Twenty one.

Today is March 14th and this is the day that my oldest child turns 21. Twenty one. That means he’ll officially officially be an adult. Able to go and do and see all the things. I should tell you that he’s already been going and doing most of the things for quite some time. He’s a really good kid. KID.

I still call him one of “my teenagers,” only he hasn’t been one for some time.

Old habits die hard I guess.

I think it’s kind of ironic that when I had little people running my life, I dreamt of the days when they’d be big and grown and independent. And then suddenly, they were. And I found myself wanting to remember exactly what those old days were like, even if just for a moment.

I still try, but it’s only bits and pieces.

I can’t remember the sound of their little voice or the smell of their hair or the feel of that soft toddler skin. Sigh.

I sit here with tears streaming down my face looking at photos of him, I wonder:

-When was the last time he looked UP at me with those puppy dog eyes and said “hold my hand mama”?

-When was the last time I stopped to help him tie his shoe or brush his unruly blonde curls out of his eyes?

-When was the last time he sat on my lap and asked me to read him a book?

When?

I’m so glad that I never knew exactly when those days would take place and they would just silently slip away. I believe that if moms knew “the last day of __ or __” was taking place, it would be so hard to let them grow up.

What I wouldn’t give to re-live just a few moments of those carefree, emotional raising toddler days.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of wishing time away. “I can’t wait until—“, “Someday he’ll be able to do this by himself…” “Only ___ years till he’ll be an adult and out of here..” Side note: the teenage years are not always glamorous or for the faint of heart.

I’ve always loved my children deeply but there were plenty of days when I didn’t “like them” as much.

(I know a few moms are nodding their heads and giving me a silent high-five. I appreciate you. We are a tribe.  The “mothers raising good teenagers that we want to turn into great adults while juggling all the other things” tribe. We gotta have each others backs.)

I’m 100% sure that the feeling was mutual for my kids towards me. *Insert a row of many mixed emotional emojis here and don’t forget the LOL, the eye roll, the monkey covering his eyes and the prayer.*

I had Jordan just a few weeks after my 19th birthday–only 9 short months after my high school graduation. It was never in my plan to have kids so early in life–I wanted to be completely selfish for a while first. I had helped raise my 5 siblings during my high school years so I was ready to just live in peace and quiet without little people getting into my stuff or consuming all of my time. I guess God had a different plan for me… and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

When I got pregnant with him, I wasn’t really worried -in fact I was confident that I would do a pretty good job–after all I had some experience in this department. My youngest sister Ashley was just a year and half old when I had Jordan. I wasn’t scared to become a mom, I was excited, but wasn’t sure how we were going to raise a child with no money. Thankfully we had lots of love.

We were young. We were broke. We were just two kids having a kid of our own. And we were so in love with that 9 pound 12 ounce baby boy. I truly think that having Jordan so young saved Josh (his father, my now-husband) from a life of destruction. Something he said a long time ago that I love to reflect on: “A teenage pregnancy saved my life.” and *I* believe it.

I think back to that young mother and want to hug her and tell her so many things.

I’d tell her to embrace those toothless grins and sticky little fingers because someday, no matter what she feels right this minute, she is gonna miss them.

I’d tell her to watch them sleep peacefully more often and tell God how grateful she is for the beautiful human He blessed her with.

I’d tell her to take even more photos because let’s be honest: no one ever gets to the end of their life and says “I really wish I wouldn’t have taken so many photos…”  (Tease me all you want. I’m justifying more and more photos so get ready to smile.)

I’d remind her to:

….Write more memories/kid quotes/milestones down (because yes, you will forget them)

….Ask him more questions about life (because kids are so hilariously brilliant and honest)

….Climb those trees, play in the mud, make forts in the living room and ignore the mess, eat cake for breakfast occasionally, laugh a lot.

….Stop taking all the pictures and GET IN THE PHOTO. Stop worrying about your dress size and just smile and say “cheese” with your baby. Please. Get in front of the camera. Your kids are going to want to see what their beautiful, amazing mother looked like when they were a newborn, 4, 10, 13.5 and today.

As I sit here and look through memories of my son, I smile and remember so many wonderful moments. I want to tell you that I also remember a time when I was elbows deep in diapers and babies and toys and life did not seem to be flying by.

I was overtired.

It seemed like I was always going in 12 different directions.

My house was a mess and there weren’t enough hours in the day.

I put my kids before myself.

Side note: I wouldn’t ever give up my title of “Stay at Home Mom” because I can never get those years back.

I heard the first word, I saw the first step and I was paid in hugs, kisses, fresh-baked cookies, toddler laughs all while wearing yoga pants. It was not a bad gig.

Even though we didn’t have a lot of money, my heart was full. But I also remember feeling at times like I was drowning in life. I was doomed to be forever cleaning up gross mysterious substances, coaxing a tiny human why they should just listen and go to bed and then waking up with the same tiny human sprawled across my bed and face.

It doesn’t last forever.

They grow up. (Promise)

They become responsible and make the right choices (all that discipline pays off!)

They start needing you less and less. (sounds dreamy to some, like torture for others)

Soak in those baby/toddler/preteen years. SOAK THEM UP.

Make them snuggle–or bribe them if you have to. (Oh you want one of my fresh-baked cookies? Well I’d like a 30 second hug, a smooch and a selfie with you first. Deal?) Don’t feel a bit of guilt about it either. I honestly wish I had more selfies with my kids because those faces change.

It sounds cliché to end with this buuuttt…

Time flies.

Kids grow like weeds.

Don’t blink.

They don’t stay little for long.

I heard all of these things when my kids were small and I rolled my eyes too.

If you’re elbows deep in all the things that raising babies brings, know that they do grow up and often times, it’s much too fast. So stop and document the madness.. because someday you won’t remember it.

This morning I celebrated my 21st year as a mother. Twenty one birthdays for my son Jordan who was once a tiny newborn and now is a handsome young man.

My heart is a mix of emotions… but mostly I’m just so grateful for the baby boy who changed my life.

Live life while you’re alive…

B

Advertisements

Seeing hearts…

I don’t know exactly when it started, but there was a day when hearts starting popping up in my world. At the beach, in the sky, in my food. No, I’m not kidding. It was weird. But it was so wonderful.


I’m pretty sure that God planted these sweet little buggas for me as a reminder that He loves me and enjoys seeing me smile. But more than that, finding them felt like a warm hug from my dad. And when you’re 3,852 miles (yes exactly. Thanks Google.) from your dad, little reminders are a big deal.

I would post the pictures of “hearts in nature” on social media because I love to share happiness. I must have posted often because soon enough, friends would tag me in “I found a heart and thought of you!” posts and texts. It really warmed my heart. (pun not intended. Ha!)


I still find them frequently and I usually take a photo (can you ever have too many photos!?) because that’s how I roll. My family likes to playfully tease me because I do have a bit of an obsession. One of my friends even made me a “jar of hearts” so that I have a place to keep some of my very favorites.

As I scroll through my iPhone, I see them pop up and started thinking about all the joy that these hearts have brought to me. And all the places that I’ve seen them! Here’s just a few:

I’ve found them while hiking:


and while cooking:


and while walking on the beach:


One of my favorites is the time I was stuck in traffic on the pali heading from Lahaina to Kahului and I decided to pull off, set up a beach chair in the back of my pick-up and watch the sunset. And then.. the sun looked like a heart. You really can’t make this stuff up:


Dodging puddles:


Walking down sidewalks:


Chopping sweet potatoes:


And then that time I slipped and fell and bruised my knee and my ego. It was in front of a bunch of people and I felt like a big dummy. My husband said: “Stop. Hand me your camera. Hurry…” I mean, he wasn’t even concerned with the fact that my knee hurt so bad from the slip. He took a few pictures of my knee and hands me back my camera. Muddy crash print in the shape of….


Sipping coffee:


Waterfall hiking:


Walking out of aerial yoga:


That time when my husband had to push my dog Meli into a wave so she could catch a ride back to shore. I caught a picture and it kinda blew my mind:


Sugar cubes at an event:


Walking my dog:


Crossing a stream:


Sometimes it felt like they were everywhere I looked:


Sunsets:


Sunrises:


All alone:


and with a group of friends:

Sometimes they would be tricky to see until you really looked close:


Sometimes it’s almost if they were jumping out of the picture at you:


I mean, it is kinda crazy-awesome, yeah?

And sometimes, that crazy little obsession would even rub off on my dear darling husband. I came back to my truck while we were at the beach and found this:


How can they not make you smile!?

My husband says: “You’ll find what you’re looking for.” and I whole-heartedly believe that’s true. I find myself looking for hearts and that might explain why I see them so often. But in a world that’s so full of stressful things and daily hustle-bustle, finding something to slow us down and fix our focus on joy, is a really good thing.

I shall keep looking up, down, in my food and even in the palm trees:


Hearts from me to you,


~Bridgett

North Shore Blues


The north shore of Maui Hawaii.

But seriously. Those tropical blues. Sometimes they just don’t seem real.


When we first landed on Maui a few years back, the north shore was the very first beach experience for us. We had been here only about 3 days and we hopped on the city bus (our Toyota was being shipped across the Pacific) and made our way to Paia. When we walked up over that little hill, and the beautiful turquoise water I’ve ever seen with my own eyes came into view …. I can vividly remember my heart skipping a beat and my brain literally almost exploded.

NS1
Paia Bay. June 2013

It has and always will have a blue heart stamped onto my heart.

This morning we got a late start and I told my daughter that we needed to go take the dog for a walk. “Park or beach?” I asked her. In perfect teenage form she replied “I don’t care. Wherever.” Real talk here: Here’s what it comes down to in my brain when I’m trying to decide between them: cleaning sand off the dog for 10 minutes and dealing with snarles for days from wind blown hair ORRR a quiet, steamy sweat-filled time at the park? Decisions. Real problems, I know.


The beach won and I’m so glad it did. Of course it was whipping wind from the second we got out of the truck. But somehow it blows the “crazy” away for a little while.


The erosion is kind of a crazy thing. We’ve seen many trees come down over the years. This stretch of beach is pretty fascinating though.


From Kanaha to Ho’okipa, the north shore just offers a different vibe from the rest of Maui. Ask the peeps who hang out there. The aloha frequency is just fresher. I don’t exactly know what it is, but I love it.


Maybe it’s because I’m from “the north” (Minnesota) and you just can’t take that out of the girl? Maybe there’s less people and more quiet? Maybe it’s looking out straight ahead to the north and seeing only endless ribbons of green and blue? Whatever it is, I truly love time spent on the north shore.

Sunday at the stream.


We skipped our normal Sunday morning salt water session for some cool mountain water infused with nature instead. My husband’s back had been bothering him and the cool Iao Valley water is always the cure for his minor aches and pains. The skies looked clear so we made our way to the valley. As we cruised down the road thats surrounded in lush green vegetation, I felt myself start to breathe deeper and a smile gradually formed. Ah. Oh how we love this place.


A lot has changed since the storm that hit Iao last fall. The river is wider, rocks have settled in new places and the water is warmer. But it’s still Iao. (Pronounced EE-OW for those who are wondering. It was a really hard one for me in the beginning. Just think of it as: when you hit your knEE, you saw, OW! It’s what worked for me. Ha!) The top portion is still closed, but the lower part of the stream is open and it’s often full of users taking advantage of the great outdoors.


The crystal clear water was flowing and my wifi signal ended. One of my favorite things about being here is that it’s off the grid and I can truly just focus on being in the moment.


Of course my iPhone is used as a camera because I can’t stop when it comes to shooting pretty things and documenting beautiful moments. This along with the sound of the water flowing while the sun rays dance across my skin is like therapy for my soul.


We carefully hop down the rocks and find a little pool to set up camp. It’s still relatively early for a Sunday morning so the place isn’t buzzing quite yet. We float, we laugh, we enjoy. I laid on a warm rock and watched the clouds cruise by over my head. Side note: Did you know that Iao means: “cloud supreme?” I was poking around online learning more about this historical place and just saw it. Makes total sense most of the time. The clouds make the experience at Iao don’t they? If it’s really hot, they are so welcomed for some cool relief, or on occasions like this particular day, when you’re floating in a pool of cool water and the clouds come through and push the sun away, you count down the seconds until the sunshine pushes back.


We are always very cautious when it comes to being in the stream. Flash floods can happen very quickly. This is probably why my eyes are often looking up at the sky and clouds. Always aware. 


A Sunday well spent brings a week of content. True. Time spent stream-side is good for the soul. Indeed.

Happy summer!


~B 

7.1.17


Well look at that. The second half of 2017 begins today. I KNOW. How can it already be half way through this year? I don’t get it either. But they do tell me: “time flies when you’re having fun” so apparently we are just making lots of good memories and time is whooshing past us. Yeah?

So fine. They were also right when they said “The older you get, the faster it goes.” And honestly, I don’t really even think that’s fair. I mean, we’re older and slower. Time should have respect for its elders. (Ha!)

I decided today to look at those Jan 1 resolutions (goals, dreams, ideas) and see just how well things are going. We’re 6 months in but we still have 6 months to get things rockin’ and rollin’! Here’s what I realized:

–> The gym. I started off so strong and then I kinda slid off the early mornin’ sweat train. But score! I got up today and went in. On a rainy Saturday. With the rest of Maui. It was packed in there but I felt 100 x’s better when I left.

–> Food. I like food. I’m pretty well-behaved buuttt, I really need to take time to clean up the menu. More quinoa, less bread. More fruit and veggies, less dairy.  (I keep getting this weird nudge that we are supposed to give up dairy. But can I say sayonara to cheese!? I’m really not sure.) On a good note, we have been eating SO many sweet potatoes around here. It’s so fun when the whole fam rekindles that flame with a vegetable to love. Here’s my super pro recipe (ps. I don’t measure anything. I live on the edge like that!) –> Chop them into cubes, toss in a little melted butter to coat, crack on some fresh pepper and sprinkle on parmesan cheese, bake at 350*, flip after 10ish minutes. And yes, add more parm cheese because I also live dangerously like that as well. Tip: use powdered and the real shredded cheese because it’s so much better. Yuuummmm… You’re welcome 🙂 Everything is better with butter and cheese, yeah? So like, how am I going to be able to give up dairy?


–> Words. So I definitely need to journal and blog more. I haven’t posted on here since January? Sad panda. I can feel it in my bones that I need to write… even if it’s me who’s reading it. Ya wanna know a little secret? I was a DIE HARD scrapbooker when my tribe and I lived on the mainland. I went away a few weekends a year to get all nerded out with my group of craft-minded ladies. It was therapy for me. Reminiscing over memories, sifting through photos and journaling and creating masterpieces for generations to enjoy. This hobby sort of blossomed into the digital age with Facebook and Instagram posts and a little bit of blogging. And here we are.

So now that I have a bazillion pictures on my DropBox and a million adventures under my belt, what to write about? I know it sounds so silly… like, just write. But after slacking for so long, it’s like training that muscle up again. So I posted on my Bridgett Loves Maui Facebook page looking for some advice: what kind of things do you like to read about when it comes to Hawaii, Hawaii life, visiting Maui, etc? I am compiling a list of really great ideas from my peeps and I’d love to hear what you think. Drop a comment and let me know. Mahalo for the support.


So the year is half over, but we still have lots to accomplish friends! Break out those New Year’s resolutions or create some new ones. Let’s show 2017 who’s boss. You. Me. We got this.


~Bridgett 

Molokai Monk Seals

Last weekend my husband and I took a trip over to the “Friendly Isle” also known as Molokai. It was my first visit and I was incredibly excited! We had a lot of ground to cover in 2 1/2 days. We kind of hit the ground running–ready to explore, learn and relax.

dec31-3

 

We saw and did lots of cool stuff, but I have to share a funny story of something that happened. Day one: we checked into Hotel Molokai, grabbed some water and snacks and headed over to the west end where most of the beaches are. My husband wanted to take a quick rest in the warm sunshine, but me? Well I can’t sit still. I saw people out on the point and told him I wanted to walk out there and check it out. So we agreed that I’d venture over while he caught some Vitamin Sea on the sand.

dec31-156
On my way, I came to a small sandy cove and looked down to see an awesome shell! I was so excited! I kept looking down at the sand, searching for more shells that were similar.  I walked around for a few minutes and didn’t see anything else so I headed back on the trail to the point.

dec31-183

 

When I got there, some visitors asked me “did you see those monk seals that you were right next to?” I laughed because I had no idea what they were talking about… they clearly must be mistaken. I told them “there were no monk seals over there..” The man said, “you were taking pictures or something and you had to have been less than 10 feet away from them. There were three there sleeping right on the beach.” My face did a combination of: thinking and confusion. I talked story with them quickly, nabbed a few more photos and headed back to see what they were talking about. 

dec31-199Sure enough folks, I walked toward the small cove and my husband was coming my direction saying “there’s three monk seals right there!” And then I saw it: their “scoot and flop” tracks all the way down the beach and three sleeping seals. Right there. And I hadn’t even noticed.

dec31-217

Yes, I had total “visitor brain” and walked right by the seals thinking that they were rocks. Oh. My. Word. I could have lost an ankle to that mama in the middle. She had now woken up and was keeping a close eye on the small group of people that had now gathered on the beach to watch them. Side disclaimer: I have no idea if this was a mother and her babies or a family of seals or, just some friends lounging on the beach on a beautiful Saturday afternoon? It seemed like a mom and her pups. The little guy to the left was as cute as a puppy. Seriously. Don’t you just want to take him home?

dec31-206

 

Moral of this story: pay attention at the beach: in and out of the water. Ha! But really, they are sometimes hard to see when they are sleeping by the waters edge close to the rocks-they lay so still and just blend right in. My foot prints were right over the seal tracks:

dec31-216

I posted this photo on my Instagram and my friend Darren commented that this a rare photo.

img_3580

 

He noted that most monk seals like to be solo–like a monk. So to see them in a group, is pretty awesome. I also did some research: ” The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world, and the rarest seal or sea lion in US waters..” Thanks to the Marine Mammal Center and my friend, I now know that this was a pretty unique and special beach experience.

I feel very fortunate to have witnessed this. Special Molokai memories were made for sure.


Aloha! ~B

Stop and enjoy the rainbows

Okay you know by now how much I love rainbows, right? It’s true. They are one of my favorite things. I get so excited–I’ve gone from relaxing and reading to running and shooting. This week I’ve found myself staring at a rainbow and wondering why: A) I look around and no one else is stopping to appreciate it and B) why is it that I like them so much? Is it really “just a rainbow” … #DeepThoughts

photo-oct-30-9-21-58-am

This morning brought two hours of on and off ‘bows. I was laying in bed and I heard the rain and saw the sun. My heart started beating faster and I ran to the window. Ta-Da! She was beaming in all of her glory. I threw on a hoodie over my pajamas and slipped on my slippahs and went speed walking (gently) with my fresh cup of coffee to find  a better view. By the time I got there, the color and brightness had magnified and it was quite the sight to see. It was huge!

photo-oct-30-7-58-05-am

So as I stood there switching from iPhone camera, to snapchat, to Instagram, I was wondering why no one else was out there with me? Maybe it was because it was a Sunday morning and maybe it was because it was only 8 AM, but still. Where are all the people?! It dawned on me that I’m often the only one out shooting. I’m proud to say that I know I’m a total tree-hugger and that I probably love being immersed in and around nature a little more than the rest… but is there more to it?

photo-oct-30-7-56-49-am

 

I went inside (and back outside 3 more times… rainbow turned on, then rainbow turned off… you know I can’t just sit there, right? #RainbowHunter ) I sat down to write in my daily prayer journal. I always start off by writing 3 things that I’m grateful for, 3 people (not myself) to pray for and then I write and pray and “talk” to God. I started off writing how grateful I was for the morning rainbows and then proceeded to draw a little picture of a rainbow next to it. Suddenly it dawned on me as I looked at that little drawing of a rainbow: I used to color rainbows -all.the.time- when I was a little girl. And now, at the tender age of 38, my drawing still looked the same as that 8 year old girls drawing. Seeing it on paper brought back so many happy memories. I decided to break out colored pencils and quickly whip one up for old times sake. I guess rainbows have been ingrained into my DNA, because for as long as I can remember, I’ve loved them.

photo-oct-30-5-37-49-pm

You know what’s exciting?! Winter is on it’s way and that translates into: Rainbow Weather! Last December I saw a rainbow every day for a week and had to write a blog post about it because it was so awesome. A fun tip: Rainbows are called “Anuenue” in Hawaiian (it’s pronounced: ah-noo-weh-noo-weh) and they are found most frequently in Hawaii because of the sun to water situation. And that would be reason #832156 why I LOVE Maui.

photo-oct-30-6-26-39-pm

 

Never stop chasing those rainbows…. or sunsets, clouds, flowers or fall leaves.

~Bridgett