Taylor Made

Taylor Made

Monday, December 14, 2015

Uriah is 6 Months!

Uriah just made six months! (jaw drops, cue flabbergast!) I cannot believe how quickly time has gone. It's a weird phenomenon when time feels like it stands still while simultaneously rushing by; I feel like I just had Uriah, but it also seems so long since I was pregnant...or slept an uninterrupted night :P But! enough about me! 

Uriah is progressing so well. He is so smart - and I'm not just saying that because I'm his mom and am totally biased. He continues to be curious and observant of all things. Sometimes, it can be exasperating because he will find interest in EVERYTHING! If I am trying to lay him down on the bed, he will find the tag on the pillow and tug. I move the pillow, and his nail scrapes the sheets. What a FUN sound! (rapid "scrape! scrape! scrape! scrape!" successions follow) When you really think about it, though, what an exciting world babies are just discovering. Literally everything is brand new and uncharted territory. There is a beautiful innocence to the novel wonderment. He also had his six month shots recently (4 at once! yikes!), and while he cried, he recovered quickly and was just a little sleepy and out of it for the following two days. He is such a good baby.
poor little guy
4 shots - the plights of growing up!

Current stats:
Height - 90% of age group! He was 27.5 inches at his check-up

Weight - 37% of age group! Just under 17 pounds. He is long and lean! Still on the slender side, but his pediatrician is not concerned, nor are we, as his temperament is pleasant between feedings. Hopefully he keeps his svelte figure and doesn't have to try as hard as mom and dad to keep it off!

Head Circumference - of course he was in the 90%. People always are surprised he is only {insert whatever age here when they ask}, and I think it's because they see his big head! Luckily, he carries it well and I'm sure he will grow into that, too.
Things Uriah LOVES right now:
-Sophie. ALWAYS. They are joined at the hip. Of all of the family members, Sophie gets Uriah to smile the easiest and quickest. He just loves Sophie. Sophie is also strangely drawn to him. I say strangely because every time they are close, Uriah is pulling her hair, legs, etc. yet Sophie, like a moth to a flame, can't help but to go back for more. Das one potagee dog.

-Being read to. Uriah can sit through an entire book, riveted, just staring at the pictures, and feeling the pages. He also wants to eat the pages. Obviously, he is all about books for many reasons.


-Drinking water (we only give him little). He loves trying to drink from a cup, or our hydroflasks. We bought him a little sippy cup and I swear getting sips of water between his food is his favorite part of eating!
-Singing. Uriah will stop what he is doing and listen to music during a commercial, to a song playing on our phone, or when we are singing. He also loves to sing with me! I was able to capture a few videos of him singing with me. :)

-Jumping. Uriah has really strong legs and loves jumping up and down in his bouncer (thank you aunty Leihua Stewart!). He spends hours a day in there bouncing. I get tired just watching him!

-Being tickled. Uriah is very ticklish and loves being kissed on his cheek/neck, and tummy!

-Going for walks. Our community is so beautiful, and we have been really trying to take advantage of the beautiful weather and quiet neighborhood. I have been walking with Uriah almost every afternoon just to get us out of the house and looking at all of the beautiful things God created for us!

-Grabbing things. Little Mr. Grabby Pants grabs everything in sight. Sophie's hair, christmas tree, newspaper, phones, chargers, blankets, toys, really whatever is laying around he will grab it! He is a quick draw, too, so we always have to be prepared!

-Rolls over all day every day. Last update he was not yet rolling very much. Fast forward to now and he is a rolling fanatic. Back to front, front to back, he is all over the place! The curious nature helps because he will roll himself closer to things. 

-He also scoots backwards. Not a crawl, but we will place him somewhere and he will maybe end up a body length or two back from where he started! I know all of these things are precursors to crawling, and mischief!

-Eating pureed baby food! He is still predominantly nursing (and no supplementing! yay me!), but we have starting to incorporate pureed stage 1 foods (simple 1 ingredient veggie mixes) for fun. He had a rough time at first (even with Hanalei sweet poi!) but I mixed a little breastmilk with it and things have been going much better! So far, Uriah has tried poi, green beans, and sweet potato. Sweet potato appears to be the favorite of the bunch. Green beans easily the worst! Uriah still gets a formula bottle to go to sleep but other than that, it's me and the purees.

Let's get something straight: the smile is bc of Mommy, NOT the green beans!

-Recognizes his name.

-Recognizes Mom and Dad (and also recognizes and usually hates when they leave the room. Stranger anxiety, on its way!)

-Sleeping in crib (in our room, as he still gets up in the night to nurse)

Uriah continues to be such a friendly, happy, and pleasant baby. We are so blessed to be his parents! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Gushing Mom Post - Uriah Updates

So I had intended that the purpose of this blog would be part journal, part baby book recordings. So this entry I will dedicate to Uriah!

Uriah makes 5 months tomorrow (really?! already?!). What a blur it's been! I absolutely cannot believe how much Uriah has grown and developed spatially, socially, etc in these 5 months! Physically, he is very sturdy, and a lot of people comment that he is a "big boy." He was in the 73% for height at his last check-up (I believe he was 25 inches), and 46% for weight (near 16 lbs). 

Uriah is a "social butterfly," and is socially advanced for his age (these were his pediatrician's comments at our last visit) and loves meeting new people. Uriah has been responsively smiling from 2.5 weeks old. He is a very happy, friendly, and calm baby, and almost every person who meets him or spends time with him comments these same sentiments. He has no problem going to new aunties or uncles, and honestly only cries when he is hungry, needed a diaper change, or is tired. After our first week of parenting (nightmare!), I have only had one instance where Uriah was inconsolably crying, and it only lasted about 40 minutes. KNOCK ON WOOD KNOCK ON WOOD KNOCK ON WOOD!!! Even if he wakes up during the night, he easily goes back to sleep either with a hand on the chest or a little nursing. 

Uriah with cousin Tepoe <3

My two sweeties! I love this picture.

Uriah sleeps very well, even considering moving cross country and jumping into a new timezone. Out of the three of us, he acclimated the easiest to our 5 hours ahead timezone. He generally goes to sleep later (10:30pm), which works for us because Rob and I currently go to sleep later. We do have intentions to start slowly moving his bedtime up earlier as Rob's hours become more permanent and Uriah's daytime naps become less frequent. He usually sleeps about 6 hours, will stir and need either a feeding or a little pat, and will continue sleeping on until about 845am. He gets up, eats, and often will fall back asleep until 11 or 12! He rarely slept this late in Hawaii, so I know there will still be some adjusting to go through.

He has not done a lot of rolling over ye (really only once or twice), but he does "half" roll-overs where he will turn on his side. I suspect that when we move into our new condo with a lot of spacious carpeting, he will spend more time on the floor and develop this skill. He does have great neck control, though, and is able to hold his head up independently. He also can prop himself up while on the floor. He also has VERY strong legs! (Ask Sophie, who inadvertently gets kicked all the time) He can "stand" on his legs with support. 

Uriah is very good at following sounds. TOO GOOD! I call him a busybody, because he is SO interesting in EVERYTHING going around him! I'll scold Rob if he starts playing a video on his phone or has the tv loud, because Uriah WILL be niele and want to see what's going on. (Who's that? What you watching? What you eating? What you listening to? Where you going?) I have found isolating him during nursing sessions and keeping it in a boring, dim room works the best. :) 

Uriah is an observer. That's another comment that consistently comes up as people spend time with him. Tutu Bird and Grandpa Kimokeo always mention how smart Uriah will be because he is always observing everything around him. I have to agree! Curiosity and wonderment are great contributors to intelligence. He is intrigued by everything he sees!

Uriah also loves music. Any music, really! He kicks his feet along to Daddy's rap and r&b, but will also sit quietly and listen to Grandpa Kimokeo's CD. In fact, we have found that a trick to calming Uriah when he is upset is playing Grandpa Kimokeo's 1st track on his CD, Pualeilani. Every time we play it if he is fussing, he will quiet down and listen. Tricks of the trade, tricks of the trade! He will also sing along with Mommy every now and then, which is just the cutest thing! 

Uriah has started reaching and grabbing items, and can now pick up his pacifier and put it in his mouth. Putting the RIGHT part in his mouth, we are still working on, but he will get there soon enough. He seems to want to be independent, as he always tries to hold his bottle while Rob is feeding him (I'd say he's been doing that for the last month and a half). While he can't hold it up yet, his hands do cup the sides of the bottle. 

Well Uriah is just starting to wake up from his nap, so that's my cue to wrap things up! We love our little boy and are excited to see how he develops even more in the next months. 

With Aunty Beth
With Aunty Hoku

Thursday, October 29, 2015

10...27...15....: T-Day (Please read in Beyonce voice for full effect, thank you!)

Taylor's Take Maryland!

Tuesday was a crazy, busy, exciting, sad, loooong, short, doozy kind of a day (official move date)! We had been allowed to stay at the Manke home in Kailua for near 3 weeks (they are my angels!), but with the convenience of a home environment comes more clean-up! We had unpacked our multiple suitcases into drawers, and our bathroom toiletries into shelves, which was wonderful for our stay, but for departure, it meant we needed to get everything reorganized (and fit) into those suitcases again. Oh, and with a 4 month old. 

Enter my sister, Hoku! Lifesaver! Hoku offered to come and help me organize, pack up, and clean up a bit. Hoku is already so busy (she has five kids - the newest being a little 2 month old!), that I feel bad to ever "borrow" her, but I knew I could really use the help. While I'm at it, thank you to Jerry (her husband) for also letting me borrow her, since Jerry then took care of the other 4 kids on a rare day off. Rob was still needing to complete some paperwork at work, drop off a few borrowed baby items to family friends (Mahalo, Lantrip fam!), getting Sophie's last shot, dropping off the rental car, and taking some of the luggage down (we had six suitcases and three carry-ons - Definitely a two trip deal!), so I knew I would be relied on to complete the majority of the home responsibilities. Anyone who knows me knows that I abhor packing. LOATHE. DETEST. (you get the picture) I will stare at the mess and think, "ugh, what a mess..." then won't know where to start, so I just won't. Cue: scrambling and running out of time. Obviously, not the most efficient process. Hoku came and brought her little Tepoe (who is such a well-behaved baby), and immediately started giving me direction on tasks to complete, one at a time. Uriah apparently REALLY didn't want to move and decided he would do everything in his power to keep us from catching the plane. lol. He did not nap ONCE from 840am until he got on the plane at 8:45pm. For those that don't have children: this is INSANE.  For those that do have children: feel my pain! Much of the time was spent trying to entertain him, feed him, get him to nap (FAIL), or just lay down for a bit to get stuff done. I was so grateful to have another pair of arms to either help hold the baby or takeover packing. More than that, I appreciated someone there to help me "keep my cool" and stay on task. I almost thought we wouldn't make it in time, but we did, and even had time to tidy the room we stayed in (bathroom sink, toilet, and shower sanitized/cleaned, mirrors and windows wiped down, bedding washed and remade, floor vacuumed, drawers/table tops wiped). God bless Hoku! 

Thank you for being a friend!
We had just enough time to get to Kahaluu, eat a last supper with my family (char siu and furikake and rice - perfect), and head to the airport to meet Rob. Mom and Dad took me, and Beth was so nice to let us borrow her truck so we could fit all the luggage and passengers on our trip. Saying goodbye to Mom and Dad was a flurry since we were in a rush to get through security and checked in, and even now, it hasn't really sunk in quite yet. I know once we are able to stop for a moment and are no longer on the go, I will feel moments of sadness, but I know at the same time we will be creating many wonderful, happy memories here.

Our flight (on paper) was less than ideal: a 5 hour red-eye to L.A., arriving at 4:45 am, then leaving L.A. at 7:45 to Maryland (another 5 hour ride). We were in the middle row for the first flight, but the good thing is we were all seated together, and the military even bought a ticket for Uriah, which turned out to be such a blessing. In hindsight, Uriah being beastly during the day was just what we needed to ensure that he would be the perfect angel during the flight. He really was, too. During takeoff, he fell asleep, and would only get up to eat, then go right back to sleep. I brought the hoppy pillow for nursing and for him to sleep, and i'm so glad I did because it worked out perfectly.

My pro-traveler, enjoying what has to be the coziest seat on the plane!

On our second flight, Uriah again ate and slept quite a bit, and in the moments he was up, he was his smiley, flirty, lovable self! The flight attendants particularly got a kick out of him, and through conversation, we found out one of the flight attendants was from Hawai'i! Small world! We talked story a bit and she even grew up in Kaneohe (though she was a bit older than me). After talking for about 5 minutes with us, she asked, "Do you guys want some snack boxes?" Ummm...YES. The answer is ALWAYS YES. So we said sure! And she gave us three snack boxes (I'm pretty sure those snack boxes go from like $8-12 a pop?). It pays to have a little aloha and friendliness :)

We are currently staying in a hotel for the next week until we get our household items delivered. The hotel is a King Studio, so it has a little kitchenette, a living room/couch, bathroom/shower, and then a bedroom. It was such a great deal! All that for about $95/night, and the hotel includes complimentary breakfast. Mon-Thurs, they have complimentary light dinners! All this, and they even allow pets, which was one of our biggest hurdles when we were trying to find lodging in Hawaii. 

We had the chance to meet up with the owner of our condo today and get the keys. The condo is more beautiful than the pictures showed, and I just can't wait to move in, already! The owner repainted the entire place and also put in new carpet and a new fridge. It is so beautiful, and also a quiet neighborhood. Literally. I went out on the deck and could hear crickets :) Growing up in Kahaluu, you get used to hearing crickets at night, so I appreciate that I can find little comforts of home in a place so far away.

The view of our condo's lake/rec centers/bike and walking paths

I know I will miss my family, the food, people, and scenery of Hawaii. New time zone will be tricky (six hours ahead! PS it's 11:36pm and I took melatonin and am still wiiiide awake) However, I also know that there are so many beautiful things here in Maryland. On our drive alone, I was able to see so many fall colors and leaves. I tried taking pictures, but they do not do justice in comparison to seeing it in person. Our condo is conveniently located next to a cute town center with a lot of great shops. We met a few people already that have been very nice and outgoing (we all know the east coast stereotypical personality isn't known for friendliness). At the end of the day, I strongly believe home really is where you make it, and to quote Annie, "I know I'm gonna like it here." 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Maryland: Prepare for the Taylor Takeover! Hawaii: A Hui Hou (and we WILL hui hou!)

I'm finally getting a chance to address some of the biggest news we have received to date: our family will be transitioning to Maryland at the end of the month! Being a military family has a certain predictable unpredictability to it; we know that our schedules and stations are constantly changing, and that almost all aspects should be seen as "flexible." I got a taste of this while Rob was away on deployment, as his deployment return date got extended two times. Other than deployments, PCS-ing (not even sure what the acronym stands for!) is probably the other most critical and impacting events a family can endure.

Rob tore his ACL (again!) and meniscus last year, and required surgery (again!) to repair the injury. Due to this occurrence, Rob was pulled from the ship he had just been assigned to, and was placed in a "transitionary" station that is pretty much reserved for injured and rehabilitating soldiers. Once his surgery was complete (in October) and rehabilitation was complete, he was released in August. We knew that at that point, we would be up for a new set of orders determining where our family would end up. Due to the type of transitionary post he was in, Rob would not get the same rights to negotiate where we ended up, as the "needs of the Navy" took precedence over personal preferences. 

I am very lucky in that Rob has fallen in love with Hawaii just as much as he has fallen in love with me :P He is my "honorary local boy," and has come to enjoy surfing, sushi, poke, poi(!), hawaiian music - in other words, he fits right in with my family! I'm also a truer than true Hawaii girl, and am not only connected to my Hawaiian heritage by way of language, music, and birthplace (ku`u one hanau e - "the beloved sands of my birth." I feel that in my na`au when I hear that expression), but also because of my close-knit connection with my family, who all still resides in Hawaii. Both of us were hoping and praying that we would be able to stay in Hawaii and finish out Rob's military career here (we only have 4 more years until he retires!), but alas, that is not the plan God had in store for us. Apparently, we were destined for colder temperatures and a new adventure!

We found out in September that we would be reporting to Maryland at the end of the year - by the end of December. Rob was beside himself, and felt horrible. Not only was he really hoping for Hawaii, but he knew how much I also wanted to stay in Hawaii.  I will admit, I was very sad at the news myself, but wanted to assure Rob that the most important thing is that we (our little family) would all get to be together, regardless of where that was. Additionally, I wanted him to know that in no way should he feel bad about where we were being taken - the military was dictating where we were going, and he had no part in that decision. Yes, I would miss my family, but MY immediate family would still be together. Not only was that a reassurance to me, but I reminded myself that if Rob had not needed his ACL repaired, the ship that he had originally been on would've deployed in May, and Rob would've missed Uriah's birth. What a blessing it was for us to have Rob there when Uriah was born (especially since I ended up needing a c-section which required so much help in the beginning), and to continue to be able to have him there as Uriah grows. We began to  come to terms with the idea of the next few years being on the east coast. What we weren't prepared for was the military moving up our report date by two whole months!

A week or so later, Rob was told that we were expected to report to his new station in 9 days. NINE!!! Moving our family to the opposite side of the country, with a 4 month infant, selling a car, shipping a car, clearing out a home, and saying goodbyes, all in nine days! Luckily, Rob's commanding officer was able to get him an extension of time (with some serious case-pleading), and we were graciously given three extra weeks to get things in order (yes, I am being facetious). 

Within four days, we had movers in our home, packing things up in a hurry as we scrambled to foresee and pack what we would need within the next few weeks and immediately upon getting to Maryland. I got a duplicate registration and title (I thought my original documents had shipped with the movers. In my haste to find the documents, I overlooked them and found them AFTER I had duplicates issued), Rob got his car sold (we will purchase another once we arrive), my car shipped (even though the first day we took it to be sold, the gas tank was too full so we needed to return the following day to do the exact same thing), and we secured a condo in Maryland. It is amazing what you can get accomplished when time is limited and you have no other option! lol. 

movers packed our entire house, including drawers with clothes in them - everything labeled :)

We spent our first week in the hotel on the Marine Base (we had a hard time finding a pet-friendly hotel since we had Sophie with us). After that week, we weren't really sure what to do! We thought we would spend a week at my parents house, though really, they did not have the room to accommodate our family. After that, maybe another two weeks in hotels? How expensive for us. I was telling Angela our plight, and she suggested that for the following weeks, why didn't we stay in her family's home in Kailua? Her parents live there a few months the year, and spend the other months in Portland. Angela's brother, Eric, was the only person staying in the home at the time. That sounded so perfect, and so generous! Angela asked her parents, and before she could even finish her sentence, her Dad jumped in, "They need a place to stay?" MY SECOND FAMILY is the Manke ohana! They have always been there for me, taking me with them on trips/dinners during high school (and even during college!), letting me spend pretty much every summer at their house, in essence, treating me like another daughter! This was just another reiteration of why I love this beautiful family. So - we are currently staying at the Manke's home (and they insisted we stay in their Master bedroom), which has wonderful central air, a pool perfect for hot days, and a lot of space for our family to be able to rest and relax before we move. I am so touched at the generosity they have shown and continue to show me, and now my family. I LOVE THE MANKES!

So, here we await our move. It isn't what I expected, but despite the farewells which will undoubtedly be sad, it is exciting to embark on a new adventure with my family. We will all be living in the east coast for the first time, and I will be experiencing my first "real winter" (and snow days-off for Rob!!). New wardrobe, new opportunities to meet friends and make connections abroad, a chance to eat some ONO seafood in the mainland (I hear the crab and lobster is KILLAHZ), and the option of road trips! We will also be closer to Rob's family, which is nice since he has spent many years away from them. I have also been blessed to have people already reach out to me even before we get to Maryland. Kamuela made some Hawaii friends when he played for the inauguration, and mentioned to them that we would be moving to Maryland. The very next day, I got a message from his friend Kuulei touching base with me and basically welcoming me to the east coast, and inviting me to participate in their halau up there! SO EXCITING! I have been meaning to get back into dancing hula for so long; who knew that I would have to move to Maryland to get that jump started?! What a GREAT opportunity to keep connected to my roots and have a "touch of home" while away! Not only that, his friend Isaac called me and talked story for about 10 minutes making sure I had all of his and his families contact information, and already invited us to spend Thanksgiving with their `ohana. Having such hospitality shared with me even before I left the islands was such a comfort for me. I truly believe in all things happening for a reason, so I know that despite my wants, there is a purpose to us moving to Maryland, and that there will be known and unknown blessings gained.  A lot can happen in 4 years, but I also know that 4 years will come and go quickly. That being said, Rob's permanent address of record is in Hawaii so when he retires out, our stuff will be courtesy shipped back to Hawaii! No get comfortable with us, ah, mainland?! We only letting you borrow us fast kine! :P

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Memoirs of a Bride, Chapter 3: the newly minted Mrs. Taylor

After our amazingly awesome wedding, we were on our way to our honeymoon! We left the wedding party by around 9, and Rob had arranged to have a limo pick us up and take us to Waikiki, where we'd spend two nights before hopping a plane to get to our honeymoon destination: Beautiful Kauai (cue music)!

The limo ride was definitely interesting to say the least (and to keep it diplomatic). The limo driver kept pulling over to the side of the road (no exaggeration, at least 5 times before even getting in to Waikiki). He said it was because he didn't want the limo to overheat. Mind you, this wasn't a ghetto limo service either (I don't remember the name), so we were surprised that we were having any issues at all! The first time, ok - weird, but we'll let it slide. By the 5th time, AND he pulled into a service station (?!?!?!) to add oil, my husband was OVER IT. Rob nicely told him that we were celebrating our wedding, and having the limo break down when we were so tired after a long day is exactly the opposite of how our wedding day should be going. The man apologized, but when we got in to Waikiki, he started to pull over YET AGAIN, and Rob told him "Nah, man, you need to keep driving. No more pulling over. We're already in Waikiki, you can drop us off first." What should've been a half hour ride probably took us near an hour and a half. Suffice it to say, Rob demanded a generous discount :) Luckily, we were so excited to be married the bootleg limo ride couldn't kill our happiness. 

We ate at Mac 24/7 in our wedding attire, which was fun, and we got some food comped by the bartender (we sat at the bar since tables had wait times and we were too starving to wait!) as a "congratulations." Jodie also graciously thought to pack us a few slices of wedding cake, which was nice because we were actually able to try all of the flavors of our cake! (lilikoi, red velvet, and vanilla wedding cake tiers).

This was my new husband holding my dress for me so I could pee. LOL
Ah, so quickly the reality kicks in and the glamour strips away!

We woke up the next morning and had an amazing brunch at Hula Grill in Waikiki the following day. On Monday, we boarded our flight and got to Kauai! Rob a really good sport about wearing the personalized spousal gear I had purchased from Etsy. 

His shirt says "Groom 2014" and mine said "Bride 2014" in pink. What is he eating? Chicken? IDK. But we stopped at poke stop outside of the airport and it was AMAZING. Also, I still catch myself smiling at Rob wearing a wedding ring :) That stands out the most in this picture for me.
Our rental was a convertible (TOTAL TOURIST style) that Rob practically begged me to allow, being the insurance-minded, cautious person that I am. It was SO much fun, though! I'm glad he talked me into it. 

We were staying at the St.Regis resort (NOT hotel lol) in Princeville. I honestly don't even know how I stumbled upon the St. Regis - it must've been destiny one day surfing the web. Anywho, the St. Regis is a very ritzy resort (for example, a few months after our honeymoon, popular actress Sofia Vergara and her fiancé stayed at the St. Regis during their Kauai vacation) and definitely the swankiest place we have ever stayed at. Generally, we don't do it up that big, but we wanted to do something extra special to commemorate our once in a lifetime event. We also had set up a honeymoon registry via the St. Regis that would allow for people to contribute (via the website) to our honeymoon stay! We figured that since we were both grown adults who had been independent for a number of years and thus had most of our household items, a contribution to our honeymoon would be a great way for us to enjoy a splurge that we likely wouldn't have been able to without the assistance of our wedding guests! We stayed at the resort for 5 wonderful days.

When we first got to the hotel, we checked in but they had somehow mixed up our reservation. We had booked for a "junior suite," and when we got there, the attendant told us that they had upgraded us to an ocean view room to congratulate us on our wedding. I didn't realize the mistake, but Rob caught on immediately. The attendant told us that it looked like they were booked out of their suite rooms,  but after Rob showed her the email from them confirming our junior suite, magically, a suite room opened up (they probably reserve those for emergency mistakes, such as this one). The suite was AMAZING!!! It had large picture windows that opened up to screens, and then just open windows overlooking Hanalei Bay. There was a living room area, with couch, coffee table, and the King sized bed was facing the large windows overlooking the ocean. There was a hidden TV that popped up from the dresser when prompted, as well as a TV in front of the couch. The BATHROOM was also AMAZING!! It had dual sinks, and my favorite part - a huge jacuzzi tub, again, with large windows overlooking Hanalei Bay. For those that didn't want to provide a show to the surfers below, the shower windows "fogged" when a switch was hit, so you could either have clear windows or fogged windows for privacy. EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, I took a bath in the jacuzzi tub during sunset :) Other patrons went to the lobby to see the sunset, but we were blessed to have the view from our very own jacuzzi tub!

Just kicking up my heels, enjoying this view!

View from our living room/bed
Pop-up hidden TV

Now you see me...
..Now you don't!

look at all the  bubbles! Fuuuuuuuuun!

Even though the room was amazing, I was a little disappointed that they didn't do anything "special" for our honeymoon. To me, our honeymoon is a once in a lifetime event, and you always hear stories of how hotels will treat their guests who are celebrating anniversaries or special occasions with upgrades or perks. I had mentioned this to Rob, and he talked to someone downstairs. They mentioned they had decorated the other room for us, but since there was a mix-up, they didn't have time to decorate the new room. They ended up sending us a handwritten note of apology and congratulations, several fancy chocolate covered strawberries, a $100 value for a portrait photographer on site, and a voucher for complimentary breakfast buffet for us both every day of our stay (that alone was $38 a person per day!) They more than made up for it! After that initial hiccup, the rest of our honeymoon was a dream!

The customer service at the hotel was impeccable. Everyone from the valet guys to the breakfast hostess remembered our names and personally asked us every day what we were up to, where we were going today, etc. The valet also offered us bottled water and towels (I guess for those heading to the beach) every time we were heading out! One over the board perk that was included in our stay was our very own butler. The butler came to our room to introduce himself as well as provide a list of things that they could assist with (anything from grabbing ice, fresh french pressed coffees, ironing services, and packing and unpacking!!)  At first we thought there was no way that we would use the butler, but we ended up using the butler a few times! First time being when we forgot some items in the trunk of our car. We called the butler line and told them we had forgotten some items, and before we could even ask, they volunteered, "and you would like us to fetch the items for you?" Um, YES. Lazy people definitely say YES!!!! So we were spared the hassle of having to go down to valet to retrieve our items and had them literally delivered to our front door. We also used them when we were looking for somewhere to get decent fish tacos. The butler came prepared with a map and detailed instructions and suggestions! it was GREAT!! 

Activity wise, we took things day by day. We did some driving, checked out a waterfall, ate a lot of yummy food, and VEGGED! Rob also convinced me to do a helicopter ride (again me the rule-abiding, cautious scaredy cat!) which was SO AMAZING. The helicopter ride was over na pali coast, and had we not done the helicopter ride, there is no way we would've been able to enjoy the beauty and majesty of the na pali coast first hand. 

Waterfall that took forever to find and was small. lol.
close up of waterfall


No filter!!

 I did NOT want to leave when we reached our last day. We have discussed coming back for milestone anniversaries (5, or 10 year intervals maybe), so hopefully we can make that happen. This was definitely the once in a lifetime experience we were hoping for.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Memoirs of a Bride, Chapter 2: Giddy Bride-to-Be

It's safe to assume that any time I am writing a blog, Uriah is sleeping. This time is no different. Snooze on, little man! I got a legacy to document! All right, maybe it's not THAT serious, but I'm sure some posterity, at some point, will want to know the details about their ultra cool great-grandma Taylor's life, to include and not limited to, her wedding day! So youngins', feast your eyes on this genealogical gem!

Chapter 2

When Rob and I got engaged, we had originally planned for a September 2014 wedding. Remember how in Chapter 1, Giddy Engaged Girl, I had mentioned how I never brought up marriage lest I scare off my great catch? That girl was SO gone, and the jig was up! Now that I knew my great catch was all about this, that prior discretion was out the door! Being the excited and eager bride that I was, I suggested the idea of getting married earlier, like say...June! Rob said he would be good with it as long as we would be able to plan it in time. Planning it would be no issue, because I had a plan for the planning: Enter Jodie Burgess. 

Jodie was my coworker at GEICO at the time, and I knew that she had helped one of my coworkers throw a fabulous wedding at an affordable price. I didn't know too much about the details of Jodie's wedding planning prowess, but what I did know was that she was a marketing/advertising guru for GEICO, had prior sales experience, and was a working Mom who juggled all of this while maintaining organization and sanity. Jodie graciously agreed to help me plan my wedding for a VERY affordable price (think: less than what a day-of-ceremony-only wedding planner would charge), and got right on top of contacting various venues to check dates for us. 

We were originally thinking to have our wedding at a military instillation just because most were very budget friendly, and also were very beautiful. The Halekoa, which was our initial idea, only had lunch ceremonies available during June.  I believe the ceremony would've had to of been at 10, and we would've had to start the reception by 11am. I instantly thought about how long it would take a bride to get ready, and assumed I would have to be up at 5? 6? Um, GROSS. That venue got immediately nixed. Jodie suggested we try the marine corps base in Kaneohe. What a great idea! I grew up in Kahaluu, so having the backdrop of my Ko'olau mountains AND the ocean was a perfect merging of a gorgeous view with a personal flair. They had an opening for June 14, with the wedding to start at 4:30 and reception to go through 10pm.

When we went to look at the grounds, we loved the reception ballroom/stage, but did not like the options for wedding venues. One was right outside the ballroom, on the pool deck. The base contact confirmed that they couldn't "force" the pool to be closed, so there was a potential for kids splashing around or someone doing laps in the background of our ceremony and photos. NEGATIVE. NEXT! The next venue was on the grass with a pretty view between two large trees, however, it was literally like 20 feet from where the cars would be parked. Not much of an aisle to walk down, cars in the background/doors closing, etc and there were also bushes there so hello mosquitos and gnats. We told the contact we pretty much hated both spots but really loved the location and the ballroom. She said there was one other place but she would need to get permission to use it - it was a large lawn between two military higher ups homes (admirals? captains? something high up). IT WAS BEAUTIFUL - the lawn had an unobstructed view of the ocean, framed by the Koolau mountains. We were so lucky that the homeowners were so nice and allowed us to have the ceremony there.

Shot of my Practice walking down the aisle.
PC: Angela Petersons

Behold, our exquisite wedding backdrop in all its grandeur.
PC: Irianny Ibarra

 PC: Glexi Garcia

The best thing about the Marine Corps Base is that we didn't have to pay ANYTHING for the venue; we merely put down a $200 deposit to secure the location. That $200 deposit went toward the price of food for our guests, and then we were just responsible for paying for the dinner (and of course lighting, DJ, etc but those were all separate vendors). We were so blessed that we had such an amazing venue at such a steal. 

Jodie was great in helping us stick to our budget, and relayed the information to our vendors. I also wasn't a bridezilla,  of course, so that helped. An example would be our centerpiece arrangements: while I had an idea of the type of flowers I wanted, I was also open to other options that were in season and again, within our budget. In the end, I would not have changed any aspect of our wedding - I was that happy with how it turned out. We were able to pay for our entire wedding and honeymoon upfront, and even ended in the black! Granted, Rob had been able to sock away a considerable amount of money while he was on deployment, but we also really worked hard at saving towards our wedding, and "living within our means."

The day before the wedding, we had a rehearsal dinner that ended at Kin Wah, one of our favorite Chinese restaurants in Kaneohe. That night, Rob and I stayed on the hotel on base (separate rooms of course!) which was another convenience because I got to sleep in as late as possible and didn't need to be rushed anywhere - people would be coming to me! The day was so crazy busy with photographers and makeup artists bustling in the room and around me, but it was so much fun. 

It was funny to me how everyone kept commenting on how chill I was, saying things like, "you are so ready!" and "I can't believe how calm you are." While I can understand the bustle and buzz excitement of getting married, I WAS calm because I had no doubt I was making the right decision, and that I was absolutely happy. There was nothing to be worried about! I was in good hands, and at the end of the day, even if there were kinks to be worked out, I was getting married, and that was the most important thing. 

At 4:15, they brought Rob over to take a few pictures before the ceremony. Of course, we kept with the tradition of not seeing one another until I was actually walking down the aisle (so I could stun Rob with my beauty and give him no choice but to weep tears of joy and gratitude, obviously...:P)  This was one of my favorite memories of the entire day:

It was such a special moment for us to be able to provide support to one another even though we weren't technically seeing each other. It was a comfort to reach around the door and feel Rob's hand, knowing that in just 15 minutes, we would be embarking on a great new adventure together. 

The ceremony was a blur - I remember walking down the aisle and feeling so happy and giddy that my wedding day had actually come! I'm actually grateful that I wasn't wearing my glasses (and I don't wear contacts) because it I saw people crying (especially Rob) I would've started crying and ruined my makeup! We were so blessed that our good friend Lukas Petersons was able to officiate over our wedding. He got his Hawaii marriage license so he could perform our wedding ceremony. At the end, the rain sprinkled down right when we were pronounced man and wife, which people SAY is good luck (although I suspect the "people" here are ones that say this to make themselves feel better because it rained on their wedding days!) In any event, we were SO HAPPY!!! Witness our happiness below:

PC: Hoku Tefan

PC: Roxy Kimokeo
The ceremony, again, went by so fast! All I know is I was starving, and it was so busy that we barely got to eat (though I tried to shovel some food down in between taking photos and participating in the program). I danced a hula (it was a surprise for Rob), which is a tradition for Hawaiian brides at weddings. The song I danced to was "E Maliu Mai," which I chose because the words were so beautiful and appropriate for a wedding. My friend Nathan Okinaka created and taught me the dance a week before the wedding! I had a fever that night and was really under the weather, but I practiced it enough to have Nathan record me dancing it, then went home, rested, and practiced the rest of the week. 

We had SO much fun during the reception! We had a dance and really awesome music that Rob and I had hand-selected for the most part! (and yes, it was heavy on the early 2000s music, as dictated by our clubbing days!) At about 8pm, my face hurt from smiling. At about 9, I told Rob we needed to get out of there before I started to look as tired (and grouchy!) as I was beginning to feel! It was a long day, but SO WORTH it. At the end of it all, we have amazing memories (and photos and video footage) to remind us of how happy we were to be married, and to remind us of the excitement and preciousness of that day. (It becomes especially useful to remember this special, wonderful day when we are annoyed with one another!)  I still find myself looking through our marriage photos frequently, and watching our wedding video periodically. This day, and the birth of Uriah, were the best days of my life.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Memoirs of a Bride, Chapter 1: Giddy Engaged Girl

While my little angel snoozes, I decided I would write a blog that is post-dated but still very important - details of my engagement, wedding, and honeymoon (not TOO many details, of course.. :P!) I'm going to break it up into 3 separate entries because this is a blog, not a novel! On a side note, I was also able to make two loafs of banana bread and clean the kitchen while the baby slept! Let's keep this going, shall we? 

Chapter 1

Rob and I got engaged on Jan 1, 2014. He had just come off of a long deployment at sea (it had been extended from an original estimated turnaround of six months to near 9 months). It wasn't our first time apart, but it was definitely the longest (and I hope it stays that way!). Before Rob left, he sat me down to have a serious discussion about us. He asked me where I saw us in the future. I don't remember who brought up marriage first, but I'm thinking it was him, because I had always been cautious about bringing up the "M" word lest I scare off my great catch! In retrospect, I should've known that Rob had always made it a point to let me know that he took our relationship seriously. I had also heard many a horror story of girls shoving marriage talk too early down the throat of potential mates, only to turn them off and have them running for the hills.  When I finally conceded that yes, marriage was what I was thinking because "I wouldn't be in this relationship if marriage was not the ultimate goal," and that I hadn't wanted to pressure him, he responded that I put NO pressure on him. LOL. At least one of us was brave enough to bring it up! He made it very clear that when he came back, his intentions were to take us to the next level, and that I wouldn't be waiting in vain. This was the absolute perfect talk to have with me prior to deploying, because it was such a comfort for me. 

It is no secret that deployments are exhausting, arduous, and dangerous, not just for the physical aspects to the service member, but also to his relationship(s). I went into the deployment knowing that there would be times where communication was infrequent or impossible, and that phone and Skype dates would be even farther and fewer between. I know that it was because of this candid talk we had that I felt confident and reassured that during those lulls in communication, it was not because Rob was off finding himself a second and third girlfriend in Dubai or Italy, but because communications were actually dangerous or prohibited at the time. When I dropped Rob off at the airport, despite knowing he was leaving me for months, I felt renewed, refreshed, and determined to tackle this deployment and come out victorious. I heavily relied on keeping myself happily busy with working out, meal prepping, and spending time working or with family. (This was the period where I lost 45 pounds because my life literally was work, gym, meal prep, sleep, repeat) 

The long awaited sailor pick-up!

Soooo happy...and soooo skinny.

Fast forward to New Years Eve. Rob and I were at his apartment on Citron Street, and he told me to pick a place to eat. I said Sorabol (korean food). If I had known this was to be one of the most "romantic" points of my life, I would've picked someplace a little more romantic and a little less kimchee breath. BUT! I guess keeping the secret was important, and the secret was kept! I also found out that in that same day, Rob went down to Kahaluu TWICE to try to ask my dad permission to marry me (Isn't he so old school and sweet?!). The first time, Rob walked into the house and my Dad said "oh, I think Liv's in the back room" (ummm..it was 9am and I was definitely at work. lol) then proceeded to go outside and feed the dogs, leaving Rob in the living room confused, alone, and still nervous. He followed my dad outside and hinted that he wanted to talk to him about me. My Dad caught the drift and then told Rob to come back later when my Mom was home!!! So poor, agreeable Rob said ok, then went back to discuss it when my Mom was there. Of course, they were ecstatic for me and readily agreed! I digress....

After dinner, Rob asked if I wanted to go out to watch the fireworks or to watch them from the apartment window (his apartment was in Waikiki). My lazy self said that watching it from the apartment was fine. I assume he thought I would've said to go out and watch them, because he suggested that we go out and watch them from the Halekoa. In retrospect, Im so glad we did! Getting engaged at all is exciting regardless of where it happens, but if I could choose one, I would pick getting engaged on the beach in Waikiki vs. in an apartment on Citron next to our musty old grumpy neighbors.

We picked a spot on the sand along the water. Considering how crazy busy everywhere is for New Year's Eve, the Halekoa was surprisingly open, though there was still a pretty good amount of people there. When 12am rolled around, Rob kneeled up. I thought he was trying to get a better view, but he was getting on his knee to do the traditional proposal pose. I was sitting in front of him so I was oblivious to everything that was going on behind me. Rob brought his arm around me, ring in hand,  and said, "Would you be my wife?" My immediate and initial response was, "Are you serious????" SEGUE: I generally HATE my dorky initial reactions. I am so not smooth. When Rob first told me that he loved me, my initial response was, "Reallllly?" pretty much like Steve Urkel, in my opinion. Ugh. I still cringe. ANYWAY, after the "are you serious" I obviously said yes. The ring was GORGEOUS, and I LOVED how it sparkled on my finger. I couldn't have picked a more beautiful ring out myself. I later learned that Rob had emailed my best friend, Angela, while on deployment to get information on the type of ring that I might want. So ANGELA ALSO did a great job! The people around us who knew what had happened started clapping. So that was it! On a beach in Waikiki, with fireworks in the background, with the man I loved, I got engaged. It was such an exciting night for me, and one that always makes me smile when I think of it. It was and will always be one of the best decisions of my life!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Reasons Why I Love My Husband

This entry isn't really so much for the world to read as it is a nice accounting and reminder for me of some of the myriad reasons why I love my husband. These will particularly come in handy during times when he is being, well, less than lovable. Note to self: COME TO BLOG WHEN HUSBAND IS BEING LESS THAN LOVABLE. So here's a start:

-He is kind. He is soft-hearted and goes out of his way to help people, especially family.

-He loves spending time with family. Rob embraced my family from the time we were dating, and in return, everyone embraced him right back! Family is important to him, just as it is to me.

-He is a chivalrous gentleman. From the time we were dating, he has always opened and closed my car door, and continues to do so. He also opens store doors, restaurant doors...any doors, really. The man loves opening doors! Maybe it's not so much the opening doors part as it is being a gentleman and being raised well. He drops me off when there is no parking and he needs to park far (this is a gem where lazy people are concerned). He also always walks on the outside of the sidewalk (closest to cars), and I'm pretty sure if there was a huge puddle like they always portray in cartoons and old Hollywood films, he'd lay his jacket down or find some other creative way to keep me dry. 

-He is funny. He makes me laugh ALL the time. He uses this to his advantage, as he has made me laugh during times where I REALLY wanted to be mad at him. How dare you ruin my bratty snobbery with humor?! It's one of his saving graces - and when I think about it, his humor is a saving grace for me, too.

-He is spiritual. He may not go to church regularly, but he has a relationship with God, and that is so important to me. His convictions and morals are faith-based, and he supports me in my religious beliefs.

-He is SEXY! See: Dimples, biceps, smoldering eyes, etc. 

OK, OK. That's enough gawking, people. Move it along.
-He is a provider by nature. He enjoys taking care of his family and being the head of the household.

-He is a great dancer. I love that he has rhythm. Even if he didn't, I'd still love him, but at least now I have a legit dance partner!

-He's just plain COOL. From his style to his charisma to his love of sports and affinity for all things Michigan, people gravitate towards him and love being his friend. 

-He is thoughtful. He is great at giving gifts because he pays attention. More important than gifts are the thoughtful gestures he does. Two days ago, I was so tired from waking up to feed the baby, and I was very grouchy. He took the baby downstairs so that I could rest. I woke up at 12(!!!?!?!?!) completely disoriented to discover he had fed the baby (who was out cold sleeping peacefully), given the baby a bath, washed the dishes, sterilized the bottles, and hung and folded all of my laundry from the previous day. I posted this on a Mommy Facebook page I'm a part of, and it literally got 385 likes. Everyone and their mom appreciates a hubby like this. One girl even asked if he could start a school! (HA!)

-He is driven. When we met, he had the next 15 years of his life all planned out, including a double retirement. Planning and foresight are attractive! 

-He is assertive. He has no problem standing up for himself (or me) when necessary. This is an excellent trait for a Hawaii grown girl like me who was nurtured to avoid confrontation like the plague. It's that Detroit, baby!

-He embraces my culture. He definitely has his own cultural swag (are the young people still saying swag? I'm so old. At least I didn't say mojo.), but is so open to trying new food, listening to new music, and even surfing (he is an addict at this point). It makes me happy that he tries to understand and enjoy the things that I love and come from.

-He knows how to say, "I'm sorry." This is big. No one is ever right all the time, and it takes a humble person to admit when they are wrong. 

-He is super easy going. Keep the house cleanish, make anything for dinner, and he's a happy guy. 

-He is independent and knows how to clean a house and cook if he needs to. Granted, I try to  do what I can for the household since I'm staying home, but he doesn't hesitate to help where it's needed or take the initiative to get something done.

-He loves me the way I am. Through thick (and thicker these days!) and thin, good and bad, flaws and all, he accepts me as I am and sees potential in me.

-He is the father of my beautiful baby! Literally couldn't have had Uriah without him!

-He is an outstanding and hands-on Father. Feedings, diaper changes, late night/early morning cajoling, swaddling, rocking, singing, tummy time, this Daddy does it all. He is my partner in all senses of the word.

-He is mine. When we were dating, I couldn't believe that there was someone this amazing still out there. How did this happen?! I was waiting for the baggage and for the bombs to explode, and they never came. I do not take for granted the fact that I am blessed to share my life with this person. 

Obviously, I haven't even scratched the surface here, but these are a few of the things that immediately jumped out to me. I could be editing for weeks, and probably even years if I sat here long enough pondering it. 

He will be outwardly mortified by this entry. But inwardly, who doesn't like hearing how much someone loves them? :)