Taylor Made

Taylor Made

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Welcome to the world, baby Elijah: A Birth Story


Rob and I had decided that around the time that Uriah turned 1, we would start trying again for another baby. Luckily for us, about one month and five positive pregnancy tests later, we found out we were expecting yet again! Baby Number 2 was due somewhere around June 26, 2017.

My talented friend Des Chaves took maternity photos for me at 39 weeks!
Fast forward to June 26, 2017, and, as I expected, I had no signs of imminent labor. 

This is the face of a woman who is over it.
This photo was taken July 4, when I was 41 weeks and 4 days!!

Uriah was born at 40+6 (and was induced at that point), so having a baby "past due" did not phase me...AT FIRST. Once I started to go past that date, though, I started getting anxious! My midwifery office (Special Beginnings - who I love, by the way!) said that they would be OK with me going to 41+6, but if at that point the baby hadn't come by then, we would schedule a c-section. While my initial c-section with Uriah was not at all traumatic, I was really hoping for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) this time around. Not only did I want to experience what it was like to actually "give birth," but the recovery time for a c-section is so much longer, and is a luxury a Mom with a toddler can't really afford. I threw myself into VBAC education, VBAC support groups, and made sure that the providers I sought prenatal care from were not just VBAC tolerant, but VBAC supportive/friendly. I actually switched providers at 31 weeks (third trimester!) to Special Beginnings because they gave me an additional week longer before even considering scheduling a c-section.

On the early morning of July 5, 2017, I started having some pretty intense contractions. I had been having contractions for a few days, but nothing consistent enough to make any of my providers particularly interested. Most people I talked to chalked it up to "Braxton Hicks," but these contractions were pretty painful - painful to the point where they woke me up from sleep, and kept me awake and from sleeping. There were several that were painful to the point of nausea, and some that I actually had to "breathe through," and stop what I was doing. At about 5:30 that morning, I got up to pee for the 400th time, and felt a small gush during a contraction. For a second I wondered if it was my water breaking, but it was so subtle that I quickly dismissed it. I called my midwife's office, and they said that since my contractions weren't consistent enough (I would have contractions between 2-5 minutes, then an odd 8 or 9 minute break, on repeat), I should stay home monitoring. Fortunately, I had an appointment with my midwife's office scheduled for that afternoon, so we agreed that my provider would check me at that appointment. One hour later, I got up to use the bathroom for the 401st time, and definitely felt a gush that splashed onto the carpet and through my pajama pants. EXCITING! With Uriah, my water had never broken on its own. I called Rob and told him he should come home from work since my water had officially broken. My contractions were still inconsistent, but painful to the point where I actually threw up a few times, was shaking, and had to really focus to get through them. Meanwhile, my water kept gushing and getting everywhere. I had gone through several beach towels and pajama pants, and knew I needed a better solution. Thankfully, Mom Taylor was here and went to the store to get me some Depends, which were LIFE SAVERS! #DontKnockItTilYouTryIt #NoShameinMyAdultIncontinencePantyGame 

At my OB appointment, my midwife checked my dilation and confirmed that I was already 5-6 cm dilated! This was also amazing to me, as with Uriah, I had already gotten an epidural by the time I was 2-3, and here I was walking around dilated a 5-6. This was also very validating to me because it proved to aaaaaaall my naysayers (see: haters :P) that the painful contractions I had been feeling over the past few days were legitimate. My midwife recommended we head to the hospital and check-in after we got something small to eat. I definitely wanted to grab something, even though I didn't feel like eating, because I knew that once I had been admitted, I would be relegated to a liquid diet. (Think: Chicken broth, jello, popsicles, ice chips, juice) We stopped at chick-fil-A, and I halfheartedly ate half a chicken sandwich. 

We got to the hospital at around 5, and were checked into their biggest birthing suite, which just so happened to be available! (Hooray for random, midweek babies!) My contractions were really painful at that point, and I told Rob I wanted the epidural. While I wasn't committed to a medication-free birth, I did want to see how long I could hold off without getting an epidural. In my research for VBAC success, there was some indicated correlation that getting an epidural early on could thwart or hinder the body's dilation process. In addition to that, it would confine me to a hospital bed, which limits mobility and the positional options that might encourage further progress. Rob suggested I just try to wait until my doula, Delaney, could meet us at the hospital. I had loved the idea of a doula, but knew that we wouldn't be able to afford one. (Doulas can range anywhere from $600-1000 or more!) Special Beginnings had given me a handout during my care there that listed several different doula services, one being the John Hopkins school of nursing. I was shocked to see that it was a free service catering to anyone in the Baltimore city areas! Granted, these doulas were students, and couldn't 100% guarantee a birth attendance, but just having the potential of that option was amazing! Delaney had actually attended a few births as a doula before mine. Thankfully, she arrived to the hospital about half an hour later, and she made a night and day difference in how I was able to cope with and manage the pain. She brought in her arsenal of tricks LED flameless tea lights, a diffuser with calming oils, and we put on relaxing "SPA/meditation" music on our bluetooth speaker. She also had the nurses bring us a large exercise ball, and helped instruct me on positions to help alleviate pain. At the same time, she used counter-pressure and massage to help with my back pain (she also taught Rob so he took over eventually), and had a warm compress to place on my abdomen during or after contractions. It was amazing to me how these few natural solutions truly made a difference! What I thought had been 45 minutes of us working through contractions was actually 2 hours worth! Afraid that the contractions would get too painful before I could get an epidural, I requested an epidural. I feel that I could've actually tolerated the pain longer (Delaney told me I was a "rock star" and honestly, I was pretty impressed with myself! No screaming, controlled breathing) but was afraid that I would miss the window for an epidural. At that point, I was dilated to a 7. 



The anesthesiologist arrived around 7:30, and I forewarned him that with Uriah, they had to stick me literally 6 times to try to find the space between my vertebrae. Unfortunately, the same was true this time around. The anesthesiologist asked if I had any history of back surgery, or scoliosis, and the answer was no. He went through about 6 different epidural kits, none of which were successful. This lasted for about 45 minutes, during which I was having regularly timed, painful contractions, and had to remain completely still. The anesthesiologist ended up calling ANOTHER anesthesiologist to see if he would have more success. One hour later and many prods later, I finally had the epidural.  We were finally able to get a little rest. A few hours later, they checked me, and my dilation hadn't changed; I was still a 7. At that point, we decided we were going to be proactive and try to encourage the baby into the proper position. We alternated between the peanut ball, rotating from side to side, and sitting the bed up in the "throne position." Hours later, when we checked again, I still hadn't had any change in dilation. Fortunately for me, the OB on-call that night was agreeable to me being given a small dose of pitocin to help encourage further regularity of my contractions, and hopefully dilation. (Midwives do not have the authority to use pitocin, and had forewarned me that the OBs on-call likely would not be open to any augmentations of labor as it could  [fractionally] increase my risk for uterine rupture.) 

At that point, we had been in the hospital long enough that new nurses took over, and the next midwife on duty took over. Additionally, a new OB was on the floor. The new OB also was agreeable to pitocin augmentation, and incrementally increased the dose to encourage further progress. At 10:00 am on 07/06/17 (over 24 hours since my water had broken), they checked my dilation again, and I was still at a 7-8. At that point, it was recommended that we schedule a repeat c-section. While it was not the ending that I was hoping for, I was at peace with this decision. My primary concern in this whole process was being truly supported in my VBAC attempt, and everyone from the on-call OBs, nurses, midwives, and my doula all wanted my VBAC for me just as badly as I did. I felt supported, encouraged, and in control of the decision making process; free from bullying or scare tactics. 


While I don't love me in this photo, I love how
sweet and caring Rob is. It was a perfect moment captured by my midwife.
The c-section itself was surprisingly gentle; more gentle than my previous c-section. With my last, I remember the tugging and pulling pressure actually made me cry despite being anesthetized. This time around, there was virtually no pain. While there was no pain, I still got the violent shakes that comes with the medications given. It was pretty bad, but since I had already experienced it before, it wasn't as alarming this time around. Rob said it was scary and hard for him to watch me in that state, and it gave me a deeper appreciation for what a toll birth takes on a couple as a whole, not just the mother. 

Anne Arundel Medical Center practices "family-centered" c-sections, where your spouse is allowed in the room, you have the option for a clear drape (NO THANKS), and your own music playing. We threw on some Hawaiian music, and Braddah Iz was playing in the O.R. when Elijah was born (Hawaii '78 to be specific). It was comforting to have my music playing, Rob there, and a midwife who was very calming and reassuring. At 12:01pm on July 06, 2017, our baby boy was born. Elijah was 8 pounds, 12.6 oz and 21.5 inches long! All that gestating naturally led to a sturdy little (big) guy!


While it was unknown to me at the time, Elijah was initially born in a somewhat poor condition. The APGAR scale rates babies on appearance, heart rate, breathing, etc with a high score of 10. When Elijah was first born, his APGAR was a 3 total. They whisked him away to work on him, and my midwife did a great job distracting me and keeping me calm. Rob said it was scary for him, though, because when he first saw Elijah, he looked gray, and the doctors and nurses made him leave the room while they focused on Elijah. Apparently, he had ingested some of the amniotic fluid, and they needed to clear it from his airway/lungs before getting him to breathe. After 5 minutes, they reassessed his condition and noted him as a 7, and then a few minutes later he was noted as a 9. I did not realize the severity of the situation until we got a bill in the mail with the medical billing code noted as "newborn birth with resuscitation." We are so grateful that our baby boy is fully recovered and healthy!






Rob and I had both agreed we loved the name Elijah while we were still pregnant with Uriah. While we didn't feel that Elijah fit the name of our first baby, we definitely knew that this baby boy's name was to be Elijah. We loved the name Elijah, because of its scriptural background, and its compliment to Uriah's name and meaning. Elijah means "My God is God," or "Yaweh is God." Uriah means, "Yaweh (or the Lord) is my light." We love that their names have a link to one another. 


Additionally, I had been grappling with what Hawaiian name we wanted to give Elijah. Rob and I wanted again something that represented brothers, or closeness. I also knew that I wanted to incorporate "Hiwa" or "Hiwahiwa" into the name, as it is a family name that all of our Hawaiian/Kimokeo side has included in their children's names. (My brother, cousin, and 2 nephews all have hiwahiwa in their names.) I also wanted to give a nod to my Dad, whose middle name is Hiwa.  In addition to this, the Hiwa name was also a part of my paternal Grandfather and Great-Grandfather's middle names. I had asked my friend Ka'ena (we were in Hawaiian class at Kamehameha together) if she had any suggestions giving her the idea of what we wanted. She suggested and we decided on the middle name "Hoapilihiwahiwa," which means a cherished or beloved close companion/friend. It is such a simple, beautiful name and meaning, and perfectly captured what we wanted represented in his name. This middle name has been proven time and again even in this short period that Elijah has been born; Uriah is SO gentle and sweet with his brother, and basically obsessed with him. Every morning, Uriah excitedly runs over to greet his brother. Aside from that, Elijah has been MY hoapili, too - in the sense that 1) he wanted to "stay close" to me for SO LONG in the womb, and 2) he still loves being "pili" to me even on the outside. 'Opihi would've also been an appropriate middle name. 



While it has been an adjustment for us with a new baby and an energetic toddler, we are so happy that Elijah is a part of our family! We are definitely getting the swing of the "2 kids" thing, and look forward to all of the adventures that lie ahead for our family. 



Sunday, August 27, 2017

My Baby is no longer a Baby: Welcome to Toddlerhood, Uriah!


Seemingly overnight, my baby boy has transformed from a sweet and cuddly baby to a rambunctious, free-spirited (see also: tazmanian devil of energy. As I am typing this, he is currently kicking the walls and singing to himself in his crib for "nap time"), and still pretty-sweet-most-of-the-time toddler!




Some of the things that Uriah loves currently as a 2 year old are:

-the movies Sing, Moana, and Robin Hood (he can "quote" these movies as he watches, ask Aunty Beth! Wonder who he gets that from...?)


Uriah was SO excited by this gift Doug Arbon made for us. He carved and
painted Maui's fish hook, and Uriah absolutely LOVES it!

-Building towers with his blocks

-"Reading" books on his own

-eating EVERYTHING that is not a normal food source (e.g., Sophie's dog food, playground wood chips, paper, etc)

-smelling EVERYTHING (food, paper, his BUTT. Yes, he is a boy and already proving to like gross things)

-Jumping! On his trampoline, on our couch, on the floor, on his crib! Anywhere there is a surface he can stand on, he will jump on it!



-Doing crib gymnastics during nap time (we have viewed him on the baby monitor literally doing headstands)

-Hot dogs, pizza, animal crackers, cottage cheese, fruit (veggies are less edible in his eyes than Sophie's dog food, wood chips, paper, etc)


-his little brother, Elijah. He is OBSESSED. Very sweet and gentle, but also exasperating in how frequently he wants to kiss or touch his brother! I try to be gentle in my policing, because I love that he is sweet with Elijah, but also want Elijah to survive Uriah's version of affection. lol

Very sweet. Very touchy. But mostly, sweetly touchy.

For Uriah's birthday, we wanted to just keep it really low-key. Rob and I tried to plan a birthday that he would enjoy, so we went to the pool, then had pizza, cake and ice cream for dinner. I think it's safe to say he enjoyed his day (and we did, too!)

We love this silly little guy!


Enjoying yummy birthday cake and ice cream! Daddy frosted the cake
Happy boy opening presents! Among the favorites:
A helicopter and water guns!

We love our sweet boy and look forward to many, many more birthdays to celebrate the blessing of him in our lives!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN West Philadelphia, born and raised...

Actually, I'm not sure it was West Philadelphia we were in. I can, however, confirm that we ventured SOMEWHERE within Philadelphia. So, there's that!

One thing that Rob and I both wanted to take advantage of while living on the East Coast was road tripping to areas that we normally would not find ourselves traveling to (no offense to the East Coast states, it's just a REALLY far shot from Hawaii!) With so much rich history, food, and culture to explore, we decided that Philadelphia would be our first of hopefully many little trips we take as a family while stationed out here. We picked Philadelphia because the drive is not very far (about 2.5 hours), there seemed to be a lot to do, and honestly, we had a pretty bad hankering for some legit Philly cheesesteaks. 

We started the drive in the early afternoon, and got to Philadelphia just in time to check out the Liberty Bell. Unfortunately, there was a line to get in, so we just barely made it into the exhibit before closing (I'd say within 10 minutes). There was a lot of information that we had to skim through, but still so fascinating to learn! 
IDK about this driver, guys. I mean, he LOOKS like he knows what he's doing?
But something about him is suspicious.
L to R: Exercising some independent exercise on Independence Lawn;
"Woman in the Window" - random street art on the sidewalk, and the famous
Steve's Prince of Steaks cheese steak!
We did a cheap overnight hotel in New Jersey (which was maybe only 20 minutes away), which was a really nice spot! The next day, we wanted to do something fun for Uriah. We took him to the Children's "Please Touch" museum, which was so amazing! I'd never seen anything like it! It was 3 floors, and everything in the museum is kid-friendly. There were little doctor's offices, grocery stores, bus stations, mechanic shops, train stations, water stations, and even an Alice in Wonderland themed floor. There really was  a little bit of everything! There was so much to do, and we really got our money's worth there. Uriah had a lot of fun. True to form, his favorite of all was the water play station.


Face on the right says the art of embarrassing my child has already begun.


We finished our day by getting pizza at Lorenzo & Sons Pizza. It was a pizza spot that came recommended from one of my Philly friends (Thanks Shana!). The pizza was CRAZY HUGE!!! So fun! and yummy!


The color on the right looks atrocious because the original was sooooo dark. I tried editing
it, but obviously I'm no professional. ANYWAY - you get the picture, though. HUGE SLICES.

Overall, our trip to Philadelphia was so fun! We definitely plan to visit again! 








Home Sweet Hawai`i

At the end of February, our family took a trip to Hawaii. We had just been home in August for Kehau and Loren's wedding, but we decided to go again in February 2017 since we were expecting baby #2 in the end of June 2017! We figured that it would be best to go again in February as I would be in the second trimester, and that by the time we'd be able to make it out to Hawaii again (after baby was born, vaccinated, and then the expensive/busy holiday seasons were over) it would be sometime in 2018. We learned from our last draining and trying travel experience and made sure that all of our flights to and from Hawaii had a layover of at least 5 hours so that we could get a cheap hotel room and rest and shower before the next long leg.  Ever since discovering this trick (along with getting Uriah his own seat), our flights have been much better.



We were tired, but SO HAPPY to be back in Hawaii! I made sure to check what time Masas was open until (2), and we went straight from the airport to Masas! Being a pregnant woman is tough. Being a pregnant woman while away from all of the comfort foods you grew up with is RIDICULOUSLY tough. So, naturally, Masas was a necessary first order of business! As expected, it hit the spot :)

We made it a point to go to the beach as much as possible this trip, and I am happy to report that for every sunny day, we went to the beach! I don't think I've been that tan (and I use this term very loosely) since college when I worked outdoors at PCC everyday! Our first day was spent at Lanikai, and it was a beautiful day! The beach wasn't overly crowded, and it was sunny and beautiful. Lanikai is one of my all-time favorite beaches, barring the hordes and hordes of people (transplants and tourists galore!) and near non-existent parking spots. There is seriously something so therapeutic about the ocean. It's funny how it took me moving away from Hawaii to truly appreciate that.


My little beach bum

After our day at the beach, we met up with the Petersons for a yummy, all-you-can-eat Korean buffet spot in Kaneohe! (Sikdorak) Coincidentally, my good friends from Geico, Sheri Toyama, and Renee Kudlich, were eating dinner there, too! It was such a nice surprise to run into them!

The next day, we went to Waimanalo beach with Kamuela, Roxy and the kids, and Kehau and Loren! It was SUCH a fun family beach day! It was a spontaneous meet-up; we invited everyone and were happy with whoever could make it! It was another gorgeous and fun-filled day.


We decided that the perfect way to end our beach day was by getting dinner at Fresh Catch! Yes, i had some poke! I also had the fried ahi katsu which was SO YUMMY!


Uriah sure loves Grandpa ;) and all kids love Uncle Rob!
Uriah did really good with Aunty Kehau, too!


On Saturday, we had a chance to meet up with our good friends, Shani and Erik Moroles, and their son Isaac, to go hike Makapu'u! We almost made it to the top before getting torrentially rained on! (To give a clear picture, the cupholders in our strollers filled up with water and our sneakers and socks were sloshed!)  Luckily, we were able to dry off enough to still make it to breakfast at Moena cafe unscathed :)


Trying to hastily dry socks/hat after getting pounded on by rain!
Shani and I shared that delectable fruit waffle (SO YUM). For my dish, I got
fried fish eggs benedict. Ive found that a lot of the seafood options in Maryland
are battered and fried, so this grilled fish benedict was SO welcome and hit the spot!


Sunday, Tiana had her baby blessing. We were so happy that we happened to be home during that time! We were able to see more of our family (as many had flown in from Utah of the occasion), and it was a nice reason for everyone to get together and just enjoy one another's company! That evening, we also went to Aulani to watch Kamuela and Uncle Jerry play (this has become a tradition every time we come home). It's always such a treat to watch their show.

Rob has loved surfing since the first time he tried it (as my Dad says, "He got the fevah!") We wanted to make sure to incorporate surf days for him, so on Monday, Rob went to White Plains to surf while I got to visit with Hoku in Ewa. It was really nice just to relax at her house and get to talk story in person! (We talk on the phone almost every day) Hoku is also SUCH a gracious hostess, and always is there to offer something yummy to eat or drink (we do love our cups of tea!!) I was lucky enough to catch them when they had some young coconuts. Jerry, being the Tahitian islander that he is, husked the coconuts for us so we could drink fresh coconut water, then cracked them open so we could eat the meat. It's funny how you really start to miss random things you never knew you loved (like fresh coconut!) until you move away and lose access to it! 



That night, Angela and I went to one of my favorite Mexican Restaurants on the island, El Mariachi, for dinner. It was nice to have some one-on-one time with the BFF! While Angela and I were indulging in Mexican food, Rob went to the gym with Kamuela and Zack (talk about opposing plans!)

Monday night, we had dinner with Aunty Louise Oberdorfer. Aunty Louise (and Uncle Karl) met my Dad years ago when he was playing Hawaiian music with Uncle Larry Reis at the Hawaiian Regent. They were fascinated by my Dad's yodeling (they are both originally from Germany), and that's how they ended up striking up conversation with him! They have been a part of our lives since! As a family we went over to their house here and there for dinners, and she had Hoku and I sleep over too. We have such fond memories of them! (I digress) Anyway, she was so sweet and insistent on having us over for dinner while we were home. It was different without Uncle Karl being there (he had passed away last year)  but it was still so nice to be able to catch up with her. Not to mention she made the most delicious German stew! It worked out perfectly because that night we also got to watch Kehau's show, Legends in Concert/Rock-A-Hula. Kehau really wanted us to attend because it was the last night that their fabulous Celine Dion impersonator was going to be there (she really was so amazing!) We always have such a great time at her show! 


Dinner with Aunty Louise


The next morning we went to Waikiki Beach. Waikiki is the perfect compromise for beach time because Rob can surf there, while the water is calm enough for Uriah and I to play in. It had been years since I had gone to Waikiki Beach, and it was actually so nice! The water was warm (we were by the wall area so it somewhat simulates a lagoon or pool) and so clear! Kehau met us there, which was so nice, too! On our last trip home, since it was for her wedding, we really didn't get to spend much time with her (understandably). This time around, Kehau really tried to meet up with us as much as possible, and I was so happy about that! It was a beautiful sunny day and Uriah truly is a water baby. He could not get enough of the water! After a few hours at the beach, we went to go eat some yummy Korean BBQ plate lunches!





That night, I also went to dinner with Michelle at Haleiwa Joe's (one of our favorites!). It was so nice to be able to pick up where we left off! Nothing like being able to talk to your friend in person! The food was definitely a plus, too :)



The next day was one that Rob and I had been looking forward to soooo much! It was our overnight stay at Turtle Bay! Mom graciously offered to watch Uriah for us. Turtle Bay is a beautiful resort (I actually stayed there for Michelle's wedding!), but usually so pricey. As I was pricing out hotels for our overnight staycation, Turtle Bay actually was the cheapest of the "fancier" hotels that I was looking at. Rob and I were stoked! We decided to upgrade to an oceanview suite, which also included daily snacks and breakfast. The view from the balcony itself was so gorgeous, and they had a huge, deep tub for soaking! (of course I ended up lounging in there for a bit!) We ordered room service and enjoyed listening to music, watching tv, reading our books and just getting a little peace and quiet! It was nothing short of luxurious in all aspects.
I loooooove when hotels have robes for lounging. And lounge, we did!

After we checked out, we spent the afternoon cruising North Shore. We stopped in Haleiwa for some `ono kua`aina burgers. It was all in all a very restorative and relaxing break.





We also stopped to pick up a pan of Rena (Andrus) Thompson's delicious peanut butter rolls! It was so nice to catch up with Rena and Aunty Kit! (Malia was on the Big Island at the time) The Andrus Ohana are friends that we can always pick up right where we left off from seamlessly. 



That night, we went out to dinner at Yanagi with Mom, Dad, and Kamuela. Roxy babysat Uriah for us so we could all enjoy our dinner uninterrupted :) Yanagi was delicious as always, and it was nice to be able to enjoy one of my favorite spots with some of my favorite people! 
Kamuela and Rob enjoying oyster shooters!
Ka'ihi and Uriah enjoying SnapChat!
Saturday was a fun day for us! In the morning, I went to Vaitea's basketball game along with Kamuela and Hoku's family while Rob snuck in a surfing session at White Plains. After the game, we all went back to Hoku's house to help celebrate Jerry and Vaitea's birthdays. That evening, Kamuela, Roxy, and the kids came over to Mom's house so we could all watch Moana together. I loved it, and we still love it to this day! (especially Uriah, who knows all the dialogue and songs!)

Kamuela and Uriah with intense, matching game-faces!
Uriah doing some housework at Hoku's, and me and Tepoe cruising!
Sunday was a day of fun at the Petersons! We started out the day at Lanikai Beach (FAVE!), picked up some L&L plate lunches, then hung out in the pool! It's always so nice getting to spend time with some of our favorite people!




Monday was another fun-filled day for us! BJ had offered to take us to the sandbar (he has his boat license and therefore can rent boats from K-Bay) previously, and we had been scouring the weather report for a sunny Windward day. Thankfully, Monday was nice and sunny, as predicted! We loaded up along with Hoku, Jerry, and the kids (with the exception of Tamahere and Vaitea, who were in school) and had a beautiful day out on the sandbar! It had been years since I went, and both Jerry and Rob had never been! I think growing up in Hawaii, I often took for granted how truly beautiful my daily surroundings were. I woke up to the Ko`olau mountains everyday, and had a beach literally 5 minutes from my home. Moving away has definitely brought a renewed appreciation, and an ability to see the sheer beauty of Hawaii from a refreshed (and humbled) set of eyes. 


LOOK at how tan I am in the picture with Hoku. It's seriously the most tan I've been in years -
more tan, even, than when I lived in Hawaii! Could it be because I went to the beach almost
everyday for two and a half weeks? I'm going to go with YES!
That night, Dad made us his "squash soup" for dinner. It was really yummy! He was raving about how yummy it was, and his Filipino friend had taught him how to make it. It was really yummy, and it was fun to see Dad cooking, and how proud he was of his dish. Us foodies take our cooking/food very seriously! 

On our last day, we went to Ko`olina (another of my favorite beaches). Kamuela and Rob went to surf at White Plains, while me, Uriah, Roxy and the kids, Kehau, and Mom all ventured to Ko`olina. The water was PERFECT - it was a cloudless, sunny and warm day! We all had so much fun in and out of the water! 

Ok, seriously? how cute are THESE two?! Survey says? VERY.


In case you missed it, Kehau and I had a photoshoot in the water (it's always a photoshoot when Kehau is around! ...and I love it!)

Nothing like posing next to your extremely photogenic and fit sister to make you feel like a potato! :p

I really appreciated Kehau and Kamuela making a concerted effort to spend time with us. Both of them were gone for a portion of our trip last time (Kamuela's family went to NZ, and Kehau had her honeymoon) so it was really nice that they tried to get together with us as much as possible! 


Our morning was spent getting Masa's for breakfast (our Last Supper), then heading to the airport. It was such an amazing trip home, as always. Even though we were in Hawaii for almost 20 days, the time flew by. No matter how long the trip, it will never be long enough.


On our way home, we had an overnight layover in San Diego. We booked this layover on purpose because, again, Uriah does much better when we break up these long cross-country flights, and because of all places, both Rob and I have best friends in San Diego! We slept a few hours in the hotel (side note: the Days Inn San Diego - NEVER STAY THERE, ever. See my Yelp review for further explanation), then Rob's friend, Geoff, picked us up. Lindsey and Geoff made us an awesome breakfast. It was so nice being able to see them, and just hang out for a bit! They also have a little boy and girl, who played so well with Uriah! 

After breakfast, Tahani picked me up. I don't remember how long it had been since I'd seen Tahani, but I know it felt (and continues to feel) really long! I was so excited because it was the first chance I got to see the posh condo that she lives in. The grounds were gorgeous, and they have so many amenities - perfect for being able to feel pampered right at home! After a quick tour of her beautiful home and the community grounds, we spent our afternoon hanging out by the pool. It was a BEAUTIFUL, sunny and warm day, and the pool was empty! It was an awesome time just getting to catch up between friends. We still talk on the phone, but again, there's nothing like physically being with your friends. 



After the pool, we met up again with the Herrington family for the yummiest mexican dinner! Nothing like legit Mexican food! I don't remember everything we had, but I DO know we had carne asada fries that were KILLAH, fresh ceviche, cucumbers with tajin (my first time - I'm definitely a fan!), and some of the best guacamole I've ever had! Even though we were only with our friends for a few hours, it was such a restorative time for us! It was the perfect way to end our trip. As usual, I cannot wait for our next adventure!