When we were first introduced to the Kinimaka family via email, we were blown away by the sheer amount of love reverberating from their pictures. You can literally feel the happiness shared amongst their girls - Koral, age 8, Kiryn, age 5, and Selah, age 2. The feeling of joy and innocence is undeniable. It drew us in and we couldn't help but want to to know more about this beautiful 'ohana of 5, soon to be 6.
Ahead, we chatted with mama, Kristy, about raising a family in Hawaii, her favorite part of having a big family, and her advice for new mothers. Read on...
Congrats on expecting your 4th little girl! Can you share what your motherhood journey has been like as your family has grown?
Thanks so much! It's funny because I think I finally met myself when I became a mother; like the person I was always searching for was revealed once I held my first daughter in my arms. I found my true purpose and joy in motherhood, and each girl grows me in such a rich and unique way. I never thought it was possible to have so much unconditional love for so many people - I just didn't think I was capable of it.
But with each girl my capacity to love multiplied so much...it's amazing! Not to say that it's perfect. It's definitely hard and far from perfect, but being a mother, to me, is the best, most rewarding, fulfilling, and difficult job, blessing, and honor there is. I think they teach me more than I do them.
"I found my true purpose and joy in motherhood, and each girl grows me in such a rich and unique way."
Did you grow up in Hawaii? If so, what was your favorite part of being a kid in the islands?
I was born on 'Oahu and have never lived anywhere else. But there is really nowhere else I'd rather be. My favorite part about being a kid in the islands was just being carefree, enjoying my family and the laid-back island lifestyle, and having everything that I liked to do just a short drive away.
What is your favorite part about raising kids in Hawaii?
It's definitely having the beauty, glory, and wonder of God's creation right outside your door. There's so many things to do and see - the beach is just a short drive in one direction, while you can also head in the other and go for a hike. I really don't think there is a more beautiful place to live, and our kids are so blessed to call Hawaii home -we all are.
There is also no other place where the people are as kind and loving as the people of Hawaii are, and that is super important to me as a mom - to have great examples and people for my children to be around and look up to.
Sounds a lot like you're describing the Aloha spirit...what does the Aloha spirit mean to you and how do you nurture it with your girls?
To me, it means loving others, being kind and compassionate, and putting others before yourself. This is something that we try to instill in our girls in their daily interactions amongst themselves and within our family, but also with everyone that they encounter as well.
If you could choose one word to describe your first week as a mother, what would it be and why?
Overwhelming. It's overwhelming in so many different ways: you're filled with all this love and emotion for this amazing blessing and new life that you're responsible for taking care of. It's wonderful, but so scary at the same time.
You're overwhelmed with lack of sleep, trying to juggle taking care of yourself, your baby, the house, your husband...and then with each pregnancy, your other children. It's a lot! But, in the most beautiful and crazy way possible.
"There are many moments during the day where I stop and think to myself, "Wow, they're ours!"
How did those first few weeks with a new baby change as your family grew?
With each baby, it got easier in some ways because we had more experience under our belt and the older girls could help out as well. But, it was also more difficult because now our attention needed to be divided amongst all of them, which is tricky and tiring at times, but we always seem to figure it out somehow.
If you could give one piece of advice to new mothers, what would it be?
Everybody always says it, and you think you'll be okay with out it, but SLEEP when the baby is sleeping. The chores and shower can wait. I'm still trying to catch up from sleep from our first daughter, haha! But seriously, getting sleep will really help you feel so much better.
Also, really try to soak up and enjoy every moment. It goes by way too fast, and you can never get that time back. I still remember bringing home my almost-9-year-old like it was yesterday.
What's been the biggest surprise for you in this crazy adventure called motherhood?
The biggest surprise for me is having such a big family in the first place! Growing up with just my sister and I, I never dreamed of having anything more than that, but God definitely had other plans for our family. It's been such a wonderful ride so far.
Having all girls is another amazing honor and surprise. It's just cool how much they teach me about life and myself.
Tell us about your favorite part about having a big family?
There are so many benefits to having a big family, but I think one is that we are always in good company. Our girls have best friends in each other and we are surrounded with so much love and laughter.
My favorite thing, so far, is that I get to see my heart walking around in so many different forms. Each of my girls are all so special and wonderful in their own way, and they all bring such a unique vibe, light, and tone to our family that makes it so rich and complete. It's really pretty cool. There are many moments during the day where I stop and think to myself, "Wow, they're ours!"