Celebrating 10 Years of Marriage

Nathan and I are celebrating 10 years of marriage, and I wanted to add to the celebrations by telling our story with a few words and a lot of pictures!

I’ve been lucky enough to be married to this wonderful man for 10 years, but we go back farther than that. Nathan and I met in August of 1998 a couple of weeks before we started high school. We were both in band and both on the swim team, and our paths crossed a lot our freshman year. Our sophomore year, luck would have it that we had every single class together but one. We hung out with the same group of friends, so even though we only had a few classes together our junior year, we saw each other a lot. In the fall of 2001 (our senior year) I started to see him more than just a friend. I admired him for his work ethic and his kindness and integrity. My own faith was growing and blossoming at the time, and I saw him as someone I could grow in faith with as well. I told our friend Joshua about my new feelings, and he spilled the beans to Nathan. On October 20th, 2001, we went on our first date. A few days later, our marching band went on a trip to California. We got to go to Disneyland and California Adventure. Here are some of the first pictures of us together:


On the big sun wheel at California Adventure


Our friend Joshua took this picture at California adventure

We dated our entire senior year of high school. Nathan was always caring. Once I found this note he had left in my clarinet case while I was having my lesson after school:

a9He took me to the senior prom:

a5Little did we know (as you can see by the date stamp above) that we would be getting married almost exactly four years from the day of our prom.



We graduated high school together:


And went to grad night:


We were unsure if we’d stay together after high school since I was moving up to Tacoma for college. But we decided to stick it out with the middle distance relationship. We were taking on the world together but apart.

The college years were hard, but we spent a lot of time on the phone with each other. I went home about once a month, and he came up to Tacoma to visit a few times during the year. In the summers we got to see a lot of each other. He was a regular at my parents’ house, and he came on vacation with us a few times.


Hanging out at my parents’


A trip to Lake Shasta with my family


A trip to Sunriver with my family. We both got majorly injured on this sled run. We haven’t been sledding since!

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Viewing the Rose Parade

college 3Eventually, we started talking about getting married, and on November 24th, 2005 (the fall of our senior year of college), he proposed! Here we are at Christmas, a month after getting engaged:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI graduated from college 6 days before our wedding.

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college 8

Two days before our wedding at the family bbq.

May 20th, 2006 was our big day. I can’t say it enough, I’m so lucky to be walking through life with this man. Our wedding day is still one of my happiest days and best memories.

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On our honeymoon in Maui

On our honeymoon in Maui

The early years of the marriage were so much fun. We lived in an apartment in Tigard where we took turns putting each other through school. I started grad school a few days after returning from our honeymoon. I used to study while Nathan played video games. After a year I got a teaching job and he went to seminary to get a Masters in Biblical Studies. Those years were so crazy and so good, and I wish I appreciated them more at the time. Most of the pictures of us together are from travel. We didn’t take many pictures “just because” like we do now.


Our first Christmas together.


In March 2007 we took a big road trip on Spring Break in which we circumnavigated Nevada. We stopped to camp for two nights at the Grand Canyon.

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Viewing the Grand Canyon

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Crater Lake

One of the best parts of being married to Nathan has been watching him become a father. In the fall of 2010 after four and a half years of marriage we welcomed our first child into this world. It has been such a privilege to learn from and with Nathan as we are on this parenting journey.


Welcoming Elias Makana in September 2010 after a long labor and unwanted cesarean. We’re parents!


Navigating having a child at a big event. My brother’s wedding in November 2010. I made fun of Nathan a lot for how he used to hold Elias so low on his chest.


Our first Thanksgiving with children.


May 2011. Our 5th anniversary.


Back at Lake Shasta in 2011.


Who’s bigger?


Family fun


August 2011


Our first annual apple picking excursion. September 2011


Testing out the snow. December 31st, 2011.


4T Trail


Vancouver BC, April 2012


September 2012

Then our family grew some more and we navigated dividing our time between two children and still devoting time to each other.


Welcoming Simon Kealoha. February 2013.


First attempt at a family photo.


It was never easy but it was good because we had each other to laugh and cry with.


June 2013


October 20th, 2013 on the 12th anniversary of our first date.


Halloween 2013


Christmas 2013


Spring 2014


Easter 2014


At Fort Stevens. August 2014


September 2014


September 2014


November 2014


Christmas 2014


In Lincoln City, OR, March 2015. Our first trip together without kids (since having kids).


April 2015


At my other brother’s wedding in May 2015 in Ohio.


Family tube ride!


Florence, OR, July 2015


And most recently, we welcomed our third child.


Caleb Kepano. Christmas tree hunting 2015.


Caleb’s baptism, January 2016

So here we are ten years later! We’ve had some hard times and some wonderful times. After ten years I am still just as excited to wake up to each new day with Nathan and our family. Here’s to ten more, and ten more after that, and on and on. Let’s see where tomorrow takes us!


May 2016

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Fun In The Sun

The boys and I were able to take advantage of this beautiful day by just hanging out at home together. I had some errands I would have liked to run, but a full day of imagination, play, and fun in the backyard was just too tempting. We filled the pool and the water table and the boys had a blast making up different games to play together. Caleb and I watched for the most part. (I did stick his feet in the pool, but it was pretty chilly so he wasn’t game for much more than that).

Elias and Simon made up a game called “ostrich shooter” in which they launched animals out of cups and tried to get them to land in the pool.

20160513_132010I loved watching them play. It may sound like a silly game, but it entertained them for quite awhile. Here you can see Elias’ ostrich on the edge of the frame and Simon’s polar bear just leaving his cup.

Caleb and I got splashed a bit, but he didn’t seem to mind.

20160513_114751After a couple hours of play we took a break for a picnic lunch on the lawn.

20160513_124928After quiet time and some inside play, Daddy got home and I made dinner. Then we went back outside for more pool time, and we worked on transplanting some of the seeds the boys planted awhile back. Our corn and snap peas are doing pretty well. We put those in a raised bed on the side of the house. I let the boys help with the transplanting so hopefully they will make it!

20160513_182031We also transplanted sunflowers, lettuce, and carrots, and I thinned out something else that I’m not sure what it is anymore. Someone had been a little overeager when they put the seeds in the dirt!

We’ll see how all of this goes, but I am hopeful we’ll have vegetables at the end!

It was one of the best days we’ve had in a long time.

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We’re Family

I was looking through some pictures on my phone in preparation for a different blog post, and came across some great ones of Caleb and my parents. They invited the boys and I over for dinner last night since Nathan is always gone on Thursdays. Looking through the pictures just made me feel so thankful not only for Ama and Baba, but for all of our family. We are lucky to have so many family members close. I think I probably take having so much family in town for granted a lot of the time, and it was nice to just sit and be thankful.

This is love.

20160510_133325Another one too cute to pass up.




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He Wants His Keys

Caleb is growing so fast I feel I need to write about him. I can’t wait until his six month post because by then I’ll probably have forgotten.

Food! Caleb wants to try solids. He is so interested in what we are doing during meal times, and he tries to grab it out of our hands. He’s got a few more weeks to go, though, because we are waiting until he is six months old.

20160501_080451Sitting! Caleb is far from sitting up on his own, but he loves to play sitting up these days. We support him, and he reaches for all of his toys which are laid out nicely in front of him. The world must be so different once one can sit up! I don’t have a picture of him playing, but this picture was too cute to pass up, and he is sitting in Simon’s chair.

20160426_182748Play Gym! Caleb loves his around-the-world play gym. Ours was stuck in the very back of our coat closet and neither Nathan or I had enough energy to dig it out. My parents have one, though, and after I saw how much fun he had in theirs I asked Nathan to do the honors. Caleb loves playing around in the gym, and his brothers love interacting with him when he sits/stands in it.

20160429_145215Finally, I have a video of Caleb playing with some keys. You get a random slice of our family life at the beginning when Elias asks Nathan if he can sniff his ear…as Nathan always says, “What’s it like having kids?” But the real purpose of the video is to see how much Caleb loves his keys, and how good he is getting at playing with them.

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My Simon

Simon has been a middle child for 5 months now. I love him as much as ever, but boy is he a classic middle child. Always wanting to keep up with the older brothers while still receiving the privileges of being the youngest child. It seems to me he is always needing my attention for something. He “needs some love” (his words) or wants me to read him a story. He will only eat breakfast if I am sitting with him.

I’ve been so concerned with getting him transitioned into big brother-hood, big boy beds, quitting the binky, and potty training (aka getting him to grow up a bit), that he has done so right beneath my nose. Where is my little toddler? He is gone and a little boy is in his place.

I feel like in most of my blog posts I write about the exciting new things Elias is trying, or the new day by day changes that are happening with Caleb since he is an infant. Simon is just….stuck in the middle.

But I love him so much and make sure to show that to him every day.

So what is going on with Simon? Since he turned 3 he has gotten to try one of the “big boy” rec classes. We signed up for basketball. The first time we went and he realized I was only going to sit on the bleachers and watch he cried. It only took about half the class time, though, for him to join in and have a blast. Ever since he has loved every minute of the class. Here he is learning to dribble:

20160428_102659Simon plays hard and crashes hard. Most days he resists a nap, but I eventually find him crashed in his bed with some sort of toy or book in his hand, like he just snapped into sleep while playing.

20160427_150414He is learning so many new things. In the photo below he was enjoying a float/sink experiment we did at home. He even wanted to keep a chart for the data just like big brother. (Excuse Elias’ hair…it was crazy hair day at school)

20160421_144150Simon gets dragged along to a lot of his older brothers activities. He is a die hard fan, though. I think he was more excited about his Reedville baseball hat than Elias was. We were thankful the team had a couple extras so Simon could sport one too.

20160430_140736So…Simon is stuck in the middle, but he is very much his own person too. Life would be so dull without him!

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Counting My Blessings

I’ve really been counting my blessings lately. It’s hard to feel down on a beautiful sunny day anyway, but the weekend was a great one. By Sunday evening we had had a lot of family time, gotten chores done around the house, been to a tball game, supported a fundraiser for the moms club diaper drive, and more. By dinner, though, I wasn’t ready to go inside just yet so we spontaneously decided to go have a picnic at the park for dinner.

I watched my boys play on the play structure and encouraged them in rolling down the grassy hill. We ate our picnic. I just couldn’t stop thinking how lucky we are that we can take the boys to the park. That we have safe places for them to play. We don’t have to worry about water. Or food. We don’t have to worry about war on the home front. They just get to be kids. I don’t know why I am one of the mommies who is privileged with these blessings. Instead of feeling guilty, though, I decided to feel thankful and to send up prayers for our sponsored kiddos around the world.

Here are my four boys enjoying the evening together as much as I did:

20160501_172605 20160501_174946 20160501_180636

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Mothers Tea

Last Thursday Elias’ pre-k class hosted a mothers tea. I was super excited to go, and thanks to my Dad who watched the younger boys, I could!

All of the kids made a flower lei for their mommy, and the day before they had prepared food. Fruit kebobs, bacon wrapped sausages, and sweet potato biscuits. The class had also prepared three songs to sing for us.

It was so much fun to go and be with my little boy at the Mothers Tea. Elias was genuinely excited as well. He kept asking me if I liked the food and wanted me to sing the songs with him afterward.

20160428_084705The next morning, I asked Elias if he could sing me one of the songs again while I took a video. He gladly complied. So… I have it here for all eternity! This makes my heart full:

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Caleb 5 Months

Caleb is 5 months old today. How is that possible? He is supposed to be my baby and he is getting huge!


At church, Caleb was the smallest/youngest member for the first four and a half months of his life. Yesterday he got to meet his newest little church friend. Beatrix is 13 days old and only weighs about six and a half pounds. That means he triples her weight! I am just loving every second of his babyhood and I wish it would last longer.

Alas, time passes, and he is growing and learning every day. These two pictures sum up Caleb right now:

1 – He is a happy and active little guy. He is content to lay and play on his own (or just watch us) for a little while. He also loves laughing at his brothers. He brings us so much joy!

20160425_1027262 – He is so interested in learning about his world. I went on a walk with him this evening when Nathan took the older two boys to an AWANA night, and he just studied the trees and the birds and the wind. It must be so magical (or confusing) being a baby. He is really interested in toys. He tries to pick up everything, and holding him at the table while trying to eat is a full contact sport these days. He pulls my place mat and tries to touch the food, the glass, the plate. He has gotten pretty good at holding on to toys, and he actually shakes his rattles to entertain himself.

20160425_102537Caleb is sleeping pretty well these days. He often wakes up in the middle of the night, but can put himself back to sleep on occasion. A few nights ago he was awake happy and talking to himself for forty five minutes from about 1 to 1:45 in the morning. Sometimes he still likes to be nursed back to sleep too, but I’m glad he is able to soothe and entertain himself sometimes.

During his fifth month Caleb celebrated his first Easter. He is witnessing his first spring with lots of pretty flowers. He is rolling consistently from back to front, and is happy for a short period while playing on his tummy.

Caleb is still drooling like a madman, and unfortunately it is wreaking havoc on his skin. He had a horrible neck rash for most of the month, but luckily it has cleared up a bit in the last few days, and he currently has pretty bad eczema on his thumbs and on his face (where the most drool ends up).

I am so lucky to be able to witness this little man growing each day.


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Elias’ First TBall Game!

Elias had his first tball game on Saturday. Reedville has it’s annual jamboree to kick of the season. We actually had two games! Looking at the forecast we were afraid it would be rained out, but actually it was a pretty nice day for baseball with only a few brief scattered showers.

I may have over-documented his first game just a bit. But it was his first game in an organized team sport ever, and he’s our oldest so who can really blame us? Poor Caleb being the third child will probably only have a single picture of his first game if that!

I like the tball league because it is pretty low-key just focusing on giving players equal chances of play and having fun. The kids still try to make outs, but even if they make an out (which is very rare at this age), the runner still gets to stay on base. The kids are only allowed one base per at bat, and there are seven batters per inning.

Elias’ team, the Warriors, started in the field. Elias was at second base. He even fielded the ball once!

20160423_102502Then it was time for some offense! Elias was the first batter for his team. I thought he was so cute in his batting helmet. Here he is getting ready to bat (he is number 1):

20160423_102835And up in the batters box:

20160423_103008Elias hit the first pitch and ran to first base! Nathan was the third base coach during the games. Here is a picture of Elias showing Daddy that he knew were to run when the ball was hit next. (Home!)

20160423_103313Running home:

20160423_103411After that Elias got to play pitcher and short stop. Here he is fielding another ball.

20160423_104342After the first game, he got snack…the most important part!

20160423_111544Elias had quite the cheer squad at his first game. Besides his brothers, Nathan, and I, he also had Ama, and Baba cheering him on, and Nana was able to make it to game 2!

The cheering section:

20160423_10590620160423_132437I missed a bit of the second game because I took Simon and Caleb to a birthday party between. But I did get to see Elias bat a couple more times. Here he is on deck taking a practice swing:

20160423_131552And on first base:

20160423_131911In the second game he got to play first base, short stop, and left field.

More important than anything else, he had a lot of fun! The tball season is pretty short, but we’re in for quite a few games in the next two months.

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Kindergarten Fair

Elias will be entering Kindergarten in September. I have been excited for it for years! On Friday we went to his school and registered. Then in the evening, we went to a district-wide kindergarten fair. Mostly there were just a lot of resources for parents and kids, but Elias did get to check out a school bus and meet his principal and the three kindergarten teachers.

Checking out the school bus:

20160422_185235They also had a bunch of the school mascots from elementary schools around the district. Elias loved giving them high fives and hugs. He’ll be an Imlay Eagle in a few months.

20160422_190717I can’t wait for this adventure to begin. First, though, we’re going to enjoy the rest of pre-K, and every minute of summer we can!

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