bye bye 2014

Posted by kyden on Wednesday Dec 31, 2014 Under Uncategorized

20141231-IMG_5447every year for as long as i can remember (the past 3 years), we’ve rung in the new year with a NY NYE party at matthew’s house. if you haven’t been paying attention, NY NYE = new york new year’s eve. we do our countdown on eastern time.  it used to be that just us big brothers celebrated together, but now we all have little siblings. good thing matthew has a couch that’s big enough for all of us.

edison and lucas couldn’t make it this year, but logan and mason joined in on the fun for the first time.   we ate a yummy dinner, we played with matthew’s toys, and we even got about halfway through a board game before everyone lost interest.

20141231-IMG_5451and then just like every year, we gather on the couch with our party paraphernalia just before midnight (EST) and do the countdown together.  at 9pm, we all blow our party horns and destroy the hair cells in each others’ ears.  it’s so fun that it’s totally worth the noise-induced hearing loss that will probably result some day.

20141231-IMG_5458and then…  we all get a cup of sparkling apple cider to “cheers” with.  if you look closely at this picture, we are all toasting with our siblings, except for matthew, because jeffrey didn’t get any cider.  you can almost see the thought bubble above jeffrey’s head: “hey, where’s my drink?”  every year, mommy and daddy tell auntie audrey and uncle alan how brave they are to provide sugary drinks to a bunch of amped-up toddlers who are sitting on their light-colored couch.  but no accidents yet!

this is the best way ring in the new year — with our family and my BFFs.  and by the way, there’s actually room for more kids on the couch if matthew, logan, or edison decide they want a little sister.  just saying.

happy new year!  bring on 2015!

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winter break is awesome

Posted by kyden on Monday Dec 29, 2014 Under Uncategorized

both sienna’s and my school were closed for winter break (the week between christmas and new year’s).  that’s a whole week of no school!  mommy always takes that week off of work, so we get to go do fun things.  two of the funnest things we did were watching “walking with dinosaurs” and rockin’ and jumping at rockin’ jump.  and auntie barbara was in town and we got to hang out with her, so that made it extra fun.

20141228-IMG_5404on sunday, we went to the shark tank, but there was no hockey and no sharks.  there were dinosaurs.  we got a big group together (including gung-gung, grandma and grandpa, uncle randy, auntie barbara, and even matthew and his family) to see “walking with dinosaurs”!  the dinosaurs looked so real that i thought they might eat me.  they didn’t.  it was a pretty cool seeing all those big dinosaurs, but sienna i will probably get more out of it in a few years.  mommy thinks that kiara (uncle henry’s dog) must be part dinosaur because she has the same brindle coloring as the stegosaurus that was in the show.

20141228-IMG_5402after the show, we all went out to eat at vung tau.  that’s the place that we seem to always end up at when we go to downtown san jose with matthew.  they have noodles and a parking lot, so you can’t really go wrong there.  and after that, some of us went out to get pearl tea.  (daddy and auntie audrey love their pearl tea.  mommy and uncle alan are more coffee drinkers.)

today, we wanted to go on a super fun trip with mommy and auntie barbara.  we actually planned to do an overnight ski trip to tahoe, but the below-freezing weather forecast killed that idea.  so we thought we’d head east into strawberry and go sledding for the day, but the snowpark’s facebook page reported icy conditions AND sell-out crowds.  apparently, our idea was not an original one.  so instead, we slept in, had a lazy morning, and headed over to rockin’ jump.

20141229-IMG_542220141229-IMG_5421what started out as a lazy day turned into a very active afternoon.  rockin’ jump is SO FUN.  the place was packed, but we avoided being trampled by big kid (and grown up) trampoliners by staying in the toddler area.  auntie barbara taught us how to do toe touches!

we also played basketball (i still can’t dunk, not even with the help of a trampoline) and jumped into the foam pit.  there was also a dodge ball arena and a joust pit. we had no interest in dodge ball, but sienna and i waited in line to joust to our deaths (or until one of us fell off the balance beam into the foam pit). we were turned away because we are too little. 🙁 even still, we all had so much fun that we can’t wait to go back.

winter break is awesome!

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merry christmas to all and to all a good ni–

Posted by kyden on Thursday Dec 25, 2014 Under Uncategorized

CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER

we hosted christmas eve dinner for mommy’s family at our house this year.  (it’s not that daddy’s family wasn’t invited, but grandma really likes to host christmas at her house.) mommy made a ton of food, and our family brought food over also.  unlike thanksgiving we didn’t end up with a whole pie for every person.  darn!

20141224-cinsienna and i had stuffed our faces with crackers and cheese, so we weren’t all that hungry when it was time for dinner.  my favorite dish was the cheese and crackers. sienna’s favorite was the cranberry sauce.  mommy had made it to go with the turkey, but sienna preferred to eat it plain. a LOT of it. after we had eaten enough real food to satisfy our parents, sienna, cousin zoey, and i headed upstairs to make miis for anyone who didn’t already have one.  that’s even more fun than playing actual wii games.

after everyone finished eating, it was time to open presents.  one of the presents i got was a mini air hockey table.  yesss!  auntie jan and uncle harvey (who gave me the gift) helped me set it up in the loft.  we spent the rest of the evening playing air hockey.  auntie jan told mommy that i got mad whenever someone scored a goal on me.  mommy says that i’m a sore loser.  i just call it being competitive.

CHRISTMAS MORNING

20141225-IMG_5379we’ve heard that most kids wake up super early on christmas morning. sienna and i are not most kids. we slept in, had a leisurely brunch, and eventually made our way to the presents under our tree. we have really generous friends and family, and we got a lot of great gifts.  i couldn’t wait to open some of them, especially the board games.  gung-gung and i played connect 4 and scrabble all morning.  scrabble is the best learning game — it’s a fun way to practice spelling and adding (keeping score).

CHRISTMAS DAY DINNER

20141225-IMG_5380after lunch, we headed over to grandma’s house.  the first thing sienna did when we got there was sit down for a pedicure.  sienna had been looking forward to it for months.  since mommy claims not to know how to use nail polish, the only time sienna gets her nails done is when auntie barbara is around.  she loves having her nails done!

we had another yummy christmas dinner with a lot of the same dishes that we had yesterday.  and then after dinner, it was time for the main event.  PRESENTS!

20141225-IMG_5388daddy’s family has always had a problem with buying gifts, as in, they don’t know how to stop.  but this year, they swore that they made an effort to scale it back.  look at this picture.  does that look “scaled back” to you?  the presents don’t even fit under the christmas tree!  because there are so many gifts, opening presents at grandma’s house really is an “event”.  i wonder if the reason why grandma likes to have christmas at her house is because she and grandpa wouldn’t be able to transport all those gifts to our house. 😛

we had a wonderful christmas and had fun spending our family.  and of course, we love all of our presents.  my favorite gifts were the air hockey table and my watch.  i have been wanting both of those things for a long time.  sienna’s favorite gifts were the pretty dresses that she got from auntie barbara.  they are really fancy, and they all fit her perfectly right now.  mommy said that auntie barbara needs to get married next year — FOUR TIMES — so that sienna will have opportunities to wear all of those dresses before she outgrows them!

we are so exhausted because we’ve been staying up way past our bedtime for the past couple of nights.  merry christmas to all and to all a good ni– zzzzz….

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2014 holiday letter

Posted by kyden on Wednesday Dec 24, 2014 Under Uncategorized

mommy wrote our holiday letter this year, but she didn’t have the energy to find cute stationery and print out the letters to send along with our cards.  she didn’t think anyone would miss them.  but guess what.  people did.  some friends and family actually asked about the letter and were disappointed not to receive one this year.  so here it is.

**********

Hi there Friends and Family!

2014 has been another year filled with fun adventures for us.  In addition to our trips to Tahoe and Southern California, we also took our bi-annual family vacation to Hawaii.  This year, we visited Oahu.  We spent a few days eating our way around the island (the kids can’t stop talking about malasadas!), then met up with some friends at Disney’s Aulani resort.  It was UH-MAY-ZING.  Kyden’s favorite parts of the trip were the classroom-style activities at Aunty’s Beach House (the kids’ activity center) and the Menehune Adventure Trail (an iPad-led scavenger hunt through the resort).  Sienna’s most memorable moments were kayaking with Mommy (she actually got to paddle!) and sliding down the water slides over and over and over again.  Christina and Mike were excited to do their first wreck dive, swimming around and through a sunken WWII mine sweeper.  Christina also enjoyed paddle boarding for the first time and was disproportionately happy about Sienna standing up on the board.

20141001-1E7A5423Kyden is 5.  This has been a particularly big year for him because he started Transitional Kindergarten (which actually has been a bigger adjustment for Christina than for him).  He excels in academics, but his favorite subject is Recess.  Kyden’s new “thing” is spelling out entire sentences.  “M-O-M-M-Y   M-A-Y  I   H-A-V-E   S-O-M-E   M-I-L-K   P-L-E-E-S-E”.  No, his spelling is not always perfect. 😛

The kid stays active, too.  This year, he hit the slopes on skis for the first time.  He played in a soccer league, his foray into organized team sports.  And he has also been practicing martial arts and continues to swim year-round.

Kyden is a sports fanatic.  He loves all sports, but especially loves watching football.  He cheers and screams and gets overly emotional over whichever team he has arbitrarily chosen to root for.  Every week, he insists on “helping” Christina and Mike with their fantasy football picks.  Next season, he will definitely be managing his own team.

Kyden is still a great big brother, but within the past year he has begun to treat Sienna as more of a peer than a baby.  Look out, Little Sis!

Something Kyden wants you to know:  Boys can like pink and purple and girls can like boy’s colors, too.  And that is okay.

20140721-1E7A4996Sienna is 3.  She is fearless and tough.  At the Aulani, there is a tube-style water slide that is fast and pitch black.  After realizing how scary it would likely be for a 3 year-old, Mommy tried to stop her from going down.  Too late.  Sienna shot out of the tube and was forced under water.  When she surfaced, she was squealing “I wanna do it again!”

She is enjoying pre-school, especially arts and crafts, probably because of all of the glitter. 🙂  Sienna is still 100% girly girl and loves all things sparkly.  She likes to have her nails painted (thanks to Auntie Barbara) and has repeatedly asked to have her ears pierced.  She also has a “unique” sense of style, accessorizing her outfits with anything from scarves to flower leis to safety goggles.

As sweet and affectionate as Sienna is, she is even more sassy and feisty.  She often tags along with Kyden and his friends, and she can definitely hold her own with the big boys.  She wants to participate in all of her big brother’s activities but is still too young for many of them.  However, she does swim year-round with Kyden and she can’t wait to start practicing martial arts with him.  She enjoys her own activities too, especially dancing hula with a local halau.

Something Sienna wants you to know about her:  She likes princesses and mermaids.

Koda is 6.  He enjoys destroying toys and tennis balls and chasing small things that move (i.e. birds and squirrels).  He still has all of his crazy puppy energy and shows no signs of slowing down.

Christina is still at AT&T, working on TV Everywhere products.  Mike has recently started a new job at StubHub managing a team of front-end developers.  Mike and Christina continued to play volleyball together in the South Bay for most for most of the year, but Mike can no longer make it down there due to his new commute to San Francisco.  The kids’ social calendars, sports activities, and school schedules keep the whole family on the go, and Christina and Mike are doing their best just to keep up. 🙂

We hope that you have a SUPER 2015 and look forward to what the new year will bring!

heartChristina, Mike, Kyden, Sienna, and Koda

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martial arts, mermaid, magic, minions

Posted by kyden on Sunday Dec 21, 2014 Under Uncategorized

december is always a busy month because of all the holiday parties and preparations.  this weekend was no different, but we actually didn’t do any christmas stuff.  yesterday, i had my belt promotion.  our current martial arts module (which we were asked to demostrate during the belt promotion ceremony) is the routine that we performed at the year end awards ceremony.  it’s really fun because i try different things for my solo every time, and i’m getting better and better at it.  i wish i could do it again, but i guess i’ll have to wait until next year.

20141220-IMG_5347i was promoted to purple stripe yesterday, and daddy is the one that presented my new belt to me.  all the other times, mommy has done it.  this time, daddy gave me my new belt and he was supposed to put it on me, but i ran over to mommy instead.  the belt has to be tied in a square knot so that it looks nice and also so it doesn’t come undone with all the bouncing, jumping, and kicking that we do.  daddy didn’t know how.  but anyway, i’m excited to be a purple belt now!

20141221-IMG_5365today, we had swim class, just like we do every sunday, then we headed over to isaac’s house for his birthday party.  we ate a lot of food, and then a magician arrived.  first, he made balloon creations for everyone.  sienna got a mermaid.  she loves it and wants to sleep with it.  i think it looks kind of creepy, but sienna likes it, so i guess that’s all that matters.  i couldn’t decide what to get, and i didn’t like any of the magician’s suggestions.  but when he said he could make a basketball hoop, my eyes lit up.  i love all things sports, and i’ve never seen a balloon basketball hoop before.  it turned out pretty cool.  it even has a ball.  he gets points for originality.  (i didn’t mention it in the title of this post because it would have ruined my alliteration.)

after everyone got a balloon, the magician put on a magic show.  mommy and daddy thought that a lot of his jokes were lost on us kids, but we were all entertained.

after the magic show ended, the party moved into the movie room (as all parties at isaac’s house do!).  we watched “despicable me 2”.  there are TWO despicable me movies?  i had no idea, but it was very exciting for me.  i love the minions — they are so funny.  sometimes i just watch video clips of them on youtube doing/saying funny things.  they always make me laugh hysterically.  i hope they make a 3rd movie.  and i hope isaac invites me over to watch it because we are always allowed to watch movies at his house! 🙂

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winter celebrations

Posted by kyden on Thursday Dec 18, 2014 Under Uncategorized

at back-to-school night (which was on the first day of school), mommy learned that my class would have two holiday celebrations this year — halloween and valentine’s day.  no christmas party.  but that doesn’t mean that we didn’t acknowledge the holidays.

yesterday we did a friendship wreath activity.  i had no idea what to expect — all i knew was that mommy made 3 dozen sugar cookies in the shape of gingerbread men.  would all of those cookie people hold hands in a giant circle?  would each cookie be a “leaf” that we’d glue together into a wreath?

20141217-IMG_5326well, it turns out that other mommies made cookies too (in the shape of gingerbread men and stars) and other parents apparently bought out the candy aisle at safeway.  when we walked into the multi-purpose room, there was a green ring (cut out of a paper plate) and 6 cookies for everybody.  there were also tubs of colored frosting and piles of twizzlers, peppermints, skittles, marshmallows, and other candies scattered all over the table.  we decorated our cookies and then used frosting to glue those cookies to our green plates.  and voila — our friendship wreaths were done.

our teacher said that we could eat our friendship wreaths when we got home.  but actually, i had planned to give 5 of the cookies to daddy and only save one for myself.  mommy vetoed that idea.  she said that too many dirty hands had been all over the cookies and the candy. so i guess my friendship wreath will just be a decoration.

today, we invited our parents to our classroom and put on a winter holiday performance for them.  we sang a lot of songs.  probably about 10 or so.  we sang songs about christmas, kwaanza, hannukah, diwali, and some that were just about winter.

mommy didn’t have enough memory on her phone to record all the songs (and i wouldn’t post all of them even if she did), but here are a couple of them.

this one is my favorite of all the songs we performed: “must be santa”

this one is mommy’s favorite: “listen to the water”

happy winter holiday to everyone, no matter what you celebrate!

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sienna: 1.5, kyden: 0

Posted by kyden on Thursday Dec 18, 2014 Under Uncategorized

20141218-IMG_5327sienna and i had a dentist appointment today.  we love going to the dentist because there is a cool video game in the waiting room.  i wish they weren’t always so punctual so that we could have more time playing.  sienna and i also like getting lots of stickers and prizes from the treasure chest after our cleanings.

s20141218-IMG_5331ienna got x-rays today for the first time.  i went first to show her how it’s done.  the dental assistant wasn’t sure how it would go because she’s only 3yo, but we knew she’d do great.  sienna sat still and followed directions perfectly.  i set a good example for her.

while i was sitting in the chair getting my teeth cleaned, the dental assistant who was working on me was gushing to everyone about how well sienna did with her x-rays.  big frickin’ deal.  she told sienna that she was so good that she could pick 6 stickers.  SIX!  and then she said that after her cleaning and exam, she could pick THREE more stickers and that would mean that she would have TEN stickers total.  ummm, no it doesn’t.  “that’s NINE”, i said.  the whole office burst out in laughter.  i guess the dental assistant was concentrating on cleaning my teeth and not on doing math.

20141218-kyden xraymy cleaning and exam went well.  no cavities!  but remember my shark teeth?  i’ve known for awhile that i have two of them.  but guess what.  it turns out that i have three!  auntie margaret (my dentist) said she’s never seen a kid with three shark teeth before.  i am extra extra extra special.

sienna’s cleaning and exam were fine, but guess what.  she has a cavity!  she has also has the beginnings of a cavity starting to form, so that’s like one 1.5 cavities.  i guess that’s one of the downsides of sienna being so independent.  she brushes her teeth by herself every day, but she obviously isn’t doing a good enough job getting in between her teeth (which are really close together).  mommy and daddy (mostly mommy) feel bad about not helping sienna brush and floss every day, but i guarantee that they’re gonna be more religious about that from now on.

sienna is gonna get a filling in a couple of weeks.  she is a little freaked out about getting a shot in her gums, but she is super brave (and auntie margaret is the best dentist ever) so i know she is going to be just fine.

current cavity count:  sienna 1.5, kyden 0.

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prolific writer

Posted by kyden on Tuesday Dec 16, 2014 Under Uncategorized

i like to write.  a lot.  seriously, i make a sign and/or write a letter every day.  (you’d think my handwriting would be fantastic from all the practice i get, but that is definitely not the case.)

20141216-IMG_5309have you been to my house?  if you have, i’m sure you’ve noticed the signs that i have posted all over the house: a sign identifying the bathroom, an OPEN/CLOSED sign that hangs on my pretend supermarket, a chart that indicates how well sienna and i are behaving (its a re-creation of a chart that my teachers used in my classroom last year), and lots more.

i also like to write letters and make cards.  i usually make them for mommy or for my teachers, but lately i’ve been writing letters to my girlfriend, an.  i’ve been working on my signature, too.  do you like it?

20141216-IMG_5323an and i go to the same school.  she’s not in my class, but we go to the same before/after school program.  when gung-gung asked me what happened to maria, i told him that she’s not even in my school anymore.  out of sight, out of  mind.

anyway, tonight after i wrote a letter to an, i wrote a note for sienna.  sienna was so happy because it was the first time that i ever wrote her a note.  when i saw how happy it made her, i almost felt bad for writing it.  almost.  it’s a good thing she can’t read yet.

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zoo lights

Posted by kyden on Sunday Dec 14, 2014 Under Uncategorized

everyone gets dressed up for christmas.  even the oakland zoo.  tonight, we went to go check it out with matthew, jeffrey, claire, and bella.

20141214-ericthe whole place was lit up with colorful lights.  it was pretty, but we weren’t all that into them.  there was a choreographed light show that we stopped to watch, but it only held our attention for about 2 minutes.  we didn’t get to see any animals because they were all sleeping.  we did enjoy running through the zoo in the pitch blackness of night, though.  it was amazing that none of us got separated from the group or tripped on a branch (or on our own feet) and splatted flat on our faces.

claire and bella had been to zoo lights before, and they said that the thing to do is the train ride.  it does sound like a cool way to see the whole zoo all dressed up in lights.  but by the time we made our way over to the train depot, the line was so long that we decided to skip it.  so off to dinner we went.

we had fun hanging out with our friends, but we weren’t wowed by the zoo lights.  good thing we had a groupon for discounted admission!  next time, we will beat the crowd and head straight to the train ride as soon as we arrive. 🙂

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’tis the season to have parties

Posted by kyden on Saturday Dec 13, 2014 Under Uncategorized

there are always a lot of parties around this time of year.  for us, three of them were today.  luckily, they were all at different times, so we didn’t have to miss out — we went to all three of them, back to back to back.

BLOCK PARTY

f20141213-IMG_5259irst thing this morning, we went to the annual holiday block party in cousin zoey’s cul de sac.  we kicked off the festivities with a kids-only secret santa gift exchange. everyone gathered around, we took turns sitting in the chair, opening our gifts from our secret santa, then calling up the person that we got a gift for.  sienna i had never heard of secret santa before today, but now we know that it means that you get awesome presents from people you don’t know.  we are totally down with that.

20141213-IMG_5264there was also a jumpy house, a potluck lunch, a cookie contest, and a white elephant gift exchange for the grown ups (but mommy and daddy opted out of that because we had to leave early).  sienna and i spent most of the day in the jumpy house.  we were playing dodgeball in there.  actually, i was the only one playing, so i ended up just throwing the ball at people.  we were having so much fun bouncing around that we barely ate anything for lunch.  after the cookie contest, it was time to head out to our next party.  but guess what.  i could only find one of my shoes!  we searched the entire area, including inside, around, and under the jumpy house, but my shoe was nowhere to be found.  i had to ride my bike home wearing one shoe.  you know it’s a good party when you leave with only one shoe!  (my shoe was later found in someone’s garage.)

MARTIAL ARTS AWARDS CEREMONY

20141213-IMG_289-X3when we got home, i changed into my gi, and we headed out to the awards ceremony for my martial arts studio.  apparently, this is an annual event.  i thought it was going to boring, but it was a full on party with a photo booth and food and everything.  sienna and i were pretty hungry because we didn’t eat much at the block party potluck, so we ate more than our share of the fruit, cheese, and sandwiches at the awards party.  i even had a cup of hot cocoa. 🙂

20141213-shirfor the first part of the program, each class performed a demo.  (cbeck out the video of the junior cubs demo — that’s my class.)  after that, there was an awards ceremony and a slideshow.  i didn’t win any awards, and i wasn’t in the slideshow.  i was sad that i didn’t get a perfect attendance award.  i haven’t missed a single class, but i didn’t qualify for the award because i didn’t start martial arts until mid-january.  the award was only given to students who had perfect attendance for the entire calendar year.  oh well.  next year.

LUMINARIES

as soon as the award ceremony was over, we headed over to uncle ritchie and auntie margaret’s house.  they host an annual holiday party on the night of the vista san ramon luminaries light show.  that’s when their neighborhood gets decked out with holiday lights and thousands of people come from miles around to see them.  even santa comes to visit.

20141213-IMG_5269there is always a humongous spread of delicious food at this party, but we had been eating all day long.  literally, all day.  but that didn’t stop us from eating more.  the food was so good that we couldn’t help ourselves.  after everyone stuffed themselves silly, it was time to walk around the neighborhood and see the christmas lights.  for most of our friends, that’s the highlight of the night.  but not for us.  for sienna, it’s the craft table.  and for me, it’s definitely the gift exchange.  (sienna did go see the lights, though.  thanks for taking her out auntie mimi.  mommy, daddy, and i were too wimpy to brave the cold!)

20141213-IMG_5274throughout the evening, i kept asking when it was going to be time to pick our gift.  finally, the time came.  we had actually forgotten to buy a gift for the exchange this year, so i brought the gift that i got from my secret santa earlier in the day.  when it was my turn to pick, i made sure to pick the gift that i brought.  luckily, it didn’t get stolen.  whew!  nobody understands how that could have been fun for me, but it totally was.  i was so excited to bring home the same gift that i brought. 😛  sienna felt a little left out because she didn’t get to pick a present.  i think she’s going to want to participate in the gift exchange next year.

hopefully, these three events won’t all fall on the same day next year.  we had a really great day, but we are exhausted.  it’s not easy being this popular. 😉

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