The Return of the Nut


Waiting in the hot, closet-sized room called “Kennel 1” in the cargo section of the airport, we anxiously anticipated the arrival of our boy. We attempted small talk with the friendly vet tech who was there to check Mochi and approve him into the state of Hawaii, but were too nervous to make much of it. If anything in our paperwork was a tiny bit out of place, it would be straight to quarantine for a minimum of 30 days. You wouldn’t believe the amount of work it takes to get a pet into Hawaii.


A 25-page rabies quarantine manual, pages upon pages of checklists to ensure the possibility of direct airport release, a rabies blood test that must be sent to Kansas State University, a complete health check with vet-administered flea/tick medicine within 14 days of arrival, and a ridiculously expensive plane ticket. On top of that, you have to pay for a vet in Maui to go to the airport and do a health and paperwork check before they can be released into the island. All worth it for our Mochi, of course!

The vet tech announced the arrival of the truck carrying the pets and we popped our heads out of the room and searched through the small holes of the crates to catch a glimpse of Mochi. No Mochi. Momentarily panicked, we looked to the vet tech as he asked the driver where our dog was. He informed us that since no one was accompanying Mochi on the flight he had to be processed through cargo before he could be brought to us. The tech seemed irritated and said he’d been doing this for a over a year and had never heard of this happening. Comforting.

It was taking too long and we knew Mochi needed to be let out of the crate he had been in for over 7 hours. Finally, a forklift rounded the corner and I said, “Hi Mochi!” He immediately looked at me in recognition, but I could tell he was frightened from being jerked around on the forklift and the loud noises of the planes and the wind. He began whining and pawing at the door of his crate and my heart ached. Thankfully, the experienced tech quickly scanned the microchip and said we could take Mochi outside. After hastily signing our paperwork we were all set to go with our boy in our arms!


Mochi was dehydrated and a bit out of sorts, but he made it and we’re together again…in Maui! It may take him a while to acclimate, but I have a feeling he’s going to love it just as much as we do. Thank you for thinking of and praying for Mochi today, and helping bring him safely to us. He’s a crazy nut, but we love him with all our hearts.

car car2

Both Brandon and Mochi’s favorite thing to do in the new house


First walk in the neighborhood


meet mochi

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.Josh Billings


Mochi is our boy. He joined us Thanksgiving 2010 and made us a family.


Mochi and his sisters (he’s the one chewing the tree)


First toy


First Christmas


Bella is Mochi’s best friend



Mochi grew up fast


He loves to dress up for Halloween



He loves the snow



He likes to go backpacking


Swimming is his absolute favorite thing to do





When Mochi was 8 months old he got pneumonia and we almost lost him


We are blessed to have this boy in our lives


Mochi isn’t in Maui yet, he is staying with his grandparents. We wanted to make sure he wouldn’t have to be quarantined so he had to wait a little while to join us. We will be reunited on Friday! Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers as he takes his first flight.


First Half. First Medal. First Race in Maui.

I run because it always takes me where I want to go.Dean Karnazes

On our way and wary of the car’s temperature reading.


Off to a rocky start: 5 port-a-johns for 1000 half-marathoners and difficulty finding the registration table. Pinned our bibs on 30 seconds before the gun.

Soon at ease in our very comfortable pace (training was interrupted by move and minor foot surgery and we were not as prepared as we wanted to be; excuses, excuses) with the sound of waves crashing on the shore and the best view we have ever had during a race. More meaningful now as we take in the scene of the ocean and Lanai with the new perspective that this beautiful place is our home.



Happy to be on our way back from the out-and-back.



A welcome sight.



And we finished our first half marathon!




Kindness of Others

A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.Leo Tolstoy


Discovering beautiful little flowers in our mailbox today was a sweet surprise that left me perplexed, wondering who had made this anonymous gesture. It got me thinking about the abundance of kindness we have experienced since arriving on the island, from friends, neighbors, new acquaintances and even strangers. Every morning, 9:00 on the dot, we see an older man walking up and down our street, 6 laps to be exact as we found out one morning when he stopped to introduce himself. Within the first few minutes of conversation we had learned his story and had been given a complete run-down of the neighborhood. Remarkably, the first thing he said after only just learning our names was, “Every evening I get to experience for 28 minutes a perfect view. I have 2 chairs on my lanai (porch) and you are welcome any time to come and watch the spectacular Maui sunset while you sip your tea.”

We bought our first house 3 years ago. At that time, we wanted to live in El Dorado Hills, preferably in the prestigious community of Serrano. We were drawn to these suburbs in the hills, with their beautifully landscaped grounds, gated villages, manicured parks and trails. Excitedly we made an offer on a foreclosure, a great price for a 2750 sq. ft. house…a little big for the two of us, but just think how we could grow into it! A year after moving in we had yet to meet a single neighbor. Did we expect a knock on the door from a family standing outside with freshly baked cookies and an offer to borrow eggs or flour should we ever have the need? Of course not (well sort of), but we could barely get a hello out of someone when we happened to be wheeling our trash cans out at the same time. Then there was the fascist regime of Serrano’s home owner’s association. Every time we would get our mail and see that beige colored envelope with the green Serrano HOA logo we were instantly overcome with fear. As we opened it we would both begin to pray that it wasn’t another citation or warning letter, photos included, about that unapproved flower that had sprouted up in our backyard.

We began to realize the life we were leading was not meant for us. Owning a big house in a stuck up community, having a multitude of fancy gadgets and a walk-in closet full of beautiful clothes from Anthropologie; we learned these things were not what gave us happiness. Happiness was spending time with each other and our dog, being active and having experiences that forced us to live in the moment.

A complete life change is what we needed. We put our house up for sale, sold 80% of our belongings and moved to Maui.