This past year I went to many first birthday parties. However, there is a person whose friendship means the absolute world to me, and that is Julie. I can share the most absurd story, crazy moment, or outlandish experience and somehow, she can relate to all of them. Whenever I need sound advice, a laugh, a person to turn to, or that perfect sarcastic comment and reaction, I can count on her. So when I found out she was expecting a girl, I couldn’t be happier. I love and adore Seth already so a potential for another person to love? I couldn’t wait.
I met Laney at my bridal shower and from then on, I was able to see her whenever Julie and I could squeeze time in between our schedules (and distance apart). However, I was able to witness her growth through photos online and I could see the resemblance she had with Julie and Craig and admire her stunning, beautiful eyes! It is amazing how a year zoomed by and now, Laney is one year old. The last time I saw her she wasn’t walking yet and now, she is on the go. Laney is also babbling and talking more and to make her laugh, all you have to do is make a “Ca ca ca!” noise really loud and she smiles and giggles with delight (A useful noise that we made when doing family portraits – which will be up very soon!). Laney is an absolute beauty and I love being her Auntie Dre.
Julie and Craig, you have a beautiful daughter and what I really enjoyed seeing was how much she means to the both of you. There is this look that you give Laney, Julie, that shows such an immense bond and motherly love. When Laney is in your arms, Craig, you shelter and protect her while tossing her gently in the air and letting her fall safely into your arms. She fits right in – Caitlyn watching over her in the wading pool as the big sister and Seth sharing goldfish with his baby sister.
Happy first birthday again, Laney; I cannot wait to celebrate more birthdays with you and watch you grow even more!
After lunch and cake, Craig pumped up this gigantic water slide for the kids to play with. I wish I was a kid again because they were having so much fun getting wet – and getting some air off that slide! For the younger ones, there was a smaller pool that they could splash around in. All of the kids at the party were just too cute and I couldn’t help but take photos of them!
Last pictures of the princess of the party with her mommy:
Taro met John when he worked at Fox, specifically with American Idol. Whenever Taro would come home from work, he would talk about his budding friendship with this (at the time) mysterious John. I like that whenever either one of us talks about work, we assume the other knows each coworker, position, character, personality, etc. These people become images in our head, designed and created by hearsay until we actually meet them in person. So this John character was a mystery for a while until I went to Taro’s work. That was when I met John and I could see why Taro always had something positive to say.
John is an overall nice guy; he is funny and tries to look at the positive aspects, even when American Idol was a pain. It seems only appropriate that he has another half who is equally as fun, energetic, and spirited, which is his wife Michele. The pair of them are so much fun to hang around with; whether it is for dinner, Rock Band, a quick lunch at Porto’s, or a party, John and Michele are two of the sweetest individuals I know and I am so glad that we have become friends.
Despite being sick (I was bummed we couldn’t go play Rock Band at their apartment.), it was a lot of fun celebrating John’s (early) birthday – I am truly amazed that he is going to be 40 because there is no possible way John even looks it! – at Lucky Strike with his friends. John, you are surrounded by amazing friends who are welcoming and kind, but am I really surprised? Not really, especially since you are equally as welcoming and kind! Bowling was a treat and it was great shrugging off knocking down absolutely no pins, expressing shock when there was an occasional spare, and watching Taro do his crazy victory dances and runs.
Taro and I wish you a happy (early) birthday again, John, and we are truly lucky to have friends like you and Michele in our lives!
To celebrate Daisuke’s birthday (now my brother-in-law), we all decided to meet at The Palm Restaurant for dinner. Even though it was not the actual date – Taro’s mom was actually in Japan on the actual day – it was nice to get together and have dinner since all of us are constantly busy. It was a time to catch up and talk about Daisuke’s upcoming events that he will dj for, hear about Mrs. Takeoka’s trip, and share our trip with her since she left the day after we got back. It was a “catch-up” session surrounded by great food.
Taro and I have actually been to The Palm a few times and each time, we think it gets better. The first time we came was for his birthday a couple years back and even then, I remember how tender and perfectly cooked the lobster was. Since then we have brought my family to the restaurant and Taro has dined with a friend at The Palm. So when Taro suggested having steak for his brother’s birthday, I mentioned The Palm since we are members of the 837 Club and they had a pretty good deal for the month of April-May. We each were able to order either a 9 ounce Filet Mignon or 12 ounce New York Strip. Since Taro’s mom does not eat meat, she ordered the Pan Roasted Wild Alaskan Halibut Fillet. To make the night even more fun and special, we ordered a four pound lobster! It was a beautiful sight as our waiter set it down in the middle for all of us to share – and gave us lobster bibs so we wouldn’t make a mess all over our clothes.
As always with the The Palm, there was an excessive amount of food since a starter – either salad or lobster bisque – was included and there was one side included with everyone’s entree. To end the night, we shared a slice of Key Lime Pie (one of my favorites at The Palm and the best Key Lime I have found so far) and Tiramisu. It was nice to go out as a family, which we have not done for a while, and celebrate Daisuke’s birthday.
Happy birthday again, Daisuke, and cheers to good eating with family!
I started off with the Lobster Bisque, which is not too bad. Taro ordered the Caesar Salad with Anchovies so it was a nice balance of soup and salad. Our food came out relatively fast. Taro ordered the New York Strip au Poivre – Aged USDA Prime 12 ounce with brandy peppercorn sauce served with sweet potato fries and creamed spinach. It was a nice cut, but nowhere as tender as my filet!
At The Palm, I have learned to order my meat medium-rare, but on the rarer side. It was delicious, especially since my filet mignon came with jumbo lump crabmeat with hollandaise sauce served with grilled asparagus and three cheese potatoes.
The Takeoka Family:
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