Gobble Gobble Turkey Day

Thanksgiving actually kicked off on Wednesday for us with a Thanksgiving party at Emma’s school.

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Crazy kid got so into playing in the “big kid’s classroom” (read: the 4-year-old classroom versus her own 3-year-old classroom) that she didn’t even realize that all her friends had left. She threw a fit when I made her leave (because they were closing down the school for the holiday) because I was “making [her] leave all [her] friends.” What friends? Every other kid left about 30 minutes before she did…. SMH. Oh the joys of a threenager.

Meanwhile, we had to get home anyway because it was time to put all my thanksgiving party plans into motion.

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While I was living away from family in a small condo in the COLD, I would dream about throwing huge family parties upon moving back to Hawaii. I excitedly took on a massive Christmas party the first year I went back… and it didn’t go great. The people I confided in after the fact about the issues swore the party was a huge success, but they are also the ones firmly biased towards me and would stick up for me no matter what (oh hi mom, hubby and older sister). Meanwhile,  it seemed like from many others there was one thing or another that someone didn’t like: what food I served or didn’t serve, the games we played, the heat of the house, the chill of the house, the order of events…. you name it. I decided to retire from party planning after my first go-round. But two years later, albeit with a different guest list, I decided to give it a try again for thanksgiving this year. I ended up going overboard on pinterest ideas, food and… well… everything. But I think everyone loved it. Be still my wannabe party planning loving heart I was so happy. Although maybe it went a little too well. For a couple days after the fact, Emma was showing signs of abandonment issues. You know because all the people that came to the party eventually left to go home for the night (insert eye rolling emoji for days).

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The only food picture I remembered to take was of food I didn’t cook. But Ryan made an amazing Turkey!

Meanwhile, while I realize I was fully in turkey obsessing party planning craziness, I did try to take time out to instill the true meaning of thanksgiving in Emma with a thankful tree. While it took me until day 4 to have my own name included in her things she’s thankful for, it was pretty awesome to see all the things she appreciates, from treble clef shaped pillows (oh I see it now!) to being able to protect me from bugs (I’m a wuss) this kid melts my heart. As for myself, definitely so very thankful for my life, for supportive parents and in-laws, a secure and fulfilling job, a kindhearted and wonderful child, hilarious fur babies, caring friends, awesome family and my rock through all of it, the guy that spent his birthday on thanksgiving not kicking back and relaxing, but making a turkey (see awesomeness above) and stuffing and running out to the grocery store when I broke down over forgetting to buy cream cheese.

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From the north shore to the north shore or from September through (mid-)November

November… the first half

November kicked off with a date night to the food and wine festival. There was food and there was wine… what more can I say. Most exciting moment was when Graham Elliott handed me a plate and told me he hoped I liked it. Oh swoon! The way the food and wine festival works is you can 1) pay extra to enter one-hour early and gorge yourself with limited amounts of people surrounding you, 2) pay the general admissions and deal with lines or 3) happen to have the credit card whose company sponsors the festival (First Hawaiian Bank’s mastercard) and pay the general admissions cost while entering an hour early to gorge yourself with limited amounts of people. If you guessed that I went with option number 3 you’d be right.

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I had coordinated to have my babysitter (oh hi mom!) hang around until close to midnight, giving us the chance to close down the party and then make the one-hour commute home, but we stuffed ourselves so much that we called it quits by around 7:30 PM. Cool kids club over here!

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Ryan and I sort of messed up on coordinating Veteran’s Day off but it turned out to be a blessing. Normally when I get the holiday listing for Emma’s preschool I ask off for all the days off that I can since there are some months that I’m not allowed to take vacation for at all. Since Ryan’s workload is more stagnant than mine, he gets the leftover days. Since November is a slow month I asked my boss to take the Veteran’s day holiday off from work. And then realized that it was actually a holiday for Ryan. But with the end of the year coming up, any vacation days I give up at this point I might lose at the end of the year if I can’t find another day to take it on so instead we decided to go on a mini vacation to the north shore, typically just an annual trip in September. While the waves were getting bigger and scarier by this time of year, therefore keeping us on the sand, there were many sand castles to build, falls to hike to and yummy food trucks to try.

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Needless to say it was an awesome vacation and a well needed recuperation between the craziness of Halloween and the party planning craze that was about to begin for Thanksgiving.

From the north shore to the north shore or from September through (mid-)November

The October Edition

October was about as awesome as work can get in my line of work during quarter end. About 2 years ago I got a call about changes being made at the company that would be at times interesting and fulfilling and thrust me into the spotlight at work, but also include crazy hours (the type of hours that had me take my family and run away from the east coast in order to have a better family life). Two years later, the original team I started with has been trained up and excellent at their respective jobs and the open positions I was granted are (mostly) filled. Which means that while October will never be a fun time of year for me workwise, when I look back at all the (non-work) stuff I got to do… it was pretty great!

I hung out with college friends and their families!

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I worked my butt off in the office the Sunday before Columbus Day so that I could take the day off to be with Emma, but when she decided she hated the ice palace and ice skating (but it’s so cool inside Emma!!!) and begged to hang out at my office instead, who was I to say no….

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it turned out to be a very productive work day for me, albeit my office did take a hit…

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With my dad out of town on various trips, we eagerly said yes to his season tickets (and coveted parking spot) to the state college football game.

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Ryan took the day off to chaperone the school’s field trip to the pumpkin patch.

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I stopped being secretly embarrassed by just how bad Emma was at ballet and incredibly proud of how far she’s come in such a short amount of time due to all the practice she puts in (and no, I am not forcing my three-year-old to practice…. she loves it so much that rarely an hour goes by without her trying to perfect her arabesque or plié).

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Swimming held a similar from-embarrassment-to-pride moment for me. (The embarrassments related more to her bad behavior in class than skill… but she doesn’t exactly have born talent in either activity…. shhhh.) I signed my non-swimming, freak-out-over-water-in-face child up for her first non-daddy and me swim class and the other day watched as she attempted to swim the width of the pool.

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Check out the fully submerged bright pink object in the middle of the picture.

We had a Halloween party at work! One thing that I still struggle with (even though I expected it when I moved back) is the complete drying up of corporate funds. Call it being spoiled but I came to expect a fun happy hour from time to time, Christmas celebratory lunch, and definitely that quarter end boondoggle celebration. All of which were funded by a corporate card. I try to treat my coworkers here to similar parties here, but it hurts my wallet a whole lot more since I fund it (with the help of others). Heck my boss certainly is more generous than any I’ve ever worked with and it’s all on his own dime. So why did I bring this up? Because I really wanted one party that I had on the east coast. A crazy Halloween party. At my last CT/NY job we catered food, invited the spouses and kids and had a crazy trick or treating event for the kids. I had big plans to do that here but then I got busy and sort of dropped the ball. So I killed myself the day before hanging every decoration I could find that I accumulated over the years and on Halloween day I was over an hour late to work cooking up a storm to try to singlehandedly pull off my unplanned party. Exhausted and sad that I hadn’t done more I started driving Emma to day care… when my phone started going off. My team was freaking out. I received a bunch of texts saying “we’re screwed!” And “everyone did better than us.” I actually started crying. No not because it seemed like I lost the decoration and team costume competitions… I’m not THAT creative. But because an entire division banded together and cooked and decorated and turned the accounting department of my company into a Halloween wonderland. I’ve never been so honored to work with such wonderful people.

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And then after the department all banded together to put on a party, I left early to first join Emma’s school party and then my mom’s party at our house.

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And Ryan was the biggest trouper of them all, showing up in an Olaf costume to make Emma happy, despite super hot temperatures!

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The one crappy part about October dealt with my (fur)baby Sushi. Almost to the day of when we lost Spam (so I was already wheeling with memories of that day) Sushi ended up in the pet ER with an ear problem. He’s doing great and on the mend but NOT happy about that cone of shame.

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From the north shore to the north shore or from September through (mid-)November

Boy it’s been awhile since I’ve posted much other than stuff from my Instagram feed, so let’s see if I can catch up a little bit.

The September Edition

September kicked off with our (third) annual Labor Day weekend to the North Shore. While I absolutely love our annual jaunt out to the other side of the island, I also equally love that we have a family tradition that can last decades. This year, Emma and I played hooky the Friday before Labor Day and instead enjoyed a day of…

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…train rides around a pineapple field and airbrush / spray on tattoos,

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…pineapple treats,

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…and sea turtle beach (otherwise known as Laniakea…. which translate to immense heaven, perfect for a place where there is an extremely likely chance of seeing sea turtles).

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After that we grabbed a quick bite for lunch before heading out to our airbnb home for the next couple of days at which point one of us spent the afternoon hauling half the household into our rental (me) while one of us just took a break, relaxing and being overall ridiculous about the hot sun (not me).

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Ryan finally joined us and we spent the rest of the holiday weekend hiking…

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 …playing at the beach

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…and eating at our favorite spots (Kono’s, Cafe Haleiwa, The Elephant Shack, Giovanni’s and Scoops of Paradise) as well as trying out some new places too (The Beet Box, Aji Limu, Delices Crepes, Waialua Bakery and Juice Bar and the Kahuku Farm Stand).

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Back at home the funniest thing happened. A girl that Emma hasn’t gotten a long with for most of her time at day care brought in the same toy as her for sharing. And started a friendship that is still going strong now. If only it were that easy for me and my nemesis.

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For my birthday my team took me out for lunch…. and drinks…. (shhhh!)

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and “dress up like a community worker” day at school let Emma doctor all her friends.

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I took the day off to chaperone Emma’s school’s trip to the fire station one morning and since the heat from the walk was no joke, ended our day with our favorite dessert.

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And thanks to the grandparents we were able to sneak in a couple date nights before my workload picked up in October. There was Grondin,

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Mud Hen Water,

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Kan Zaman,

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and the awesome Hale Aina Awards, annual dining awards with the voters being the Honolulu Magazine readers. I believe there is a big awards ceremony, but we just went afterwards for the food and drinks!

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