Hey you! I wanted to tell you something!! And no, it's not about my daughter Arielle being a total ham, even though she is... No this is about YOU. Yes, YOU. Do you know how special you are? How precious you are? Yes, you are!!! Don't argue with me!
In all seriousness, I just felt the urge to write and share with each and every one of you that you are wonderful and special and perfect just the way God made you. When I was out the other day, I heard a little girl tell her mom that she was a "fat ugly pig" and she believed it because someone had told her that. What I saw was a beautiful, hurting, precious little girl so injured by the sharp and harsh words of a hateful peer that she believed it. I was her. Sometimes I still am. I am working on losing weight, working out, and getting in shape after baby and it is not easy. In this society where self image is so warped, it's all too easy for a person, whether they're a child or an adult, to believe the lies being told to them by the media, by television, by magazines, and by the music industry. Beauty is relative. What's beautiful to one person is not beautiful to another. The influx of celebrities everywhere, all the time, gives women, men and children an unrealistic ideal of what beauty is. It's unfair to place that kind of expectation and pressure on people. That poor little girl, I wanted to go up to her and hug her and reassure her that it wasn't just her mom that thought she was beautiful, that she truly is beautiful. I didn't though because well, her mom would have probably thought I was some crazy random woman bugging them. LOL.
I struggle with self image issues too.. That's when I have to remind myself that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God made us all perfect and beautiful before we were even born. Regardless of whether you believe in God or not, you are perfect just the way you are. I am a photographer (well more of a hobbiest these days since I don't have time), and I prefer to be behind the camera taking the photos instead of in front of it. I often duck out of family photos and photo ops. It's just who I am, an introvert with self image issues that I am working on slowly day by day. Vlogging is something my family and I are doing to keep an online diary of sorts for our relatives in the mainland US up to date on how Arielle and Alaka'i are doing. All of Andrew's family is in Nevada so it's hard for them not being around to see Arielle grow up and I have so much family in Washington, vlogging is such a wonderful tool to keep in touch with your relatives and loved ones. The downside is that I often look tired and unmade because I'm vlogging my day to day life. Even when I have makeup on, I watch the footage and cringe at my fat face and double chin. I cut footage of myself because, why would anyone want to see my fat face anyway? Right?! Well I had a harsh reality check when I was thinking this while editing tonight and then I remembered that girl from this weekend. Would I tell her to cut footage of her face? No!!! Why am I doing it to myself?!
Therein lies the problem. It's not just peers, bullies, and the media cutting us down, WE ARE DOING IT TO OURSELVES!! We are victims of our own warped perceptions of beauty. What a sobering reality check that was for me. I have been my own worst enemy for years and I allowed the bullies and media to make me believe that I was this ugly, fat beast. I thought I was unlovable for years, for decades. Then I met Andrew and he proved that what the Bible says is right, that I am beautiful and lovable... Andrew sees me and says I'm beautiful and I can't see it. Not at all. We all need to take a look in the mirror and remind ourselves that we are beautiful. Even if we don't believe it, we have to keep reminding ourselves that we are beautiful, even if we cringe when we say it. We need to stop allowing the world around us convince us that we are unworthy or subpar. We are perfectly imperfect and even the plastic "beautiful" people have flaws they don't allow us to see.
I am going to be vlogging, even though I dread seeing footage of myself on the web for anyone to see. It's a digital memory book for my family and I don't want my children to grow up hating themselves or the way they look. I'm also going to work on getting healthy because I'm not right now. Diet changes and working out are on the agenda for the summer. I need to get myself back in to shape and healthy so I can live a long life with my husband and children.
Being HEALTHY is what matters. Healthy isn't just your size, weight, BMI, it's your state of mind. Join me in getting healthy, in loving yourself. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, you are precious, you are perfect just the way you are!! Even if you feel unloved, isolated, alone, in pain... you are LOVED, you are TREASURED, you are UNIQUE and beautiful. Don't ever forget that!!
Arielle wanted me to remind you all about that when she was making these funny faces at me when I was feeling down about the way I looked. It brightened my day up, I hope it does the same to yours.
With so much extended family living thousands and thousands of miles away, YouTube has proven to be a very convenient means of sharing videos and clips of Arielle and Alaka'i with our family that lives far away. I've actually had my channel for awhile but never uploaded anything until Arielle was born. It's fun to share videos with family so they can see how the kids act, what they sound like and the mannerisms each child has. It's really also a great way for family members to feel a sense of closeness like they know our kids even though they don't get to see them often. I wish there was a YouTube and a Skype or Facetime when I was little!! I would have loved the convenience of that technology to talk to my grandma.
This video is just clips of Arielle and Alaka'i and although she may think she's the boss, we all know that's her daddy's job title. God first, family next. I am so thankful for the blessings I have.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a VERY HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
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Ear infections and teething, oh how I hate thee! I forgot how truly terrible it was to watch the baby you love and protect go through the pain inflicted with teething. Arielle is cutting teeth here, so far only one is starting to break through although many are following. It feels gritty like sand paper buried in gum tissue and oh, the poor little darling, she is in pain. She's a tough little trooper though, still smiles and laughs and is actually quite a well behaved little 7 month old (she turns 7 months old tomorrow, yikes!). She's more fussy than normal and naps have become shorter yet she keeps on pushing, keeps on trying to crawl and wants to constantly cuddle her mama and dada. I love the cuddles even though I hate seeing her suffer through the teething process.
To add insult to injury, she's also got a double ear infection that came with a runny nose. She's been yanking at her ears and even her hair (sometimes ripping a handful of her wispy hair out). After a day or so of her doing this, I thought that I'd take her to the pediatrician. Better to be safe than sorry! I'm so glad I did because he gave me the antibiotics for her double ear infection and although her ears are still bothering her, she's feeling better since we went.
It's been 13 years since my Alaka'i was this age and I forgot how much pain the little ones go through when they teethe and have ear infections. Sadly Arielle is her mother and father's daughter and both my husband and I were prone to ear infections growing up. I can't believe that she's old enough to get teeth already!! Wasn't it just yesterday that I gave birth to her, held her in my arms and swore to protect her and love her until the end of time? It seems like time is flying by at such a fast pace that milestones are happening sooner than they feel like they should be. She's already wearing 12 months in her clothing. What's next? Walking? Yikes!!! Slow down, precious baby!! Mama wants to savor these moments just a little longer.
I know those of you who saw my post yesterday or follow me on Instagram or Twitter, have probably already seen photos of my baby girl Arielle Grace Ke'ohilani. These are the first photos of her that I haven't shared with anyone yet and they're probably the most precious photos I have of her because it shows those precious moments of her birth, some of which I didn't even get to fully witness because I was under anesthesia and on the operating table. This is our birth story.
On Monday October 6th, I had a doctor appointment (4 days prior to my due date). I was big pregnant and we knew it was going to be another big baby for me. After all, my son Alaka'i was 10 lbs 4.8 oz at birth and they say the 2nd baby would be bigger so we were expecting 9 lbs or more. The doctor who actually performed my ultrasound told me that she was in position and ready to come but I was not in labor. They decided that I should be admitted to the hospital that day to be induced because she was locked in position and I was thinning and my body was getting ready to bring Arielle into the world. Well, we checked in Monday afternoon and they gave me all of the medication and I pushed and labored all night long. I woke up the next morning and was still in labor but not progressing the way that we had hoped. I was in labor for 3 days with Alaka'i so I wasn't all that surprised.
Towards the afternoon after still being on labor inducement medication, I started to really dilate and was at 9 cm but then it stayed at 9 cm for over 3 hours. The doctors kept checking me and I didn't dilate more and the resident doctor said that I was in major stress and so was the baby and that he wanted to call my main OB and have her come down and give me a C-section. Wait, what??? A C-Section? NO!!! That was not the delivery plan I had made. I had delivered a healthy 10+lb baby boy before, I could give birth to my daughter naturally. I didn't want to have surgery!!! Needless to say that both he and my OB expressed the need for me to have a C-Section as baby Arielle's heart rate was dropping and she was showing signs of distress. I sobbed, I worried, I panicked and my son Alaka'i was there by my side with my husband Andrew and my mom. We've never had a C-Section in our family, I've read horror stories about them. Heck, one of my favorite YouTube mamas had died after a C-Section due to "complications of labor". I was freaking out, like really, desperately afraid. My son cried with worry for me and the doctors told me it was time and I agreed. They whisked me away, prepped me and my husband came in and they started to cut me open. I will spare you the nasty details and photos as they are less important than the fact that a precious little girl, my precious little girl was about to be brought into the world.
The anesthesiologist had to give me a more potent pain medication because I could feel as my doctor cut into my flesh so there was a period of time where my eyes were closed, I could hear what was going on, but I was off in an imaginary world full of colors and randomness. It was wild. I heard my name being called and it was my husband Andrew saying that our baby was being born. Then he walked away and the anesthesiologist told me to look to my right and I could see her. In my haze, I turned my head and saw the nurses and doctors checking my screaming little pink darling baby.
I closed my eyes. I opened them and my husband was there with this fluffy, soft, pink, precious baby girl and tears in his eyes. She was so beautiful, so perfect. She was my little girl. Oh she looks like me and her daddy. Oh my precious baby. Arielle Grace Ke'ohilani came into this world on October 7th, 2014 at 9:42 pm weighing 11 lbs 5.7 ounces and 23.75 inches long. She was a big, healthy, pink, beautiful, loud little baby girl. I was instantly in love and have been with her since that day. Though she's changed significantly in her looks as these last nearly 7 months have passed, she is the most beautiful little darling in the world (I swear, I'm not biased or anything) Thank you Jesus for this beautiful girl, this healthy little baby girl and our little family that Andrew and I had that was growing. Gone were the days of being alone. Gone were the days of crying holding my baby boy feeling like a failure, feeling so alone. Gone were the days raising and parenting my little boy with no partner to help me, to teach him. Now we were a family. Alaka'i and I were not a lone pair anymore. We were a family with Andrew and now with Arielle.
"What's in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet;" Arielle Grace Ke'ohilani, my little girl. Arielle meaning Lion of God (Hebrew), Grace for God's grace (when Jesus died on the cross) and Ke'ohilani (Hawaiian meaning "heavenly harvest/harvest of heaven"). Like her brother, her name was carefully chosen and the meaning of her name in my life goes deeper than any words on a page can express. She's such a precious little darling and I love her so!
We are a big family of Star Wars geeks, my husband more so than the rest of us. Let's just say, we own all the Star Wars films, have Star Wars comics, geek out on Star Wars merch, Andrew wore Darth Vader cuff links at our wedding and he got our son Alaka'i a pretty legit light saber, with sounds and everything, for Christmas (which you see Arielle holding in the photo). In honor of "May the Fourth Be With You" which is known as Star Wars Day and a reference to the phrase the Jedi use "May the Force Be With You, I decided to geek out and take a fun picture of Arielle as a little Leia-esque baby Jedi. I photoshopped a smoky black background to cover the carpet she was laying on to give it a little more drama. I also photoshopped Princess Amidala buns on Arielle's head for fun because, why not?
It's Monday, I am exhausted. Who's a fan of Monday's anyway? I hope you and all your Jedi, Ewok, Wookie (or whatever Star Wars race you prefer) families have a wonderful, or at least a silly Monday.
If any of you are interested in the light saber we got Alaka'i, this is where we got it: http://www.ultrasabers.com/
May the Fourth Be With You All!!
I have fallen off the face of the earth. The last 7 months has been consumed with precious time cuddling my little baby girl and soaking in all the moments and memories and with my day job that I've been able to convert to doing at home, I had so little time to devote to my website or photography. Now I finally feel like I've achieved some sort of balance, am able to more efficiently juggle the balls of my life, and can confidently dive back into the ocean of the blogosphere which I so dearly missed.
I sat at my computer last night and perused all of the folders of photographs I've taken in the last year or more and couldn't figure out where to start so I decided to take a leap back in time to January 5, 2014 and the staycation honeymoon my husband Andrew and I went on. It was a literal dream. Come with me.... Let's hear the ocean waves roll in and hit the sandy shores while the cool tradewind breeze caresses our faces. Let's go. This post is photo heavy, but so worth it. If you want to see our hotel room or the beautiful oceans, sunrise and sunset of the North Shore, keep reading!
Here's a taste of what lies beyond the "Read More" button.