Saturday, May 30, 2009


We wanted to try a new restaurant and we wanted noodles, so I checked out the Honolulu restaurant guide. I found a little Japanese restaurant called Matsugen that caught my eye. Their object of desire is Soba. And as restaurants in Japan, Matsugen also grinds its own buckwheat flour, meaning fresh noodles made everyday. Matsugen boasts about pairing seemingly simple noodles with Shingo Shibano crafting steaming hot Soba or Mori Soba, noodles served cold with dashi-mirinshoyu sauce, some wasabi and sliced green onions. The menu also offers Udon and Izakaya dishes, from poke to top-grade meat cooked on a hot rock.

When our Japanese buckwheat noodles were served, Pearce beamed, "I am all for this." Yeah, one more thing to add to his foodies list. Pearce also noticed that when eating hot dishes, a wooden spoon was much better than a metal spoon, "no hot lips" he declared.

ur love affair with Japanese buckwheat noodles ended when our bowls where empty, but we were still hungry. Yes, we admit we have a good old American appetite and these noodles just felt more like an appetizer than dinner. I wish Matsugen served sushi, that would have filled in our hunger hole. Until Matsugen does, this probably will be our first and last time dining with them. Nothings worse than leaving a restaurant hungry.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Super Pearce

Pearce wishes everyone a super day!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Phong & Nan Visit

Eric's mission companion, Ben Chadwick (aka Phong ), and his wife Nan visited us two weeks ago, sans their two daughters, who stayed in Utah with Phong's parents. Eric and Phong were companions for an astounding 11 months of their mission, including two months in the MTC. Even when they weren't companions, they were still only five minutes away from each other, serving in the same branch of Vietnamese the entire time. Needless to say, they have a very unique and thick bond. Both admit that a lot of who they are today was a result of their mission time together.

We hadn't seen Phong since our wedding, and Nan even longer, so the visit was almost like making a re-acquaintance--especially for me. Early on, we discovered that they are also foodies, resulting in a week-long quest for Hawaii's tastiest treats. On Eric's 31st birthday, we went to Ninnikuya, a Japanese garlic restaurant. That means every dish is themed around garlic, including their ice cream. When we first moved to Hawaii, this was arguably our favorite restaurant. But after a few lackluster visits, we put it behind several other joints. Eric, however, wanted to give it another shot.Thank goodness, he did. Ninnikuya is officially back in the running for our top spot. Their spinach-bacon salad is the best I've ever had, and Eric liked his seared ahi dish so much that he may have officially had an affair with it.

Eric and Phong enjoy the feast

Eric taught Phong to surf and we also saw Star Trek on Hawaii's new IMAX (it gave me chills). But probably the funnest thing we did was our kayaking excursion in Kailua Bay out to the Mokes islands. This gave us an opportunity to try out our new underwater case for our canon. It also gave us a chance to test how well Pearce handled a long kayak excursion. We were planning to take him this weekend on a much longer excursion to Kauai to paddle the Na Pali coast. It's 16 miles long and would have taken us three nights/four days. National Geographic named it one of the most adventurous trips in the world. Turns out, though, the swells never went down enough, plus Eric got real sick. So we're going to try again in July. Pray it works out so you're not reading our obit instead of our blog.

Pearce and Nan wait while the guys get the kayaks ready.

Phong and Nan ready to get going.

Nan, Phong, Pearce and Eric. I'm in my own inflatable kayak taking the pictures.

A gorgeous day. Eric and PP inside the inflatable kayak that I got for him for his 30th birthday last year.

Paddling hard.

Taking a picture of myself.

Almost to the Mokes.

Everyone else had the same idea, I guess.

Our destination.

Pearce checks out the animals found around the Island Sanctuary.

Pearce disturbing someones rock tower.

Eric takes a nap in the sand.

Phong gets ready to snorkel. Where's the sun?

Pearce asleep on the paddle back.

We love playing, and sharing our Island with friends. Unfortunately it had to come to an end. Thanks for coming Phong and Nan!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


This morning Pearce woke up and declared, " I had crazy dream in my entire life". He is so darn cute.

couple days ago, Pearce and I were at Nordstroms cafe eating their Tomato Basil soup. Out of nowhere, a guy comes over to our table and says, "You have the most handsome son." He then pulled a linty carrot stick from his coat pocket and offered it to Pearce, who just looked to me for instruction. Politely, I said, "No thank you." The man quickly replied, "Oh, that's okay, you probable shouldn't take food from a stranger anyway." And with that, the man dipped his linty carrot stick into my soup and ate it. I sat there completely frozen. Shocked. Stunned. His reaction? He decided to whip out another linty carrot stick from his coat pocket, dip it into my soup again, then try to feed it to me. FOR THE LOVE! My first thought was, OK, where's Ashton Kutcher? When I finally realized I wasn't being punk'ed, I stood up and waived over the nearest server, then turned to him and said, "You know, you really shouldn't be dipping your carrots into other peoples' soup." He quickly fled into the Nordstoms. When the server came over, I informed her that there was a man loose in the cafe, dipping his linty carrots into peoples' soup. I was met with a blank expression. I think she thought I was punking her. Eventually, the Manager came over and after a few more times of me telling her about my violated soup, she believed me. The manager's response was to mobilize her two fastest servers into the Nordstroms to hunt the linty carrot dipper down. Unfortunately they came back empty handed. He was nowhere to be found. The manager was so horrified that this happened on her watch. She quickly replaced our tainted coat pocket linty carrot soup with fresh bowls and apologetically gave her business card with valid for one complimentary meal scribbled on the back.

Honestly, I am starting to believe I'm a crazies magnet. Why? Maybe I am too nice, too approachable, or maybe I'm just always in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am really not sure, but I do know I could write a book on 'crazies' who have randomly stumbled into my life. If you can commiserate with me, or you've seen the linty carrot dipper yourself, I would love to hear all about your 'crazies.'

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Holidays are different when you are far from the fun family that you love. Hawaii, though, is a happy alternate. Love as a verb is openly encouraged in Hawaii and so everyone treats each other like family. Total strangers refer to other adults as Auntie or Uncle. Once, I was in a grocery store carrying too many items and as I was ready to drop something, a lady said to her son, go help Auntie. The son came right over to help me. A few weeks ago, Eric, Pearce and I were walking through a beach park and a family asked if we wanted to join them for BBQ or grindz as they call it here. Those are just a few of the examples. Of course, once in while we come across a rotten egg. But overall, the aloha spirit exists. And not just on holidays, birthdays, or special occasions.

We celebrated Easter this year with our Ohana. We had several Easter egg hunts. Some with plastic eggs, and some with real eggs we dyed. At our McCully playgroup a creative mom hollowed out real eggs, dyed them and carefully filled them each with stickers and treats. The idea was when you find an egg you have to crush it to get the prize inside. It made for a lot of excited toddlers. But first she had the kids make and decorate their own Easter baskets.

Decorating Easter baskets.

And Voila! A beautiful Easter basket.

Ready, set, hunt for Easter eggs.


Open please!

The kids really loved stomping and crushing the eggs.

Grandmama and Papa Piller sent an Easter Rabbit filled with goodies.

Pearce had fun finding the treats.

The rabbits neck and belly also held treats. Yummy treats.

As always, this season filled us with gratitude for the life we have been given and the opportunity to make it better.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Our math whiz

Way to go Connor!!!!!