A Little Over a Year and a Half (21 months)

Connor turned 21 months this week, and he is such a fun age right now.  He’s turning into a little boy.
DSC08855I think the biggest milestone this month is that Connor has started to figure out how to string multiple words together.  Prior to this month, he mostly spoke with single word responses or at most two word phrases such as, “blue shoes”, “Uncle Bob” or “Thank you.”  But earlier this month, he figured out that he could string multiple words together.  Currently, his longest sentence has been “Bye Bye Uncle Ray.”  But other notable phrases/sentences have been: “More Apricots Please.”  “Mama Dada work.”  “All pau bed (when he didn’t want to take a nap).”
DSC08857We are also working on teaching Connor numbers.   He’s got numbers 1 through 3 down, he says 4 about 75% of the time, but anything after that is very much a work in progress.   He currently counts the stairs leading to his grandparent’s front door like this:  “1… 2… 3… 4… 6… 9… 10!”  Connor really surprised us a few weeks ago when we asked him “Connor, how many dogs are on this page?” There were two, and he said “One dog. Two dog.”  Ev and I looked at each other and were like woah, our kid knows how to count.  DSC08758We must be the most irritating parents. I am constantly asking Connor to help us find things and to count things, such as “Connor can you help me find the car?” or “Connor do you remember what floor we live on?” or “Connor how many feet do I have?”  He always obliges us by answering, but I wonder whether he’s secretly thinking to himself, Seriously Mom, you don’t know how many feet you have? Two feet, Mom.  “One. Two.”  Ev, on the other hand, asks the most ridiculous questions just to see what Connor will say, such as “Connor, what sound does an armadillo make?”   I’m sorry, Connor.  Your parents are the worst.
DSC08731Other than that, we are trying to get Connor to at least start thinking about potty training, but we have had minimal success.  We really don’t know what we’re doing, and I’m just hoping that one day Connor will just figure it one day and just start using it all by himself.  On the bright side, Connor did use the potty for the first time this month, but it was more of an accident than an intentional act.  I was preparing Connor a bath when I undressed him and told him to try to use the potty before taking a shower.  He sat on the potty for about 10 seconds before giving up.  He stood up and on his walk from the potty to the shower (a whole 3 steps away) he stopped and started peeing on the floor!  So I scooped him up put him back on the potty and he finished his business.  After he was done, I clapped and cheered like he was a rock star.  Baby steps right?

Congratulations Sean and Kacie!

DSC08770This weekend we had the pleasure of witnessing the marriage of two of the nicest people we know – Sean Uwaine and Kacie Guishiken.  Ev had the honor of being a groomsman in the wedding party, and we were both looking forward to a baby-free night of great company, good food, and celebration.
DSC08778The wedding ceremony was held facing the beach on the lawn of the Waialae Country Club and the reception dinner followed inside.  The weather and setting was absolutely perfect for an outdoor ceremony (complete with a rainbow in the background)!  The ceremony was nice, sweet, and not too long. DSC08779I love weddings and I found myself tearing up several occasions, especially when the pastor advised the couple that saying the vows is the easy part, it is actually living them that is difficult. I think watching Kacie and Sean recite their vows to one another just reminded me of the commitment and promises I made myself to Ev.DSC08782After the wedding, we enjoyed cocktails and pupus on the lawn fronting the beach.  There were a lot of seating on the lawn and on the lanai around the ceremony area.
DSC08797I forgot to take the picture of the pupus, but it was amazing.  We were told that they served 60 pounds of poke!DSC08803After cocktails, we took ours seats inside.  The wedding couple sat at a sweetheart’s table in the front.  All the groomsmen (and their guests) were on one table and all the bridesmaids (and their guests) were on another.  Because Ev was a co-emcee for the night, Ev sat in the seat closest to the podium, and we had the pleasure of sitting across co-best man KK and his wife Alyssa.  DSC08819

DSC08821Dinner was delicious – there were at least 5 different salads, 3 different starches, mahi mahi and prime rib.DSC08806I also really loved their wedding cake.  I thought their cake was so original. It was simple and elegant with a nod to the couple’s dog Franklin, who wasn’t able to be at the wedding (since he is a dog). DSC08835After dinner and the speeches, Ev and I enjoyed dancing to live music by Aaron Domingo and his band Smooth Remedy. It was a wonderful wedding and at the end of the night, we were a little sad that the evening had to come to a close.DSC08836Congratulations Sean and Kacie! May you bring each other love and happiness every day for the rest of your lives.

La Cucina

Ev and I have been wanting to go back to La Cucina for a while.  So, when our friends Keopu and Jason mentioned that they wanted to go there, we promptly jumped at the opportunity.   La Cucina is one of our favorite Italian Restaurants and we like to go with other people because we can book reservations (reservations are only taken for parties of four or more people) and we have the dishes served family style, which means we can try more dishes.
DSC08670We started our meal with one of the chef’s specials for the day.  I forgot what the name of the cheese, but it was a nice, warm, gooey cheese that we spread on the bread and topped with tomatoes.  Simple, yet very enjoyable.
DSC08672We knew that we wanted a salad/vegetable dish, so we went with the Vegtali Saltati.  The dish included a mix of of sauteed onions, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, red peppers, capers and kalamata olives.  The dish had a lot of flavor and the vegetables were cooked nicely.
DSC08676Our next dish was the Modern Norcina, which was pasta with a sauce made of homemade Italian sausage, without casing, white wine and porcini mushrooms.  We were so hungry that we ate almost the entire thing before I was able to snap a  picture.
DSC08673The next dish we ordered, Risotto Funghi, came out at the same time as the Modern Norcina.   Ev and I have tried all of the Risottos on the menu, and they are all delicious.  I can’t figure out how the chef is able to prepare the risotto so well.  Th e rice was perfectly cooked and had a nice chew and the sauce had an nice, deep porcini mushroom flavor. This dish was my personal favorite of the night.
DSC08679The next dish was the Tagliolini Negi, a squid-ink pasta with basil and tomatoes, calamari in a spicy garlic sauce.  Ev and I have seen other people try this dish during our past visits and we were a little curious. We were happy to oblige when Jason said he was interested in trying this dish too.  This was the first time I ever had squid ink pasta.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was not much different from normal pasta.
DSC08678Finally, we ended the night with the Bolonese Gnocchi.  Ev loves gnocchi.  So, of course, we’ve tried every one of the four types that they serve at La Cucina – vodka, gorgonzola, bolognese, and butter and sage – on previous occasions.  The Bolognese Gnocchi is Ev’s favorite, so we decided to order that one again.  The gnocchi here are like little fluffy pillows of potato. They are so light, it’s amazing that they don’t fall apart.

Overall, it was a really outstanding meal.  As always, the only real complaint is that the food comes out at a very leisure pace.   We’ve been told that their kitchen is tiny and there is only one cook so on a busy night (and it’s always busy), you’ll have to wait for your turn. For larger parties, they also allow you to preorder your food, which might be able to cut down on the wait time.  However, if you’re looking for a quick meal, La Cucina is not the place to go.  Our meal took almost three hours, but the food here is so amazing, it’s worth the wait.

Happy Birthday Adelei

A few weeks ago, we celebrated Adelei’s first birthday.   Adelei is the daughter of one of my good friends from high school, Liana.  Liana moved to Oregon for college and decided to stay up there after graduation.  I haven’t seen her in years, so I was really happy to be able to see her and celebrate her baby girl’s special day.DSC08618The party was at Hokuloa Recreational Center in Kaneohe.  The venue was a really nice place to have a first birthday party.  It fits around 50 people and has a pool and kitchen area.   Liana catered most of the food and then supplemented with some additional homemade food items.  Ev especially liked this mochi rice with pork dish that Liana’s mom made for the party. They also had a shave ice station.  Ev chose pineapple and lychee for his flavors and I had pineapple and vanilla.  Connor had a few bites from both us.
DSC08583Liana also had a few fun activities for the kids.  Connor got to make this cool picture frame with dinosaur stickers.  I can’t wait to print one of Connor’s pictures for the frame.
DSC08603After lunch, we all sang happy birthday and watched Adelei play with her smash cakes. Overall, a really nice birthday. Liana did a good job and it was so nice to spend time with good friends.  It’s been way too long.  🙂

Egg Head Cafe

Last month, my friend Gina and I ate at Egghead Café, which is a cute little restaurant that opened in the Kakaako area on Queen Street.  Egghead Café is a great place to go for brunch, and the menu has a pretty extensive variety of pancakes, omelets, benedicts, sandwiches and salads.
DSC08423I had a really hard time choosing what to eat but I finally went with the Strawberry Shortcake pancakes, which came with a stack of 3 pancakes smothered in strawberry sauce, whipped cream and sometime of crumble on top (I’m guessing it was shortbread).   The pancakes were a winner and very much worth every penny of the $11.95 I paid for it.  I mean, come on, this looks delicious right?
DSC08425My friend Gina decided to get the Mexican Benedict ($10.95), which featured a chorizo patty, poached eggs, and a hollandaise sauce with salsa verde.  The dish also came with a nice helping of greens.  I didn’t get try the Mexican Benedict, but Gina said it was good.
DSC08427Overall, I liked Egghead Cafe.  My only real complaint about this place is that parking was pretty hard to find. They have a small lot of about 6-8 stalls in front of the restaurant, but it is no where near enough on a Saturday, mid-morning.  When I first got there Egghead was packed and I had to circle the block a few times before I finally found parking.  But other than that, I wouldn’t mind coming back with Ev since he hasn’t eaten here yet.

Bluum Box Review

After getting Citrus Lane boxes every month for over a year, I was pretty bummed last November when I received notice that the company was shutting down. I’ve been looking at other subscription box options ever since, and I finally decided to go with Bluum Box.

Bluum box is a similar monthly subscription box for children and toddlers.  Price-wise, it is slightly more a month than Citrus lane was (the regular price of the box is $34 + $5 shipping), but they do have sales from time to time and discounts when you purchase more than a month’s worth of boxes at a time (Bluum has pricing for 3 month, 6 month, and 12 month subscriptions).  One of the aspect that attracted me to Bluum the most was that unlike Citrus Lane, you can log onto your account online and choose all the items in your box from a list of items.  I love this option because I know I’ll like every item in my box, and I can tailor the box to what Connor likes and needs.DSC08657For example, the first item I picked for Connor was this Potty Training Book – Potty Superhero: Get ready for big boy pants! ($7.99).  During the past month, Ev and I have been preparing ourselves for the struggles of potty-training, so I was happy to see that this potty training board book was one of the possible items for our box.  I quickly added this item to my box, and I’m pretty happy with this book.  Hopefully, Connor will be too.DSC08668The second item I picked for my box is this Melissa and Doug Mini Puzzle Pack – Animals ($9.54).  I picked this item for my box because I like Melissa and Doug products and Connor loves puzzles.  This mini puzzle pack came with four separate puzzle boards that slide neatly into a wooden box. Each tray is a different color and has four different animals puzzle pieces.  I was really impressed with the design of this puzzle set and it is compact enough to travel with.  I will definitely be taking this set with us to Japan in May.
DSC08659The third item in my box was this Toysmith 65 Piece Gear Building Set ($5.99). I choose this gear building set with hopes that it would help develop Connor’s fine motor skills.  Unfortunately, the gears were much smaller than I expected and currently present a choking hazard, so Connor can only play with this one with adult supervision.  Other than that, Connor hasn’t quite figured out how to connect the gears together, but he does like scattering the gears all over the floor and then putting them back in the plastic container.DSC08656Finally, the last item I picked for the box was this Kid’s MyPlate – 5 section ($8.95).   I thought that this plate would be good to teach Connor the differences between, fruits, vegetables, meats, grains, and dairy.

Overall, I’m really glad I got to try Bluum.  I estimate that the value of my box came out to  about $32.50 which is slightly over the price of what I paid for the box ($22) since I had a coupon for being a new subscriber. Even though the box cost more than what I was paying for Citrus Lane, I really liked all of the items that I chose for Connor’s first Bluum box.

About 1 and a half (20 months)

Connor is another month older, and I’ve pretty much lost track of how many months Connor is (is he 19 months? 20 months? 21?) at this point. When people ask how old Connor is, I just say 1 and a half to make things easier for everyone (myself included).  When the number of months gets too high, it’s just ridiculous to expect people to be able to do the mental math.  Nevertheless, inasmuch as one of the major purposes of this blog was to document Connor’s milestones for the inevitable day that I can’t remember how old Connor was when he took his first steps or said his first word,  I’ll continue to use the month designation for at least a little while longer… Now, back to Connor.

Hoarding his lai see at Chinese New Year

After months of doing whatever we tell him to do (Connor come here, Connor what is this?, Connor don’t eat that, Connor put that down, Connor say “banana”, etc.), Connor appears to have turned the tables us.  Connor loves telling us where to sit and what to do.  For example, one of his favorite playtime activities is passing out and making us wear all the hats that we bought for the photobooth we had at his Cat in the Hat themed first birthday party.  He apparently makes my in-laws walk around their house in hats everyday, all day long.  Here are a few photos of our favorite dictator:

He still has the same smile.

Connor is getting pretty good at identifying all of his primary (red, blue, yellow) and secondary colors (purple, green, and orange) plus a few more colors (black, brown, white, and pink).  For a while, I was a little concerned that he was blue-green color blind because he keeps mixing up green things as “blue.”  However, I think he’s getting better and distinguishing between green and blue (0r at least he’s getting better at guessing).  I’d say he get’s the colors right maybe 75% of the time now.
DSC08414 Connor also LOVES playing/reading “My First Look and Find” books. We have two of them so far and Connor goes through the both books everyday.  I bought two more on Amazon and hope to get them soon.
DSC08459We are also still working on his vocabulary and encouraging him to talk more.  I’ve lost count of the number of words he can say but I would estimate that it’s probably at about 100 words at this point.  He still babbles a lot and his enunciation is not great.  I’m pretty sure me, Ev, and Ev’s parents are the only people that can understand him at this point, but he’s working on it.  🙂