person at very first glance. my favorite was mylo's curly hair. it is spot on. he is obsessed with his new "batman" as he calls them & insists on taking them everywhere. (random fact: when todd & i got married we had personalized peg dolls painted to represent us. they are one of my favorite details from our wedding & now i am super stoked to have my whole peg family.)

i decided to go with picnic food because, well, it's easy & i'm lazy. there were lunch boxes for the kids with sandwhiches, chips, string cheese, juice boxes, & fruit snacks for the kids. for the adults there were sandwiches, pasta salad, chips, & lemonade. and, of course, sprinkle cupcakes for all to enjoy. like i said, easy. 

mylo loved having a day to be celebrated & make all the choices (that's how watkins' birthdays go). but i definitely think his party (& his new pool grandma & papa gave him) was the highlight. he talks about his party ever day. he talks about who came & the games they played then he insists on putting on his costume. he truly is the mightiest mylo i know & i am so grateful for the opportunity we had to make his special day a little more special. we love you so, mighty mylo!

Friday, June 20, 2014

mylo turns two

my baby is two. and my heart is broken. i will never again have an infant, or a one year old. nope, we are slowly passing milestones marking the end of the watkins' baby era. just 11 days shy of his 2nd birthday mylo decided he was ready to sleep in his big boy bed. and just like that he was no longer my baby, he is officially a toddler. i've been snuggling this little angel to sleep every night for 2 years (it was the best way to end my days. he would toss & turn for a little while than finally give up & curl his little body right against mine, wrap his chubby little arm around my neck, & tuck his forehead under my chin. and every night i would get overwhelmed with joy & gratitude) and just like that he decides to grow up. he still insists that i lay next to him but even when he wakes in the middle of the night or rises too early in the morning he prefers to take me back to his toddler bed than climb in my big comfy king. soon enough he'll be driving off to college.

in so many ways mylo behaves years beyond his tender age. he is way too smart to be two. he just gets things & his reasoning surprises me on the daily. he comes up with arguments that actually make sense like when todd took the boys crab hunting while i was at a baby shower the other night. mylo didn't want to go & he told todd, "tay hm, dart ow-sie" (stay home, dark outside). he's a duplo master. he loves building and destroying. he was never much of a tv watcher until his second femur break, now he is officially obsessed with curious george. he is wild and so full of life. he cannot be stopped. and he shouldn't be. he is happiest running and jumping, and exploring. he loves to be outside. he is perfectly content with a pile of rocks and some sticks. throw in a bug or two & mylo is totally beside himself. his favorite places are the beach, waterfalls, the costco food court, and his bestie mosiah's, house. his smile is contagious and his laugh is addicting. i find myself doing the most outrageous things just to get one more laugh out of him because i just can't get enough of his giggle. on the same note, i can't seem to get enough of his sweet little voice. it is the cutest. ever. and lately he's really expanded his vocabulary so he has plenty to say. i spend all day asking him what a duck says or to repeat whatever words come to mind just because i can't hear enough of his baby talk. i just about die every time he says baby (bee-bee) or nose (nuse) or aloha (hoo-ha) or hulk smash (imagine coughing up a lugie and adding the word smash, kind of like hhhhckkk-msh) or that guy (dat duy) or ta-da (dot-dot with tons of enthusiasm). he often shortens words by only saying the first syllable, yea, he's that lazy. at which point, i am forced to play a guessing game to decipher if "ba" is ball or bug or balloon or cooper or book or batman or whatever random word has popped in to his baby mind. he's also known to refer to objects by mere sound effect & he is remarkably accurate in his depictions. dog is "woof-woof", airplane is "swooo-ooosh", cars are"wee-wees", snakes are "ssssssss", & trash trucks are "vwmmmmm-tshpfffffff". the other day the mechanic at sears said that watching him play was like watching a tv show. it's so true. he is a major jokester. he truly thinks he is hilarious & he loves to tease. his current favorite joke is to call any & all food "pizza". he knows what pizza is but he just thinks it's too funny to call all food by the same name. he also loves to call people by the wrong name. in fact, he calls himself "noniah" (mosiah, his best friend) all the time. he has the most adorable blond ringlets. i never thought we could have a child with more curls than tj but mylo clearly takes the cake. he loves water, any & all water, we go to the beach & he runs straight in to the waves, we go to the river & he jumps right in the freezing water without hesitation, & as soon as anyone turns on the shower his clothes are off & he is climbing in. he is obsessed with super heroes. i love how he thinks he can strap on a cape & suddenly he is invinsible. he is a huge fan of fruit snacks, oatmeal, donuts, pizza, apples, bananas, naked juice, anything chocolate, & cheese. he is stubborn, all my boys are stubborn but mighty mylo is the most. he knows what he wants & he is bound & determined to get it. and i'm ok with that because it will make him such a strong child, teenager, & adult. usually, his requests are reasonable & he asks with what we call "strong words" & i give in. i can't get enough of his jump. he swears he is soaring through the sky every time he bends those baby knees to lift off but i'm pretty positive he has yet to actually leave the ground. it's my fave. but don't be fooled, the child has incredible athletic ability. he has no problem keeping up with his brothers. mylo is a caretaker. he is always the first to pass out hugs to a broken hearted sibling and the first to offer toys to random kids at the park. he has a big heart and unlike my other two shy-guys he is not afraid to use it. he loves on my friends and chats away with strangers. then again, he also has a rather rad right hook (todd can testify). he is his mama's little angel. he always has at least a dozen kisses in store for his mommy & maybe one or two for his daddy or his brothers. he is such a snuggler. he runs around like a wild man all day but once the sun goes down & his exhaustion sets in he wants nothing more than to be in his mama's arms. and my arms are never too tired to oblige.

in so many ways, i look up to him. he has endured so much, two femur breaks at less than two years old isn't easy. he is so strong, so reslient, so brave. and despite what he is enduring he is always aware of those around him & willing to lend a helping hand. that type of character is hard to build. i am so grateful that it comes naturally to him. he is and forever will be our baby. we all adore him more than words can say. we are so tremendously grateful for his sweet spirit & the energy, enthusiasm, & joy addition he brings to our family.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

maui warriors

we totally missed the deadline for little league this year. i mean, really, who is thinking about baseball in the middle of december? after researching all of our options i opted to sign cooper up for rugby. and it turned out to be the best decision i've made all year. he is a total natural, the coach works so well with him, the kids are just awesome, and he loves it. i knew we made the right choice when he first walked onto the field and right away the other kids came up and took him into their fold. it was such a relief to see my shy boy making friends so quickly. coop loves the outlet to really show off his speed and he's pretty determined on defense. at his first game he scored twice & stopped every kid that came his way. at his second game he had an incredible play, he got the ball at one end of the field & ran it 60 yards for a try (score). no one could catch him. i absolutely love watching him so eager & excited to play. the whole experience has been challenging & rewarding not just athletically but mentally & socially, too. i'd say it's a win/win/win. the league held a luau fundraiser a few weeks ago. it was legit. the food & performances were totally on par with the big luaus on island. coop did the haka with the rest of the boys his age. it was the just about the cutest thing i've ever seen. typically, he plays other maui teams but every few months they compete against oahu teams.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

big island

during my parents annual january visit we opted to spend part of their vacation on the big island. let me just say, if i wasn't already totally head over heels with maui i would most definitely up & move to kona. did i mention it has a target? gah! i miss that store almost as much as i miss descent mexican.  for reals, though, big island is rad. i would have to say it's tied with oahu & kauai as my second favorite island (get it?). the place totally lives up to it's name. it is huge. we spent more time in the car over our few days there than in the past 3 months on maui. thankfully, the island is saturated in beauty so you don't mind long drives staring out the window. there really is something for everyone on big island. there is just so much to do & despite our attempts we barely scratched the surface. we are already building an itinerary for our next trip.

we each had our own highlights from the trip. cooper loved exploring the lava tubes, checking out the volcano, & swimming in the hotel pool. tj loved ahalanui but he really loved the plane & shuttle rides. mylo was happy anytime he had a little space to run free. todd enjoyed seeing all the different parts of the island but i think his most favorite was waipio valley. as for me? gosh, i really can't decide. i loved the natural lava pools, the active volcano, & sunset at anaeho'omalu bay, but the best part was having two extra set of hands to help with the kids. nothing beats not having to crawl in to the back of a minivan to strap babies in to carseats or turning around every 48 seconds to hand something to someone. tj still talks about big island on the regular, like daily. every time we get in the car he asks where we are going, then it's always, "oh, is that on maui or big island?"

pu'uhonua o honaunau

punalu'u black sand beach

kaumana caves

natural hot lava pools

waipio valley

waipio valley

rainbow falls

anaeho'omalu bay

puako petroglyph park

pu'ukohola heiau national park

volcano national park & steam vents

volcano national park & thurston lava cave

pu'u o'o crater, kilauea

akaka falls, kealakekua bay, old kona airport

coconut island, banyan tree drive, painted church, ahalanui pool, hapuna beach, 
mauna kea beach, crater rim drive, kilauea iki overlook

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

st. patrick's hunt

st. patrick's day isn't exactly the most exciting of holidays. i think you can all relate. to be honest, i've never given the holiday much thought beyond some speck of green to avoid pinching & possibly a corned beef & cabbage dinner. until last year, on st. patrick's eve as i was tucking my coop into bed he said, "you know, i don't like st. patrick's day. it's so boring." that statement (true as it may be) just wasn't gonna fly with me. no day is allowed to be boring in the watkins hale. so we jumped out of bed & headed to my craft closet. on a whim we whipped up a leprechaun trap, (judging by the gold footsteps discovered the next morning that little leprechaun narrowly escaped). i put the boys to bed & went straight to pinterestafter a total disappointing search (i mean, i found some cutesy crafts & treats but nothing, you know, not boring) i set out to come up with some sort of something that i could create last minute with the supplies i had on hand. i ended up designing a printable rainbow to use in a color hunt. basically, the boys were each given a printable rainbow & a clue. the clue led to another clue & so on. each clue came with a different colored crayon. they were instructed to color each stripe of the rainbow & when their rainbow was complete they would be led to a pot o' gold. easy for me, fun for them. double score! combine that with a breakfast of lucky charms & coop was sold. st. patrick's day has now worked it's way up to cooper's 3rd favorite holiday (following his birthday & christmas, of course). in fact, the dude has been designing his upcoming leprechaun trap & outlining his potential wishes for months.

so if you ever find yourself in a rather unfortunate st. patrick's day bind feel free to use this free printable download to put on your own color hunt. i'm including my clues here, ya know, in case your feeling extra lazy & these happen to work for you home.

                                                            RAINBOW DOWNLOAD

Sunday, February 16, 2014


meet, godzilla watkins. our first, semi-legit (aka non-fish) pet. isn't he rad? he was wondering around todd's campus when a coworker stumbled across him. todd quickly laid claim & dubbed this handsome little devil a member of our team. he spent the rest of the day wondering around todd's office. those two definitely formed a bond in those few hours that cannot be replaced. weeks later zilla still prefers todd to the rest of us. the boys were super stoked when daddy surprised them with their very own jackson chameleon. i mean, really, who wouldn't be excited about this little guy?! zilla was a little fussy the first week or so. he wasn't a huge fan of the whole cage thing. in fact he rammed the door a few times attempting to escape. he refused to eat anything but rolly-pollies, which aren't exactly easy to come by. but after warming up he is now happy to munch on any critter we offer. he does insist on alive bugs. so every day when we walk to school, or around the neighborhood, or visit the park we catch bugs to bring home to zilla. 

the boys love feeding him. it is awesome. he has this craaaaazy long tongue. so you hold the bug a few inches out. after he notices it he shoots his tongue & grabs the bug. the whole process takes about .5 seconds. it's crazy. the bug is there & the next instant it's gone. 

we are all big zilla fans. well, everyone but mylo. mylo has been known to bully godzilla from time to time. lucky for him, he has two other big brothers that quickly come to the rescue. of all our pets (godzilla the jackson chameleon & our fish, spike, rocky, flash, swimmer 1, & swimmer 2) he is definitely our fave. one day, our boys will get a dog & find out what a real pet is like.