Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflections on 2011...

This year has gone by so fast!  I still can't believe everything that has happened in the last 12 months.  We've been able to experience some of the highest highs we have ever had with Ke'alohi.  She has brought more joy into our lives that I thought possible.  I look back at my life and there are certain milestones that I feel like defined me, but nothing has defined me more than having her.  Yes, I can be labeled a Hawaiian, a college graduate, a daughter and a wife, but no label means more to me than "mom."

With every great year brings some sad times.  The joy that Ke'alohi brings eases but doesn't completely mend the pain from losing my last two grandparents this year.  Grandpa Pauline was such a strong and great woman and I am so lucky to have known her.  Grandpa Ben was taken from us so suddenly that there are still times when I forget for an instant that he is no longer here. More than anything, I wish they could have both met Ke'alohi.

2011 was an incredible year and one that we will never forget.  I can only hope that 2012 bring us as much joy!

Lunch with Uncle Dan, Aunt Karen and The Kids

Uncle Dan, Aunt Karen and the kids were on the east coast for Christmas and got back into LAX today.  They came over to our place to hang out a little and then we all went to lunch.  Thankfully we were able to clean up enough that they didn't see how messy our place was since coming back from Hawaii.  We brought so much stuff back it was a bit ridiculous.  The car service that picked us up had to fill his truck and even had to put our box in the front seat next to him.

We grabbed lunch at the CPK near us and had a blast together.  Jocelyn and Ke'alohi really bonded, so much so that Ke'alohi fell asleep in her arms and stayed there for at least an hour.  She doesn't even do that with me!  It was so nice to see her bonding with all her cousins and she was just loving all the attention.  Can't wait to see them again!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Riverside Mission Inn Lights

We met Lucas' parents tonight for dinner and to pick up the dogs.  Boy, I've missed Duke and Harley running around us.  We met up at Applebee's to grab a quick dinner so we could go to the Riverside Mission Inn and see the Christmas lights they set up every year.  The lights were just as bright and gorgeous as last year but this year it was a little easier to get around now that I'm not tired and pregnant.  Last year, I was so tired by the end of our walk around downtown Riverside that Lucas was practically pulling me to move.  Hahaha.  

Ke'alohi was bundled tight in her stroller so that she could stay warm and still enjoy the lights.  We had a nice time taking in the end of the holiday season and marveling at all the Christmas decorations.  After we were done walking around, we went to their place to pick up the dogs.  I don't know who was more excited, us or them!  It is so nice to have our whole family all together again!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Seven Months Old!

If I thought Ke'alohi changed a lot last month, this month has just been plain ridiculous.  Just in the last three days, Ke'alohi has gotten her first tooth, started clapping and even crawled!  Isn't that nuts?

Ten Facts about Ke'alohi at Seven Months:
  1. Weighs 20 pounds and 8 ounces and measures 27.25 inches.
  2. Can roll over continuously!
  3. Has her first tooth and is working on a second!
  4. Favorite foods are sweet potato, poi and mango.  Hates peas!
  5. Sleeps through the night or wakes up once to hang out with Mommy.
  6. Still loves looking at herself in the mirror.
  7. Starting to grab Duke and Harley to play.
  8. Wanting to crawl for her toys!
  9. Beginning to recognize her name.
  10. Claps when she is happy.

We're Going Going, Back Back, to Cali Cali

No, that is not actually the song that is stuck in my head right now but I thought it was a pretty clever title.  When ever I am leaving Hawaii, I can't help but get the song "Honolulu City Lights" by The Brothers Cazimero stuck in my head.  From take off to landing, I hear Robert and Roland singing the line "And it's not easy to leave again."  Something that did lessened the sting of leaving was being able see my side of the island and even the valley I lived in.  I'm so lucky to be from here!

Ke'alohi was great on this plane ride and we were lucky enough to get an extra seat next to us for her.  It was nice that we had a little more room for her to play and lay down.  All the people around her thought she was the cutest thing and loved making faces at her.  She is still a great traveler, but the only thing is now she doesn't sleep the whole way like she used too.  So glad we aren't "that" family!

A Hui Hou...

You know how they say "Time flies when you're having fun?"  Well it's true.  I can't believe we were in Hawaii for 12 days!  I feel like we had been looking forward to and planning this trip since she was born and it was all done in a blink of an eye.  We had the most amazing time here in Hawaii and can't wait to come back to visit and eventually move back!  

Now we have to start the count down until June when we come back for her baby luau!

First Time Crawling!

This girl is going to make me go crazy constantly updating the blog with all the new things she is doing.  I have already around 40 posts just for December!  We have all been wanting to see her crawl for days now and she has been so close.  Today when Lucas and I were packing and Puna was playing with Ke'alohi, she started to have this determined look on her face.  My mom instantly knew she was going to do it right then and there.  She grabbed her camera and called us all around Ke'alohi and we all got to witness Ke'alohi crawling for the first time.

We are so happy and excited that we all got to see it happen together.  Guess we need to baby proof the townhouse soon because she is MOBILE!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fun in the Hot Tub...

We have a hot tub outside on our deck so this year my dad put up the Christmas lights around it so that when we went in at night the deck would be lighted.  Since our attempts at the beach failed this trip, I really wanted to take Ke'alohi into the hot tub so that she could go swimming and float around.  She is such a water baby and loved it from the moment I brought her in.  She splashed to her heart's content and loved it.

Wish we had one of these in Los Angeles since it's so cold up there!

First Time Clapping!

Even though the excitement of Christmas has died down, our little girl wanted to make sure we knew there was still reason to celebrate.  While we were sitting on the floor playing with her, she started clapping when what we were doing was making her happy.  Sadly, I didn't have the camera with me right when it happened but since then she has been clapping to her hearts content.  Here is one of her clapping the next day.  

It might have been the cutest thing ever, watching her laugh (which showed off her new tooth) and clapping!

Last Day With Friends...

Today was a bittersweet day.  I was so happy that we got to see our friends Ke'ala, Ohu, Nalani and Jason, but I was sad knowing that it was the last time we were going to see them.  We all met for lunch at Fresh Catch, an awesome fish restaurant that Jason and Nalani suggested.  Most of us got the Ahi Katsu which was huge and so delicious!  There is no doubt in my mind that next time we are in Hawaii, we are going there.  At lunch we talked about Ke'ala's life in Shanghai, Ohu's life as a Macy's manager (She's Manager of the Year!) and Jason and Nalani's life building a house for themselves.

After lunch we headed over to Macy's where Ohu works to see the After-Christmas deals and hang out a little longer.  Once we were done shopping, Lucas, Ke'alohi and I headed over to Jason and Nalani's place to relax and hang out a little more.  Jason and Nalani were so close to getting Ke'alohi to crawl but every time she would get close, she would roll over and just smile and laugh at them.  Ke'alohi's favorite thing to do with Auntie Nalani is getting her to give her a lomi or massage.  Ke'alohi will just lay there for as long as Auntie Nalani will rub her.  Isn't she just living the life?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mele Kalikimaka!

It's Ke'alohi's First Christmas!  I can't believe it's already here because I remember last year when it was just Lucas and I and we were talking about how next year we will have our baby!  Crazy!  This morning we woke up and Santa and his reindeer had been here.  Cookie crumbs, carrot pieces and slobbery water had been left for us to clean up.  It's a small price to pay for the gifts he left us.  Santa brought Ke'alohi Leap Frog's My Pal Violet, a talking and singing dog, and a LMU cheerleader shirt.  Santa got me earrings, Lucas a Best Buy gift card and Kai two shirts.  Isn't Santa great?!?

After Santa's presents we got ready for the rest of the day and changed out of our pajamas.  We were so blessed to have so many presents, especially for Ke'alohi.  She totally scored awesome toys, clothes, a beautiful needlepoint by my mom and her first pair of diamond earrings from Mommy and Daddy.  For lunch, we had our usual BLTs and hung out all afternoon while my dad cooked Christmas dinner.  

Uncle Harry, my grandma's brother, came over for dinner and to open the last of the Christmas presents.  It was so much fun talking to him about the "old days" and hearing him talk about being in the Army.  Kai, Lucas and Uncle Harry could be heard laughing from downstairs while they were looking at old pictures of Uncle Harry, Granny and Grandpa.

Lucas and I are so lucky to have spent Ke'alohi's first Christmas in Hawaii and with my family.  It was truly a day to remember and we are so grateful that my parents made this all happen by giving our Christmas present a little early, our tickets to come home.  Thanks Puna and Opa!

First Tooth Broke!

Houston, we have a tooth!  Ke'alohi has been fussy for a couple of days now and we knew that her tooth was coming soon; it was just a waiting game until it broke through her gums.  While we were playing with her new toys we noticed that she was been extremely irritable and then we saw it, the white tooth ridge.  

We were all happy and excited but it was just another milestone showing us that our little girl is growing up. Bring on more pearly whites!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Getting Ready for Santa!

I know you are all going to think it is ridiculous, but we still celebrate Christmas with Santa.  It's not just because we have Ke'alohi now, because we even did this last year.  My parent's motto is that as long as we still believe in Santa, he will come.  Our Santa tradition is that we give him one cookie, milk and some carrots for the reindeer outside.  And then outside, we set out a bucket of water and some reindeer food.  Our reindeer food is oatmeal and glitter so that they can see it at night shimmering.  

We might be getting a little old for it but I honestly and truly love it.  Can't wait for Santa to come and to open presents tomorrow!

Christmas Eve Mass and Dinner at CPK

Christmas Eve marks the beginning of our family traditions.  The first tradition is the 5:30 mass at Holy Trinity Church, the church and school we went to when Kai and I grew up.  It was packed and full of people celebrating Jesus' birthday.  The mass was nice and we even got to see my second grade teacher, Mrs. Hamilton and Kai's kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Bierwert. 

After dinner we headed to our usual Christmas Eve dinner, California Pizza Kitchen.  I don't know when it started, but ever since I can remember we have been going to CPK for dinner after Christmas Eve mass.  This Christmas Eve dinner was different for me because we had Ke'alohi and because Kai is 21 now.  I have never been to dinner with Kai when he has ordered a drink.  I almost had a heart attack when my brother ordered a beer and then later ordered a glass a wine.  It is still so weird for me to think of him as old enough to drink.  Where has the time gone?

After dinner we headed back home to get ready for Santa!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lunch with Auntie Jody

To continue our quest to see friends and eat at all the best places on Hawaii, we met up with my friend Jody at O-Bok Korean Restaurant in Manoa.  I can never find my favorite Korean BBQ dish, meat jun, on the mainland which makes me think that it might be a "local" Korean dish and not a truly Korean meal.  Meat Jun is a thin piece a meat that is dipped in an egg bath and then fried.  It's usually the only think I will order when I am home and at a Korean restaurant.  All three of us ordered the meat jun and talked story about Ke'alohi and the new townhouse that Jody just bought with her boyfriend, Lloyd, in Waikele.

We are so excited for them on buying their first place and getting the keys last month!  We can't wait to visit their townhouse next time we are home and letting Ke'alohi "break-in" their place...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Party with Friends

One of the things I love most about Hawaii is how family and friends oriented everyone is.  All friends are family and all family are friends.  Most of our friends back home have children.  This year, since a couple more of us "multiplied" we decided to do a Secret Santa with the kids so everyone didn't have to get presents for everyone. We had a potluck Christmas party at Jessica's house where all of us brought the little ones to eat and play while the parents talked story and hung out.  We had fun talking about Jessica and I's newest additions in 2011 and Kanani and Shyana's new additions coming in 2012!  I got scared a little when Jessica was trying to get Ke'alohi to walk and crawl because we found out that Seja walked at 7 months and 1 week!  That's in 10 days for Ke'alohi!  Hopefully Ke'alohi does not take after Seja and will take her time for the sake of Mommy and Daddy.

We all decided to wait on opening the presents so all the kids could open their presents on Christmas day.  Can't wait to see what Auntie Pono, Uncle Bronson, Hunter and Hailey got Ke'alohi!

Afternoon with Aunties Nalani, Brittney and Kalena and Ka'eo

After we had lunch with Ryan and Gari-Ann we headed over to Kahalu'u to visit Aunties Nalani, Brittney and Kalena and Ka'eo.  While we were there, Brittney, an amazing hair stylist and make-up artist at Regis, gave me a free haircut and eye brow wax!  While we were off chopping my hair, everyone else was in the house playing with Ke'alohi and Ka'eo.  Ka'eo was so cute to let Ke'alohi play with some of his toys and sit in his papasan chair.  

After they were playing and Brittney was done with my hair, we went outside so that Ka'eo could show us his pet chickens.  I have to share the chicken's names because they are so cute... He named them Katsu, Garlic and Mochiko; all my favorite chicken dishes back home!  We watched them run around while we played on the swing set.

It was such a great afternoon spent with friends!

Hawaiian Food with Uncle Ryan and Auntie Gari-Ann

I think you might be getting the impression that whenever we go home to Hawaii, all it is about is food, beaches, family and friends.  You would be right!  When I plan our trips back home, I have a list of places I want to eat (and what to order), beaches I want to go to and people I want to see.  Today, we grabbed lunch with my high school friends Ryan and Gari-Ann.  We were all in band together at Kamehameha and have been friends ever since.  Ryan actually lives in Los Angeles, but we have been horrible and it took both of us flying to Hawaii for the holidays to meet up for the first time since Ke'alohi was born.  Gari-Ann lives in Germany right now while her husband, Aaron, is deployed flying Apache helicopters for our Army.

We were originally going to meet up at Helena's for Hawaiian food, but it was crazy busy and we decided to go to another Hawaiian restaurant, People's Cafe.  The food was great and "hit the spot."  We laughed about Ryan being on The Price is Right and talked about how Gari-Ann should be a professional photographer.  If you have time, you should check out her blog because the pictures on there are phenomenal.  We had such a nice time with them and hope to do it again soon!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Uncle Will's Commissioning

Uncle Will is officially a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army!  We are so unbelievably proud of Lucas' brother, Will, who also just graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Anthropology and was commissioned this afternoon.  We are very disappointed that we couldn't be there to celebrate with him, Allie (his girlfriend) and Lucas' parents since we are home in Hawaii for the holidays.  

Never the less, we can't wait to see him next and congratulate him in person!  Now that he is commissioned we are waiting to hear what is next and when he is going to training!  We love you Uncle Will!

Ke'alohi is Officially a Poi Baby!

The food I was most excited to give Ke'alohi was poi.  Poi comes from the kalo plant (we saw it with Auntie Nalani at her office) and is a staple Hawaiian dish.  Poi is one of the oldest foods and dates back to when the Hawaiians first settled on the islands.  It was special to know that this food that I was giving her was a food all Hawaiian moms gave their babies growing up.

Just look at my little poi baby!

Cinnamon's Restaurant and Lanikai Beach

Two of my favorite things in Kailua are Cinnamon's Restaurant and Lanikai Beach.  Naturally, as true Hawaiians, we stuffed our faces at Cinnamon's and then headed to the beach.  Hahaha.  We met up with our friends Bridget, Ely and Ilikea at Cinnamon's and ate to our heart's content.  I have been somewhat skeptical about one of their menu items for a while now because it seemed too sweet and dessert-like for brunch.  I will now say that was wrong, very wrong.  The red velvet pancakes at Cinnamon's was sent from God himself as a gift to mankind.  They taste like heaven in your mouth and instantly jumped on my list of "last meal" items.  Lucas and I shared the pancakes and Cinnamon's kalua pig eggs benedict (which was also fabulous).  My only regret is that I shared with Lucas and didn't make him get his own stack of pancakes!

After we were more that full and satisfied with our brunch, we headed to Lanikai Beach, a beach that is constantly voted one of the best beaches in the world.  The only thing we did not think about before heading to the beach was how the babies were going to be once we got there.  Sadly, we did not last long because on the way over to the beach Ke'alohi fell asleep and it was so windy that Ilikea was not having it after five minutes.  So we took a few pictures and loaded everything back into the bags and stroller and left.  Hopefully, next time we go there it will not be so windy and the girls will be able to enjoy it more.

We retreated back to Bridget, Ely and Ilikea's house to hang out, try out some poi with the girls and figure out when we can take the girls to the beach again!  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kamehameha Schools Founder's Day!

Anyone who really knows me, knows that not only am I proud to be from Hawaii, but I am extremely proud to have gone to Kamehameha Schools.  My high school is something I hold very dear to me because I had such a great experience there and I don't believe that I would have had the life I have now without it.  To give you a little background on my high school, it was started by a woman called Bernice Pauahi Bishop.  She was the last descendent of Kamehameha I and when she passed, left all of her land and assets into a trust to establish a school for Hawaiian children.  

Every year on her birthday, December 19th, we hold a Founder's Day service to honor and thank her for everything she gave to us, her Hawaiian children. A simple thank you to Pauahi could never sufice for what she gave me.  These words are spoken every year at Founder's Day and truly mean something to me and I hope one day will be spoken and mean something to Ke'alohi as well.

We, the students of Kamehameha Schools,
In appreciation of our founder, Bernice Pauahi Bishop,
Pledge to develop our potential in all we do,

To strive to meet our responsibilities,
To progress to the best of our ability,
To carry ourselves with dignity and pride.

So we, the people of Hawaii,
For whom she cared so much,
Give thanks on this day of remembrance.
And remain forever indebted to her.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lunch at Mui Kwai Chop Suey with Family and Friends

To celebrate Ke'alohi's baptism, we hosted a lunch at Mui Kwai Chop Suey, my family and Grandparent's favorite Chinese restaurant.  Even though Ke'alohi was exhausted from her very eventful morning, she got a second wind (and second outfit from her Godmother) and rallied awesomely for lunch.  We had two big tables for family and friends to eat great food, talk story and celebrate our little girl.  It was a great chance for some of my friends to meet Ke'alohi and even meet Lucas.  

Everyone had a great time together and also enjoyed munching on some cookies sent by Lucas' mom in California.  The day was absolutely perfect and ended on a great note.  I truly want to thank all our family and friends who were there to share in this special day.  We love you all!

Ke'alohi's Baptism

We have been waiting to baptize Ke'alohi for some time now because we really wanted to do it in Hawaii.  There were a few reasons to do it back home:  The most important reason to us was to have it done at my grandparent's church.  St. John Vianney Catholic Church meant so much to my grandparents who were loyal parishioners for over 35 years.  The last two times I was in that church were for my grandma and grandpa's funeral services.  I had talked to Fr. Tom at the church when we were pregnant and after Grandpa's service if he would perform Ke'alohi's baptism for us.  In a way that church has really signified the circle of life for me: death and birth.

The morning started off with us getting ready for the big day and heading over to the church.  We were lucky enough to have some of our friends and family attend the service.  For those of you that don't know about Ke'alohi's two amazing Godparents, they are Nalani and Elijah.  Unfortunately Elijah was not able to make Ke'alohi's baptism and was in Los Angeles.  So, Nalani took on both of their duties during the mass.  Ke'alohi was a champ throughout the whole mass and didn't cry at all.  In fact she was happy as a clam most of it and even sang a few times, especially when the music was playing and the choir was singing.

We are so happy to welcome Ke'alohi into the Church with some of our closest friends and family by our sides.  I know Grandma and Grandpa were also there in spirit looking down on our little girl, hopefully showering her with hugs and kisses too from heaven.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Uncle Kai is Home

Right after our Christmas party, we headed straight to the Honolulu Airport to pick up my brother.  We were so excited from him to come in because he has not gotten to meet Ke'alohi yet in person.  We have been able to Skype with Kai a few times, but with him being at the Naval Academy, getting leave to meet his niece is not a top priority for the U.S. Military.  Not cool, right? Anyways, it was so nice for him to finally meet Ke'alohi and for them to bond.  We are still working on Kai in terms of some of the activities he wants to do with her because she might be a "little" young for paintballing, hiking and roughing it in general.

Welcome home Uncle Kai!

First Time Rocking a Diaper to The Beach!

While we were at the beach house we took the opportunity to initiate Ke'alohi (she's on the left) into the "Local Babies" club by having her rock a diaper as her swimsuit.  You might think that we did this because we didn't have a swimsuit; nope, we did it because every baby in Hawaii does it at one point in their childhood.  We decided to do it today since some of the little kids had their Santa diapers on.  I'm not going to lie, Ke'alohi did not like it, which is why I have the picture of their backs.  She was screaming bloody murder almost the whole time since it was so windy.

Hopefully we will have another chance to take her to the beach this trip!

The Dial's Kawela Bay Christmas Party

Our friends Bridget and Ely hosted a Christmas party today at Bridget's family's beach house at Kawela Bay.  So after seeing Nalani and Jason's house, we made the "trek" up to the North Shore.  Lucas always makes fun of me when I moan and groan about going to the North Shore because to me that is SOOO far.  Realistically, the North Shore is only 45 miles away but in relation to the whole island, that's clearly on the opposite side for us.  We make those kind of drives all the time in Los Angeles, but in Hawaii, those drives aren't something you do too often.  

The whole drive up to Kawela Bay, the song "This is the Life" by Kolohe Kai was going through my head.  Seeing all the houses and beaches made me realize just how lucky I am to come from a place like this.  Not everyone gets to grow up a stone's through from prestine sand and the clear blue ocean.  It is truly my life's dream to move back home and give Ke'alohi the kind of childhood I was so lucky to have.

Once we got to the party, it was all fun and games for the rest of the day!  The party they hosted was for their friends that all had babies this year, most of them they had met during their lamaze class in Kailua.  The party was potluck style which meant one thing "ono food!"  Ono in Hawaiian means delicious, and it was just that.  We ate large amounts of poke, edamane, salad, roasted veggies, shoyu chicken, brownies and baklava.  We had so much fun watching the kids play together and talking about how they were all developing and taking tips from each other.  Ke'alohi and Ilikea might have had the most fun of all when they were siting in the papasan chair on the lanai watching each other and the Hawaiian flag fly in the wind.

All in all, it was such a fun day spent at Kawela Bay and well worth the drive up.  We can't wait for the next party at their beach house!

Visiting Auntie Nalani and Uncle Jason's House

Nalani and Jason have been building their house for a while now and they are so close to being done!  I know that they would say that they are not even close to being done but when we were there, it looked awesome and is really starting to look like a house!  When we were there this past March, they only had the cider block foundation for the bottom floor situated.  Now, all of that is done plus the framing and roofing is almost done! 

We got to walk around the property and see were rooms would be and how things would come together.  My absolute favorite part of the house has to be the bay window area that will be in the dining area.  That part of the room is going to have a bench for one side of the dinning table and will look out to Kahalu'u.  Lucas and Jason spent most of their time in the garage, or as I call it "Jason's Fortress", which has numerous storage sheds, tool rooms and even a full bathroom!  What else could a guy want?  

We can't wait for them to finish the house so that we can move in!  Hehehe!