May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

It is beautiful day in Washington, DC for Memorial day. On this day each year the Country sets aside time honor those who have died in their families and especially those who have served the Country and lost their lives. One of my favorite places in the DC area is Arlington Cemetery.  The flags are out and the greenery is gorgeous.

It is similar to the cemetery that I grew up near. The large, old trees shaded green grass and small flower patches. Memorial Day weekend the cemetery was always full of people paying respects to their family members and friends that have passed on. One aspect I learned to love the most were all the flags. Each veteran buried in the cemetery had a large American Flag posted near the headstone—a breathtaking backdrop for them to play morning taps.

This year we have several family members to honor. This is a day for us to remember our own family. It was special to have phone calls and photos from family members as they placed flowers on Trevor’s grave, Moana’s grave and especially the grave for our three children. We cannot be there to take care of it, but they thought enough to do it for us.

Today is our first daughter, Annie’s birthday/death  day anniversary. It is days like this that we are thankful for the knowledge we can been family forever.

We are also thankful for this current pregnancy and that baby Tau’aho has now been cooking for 30+ weeks! YIPEE! We never thought we would make it this far, but we have and we are still counting. All of those prayers, thoughts and positive energy that people have sent have made such a difference!

So on this memorial day, we have much to remember, much to be thankful for and most of all a chance to be with family that are still near us.

May 20, 2013


Today we crossed off another item on our bucket list! WE BOUGHT A HOUSE! (A condo anyway… hehe)

For the last two months we have been riding the roller coaster of purchasing a house. We have spent endless hours perusing real estate search engines. We want a place in Hawaii, but because we are working for the State Department we were limited to lenders that would recognize our house as a primary residence even if we were living in a Foreign Country on Assignment. Sadly, Hawaii houses are either way over our budget for a first home or they are leased land and not many lenders will lend on those.

So we moved our search to Washington, DC. This is where we have spent most of our time when living in the United States and will be part of our lives as long as I am in this career. DC, like Hawaii, is easy to rent out while we are gone.

We started looking at places and after about twenty properties we found a place we liked. They did not accept our offer so we started looking again. After another ten or fifteen places we put in an offer on a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo.

It has been a whirl-wind month as we processed papers, juggled the many different aspects of purchasing a home but today we closed! Our realtor (who I had to have a 'talk' with a few times) tried to butter us up by filling our home with welcome goodies--beer, wine and cigars-to celebrate! HAHAHA...Lady Hiva said, "I have never had beer in my fridge before" But the gesture was nice, we will have to find someone to give it to.

The gift from the Realtor company that we will regift.

We are now home owners! YAY!

Here are some tips (if you want them) that we learned being first time home buyers:

1-      Know what you want. Do your research. Know what type of place you want and what is important to you and what location is preferable. After looking at several homes each has their positives and negatives so it is nice to know what exactly what you need  so it does not get overwhelming.
2-      Realtor shop before committing. We have learned that realtors are an abundant species. If you don’t like the one you have, switch.
3-      Stick up for yourself. Every step of the way people have suggestions and advice. Usually it would benefit them if you did it their way, so stick up for yourself. Listen to their advice and then make the decision based on your own comfort level.
4-      Don’t give up. The experience can be frustrating at times, but don’t give up. It all works out.
5-      ASK QUESTIONS. Now the people that I was asking the questions may not be so happy I am telling you this, but I asked hundreds of questions until I was comfortable with the process. 
Here are some photos of the place:

May 08, 2013

Baby Tau’aho Update

The big news: WE HAVE MADE IT to 27 and a half weeks! 28 weeks here we come!

Those of you who have read WHITE LILIES IN AUTUMN  know that Vaitafe was born at 28 weeks. That was our next big milestone for Tau’aho. We know that a baby can survive out of the womb rather well at that point (minus the scary gram-negative bacteria that came well after he was doing alright). We hit 28 weeks on Sunday—Mother’s Day. Anything after that date is new stomping grounds for Lady Hiva. We don’t know what to expect.

This last week Lady Hiva has spent, much to her dismay, more time on the bed resting. We had a few days that she had some sharp pains and that is usually NOT a good sign. Luckily, she put herself on bedrest for the last four days, only doing the essential things and they seemed to stop.

The Braxton Hicks contractions have started and she is watching them closely. They normally start around this time, but for us EVERYTHING is scary and we find ourselves holding our breath often.

Today we had another doctor’s appointment and the cervix is still closed and not shortening! YAY! We were so relieved to hear and see that today. After this week we were really worried about what they would find, but the doctor said it “looks really good and that is pleasing.” Pleasing may not be a strong enough word for us, but it conveyed the idea—I would go for that is “AMAZING” or “EXCITING” or that is “WONDERFUL!” …or something cheerful and over-the-top corny like that.

So the journey continues. It is fun to see that Lady Hiva is starting to look pregnant more and more. She constantly says, “I feel HUGE!” I just laugh and remind her that she is pregnant and you are supposed to get bigger. We are both getting more encouraged as the days go on. She has started a “list” of things we will need to get. We already have some things left over from when Vaitafe was born and he never was able to use, so we just need to add onto that.

The doctor is having us come more often over the next few weeks  just as a precaution to watch the baby and Lady Hiva’s progression. Once we hit June 1 we will be into 31 weeks and counting! YAY!