Meet the Flemings
Updated: Aug 23, 2018
Life at 40...where do I start?! I used to think forty sounded old. As a kid, my 40 year-old parents were OLD! But now that's us... Parents of three wild, free-spirited children, homeowners with a mortgage, living on Kauai, with bills to pay. The good news is, I love it! I was eerily excited for my 40th birthday... the truth is, if I had magic glasses on at 20 years old that allowed me to glimpse into my future life at 40, I know I would've been smiling. We aren't exactly wealthy, we have our stresses, it's chaotic at times (to say the least) but overall, my heart is exploding with gratitude for this life.
I met my husband Chad in 2009, on the dance floor at the Tahiti Nui in Hanalei. Haha, go ahead and laugh for those who know the Nui. It's funny! Moving on... we married in 2010 on the north shore of Kauai in Haena, where I hope to eventually settle down again one day.
Our journey has been a ride. He was living in the back of his beat-up, rickety Chevy truck, which had basically no brakes, intoxicating mold smells, and leaked rain from everywhere the window glass met the rusted frame. High class. He was a newly single dad, with a beautiful one yr. old daughter, Lea. I clearly like his moves on the dance floor, but what I liked even more was the sparkle in his eyes and the feeling that I had known him my whole life.
He was looking for a place to live, and I conveniently knew of a small rental in Wainiha, just 5 minutes from my studio at Tunnels. It needed a ton of work, but the price and location ;-) was right. And Chad, with his mad building skills, could turn any dump into an amazing home.
The early years were as emotionally high as they were financially low. I had been single for all of my twenties, and was a travel junkie. I lived and worked for plane tickets...I'd travel to some third world country until I ran out of money, then land back home in Haena broke as ever, ready to start all over again, saving up for that next big adventure. Now that I had Chad and Lea, my gypsy ways were stowed away with my backpack, and our life became pretty domestic, pretty fast. We were so in love, and broke as ever! But we didn't care. We knew we would create something wonderful together.
We got married and had our first son, Blue. He was born at the home of my midwife, Claudia Brown, in a hot tub on her outdoor lanai under the blue noon sky (where many other Kauai babies had been born). Claudia was phenomenal, incredibly intelligent and intuitive, wise, strong and loving...I could go on and on. But that's another blog post.
Those early years were magic, yet very challenging. We began building our lives as a family with young kids, working hard to afford the high cost of living on this tropical island. We moved from little studio spaces into real homes with 3 bedrooms and garages. We felt like "grown-ups" and laughed at ourselves...Kauai seems to attract people who do not follow a conventional path of high school, four year college, 9-5 career with benefits and 401k, retirement, and finally some time to travel. We certainly did not, and the tradeoff has been incredible life experiences and the freedom of being self-employed, but no savings or estate planning. We are getting there, just slower than our friends and family on the mainland. And we are okay with that.
Our first home outside of Haena was a little plantation rental home in Kilauea. Chad fully remodeled it, and many memories were made in that home. The outdoor lanai was like a living room, where the kids spent countless hours playing and creating art. Lea and Blue started preschool at a magical spot in Hanalei, with their cousin Ella. (If you know us, you probably know I have 8 siblings, which makes for lots of cousins!)
Having gone from single life to married with two kids in diapers, it took some time to settle into this new life before we were ready to consider another baby. When Blue was 4 yrs old, went for it. Another healthy pregnancy, and a water birth at our Kilauea home, in our outdoor Bali-style tub. We named her Waioli Rain. Yes, I guess you could call us hippies (and we eat kale and do yoga!) Waioli has been an amazing gift--like a missing piece of puzzle to unify this family. She is a fiercely spirited one, destined to take make waves. She does not miss a beat, and has been charging life from the day she arrived, keeping up with two older siblings.
Life continues on... Chad became licensed as a general building contractor, and established his own company, Kauai Eco Builders. I sold my childcare business in 2010 and obtained my real estate license, now working with Elite Pacific Properties. It turns out, these two careers work very well together!
Fast forward a few years...it's 2018. We left the north shore (which I never thought I would be OK with!) and bought a fixer upper in Kapaa. It's been my favorite project so far, which I plan to write a blog about soon. My heart still remains with Haena, but I'm enjoying the many perks of east side living...and Chad sure appreciates being closer to Home Depot.
Living on Kauai is not all rainbows and waterfalls--it certainly comes with challenges. It requires thick skin, the ability to be broken down emotionally/financially, and strength to rise above and TRUST the process. Truly, it's a privilege to raise our children here, so deeply connected to community and nature. I love our home, I'm grateful for our careers which allow us both to authentically help others, while providing for our own family. We are able to comfortably pay our mortgage. Our beat-up cars have been replaced with reliable, comfortable vehicles. We are still in love, and that means everything.
I am reminded constantly of how much we truly have-- healthy bodies, free of addiction & mental disease (although Chad might say I have a little OCD), plenty of nutritious food on the table everyday, beautiful children, a warm cozy bed to tuck into nightly, and a deep knowing that everything will work out. We have so much to be thankful for.
Our soul foods include being together as a tribe, camping at Polihale, going on yoga/dinner dates, cooking fresh food from our favorite farmers' markets, and playing outside. This is us...
Today, I am grateful for Health--and being surrounded by friends and community on Kauai that support this healthy lifestyle.
I'd love to hear from you...What are you grateful for today?