5 Months

DSC05798Grayson turned 5 months old earlier this month. Although he was over 3 weeks early and small for his age at birth, Grayson has pretty much caught up on his weight and height. I’m a little sad that he is no longer my tiny baby.DSC05808Overall, Grayson is starting to take on his own personality. He is my happy-go-lucky boy. It is so much easier to get him to smile for pictures. If you smile at him, he will usually smile back. He also loves cooing and making whale noises. I love having “conversations” with him – he coos, then I coo, and he coos back.IMG_20180106_151252I am glad that Grayson’s hair is finally starting to grow in. When he was born, he looked like an old balding man – no hair on top and small patches of hair on the sides. Now, his head resembles a fuzzy q-tip.IMG_20180106_110033Grayson has also gained much more control over his hands. He can generally grab things dangling in front of him. He has also taken a liking to sucking his left thumb. I’m happy that he likes sucking his thumb because he did not like pacifiers.DSC05825The biggest challenge right now is that he hates sleeping in his crib and loves sleeping in my bed. I don’t really blame him though. Crib beds are so hard any my bed is so soft and comfy. Stupid SIDS. Nights are still a bit of a struggle. On a good night he gets up once at around 4am, on bad nights he gets up 3 times, usually between 12 and 1 am, between 3-4am and between 5am and 6am.DSC05833I look forward to the day that Grayson sleeps through the night and I can actually get a full-night’s worth of sleep. But at least for now, this smile makes it all worth it.

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2 Months

Grayson is definitely the second child.  For Connor, I created this blog so that I could journal about all his milestones and I took a zillion pictures.  For Grayson, Iʻm a month and a half late with this post and he has a total of a dozen pictures for the month.  Part of me feels really bad, and the other parts of me just feel tired…

Here are some pictures of Graysonʻs second month of life.

One Month

They say time flies when you’re having fun. The saying also aptly applies when you have a newborn and you’re exhausted.  Grayson turned a month old last week and I have no idea where the time went.  He and I recently emerged from our self-imposed house arrest and it’s wonderful to finally get out.  Unfortunately, the one month mark also meant that Ev had to return to work.img_20170906_081031.jpgOverall, Grayson is doing well and he has taken it easy on me for the most part.  He is a very good eater and had a good latch from the beginning.   In the past month, he gained a little more than 2 and a half pounds and grew 2 inches.  It’s amazing how fast babies grow.  Grayson also sleeps for longer stretches of time than Connor did at this age so I am gratful. However, he hasn’t quite grasped the concept of day and night yet.  He often wants to stays up from about 3 am to 6 am and then sleeps from 6 am to 2 pm, waking up just long enough to feed every few hours or so.  Now that Ev is back to work, most of the night duties fall on me and I feel like a walking zombie for most of the morning.  I am glad that Connor started preschool in July.  I can’t imagine having to take care of both kids at the same time.  I truly don’t know how these stay at home moms do it.  I’m hoping that Grayson soon learns that night time is for sleeping.  But, for now, it’s ok.  I’m trying to cherish every moment I have with Grayson because this may be the last time I hold such a tiny baby in a very, very long time.  I am so blessed to have a happy, healthy baby.  Hopefully, he figures it out before I return to work.  If not, I’m going to be a very tired mommy.

50th State Fair

The Ohtas had an incredibly busy (but fun) June.  Our weekends are just packed with “activities we want to do before the baby arrives.”  The month started with fishing at Heeia fishpond and ended with Connor’s 3rd birthday.
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On Father’s day we went to the 50th State Fair with my family.  The fair had a special that day and admission and most rides were $2.00.  We went at noon, when the fair first opened. We made the right decision because the fair was pleasantly empty and not too crowded. Here are a few pictures from our visit to the 50th State Fair.
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DSC04162Connor really wanted to go on the Spring Ride, which is one of those rides that repeatedly lifts you up to about 30 feet in the air and drops you at random times.   I’m surprised they let him on the ride.  He looked so tiny.
DSC04167I was worried that this ride would be too scary for him and that he’d be traumatized for the rest of his life (Even I don’t like going on this ride!), but Connor was a good sport.  Ev said that near the end, he started yelling, “I’m all done!” However, he didn’t cry and after he got off the ride, he promptly ran unfazed to the Dizzy Dragon ride.DSC04186
DSC04192Connor also played one of those “play until you win” games and won a blow up emoji-man.  There was a variety of different faces, and Connor wanted the one with heart shaped eyes.
DSC04199This year’s new ride was called KMG Speed, which was a 150 ride that whirls riders around like a giant fan.  I couldn’t ride on any of the rides because I’m pregnant but Kimi, my brother’s girlfriend was willing to go with Ev.DSC04212

DSC04233The 50th State Fair also had a pretty decent petting zoo run by Colton Farms, the same farm that ran the petting zoo at the pumpkin patch at the Waimanalo Country Farms. They had a nice variety of animals and admission was only $3.00 a person.DSC04241

Fishing in He’eia Fishpond

DSC03978A few weekends ago we took Connor fishing at the Heeia Fishpond.  It was very exciting because this was his very first time fishing.  I had never been to the He’eia Fishpond before either so it was a new experience for me as well.  DSC04117The He’eia fishpond is owned by Kamehameha Schools and maintained and run by the non-profit organization Paepae o He’eia.  The fishpond is generally closed to the public and they have signs like this all over the place.DSC04000For the record, no, we did not break into the fishpond.  Paepae o He’eia holds La Holoholo events  about 8 or 9 days a year that allow the public visit and keep any predatory fish they are able to catch from the fishpond.  Tickets to the La Holoholo events are $10 per fishing pole and the event lasts from 8 am to 2:30 pm.  Paepae o He’eia only sells a total of 60 tickets for each event, so Ev and his co-worker (and our friend from school), Wayne, were really lucky to snag 4 tickets each.
DSC03996When we first arrived we checked in and were given a brief tour and cultural lesson about the fishpond.  The He’eia fishpond is an 88 acre brackish water Hawaiian Fishpond in He’eia, Hawaii.  Historians estimate that there were nearly 400 fishponds spread through the Hawaiian Islands in ancient Hawaii but most have been destroyed and there are only about 40 left in Hawaii.  The fishpond were that it was built between 600-800 years ago and the wall is one of the longest fishponds in Hawaii measuring 1.3 miles.DSC04001Initially, when Ev first suggested taking Connor fishing at the He’eia fishpond, I envisioned the wall being this narrow pile of unlevel rocks that Connor could easily trip on and plop right into the ocean.  It turns out, I was overreacting because the wall was massive.  The wall was at least 8 feet wide in the area that we were fishing and it was solid.  What was even more impressive was that the entire wall was built without any mortar or cement! The wall was constructed entirely out of carefully stacked lava rocks on both edges and filled in with coral.  Amazing!DSC04035The wall supposedly narrowed as you walked further down, but we didn’t end up venturing that far from the beginning of the wall and stationed ourselves at the first makaha, which were these channels through the wall with sluice gates on both ends that allowed the brackish water from the pond and salt water from the ocean to flow in and out of the fishpond.   The sluice gates were made of sticks lashed together and their main function was to allow baby fish into the pond and to keep the adult fish contained.  There were a total of seven makaha in the He’eia fishpond.  DSC04015Another benefit of this makaha was that it also had a Hale Kia’i, a guard house that protected us from the wind, sun, and rain.  I think that this was probably the most comfortable day-fishing I’ve ever done.  The wall was wide enough that we were able to cart in folding chairs, a cooler and a bunch of toys to keep Connor busy and the makaha was large enough to provide a small space for Connor to play when he got bored of fishing.
DSC04009The tide was really low when we first started fishing, which made the makaha a perfect place for Connor to “fish” because at low tide the water from the fishpond is flowing out into the ocean and tiny fish from fishpond would gather near the makaha area.  We had Connor sit at the edge of the Makaha and gave him a straight pole with some shrimp for bait.  We had fun watching Connor try to catch the small fish.  Other than allowing us to put the bait on his fishing pole, Connor wanted to fish all by himself.  Most of the time, the bait would fall of his hook and Connor was pretty much just feeding the fishes.  DSC04019However, Connor was able to pull up a few fishes.  Here is a picture of the very first fish Connor has ever caught.  It was a Mamo (Hawaiian damselfish).   You can also see the makaha and the sluice gate in the background.  Connor also caught about four kupipi (gray damselfish) that day, but of course, they were not the predatory fish that we were supposed to be catching, so we caught the fish and then released them back into the water. DSC04024Eventually, the tide changed and the water from the ocean started rushing into the  pond.  The tiny fishes left the makaha area and Connor and I stopped fishing.  After that we spend the rest of the time watching the other people fish, and Connor played in the puddles.  He was covered with mud by the end of the day, but he didn’t care.DSC04066One of friends, Mer, was the best fisherman of our group.  She took home two Kaku (barracuda).
DSC04059We thought we were going to go home empty handed but at the very last minute, Ev caught also pulled up a kaku!  I missed the whole thing because I was inside the Hale Kia’i packing up our stuff when Ev caught the fish.  I was bummed that I didn’t get to see Ev pull up the fish but also really happy that Ev caught a fish and that meant we would get to eat fresh fish for dinner. DSC04107Although our group only caught kaku, some other people were also able to catch some decent sized papio and because we were fishing on private property, Hawaii state size limits didn’t apply and they were able to take home fish even if some of them may have been undersized.  When we got to shore, there was wash area on the dock where we were able to wash off our gear and clean our fish.  We were really happy not have to scale our fish at home in our tiny apartment.  DSC04125Ev’s fish ended up being a little over a foot long and it was just enough to feed the three of us for dinner that night.  Ev fried up the kaku with some seasoned salt and we ate our fish with poi and choi sum.  DSC04130Overall, we had a lot of fun and it was a bonus that we got dinner out of the fishing event as well.  It was a super fun (and exhausting) day fishing.DSC03984

Keiki Balloon Drop & New Year’s Eve Party

(My first post of the new year!  Yes, this post is super late. Happy belated New Year everyone!)

On New Year’s Eve, Ev and I took Connor to a Balloon Drop and New Year’s Eve Party hosted by FIT4MOM Honolulu.  The Party was held at Kakaako Agora and was a charity event for Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, a non profit organization committed to improving maternal and child health in Hawaii. DSC02826The event started at 10:30 am and ended shortly after the balloons dropped at 12 noon.  The cost was a $5 dollar donation per person.  When we first arrived, there were snack, activity, craft, and play stations to keep the kids busy while we waited for the program to start.  We also passed the time browsing a few of the “mommy vendor” stalls (LulaRoe, Osborne Books, Mary Kay, etc.) that were set up along one side of the room.DSC02816There was a short program consisting of a brief introduction from Fit4Mom Honolulu, story time and dancing, and a visit from Princesses Cinderella and Ariel!DSC02813For story time, the storyteller read Boogie Monster by Josie Bisset, which is a interactive  book which asks the children to dance, shake, and wiggle different body parts.  The book was very similar to the Tickle Monster book by the same author that we read to Connor at home.  After story time, the princesses arrived and  led the children through a few song and dance routines.  Then they lined the children up for autographs.
DSC02824We don’t let Connor watch too much television, so I’m not sure whether Connor knew who those princesses were or if he was just not interested in them.  He was pretty indifferent to the princesses, so we didn’t stand in line for their autographs.  A lot of the other children were very excited to see the princesses though. It was very cute.
DSC02845Connor was more excited to play with the party blowers that they were passing around.  it pretty much kept him preoccupied for most of the party.  I have about 50 photos of Connor blowing this party blower but I’m particularly proud of the picture above because I think it looks kind of artsy.
DSC02861Shortly before noon, all the chilrden were asked to sit on the stairs under the balloons grouped somewhat by age, with the oldest children standing  in the center of the balloon area and the  youngest near the outsides of the area so that the younger children wouldn’t be trampled by the older children.DSC02873At noon, the balloons came down.  I was hoping that Connor would be excited to see all the balloons fall but, unfortunately, I think I was more excited than he was.  I have such a mellow kid. Connor watched the balloons fall and then went back to blowing on his party blower.  DSC02880Eventually, we were able to coax Connor into giving up his party blower and play with the balloons on the floor.  Overall, Connor had fun and it gave us something to do on a Saturday afternoon.  I wouldn’t mind going again and hope they have the event next year.DSC02894Happy New Year everyone.  I think that 2017 is going to be great.DSC02806

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween Everyone!

dsc02372This year, Connor dressed up as Aladdin and my friend Tasha’s daughter dressed up as Princess Jasmine.  The initial plan was that we were going to meet up to go trick or treating in the Waikele Outlet mall like last year.  Unfortunately, Ev and I both were not able to leave work early enough to get out to Waikele before the event finished at 7pm due to the traffic.  Hopefully Aladdin and Jasmine can be united soon.

As a consolation, we took Connor trick-o-treating for the first time.  We only went to about two dozen houses on Ev’s parent’s street, but Connor had a lot of fun going door-to-door, helping pass out candy, and watching the other children trick-o-treat.

I hope everyone had a great Halloween.

Fishing for Dinner at Zauo Restaurant (Day 6: Part III)

DSC09979One of the most unique dining experiences that we had in Japan was eating at Fishing Restaurant Zauo.    Zauo is a restaurant chain in Japan where you literally catch your own dinner.  Ev’s brother recommended that we take Connor to eat at the one located in the Washington Hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo and I was able to book reservations for dinner online through Open Table before we left for Japan.DSC09970The seating area of the restaurant was designed to look like a big wooden boat in the center of the restaurant. Surrounding the boat were large fish tanks where you would fish for a variety of seafood.  The night we went, there were flounder, sea bream, horse-mackerel,  top shell, shrimp, and rock fish.  DSC09985We purchased some bait for 100 yen and went fishing.  Once we caught a fish, we got to choose how we wanted the fish cooked from a list of various preparations.  The price depended on the base price of the fish and the cooking options selected.  You could also just order the fish directly off the menu (without catching it) but the prices were slightly higher.
DSC09967The first fish we decided to catch was a Flounder (base 3,661 yen).  We were told that the trick to catching the flounder was that you basically drag the hook along the top of the flounder until the hook snags the flounder so that you can pull the fish out of the water.  Ev’s dad was able to catch the flounder in about five minutes.
DSC09989The cooking options for the flounder were sashimi, simmered in shoyu, fried, deep fried (+324 yen), sautéed in butter (+324), sushi (54 yen a piece), miso soup (+162), fried bones (+216 yen).  We chose to fry half and make sushi with the other half.
DSC09991After we had finished the sushi, we had the bones and fried it up until it was crispy for 216 yen.  I liked the fact that we basically ate every single part of the fish and nothing went to waste.
DSC09993The second fish we caught was the sea bream (2,970 yen base).  This fish was harder to catch and you definitely needed to buy bait (tiny shrimp).  Thankfully, Ev’s dad is an excellent fisherman and caught the fish in less than 10 minutes.  He said the trick to catching this one was that he loaded the hook with as many shrimp as he could fit on the hook.DSC09988The sea bream had the most cooking options, which were sashimi, grilled, simmered in shoyu, fried, chazuke (+410 yen), sushi (+54 yen a piece), kamameshi (+324 yen), miso soup (+162 yen), grilled bones (+216 yen) and bones simmered with shoyu (+324 yen).DSC09994For the sea bream, we chose to have half simmered in shoyu and half made into sashimi.    The simmered sea bream (shown above) was my favorite preparation of the night.DSC09998We also used the bones and head of the sea bream to make miso soup for everyone.  Connor was a big fan of the miso soup.  After the sea bream, we sent Ev out to catch some top shells, which were large sea snails.
DSC09997We had the top shell prepared in sashimi style and grilled.  We all preferred the grilled top shell over the top shell sashimi .  The top shell sashimi style was a little too crunchy and did not have much flavor.
DSC00004We ended the night with a grilled rock fish.  The rock fish wasn’t one of the standard fish on the menu so I don’t recall what the exact price was for this fish.  It was a good size and had a nice grilled smoky flavor.
DSC00005Overall, the Zauo Restaurant was a fun experience and great place to go with kids.  Connor really enjoyed seeing all the different types of fish and watching everyone fish.  I was really glad that I had booked reservations for 5pm when the restaurant opened because it got really crowded as the night went on.   The meal was a bit pricey, but I think it was worth the price given the novelty.

National Museum of Nature and Science (Day 6: Part II)

DSC09949After the Imperial Palace tour, we had a quick ramen lunch and then headed to the National Museum of Nature and Science, which was a 5 minute walk from the JR Ueno station.DSC09921The National Museum is Japan’s largest nature and science museum and Connor loved it.  We could have easily spent multiple days going through the Permanent and the Special Exhibitions. The Permanent Exhibition side of the museum is divided into two main parts – the Japan Gallery and the Global Gallery.DSC09923Even though we were there for over three hours, we barely got though the Global Gallery, which  was 6 floors of exhibits.  The museum was very impressive and kid-friendly.  I’m very glad that we decided to take Connor.DSC09933We spent most of our time on the first floor, which tracked the history of life on Earth from the single-celled organism to the 1.6 million species that now live on Earth today.  Ev was blown away with the Tree of Life exhibit, which was an interactive exhibit explaining Darwin’s theory of evolution.DSC09924Although there were some interactive displays that allowed you to choose the English language, most of the exhibits and the explanations on the walls were only in the Japanese.  If you can’t understand Japanese, I would recommend renting an English audio-guides for 310 yen.  We decided to rent the interactive tablet (seen on Ev below).  In addition to having audio the tablets also had interactive floor maps that helped you navigate through the museum.DSC09934This is a picture of Ev in front of a whale’s small intestine that was infected with tiny worm-like parasites.  Fun.DSC09959Connor is also really into dinosaurs right now so he also got a kick out of seeing all the different dinosaur fossils on display.
DSC09955Overall, my only regrets were that we didn’t visit the Theater 360, which was a spherical 3D movie theater, and the ComPaSS children’s exploration area.  Entry into the ComPaSS area was free but they only allowed a certain number of people per timeslot and by the time we got there they were already sold out for the day.  I would recommend  reserving ComPaSS ticket as soon as you get to the museum.DSC09936

National Museum of Nature and Science ♦
7-20 Ueno Park, Taito-ku Tokyo 110-8718
Adults 620 yen; free for seniors and children (high school and younger)
Sunday, Tuesday – Thursday: 9:00-17:00; Friday – Saturday: 9:00-20:00