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Thursday, August 10, 2017

farmer girl June

First off, regarding the miracle that is this farm, I promised the story but... There is too much to say, in the words of Inigo Montoya, let me sum up...

Me, online, night after night, on the Zillow iphone app. Scouting houses, farms. Beautiful houses, falling apart houses. Houses in town, houses out in the middle of nowhere. Knowing it would take a miracle to get into one. But still looking, because its what I do.

So I find this little house. Super close to town, my work, the kid's school but still, a little farm. With coffee. And macadamia nut trees. And all kinds of cool things growing. And a brand new roof. And its been empty awhile, which is a good sign. Why? Because that means the owners might be on the desperate side and interested in "creative financing" which - without tens of thousands in the bank for a down payment - is what we needed.

So we swing by the house one day, with the kids in the car whining "WHERE ARE WE GOING??" down this super steep driveway, overgrown coffee slapping at the sides of the car, mangoes dripping off the trees, literally hitting the roof as we drive past. And then we pull up. Dead weeds. ants, obvious termite issues. But, nobody puts a new steel roof on a falling down house right?

And we start dreaming.

But, for the life of us, we can't figure out how to get in touch with the owners. Dada found them online but with lots of addresses that lead to dead ends. So we wait. And one day, some friends are in town, and we tell them about this little dream farm, and they say, let's go see it. We want to pray for you, for a miracle.

So we drive over there, our friends and the kids in the car. And as we swing down that steep drive, we see a car sitting in the lot, my stomach seizes up, oh no, a realtor, or people who are squatting, oh no.

We smile, say aloha, just checking out this listing and the smiling guy who reaches out to take dada's hand stuck out the window says, oh hi, my parents own this place, I grew up here. He proceeds to introduce us to his sister and brother in law. They are all in town for a three day vacation. From Honolulu. And they came up to see the old house where they grew up, just for kicks, for a half an hour or so. And that is when we happened to pull up.

Chills down my arm as I write this.

We chat and talk and walk around, excitedly. He says how they were just saying they need to find a nice family to move in, the old house is so neglected but has so much life left in it, we say, how we would love to be that family, he promises to talk to his mom back at the hotel.

And we drive off. Hopeful. And then we wait. And we hear back. And the conversation becomes real. And then, as we are putting together our "offer" (a creative financing situation, basically rent-to-own over two years kind of thing) that VERY DAY they get their first legit offer in the two years that it has been empty.

Devastated doesnt even describe it.

But after a weekend, we hear back, the other offer was too low, plus, the owner likes us. She wants a family here.

We were amazed.

And, as of August 1, it was ours. IS ours. And sure, yes, we are paying the owners for now, we will get the deed within a year, but we are all contracted up, so it's pretty set (handy that, having a lawyer husband.)

And I poke at the earth each day, planting something, picking something, pulling something up, and I find myself letting go. Letting go of the angst, the uncertainy. Letting the quiet humid air seep into my lungs, fragrant with flowers and growing things.  Letting myself rejoice.

And in the meanwhile, we are scrubbing and painting, shooing away rats out of the attic, digging up years of weeds off of the beautiful terraces that run up and down the property, looking for the illusive patch of bananas, spraying for termites and cockroaches and fire ants.

And I can see us, years from now, here. With a bonfire pit and teenagers laughing on a hammock, a guest yurt in the corner for visiting friends and family, a writing shack, a tool shed, gardens upon gardens, glistening red coffee cherries up and down the hill, writing books on the lanai, teaching and traveling, but always, with a little house on a hill to come home to.

And here is the thing.

Even dreams that come true take work and guts and letting go of perfect and accepting what is (for example, rats in the attic.)

But that is real. And while dreams are good motivators (get off your butt and make it come true) they are dreams. Real is real. And often, not perfect. And sometimes that makes us, in a weird way, not actually want us to have the dream become real. Its easier when its a perfect dream in your head, a lot of times, and not dripping sweat, raking fire ants down the hillside, tripping over years of mac nut shells and working from dawn to dusk day in and day out to make it happen.

But its worth it. As mamas we know this. Our daydreams about parenthood become 2am puke fests and scrambling to make the bus on time and screaming toddlers being dragged off the park and questions about the existence of monsters way past bedtime. But this real is worth it. And we seize the moments of perfect. The rain at sunset. The coffee on the lanai, wearing a silk kimono, breeze in your hair. The bougainvillea newly growing on the hillside. Dedicated time to sit at a cafe nearby and begin - yet another - set of revisions, because dammit I am going to publish this book.

All of it.

More to come. Think of the guava jelly posts! How to set up a tiny house for four children! (Its all about vertical storage) Thoughts on September, the organizing month!

I feel like I can write this all here again. I dont know why I couldnt before. I am just not myself in a condo I guess.

But, I am coming around. And its good to be back.


a mystery tree

makeshift shoe bench

home renovations can be rough with a toddler screaming at your knees UP UP UP

its getting there! we need to tile the floor, after pulling up horrible linoleum...

i picked this from the tree outside my bedroom window. 

all of our furniture? still in storage in minnesota. so the kids got pallet beds for now. 

we have been told to get rid of the beetle borers that infest coffee we ahve to take all of these
huge beautiful trees down to the stump... WAH. :(

in which i photograph myself while eating papaya, yogurt, and homemade granola
while writing this post and baby napping in the other room. home. me. alone. quiet.

documenting homemade granola and yogurt. GO JUNE.

I totally just threw those papaya seeds off the lanai into the dirt below. they will just take
root and grow into trees!

similarly these plumeria branches will root and turn into trees. 

it doesnt look like much but I just planted lavendar, lower right, and hibiscus, and bouganvillea this week. This
patch of mud is going to be a gorgeous flower garden in 6 months!

and this is going to be lawn with a firepit and more terraced gardens above

Thursday, July 20, 2017

we bought a farm



Guys. It's a coffee farm.

With actual coffee trees.


Oranges, mandarins, lychee, bananas, macadamia nuts, avocado, mango, and some weird fruit tree from Brazil that looks alien.


A view of the ocean.


A teeny tiny house that needs love.

And a perfect site for a guest yurt.

It is surreal.

After all the years. All the wondering. All the rental homes. Yes, they were homes, and we redid them and planted amazing gardens and sat gazing out of windows and drank coffee and washed dishes and birthed babies.

But this? This is ours.

I. I think I am in shock actually. Still waiting for something to go wrong. For someone to come and say JUST KIDDING. YOU DONT GET A HOUSE, YOU FREAK.

And then, I shake my head. And embrace this new amazing-ness

The kids are over the moon.

Dada is in heaven.

We are in the midst of renovations now, exploring, claiming and reclaiming. We move in, hopefully August 1.

And I think I might do the documentary bit here, on this blog, as we set up life there, just to record it all. And later I'll probably share the full story of how this little farm came to us, or we came to it, because it is straight up miracle-ish.

But for now.

I feel .... So. So. So. Blessed.

I just. A house. My own house. And land. So much good land. A place for friends and laughter and bonfires and hard work and dreaming and playdates and parties. Oh my gosh. The parties.

So. Be on the look out for more.

Hugs mamas. Remember my longing posts? My lemon trees, planted and bought? All the dreams and uncertainty? God does answer our longings. Even the longings we dont know we have, or think are possible, or dare to let ourselves think.

So. We just gotta keep dreaming.

And writing more. So much writing to do.

cant you picture this side yard with grass and patio pavers and lawn furniture and a fire pit, lined by pineapple and garden boxes of course....

the yurt spot. mango and avocado surrounded by coffee

mango trees

huge navel oranges grow on this tree

i see some guava jelly making in my future....mmmmmm....

freeing the mandarin orange trees from huge weeds. those are the kids down there
with SAWS...ahhhhhh back to country life!

ripping up the nasty old linoleum to find wood floors (yay!) and termite and water
damage (boooooo!!)

the front lanai

the ocean...             

More pics to come......

Monday, July 3, 2017

it happened

Little man's new sandals fit me.

Like. WHAT????

He is sulky, at times, listening to music in his bunk for hours at a time, constructing things on Minecraft that are legit complicated and impressive.

And I am like...


We went out the other night, our favorite date - to the library - JUST US. Its exhilarating there, with just him, amongst the books, we both love books so much, no baby to chase (who's favorite game right now is pulling things off of shelves) Then we picked out a movie. A Harry Potter movie and "Into the Woods," which when he realized was a clever mash up of fairy tales declared it the best movie he has seen in ages.

And he talked, about favorite words, and weird dreams, and what he wants to do when he is a teenager, a college student.

And I loved every minute of it.

And I looked at him, head thrown back laughing, as we drive, and I remember his giggle at 2 years old and I honestly teared up, remembering him then.

And I just. I just can't even.

My little man. Becoming one of my very favorite people.

Such an amazing thing, the mom life.

Who knew??

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

June, in photos

You guys. Dear mamas. It was seven years ago that I pushed post on my first ever blog post. It was funny and sweet and I feel like patting the head of the lady that wrote it. Oh lady. You are so cute. And your energy, oh my gosh. I don't even know. How. She. Did. It. All.

How is that me????

Seven years isn't that much time. But it is a good portion of my motherhood years. Gosh, little man was only 3! Now he is for real a little man. Wait till you see photos below. He is going to be as tall as me in the next year or two!

Ah me.

Oh June.

I miss you.

Let's craft together soon, eh? Or hey, lets make some Kombucha! Sew some curtains??? Maybe plan a new garden??? Please??

In the meanwhile, over the past three months I have been collaborating with another dear soul sister to run a daily workshop learning about justice and advocacy and fighting the good fight and planning community projects and taking tiny steps to right the wrongs in our worlds around us. And, we were all women, and it was amazing and it was hard, super hard, but its all this vision we have of supporting people to battle injustices in the world, even as they raise babies - especially as they raise babies. Let's face it, mamas are some of the baddest badasses for raising a ruckus and fighting the good fight out there. Right??

We need more of it. So, that is what I have been up to.

I had so many moments of doubt and angst and I suck and feeling like a terrible mother. But I realized, even with a one year old toddling around (get OFF the table baby, please!) I need to do things like this now. Even if it seems crazy, even if it seems RIDICULOUS, even if it seems daring and daunting and overwhelming.

And I realize how much my June days were really laying a foundation for my motherhood - no, even my personhood. Because even if I yell, even if I lose it, even if I can only muster the energy to read a story and call it a night, I can kiss them knowing, dammit I am a good mama. Showing them that speaking into other people's lives by teaching is worth it. The late nights and tired mornings. Worth going without new things, to launch into a new thing. That even as times are hard I know how to work hard. I have canned strawberry rhubarb jam with three kids under five! I can do anything!


And I don't know what the next season will bring - I have hopes, we do, big ones, but those hopes aren't quite ready to be exposed to the big old world quite yet, they are more tiny quiet seeds.

And isn't seed planting so joyous??

To take these tiny little kernels, kiss them, and stick them in the wet earth, praying for a harvest, somehow, someday.

That is this season. But I think I have some leaves budding up. And maybe a bloom or two soon.

What is blooming in your lives lately??

Let's visit more. Hugs to you mamas.

val learned his first big word - "Ava-dodo" :)

and became very difficult to get to sleep....11pm here

swinging wearing ev's old green shoes SNIFF SNIFF

i got some cool pants

lots of walks to browse the "free stuff" on campus

tie dyes for dada on fathers day. ask me how calm I was during this. I DARE YOU. (it was bad, really really bad)

more late night walks

one of those beautiful i love hawaii mornings

i took this photo to commemorate my once every six months nap

our lovely group of justice warriors

my soul sister co leader (below in the green dress) had a little 3 yr old daughter who
became best buds with baby

our graduation night

mama warriors

we discovered snap chat. god help me.


i took myself out on a date to watch dear friends perform a show of broadway numbers. SO FUN

mama escape time.

this summer, made possible by too much coffee

my friend from back in college coming to teach our team. SO AMAZING

their last day of school for the year.... MY HEART

singing with the school

we are done!!

baby discovering the playground. i can no longer sit and watch the big kids play...
oh wait. i have big kids.....YOU WATCH HIM. HAHAHAHA.

brothers reading together....MY HEART

their faces when they realized i threw out the abanoned melting shaved ice. HAHA

pretending to drive

sleepy eyes

babies and snap chat....HAHAHA

at the parade

he is not too sure about the marching band

my partner in this daring daunting overwhelming joyfull seed planting season

yes, we actually went out. alone.

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