Taylor Made

Taylor Made

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.