Blog Archive

September 15, 2019

Up Up and Away!

Yumi's grip continuous to strengthen as she go overs her 2 month milestones.

We are starting to see the curiosity in her eyes as she looks at us and her surroundings and some glimpses of her smile. Hope to see more! 

August 19, 2019

To Infinity and Beyond!

Our Mayumi Nara is now 1 month old. She was so excited to visit us that she launched 3 weeks earlier than expected! 
After gaining back her birth weight, calculated trajectory dictates that she will still gain some more cheeks for us to kiss and baby fat to cuddle on.

July 15, 2019

And another miracle was born

Everyone, please welcome Mayumi Nara! :) Born 6.4 lbs, 17.5 inches on a Monday night at 37 weeks and 1 day.

Note: Optional reading ahead (aka Yumi's birth story as told by Nanay). :p

Truth be told, I was feeling a lot of anxiety and less mentally prepared for this birth. I was afraid that I would be less brave and less pain tolerant knowing what was coming based on my first pregnancy. I was not looking forward to the IV, pain, perineal tear, and "4th trimester" symptoms like itching. I also worried about the logistics of Lily's care and not getting enough support during labor. However, it's true that no two births are alike and thank God, those fears did not materialize and were not as inevitable as I thought.
It was the night before when labor started. I thought it was the usual night discomforts but it did not get better during the day. Even though the trip to the women's center the Friday before (due to bleeding more than expected after first IE and less movement) confirmed that the same cramping I was feeling were actually contractions (6 minutes apart but eventually stopped, 1 cm dilated at that time), I was hoping that it was due to constipation. I timed the contractions in the Baby Center app nonetheless.
After coming home from work, I asked Topeng to buy me stool softener and fiber to rule out constipation while I went on to watch/cram some labor breathing/positions on YouTube. I tried hard to get some dinner in but my water undeniably broke. Topeng never curses/says bad words but during this instance, he did out of shock.:)) After dropping Lily off at a friend's house, we headed to the women's center.
Although her name means gentle/happy, this one is fast and furious. I believe the duration from check-in/registration to triage (8cm dilated) to the actual delivery took less than 30 minutes. It worked out for the best since it left me no time to be scared, no time to get an epidural, no time for an IV. As soon as they wheeled me to the delivery room, it was time to push baby (and p**p.. TMI!).
Obviously,  the all-fours position and breathing techniques from the YouTube videos were very effective. No doula required.
Note that hubby offered some supporting words but I ignored him most of the time as I was concentrating on my breathing. I'm so relieved that I did not need stitches this time which helped me recover faster than I expected and less challenging for me to take care of a newborn especially since our moms are arriving after almost 2 weeks.
I'm very thankful that Lily coped well with the overnight stay away from us (I was told that she was very talkative and excited to meet her little sister) and that Mayumi, although slightly small for her gestational age and was at risk of ingesting meconium at birth, is healthy (Apgar score 8/9), did not get an infection (despite me being positive for Group B Strep and was not administered with antibiotics via IV) and eventually was cleared from jaundice.
Praise God!!!

September 21, 2018

Hawaii - Day 8 - Aloha again Kauai

Last day: Departure Lihue
Last chance to swim in the beach! Before our 11am hotel checkout, we spent our time in Lydgate Beach. If you have kids and can only go to one beach in Kauai, this is it. Lily and Ellis (a 2yr old boy who played in the beach w/ Lily) were able to see the fishes and sand crabs without having to snorkel. We left the sand toys by the beach to pay it forward but not without struggle.

The beach was so good, I had to try submerging my phone to see the fishes beneath. Worth it! (at that time, and doubt the rest of the time that my phone is still working correctly. :)) )

I Say a Tip Top...
For lunch, we had the oxtail soup at Tip Top Motel Cafe and Bakery based purely on (Cheche's) high recommendation and rightfully so! We also had a bento which contains an assortment of meats (ribeye steak, spam, fried chicken) macaroni salad and rice. Sinfully good!

We should remember to leave public reviews on these diners so that they don't end up like the failed attempts. We didn't have any on the bakery side because we were too full and don't have any recommendation on must-trys.

Post Office + Museum Driveby
We dropped by the post office to buy stamps and send our postcards.

Lily wanted to go to a museum but unfortunately Kauai no longer has a children's museum. The only museum they have is Kauai Museum. Entrance fee for $15 for adults and free for children and it is good for one week. Only Lily and I went in and it didn't last long as there was not much to see.

Costco has the best prices for pasalubong shopping like chocolate covered macademia, macademia nuts. They also have $4 swimsuits and $8 sarongs but I didn't buy them as we already on our last day. I don't have any pictures so here's a Kauai rooster for you.

(Na)Hilo Hattie
We also checked out Hilo Hattie but as expected we didn't buy anything because it was too pricey. There was a nearby store (Discount Fabric Warehouse) having half the price but still not discount enough for me.:p

Although, we decided not to go on a helicopter tour, I also checked out nearby Safari Helicopters (promo price: $199/person) but they were already booked for the day understandably because it was already an hour before their last tour for the day (420pm). Nap in the car it is.:))
Aloha for now
For dinner, we got burgers from Kalapaki Beach Hut and ate it beach side. Prior to going to the beach, Lily was a bit sad and mad that we are already leaving. See the difference before and after we got back to the beach.

Then, we got our last Kauai shave ice at Skinny Mike's.

Returned the car at Alamo and bid Kauai goodbye... for now.

September 20, 2018

Hawaii - Day 7 - Kauai Chocolate Tour, Lighthouse & (nag) Catamaran.

Lydgate Chocolate Farm
Since we weren't able to explore the farmers markets in Kauai for some local exotic fruits, I figured a chocolate tour at Lydgate Farms would be the next best thing. (We passed by what I believe is the Opeka'a Falls on the way there but we had 9am tour to get to).

Upon arrival, we were advised to put on insect repellent spray provided. Avocados are free to take and a few Macademia nuts were also available for cracking and consumption. A couple of their chocolate samples were passed around.

Fruits that we sampled included: Meyer lime with cane sugar stick, egg fruit, longan, guava, dragon fruit, custard apple, star apple, guava, passion fruit/lilikoi, papaya and of course, chocolate. Except for egg fruit and longan, all the fruit samples were already cut up. Our fruit monster is now a fruit conossieur. Char!:))

The last hour of our tour is the actual chocolate testing. We tasted a total of 11 different kinds of chocolate that I think Lily got a headache from it and is now swearing off chocolate. I think I got too convinced by what the tour guide said that real chocolate has antioxidants and has no caffeine, less sugar part.Oops!

Sleepy Lunch Time
By the time we arrived at Kountry Kitchen for lunch, Lily has crashed for a nap. Topeng expected chicken and waffles but it was more of a brunch place. He ordered corned beef loco moco while I had what's left of my Kauai Benedict for Lily to eat when she wakes up on the drive back to

Kilauea Lighthouse one more time
Since we have some time, we now came prepared and drove back to the lighthouse. The place was small enough to roam for less than an hour but Lily didn't want to leave yet to chase the birds and read some books. Overall it was nice but I was kinda disappointed that we didn't spot any whales or seals though.

Sunset Catamaran
On our way to the Kukui'ula Boat Harbor for our scheduled sunset catamaran cruise, we experienced heavy traffic. Worrying about not making it there in time, the winding roads of Kauai and possibly from what I had eaten during the day was not a good combination to prepare my tummy for the boat trip.
I am kicking myself in the head for leaving that motion sickness medicine in the hotel when I bought them just for this purpose.>.<
Fortunately, we made it to the cruise which includes drinks (canned juices, sneaky tiki, and other alcoholic beverages) and appetizers (cauliflower, crab cakes, shrimp). They were abundant but I didn't get to enjoy them as I was feeling queasy. Lily beat me to it though and I was caught in the trajectory! Oh, the messes of motherhood! After hosing down, we used our swimsuits as a change of clothes. Our faces foretelling what's going to happen next.

Dolphin or any sea animal sightings would have made it worth it but they were nowhere in sight.:( We just lounged by the "trampoline" and stared at the sunset as advertised though we could have done this w/o the boat part and saved us a lot of trouble. Would I recommend this for kids? Meh! Maybe one experience is enough. Lily was a bit scared at first but was she eventually is in a playful mood.

She is the only kid on board (again!). Is this the universe telling me to take her to the Disney cruise she has been asking to go to? I don't know.:))

Dinner Katamaran
I still didn't get my appetite back for dinner so Topeng just ordered Puka Dog to go in Poipu Shopping Village. (I should have gotten postcards here instead...they're cuter!). Topeng's review of the "Hawaiian style hotdogs" (not verbatim): it's basically a hotdog on a bun with Hawaiian BBQ sauce so nothing special and very bare.

We also checked out Seouka's for curiosity's sake. We didn't buy anything but it looked like a good place to buy stuff for the beach: snorkelling gear, sunscreen.

September 19, 2018

Hawaii - Day 6 - Kauai North Shore

Sunrise Ceremony
We signed up for the hotel's Sunrise ceremony to see what it was all about and we like free stuff. :P It started at 6 a.m. and Cheche joined us before she left for her honeymoon.

The ceremony was very informational and gave us a good dose of early Vitamin D.

Pono Market
After which we went to Pono Market for breakfast of spam musubi, chicken and poke (shrimp for me, salmon? for Topeng). Topeng really liked it and regrets not going back.

Hanalei Beach Trip
The trip to the North shore was more of a Hanalei Beach day because that's only point of interest that we ended up going to. The waves were almost the same as Poipu but the sand is finer. The other beaches west side of North Shore were now inaccessible due to flooding last April while the rest are not family friendly (eg. full of cliffs, rocky, requires some hiking) that we did not dare to explore it. Funny how your perspective of dangerous changes once you have a little one.

Lunch Stop
We had another case of supposedly-open-but-ended-up-closed choice of lunch place. The food truck usually opens (according to them) during lunch time but I guess the waves were calling them during that time.

We ended up at Tahiti Nui Restaurant were we ordered Loco Moco and Kahlua Pork sub.

After which, we just strolled around Hanalei Center, made silly faces and bought post cards.

We also dropped by Magic Dragon Toy and Art Supply. They have lot's of good stuff, but unfortunately we are thrifty like that and did not bought anything. :D

Light House, Light Out
We should have cut our "shopping time" short  because when we arrived at Kilauea Lighthouse, they were about to close and we didn't have cash for entry ($5/adult. Kids free). This is why I now think that the North shore itinerary would have worked yesterday because by 4pm we were already going back to the hotel and would have time to take a bath before going to the luau if we had done so. Owell, no point regretting it now.

We finally ate at Kauai Family Cafe for dinner then bought ice cream at Food Land which we don't have any pictures because sometimes you are too hungry to take pictures of your food. :p

September 18, 2018

Hawaii - Day 5 - Kauai South Shore

Southed out on North
This day was originally planned for Lihue in time for the luau scheduled for the night but, since it is where the airport is,  we already covered most of the places we wanted to go to on our first day and we can just go to whatever is in the area before our flight departs/last day. Our options left were either the north shore or south shore. The North shore gave me an impression that it is messier/more dangerous than the south shore from what I had read and it was farther from our evening event so I made an executive decision to go to the latter despite our newly wed friends going to the former in the afternoon. In hindsight, North shore would have worked as well if not better. More on this later.

Spouting Horn

Our first stop was the Spouting Horn. Which was nice and cool (literally and figuratively).
There were also a lot of chickens that little enjoyed chasing at.and a the shops there were cheaper than in Waimea (and all other shops we checked out in Kauai I believe) so another souvenir was bought (ukulele).>.<

Baby Beach, no more diapers
Our next stop was in Baby Beach which didn't last long. This was one of the hidden gems in Kauai. You have to park on a residential area and then walk on a side street to come here. The name also is very apt as waves are much gentler here and they have several areas with breakwaters. Unfortunately, after a few snaps, the little one needed to use the restroom but driving is required to get to one which lead us to Poipu Beach.
Poipu Beach
Poipu beach has stronger waves, bigger grains of sand/pebbles and corals nearer to the sea shore so the water shoes helped. We have foregone renting snorkeling gear but we still got to see some fishes nonetheless. (I am tempted to make a table to compare the sand, surf, and sea life on the beaches we visited at the end of this but we'll see :p)

Lunch Time + Stroll Time
We headed to Makai Sushi for lunch but soon discovered that it is just a stand so Topeng ordered poke while I ordered a carne asada bowl for us girls from another stand nearby Da Crack  then we had a little picnic at the back hood of the car. Come to think of it, we should have looked for an actual park in Koloa to have a picnic but I guess we were too hungry and also getting calamansi shaved ice from Locococo, a food truck nearby was in Topeng's agenda.:))

Before going back to Baby Beach for the afternoon, we strolled the shops and used the restroom at Kukui'ula Village Shopping Center.

Baby Beach me one more time 
Back in Baby Beach, Lily found a playmate with the same age and gender but we did not take pictures during this time for Lily to remember her by. Sorry, Lily! In my defense, the other mom didn't take photos as well. Topeng feel asleep in the shade in preparation for the Luau.

Luau Kalamaku
During welcome activities for the Luau Kalamaku, girls were bestowed with fresh orchid leis while men were given shell necklace. Kids also have a head dress made from palm leaves. Pictures for $25 purchase were taken by the "waterfalls": one with just the group and one with couple of people in native attire. They were not bad except the photographer didn't bother to make sure Lily was smiling and I was annoyed that Topeng forgot to bring the the clothes I bought for him so we could somehow be matching. :-|

The train ride included a guided tour of the Kilohana Plantation. One stop included feeding the pigs with bread provided. I have no regrets taking this train tour to say the least.

The luau was more crowded than we expected; the table numbers have three digits...that's how big it was! We were lucky that the table/seats assigned to us have a good view of the stage. At the beginning, it was quite noisy because people we're talking/walking all around/getting some drinks from the bar so we couldn't really understand what we were watching but once people has gotten their food from the buffet line, people were starting to pay attention to the show.
Each L-shaped buffet line consisted of salads, poi shots, rice, noodles, viands (imu kahlua pork, chicken teriyaki) and custard type desserts. The food was ok but not good enough to get a 2nd round. I did not get any salads because they did not look enticing to me so there was hardly any vegetable on my plate. I tried the poi (mashed fermented taro) just for novelty and it was bland and have the consistency of paste so I didn't finish it. The show kept Lily's attention. As for me, I just like looking at topless men dancing. Joke!:))