Thursday, February 21, 2019

Hawaii - Part 3

Look at that amazing sunrise I got to watch on our next morning in paradise! 

Once everyone was up, we were ready to go hiking! I had read about this hike that was super close to our house and was supposed to be an easy hike with kids. However my recollection of distance was off and the hike was considerably longer than I thought it was supposed to be. The kids were serious troopers on this 6 mile hike in the sun!  The views and terrain were really cool though! 

There was a reward at the end waiting for them though! A really cool little cave! 

And a tortoise farm where the kids could get up close and personal!

And good news on the way back, the clouds rolled in and gave us some relief on the trip back when we needed it most! The hike was much more than we expected but the kids pushed through with minimal complaint.

I told the kids they could jump in the pool as soon as they got back, even though it was a bit cold by the time we made it back to the house they still took me up on the offer! 

Everyone got cleaned up and then it was time to rest. Well as much rest as the kids would allow for us!


The weather was still windy (a theme that would hold for the rest of our trip) and a bit cold that evening so we brainstormed some other things we could do that evening, including a quick stop to check out Spouting Horn.

About a 20 minute drive west and we had found the sunshine again at Hanapepe's Art night. We grabbed some yummy dinner at Porky's where we had pulled pork hot dogs and grilled cheese, checked out the famous bridge, and had shaved ice of course. It ended up being a beautiful evening indeed! 

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Hawaii - Part 2

One of my most favorite parts of our trip was watching the sunrise and sunset. The best part about sunrise was that I could watch it from the comfort of my bed every morning!

But the overall best part of our vacation was the beaches. We knew from our experiences on the Oregon coast that the kids just love to be on the beach so we knew that Hawaiian beaches would be a whole new level of fun for them!  This was the perfect pace of vacation for us as we could sit back and relax on the warm beach and watch the kids run around and have fun!  It really was amazing and we were so not ready to come back to reality. We needed a few more days at the beach!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

It's A Love Story

When I looked over at my family as I attempted to make them heart shaped pancakes while they devoured the chocolate Valentine's I had just given them, I thought about how amazing it is what love can do. Love really does make the world go round and while at times it feels like this world is spinning out of control, I am grateful that there are still those out there who choose to love others.

Our love story is simple, there's nothing amazing about it. Just two simple very very recent high school graduates who decided to take a chance on a relationship after graduation. We were young and immature and had everything to figure out about our future, but we fell in love, and we fell fast!

Before we knew it we were engaged 18 year old's.  Peter was only halfway through his freshman year of college. It felt impossible and it kind of was.  We had to wait what felt like an eternity and it required a lot of sacrifice.  I started working as much as I could, Peter worked 30 hours a week while taking more than a full class load.  We spent every other possible moment of our time together, including when Peter's class schedule allowed calling him on each and every work break and him coming and eating lunch with me during my workday.  There truly weren't enough hours in the day to spend together and as soon as we'd say goodbye, we'd be on the phone chatting until we literally would fall asleep with the phone to our ear.

After a very long and hard 18 month engagement we finally said I do!  Our wedding was simple but very much from our hearts. The wedding was so secondary in my mind to the commitment and marriage we were embarking on. I just wanted to have that guy as my husband! And then we were on our way as two barely 20 year old newlyweds trying to grow up. There were growing pains here and there but we settled into life quickly. The last two years of Peter's college actually felt easier as we were able to be together during all of our free time and in some ways we became less of a distraction for one another. We were young, pretty darn poor, in our tiny condo but I have so many great memories of that phase of life. It was a simple time of hard work and growth and lots and lots of fun.

But as most married couples eventually feel, we knew something or in this case, someone was missing. For me, the desire for kids was so strong that I felt it right after returning from our honeymoon. It felt natural to me to progress to that next stage of life. But the hardest part for me was knowing I had to suppress that desire because the only way our marriage plan would work is if I worked hard and let Peter finish school. So I kept working at a job that made me unhappy and Peter worked hard at his job and school.  After Peter's graduation he settled into what we thought would be a long term job for him. We decided it was a good time to start our family. I couldn't have been more excited to grow our love for one another into a family full of kids. Life felt perfect as we moved from our condo into our first home with 3 bedrooms ready to fill with kids!

But the best laid plans don't always work out. In general life had felt pretty easy as a young married couple.  Being married has generally felt pretty easy for us because we truly feel we are better together.  But then walls starting falling in, the economy took Peter's job away, my grandma died and I was officially diagnosed with infertility. It felt like our biggest dreams and desires were being taken from us. Fortunately God didn't let us stay in that place for long. Peter secured another job quickly and I remembered a desire put in my heart when I was 14 years old. Peter and I had already discussed adoption and it was a "someday" plan for our family. But it became apparent that God wanted this to be the first plan for our family. Another year of waiting and all that I can tell you is that day I got the phone call telling me about my son and got to see a picture of him for the first time, it was one of the biggest days of love in my life. I felt like my heart was going to burst. I printed those 3 pictures of him and I put them everywhere so I could stare at him all day long. He stole my heart from the second I looked into those dark brown eyes in that photograph!

And then only weeks after I saw my first son's face in that photo, I was in utter and complete shock! We were pregnant and going to be adding another baby. And not long after that, another baby. My pregnancies were a living expression of our love for one another, which was pretty darn amazing.  I loved being pregnant even if my body wasn't very good at it, I'm one of those total weirdos who loved labor and instantly wanted to do it all again!  There's just something magical with the love poured out in that delivery room as you hold your baby and look at your husband and ooh and ahh over this new little life. We were blessed hard and fast with these 3 little babies and whew it was a whirlwind.  In fact, I remember very little of those early years.  We were in survival mode but I had never felt more blessed or more loved. God had been so good to us!

It wasn't long before we felt God leading us to adopt again. We still had love and room in our hearts for another. The process seemed to go pretty fast and before I knew it we were on our way to meet our 4th child.  This is where I saw love in the most sacrificial way a human could ever show love. To love a child so much that you can say goodbye.  Adoption is so full of sacrificial love and my heart still wants to burst in love for LB's birth mother. We are forever bonded.  She carried her, she gave her life, she smothered her in kisses and whispered "I love you" in her ears and then handed her to me! Seriously, what had I ever done to deserve that privilege.

Our love has been going strong for almost 15 years now. We've been a family for almost 13 of those.  In the grand scheme of things, we are still early on in our relationship together and I am thankful for that because I want all the time in the world to love this guy of mine. Our love has created a Keyser party of 6.  We are long past the phase of rainbows and glitters all day long,  we've come to know each others imperfections well. But our love is in the mundane of our days. The commitment that we never let go of. The caring for our family, the hard work to provide, the few hours we get each week to be together. The tag out I need after a long hard day, in those few minutes of silence is we sit together and laugh and shake our heads at this life we've created.  Our love is simple, nothing extraordinary, but man is it good! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Hawaii Part 1

When we would ask the kids where they wanted to go on vacation all they would ever say is Disneyland. Which is understandable because they have 2 disney obsessed parents and have known nothing more. But we felt like it was time for something more.  The kids are getting older and more fun and we wanted to introduce them to a different style of vacation. Insert our first trip to Hawaii as a family. I haven't been to Hawaii since I was a kid and Peter hasn't been since he was a teenager so it was a pretty new experience for all of us, but we sure were excited to see some sun!  

All of our kids love to fly so that was the first very exciting part of our journey. 

And we were so thankful for our awesome airport and the playground they had put in to let the kids run around and be a bit crazy before being confined for several hours. 

While the kids were super excited for the flight, that was the one part of the trip I was most concerned about. 6.5 hours is a long time for even me, much less the kids. We had grandparents along on the trip so that made the flight way easier than it could have been. Our biggest issue was keeping our very busy and stubborn 4 year old calm and entertained.  Overall the kids did awesome, the big kids seemed easy peasy with their grandparents and LB had a couple of rough moments but was overall better than I expected.  

Our first day was full of travel and business like getting a rental car and shopping. The kids were more than done by the time we got to the rental house. I was so excited by the view, it definitely had the wow factor I was hoping for, we were definitely in paradise!

By this point in the day the kids really just needed a chance to run off some steam, enter the pool in the backyard! Even though it was a bit cold the kids loved having the pool in the backyard to jump in anytime there was a second of downtime. 

After a quick dinner and pool time we marched down to the beach to check it out and see our first sunset! We knew right then and there that this was gonna be a good vacation!