merry christmas to all and to all a good ni–

Posted by kyden on Thursday Dec 25, 2014 Under Uncategorized


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.


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).


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….

Tags : , | add comments

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

Tags : , | 4 comments

day after christmas: friends dinner

Posted by kyden on Thursday Dec 26, 2013 Under Uncategorized

20131226-IMG_0637we celebrated christmas again, today.  logan, mason, sierra, and sofia came over today to play, eat, drink, and be merry!

our dining table only seats 8 , and there were 13 of us, so we ate in shifts.  kids ate first.  mason and sofia are still little (almost 2) so they needed a little help, but the rest of us kids ate all by ourselves.  and then as soon as a kid was done, one of his/her parents took the open chair. 😛  the grown ups talked about how nice it is that we are all finally at an age where we can play together on our own with no (or minimal) supervision, and they can just sit around and chat and drink wine.

after everyone was done eating, we exchanged gifts and opened more presents.  see me in the photo?  going clockwise, that’s sierra, sofia, and logan.  sienna wasn’t in the photo because she had already gone upstairs to get ready for bed.  she didn’t nap today and it was way past her bedtime (actually, all of our bedtimes).  mason is not in the photo because he was indecent — he was not wearing pants.  i’m still not sure why.

we all had a really great time hanging out with great friends.  i hope we get to do this again next year!  merry day after christmas! 🙂

Tags : , | add comments

christmas day: tanaka family dinner

Posted by kyden on Wednesday Dec 25, 2013 Under Uncategorized

20131225-IMG_0552on christmas morning, most kids wake up early to check to see if santa and his reindeer ate all the cookies and carrots that were left out for them, they reach into their stockings to see if santa left gifts or lumps of coal, and they check under the tree for new presents from santa.  not at our house.  this morning, we slept in late, ate a leisurely breakfast, and finally got to our presents sometime in the late morning.  this is one of the upsides to santa not visiting our house.  the downside is that everyone asks “what did santa bring you this year?” and it makes us feel like we’re the only kids that santa didn’t visit. 🙁  but we get over it quickly.  we had so many presents under our tree to open.

20131225-IMG_0580in the afternoon, we headed down to grandma’s for christmas dinner.  we always love visiting  grandma’s house, but holidays are a special treat because grandpa, uncle randy, and auntie barbara are usually there, too.  and christmas is especially exciting because… well, let’s just say that the tanakas have a shopping problem.  no joke.  mommy told them that sienna and i don’t need any presents, but if they couldn’t help themselves that they could get us one gift each.  they must have thought that mommy said “one dozen gifts each”.  do you see this mountain of presents? these aren’t even all of them!

like all tanaka family dinners, the food was yummy, and the desserts were plentiful.  (there are only 8 of us, but there was enough dessert for about 50 people.)  after dinner, we started unwrapping gifts.  sienna brought gifts over and asked “is this one for me?”  some of them were, but it felt like most of them were for me.  everyone felt bad for sienna because it seemed like she got fewer gifts, but i think the issue was that she just tore through hers faster.  she didn’t care what was in them, she just wanted to unwrap boxes.  and some of her gifts were wrapped in gift bags, which aren’t as fun to open.  when i was 2 years old, i was the same way.  it’s not that we didn’t like the gifts, we were just so excited about our new present-opening abilities that we wanted to keep working on those skills!

there was about an hour and a half of non-stop gift-opening.  all month, mommy had been telling me that just because i put something on my wish list, it doesn’t mean i’m gonna get it.  but apparently it does.  because we got everything we wished for.  and more.  lots more.  we didn’t think that we were going to be able to fit all of our presents in daddy’s car, but he managed to pack ’em all in there.  the trunk was stuffed, and there were gifts piled to the ceiling in between mine and sienna’s car seats, in between mommy and daddy’s seats in the front, and also in the footwells!  good job daddy.

merry christmas everyone!  maybe grandma & grandpa, auntie barbara, and uncle randy will get their shopping problem under control before next christmas. 😉

Tags : , | add comments

christmas eve: quon family lunch

Posted by kyden on Tuesday Dec 24, 2013 Under Uncategorized

this year, we celebrated christmas eve with a small quon family lunch at cousin zoey’s house.  it was our family, cousin zoey’s family, gung-gung, and grandma marsha (zoey’s grandma).

20131224-1E7A3811mommy and uncle jamie mostly agreed on which dishes each of them was going to cook, but they couldn’t agree on who was going to make the butternut squash soup.  so you know what that means?  they had a butternut squash throwdown!  as part of our lunch, we all blind taste-tested both soups.  they were very different — uncle jamie’s was sweeter and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, mommy’s was more savory and seasoned with roasted leeks, garlic, and rosemary.  everyone said they liked both, and nobody would vote for their favorite.  i think everyone was too nice.  the throwdown ended in a tie, but i say that we were all winners because we all got to eat a yummy lunch.

after lunch, we got to open presents.  we were so excited, because really, that’s the best part of christmas. 🙂  we all got some great presents, but the best gift of the day goes to the hand-me-downs that zoey gave to sienna.  you should have seen sienna’s eyes light up and the huge smile that covered her face when she saw that pile of clothes!

we stayed into the evening hours playing with cousin zoey and we had a great time.  do you like this photo that we took with gung-gung?  i like it.  sienna doesn’t like it because she thinks she looks sad.  and gung-gung doesn’t like it because he says his eyes look squinty.  newsflash, gung-gung.  you have small eyes.  we all do.  get over it.

20131214-IMG_0402at nighttime when we were heading upstairs for bed, sienna and i said bye to the elves (our elves on a shelf).  even though santa doesn’t visit our house, we really loved the elves that miss denise gave us.  they found new places to hang out every day and it was fun to find them every morning, hanging upside down from the bathroom light fixtures, sitting in the branches of our christmas tree, or other silly places.  uncle jamie told us that the elves were going to fly away tonight and not come back until next year.  it’s a good thing that he told us, because otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten to say goodbye (and our elves might not have realized that they weren’t supposed to come back until next year!).

happy christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Tags : , | add comments

eagles holiday performance

Posted by kyden on Friday Dec 20, 2013 Under Uncategorized

my class had a holiday party at school today.  we brought in special treats to share with our friends (i insisted that mommy make 5-layer jello), and we put on a little performance for our parents.  (mommy came, but daddy couldn’t make it because it was at lunchtime.)

the first two songs aren’t your typical christmas classics, so you might not have heard them before.  they’re really cute songs though, so i posted them in case you want to hear.

the 3rd song we performed was “jingle bells”.  kinda, boring, i know.  so to increase your viewing enjoyment, keep your eye out for these fun little nuggets:

  • the jingle woodblock and jingle maracas
  • the kid who first looks like he’s scratching his butt, who later looks like he’s flogging himself with bells, who later whacks himself in the balls
  • the white kid break-dancing
  • my girlfriend, maria (hint: she has golden hair)

Tags : , , | add comments

going on a tree hunt

Posted by kyden on Saturday Dec 7, 2013 Under Uncategorized

for the first christmas that mommy and daddy spent together (married), daddy bought a fake tree.  mommy was so sad.  she had always had real trees when she was growing up.  but after some negotiation, they agreed that they would keep the fake tree until their future kids were old enough to enjoy picking out a real one.  that time has come!  so we renewed a family tradition that both mommy and daddy loved when they were kids — picking out and cutting down our own christmas tree!

20131207-IMG_0354so we headed out to the tree farm.  when we pulled up on the dirt road, a lady handed us a map, some twine, and a saw.  (WHAT?!  mommy thought that it seemed like the setup for an episode of CSI.)  we saw thousands of trees, but it looked like all of the big ones were already gone.   all the ones we saw were about 6ft. or under.  auntie mimi had asked mommy what she would do if sienna and i picked out a charlie brown tree.  mommy said that it would be fine — we could have whatever tree we wanted.  but once we got to the tree farm, we discovered that all trees were the same price, regardless of size.  so the idea of a charlie brown tree went out the window.

20131207-IMG_0346but i didn’t want a kid-sized tree anyway.  i wanted a big one like uncle henry’s.  and then i saw it!  i pointed it out to mommy, but she didn’t know what i was talking about.  how could she miss it?  it was the tallest one on the hillside!  but mommy said that we couldn’t get that one because it wouldn’t fit in her car.  i hope she gets a bigger car for next year.

20131207-IMG_0363so we set out in search of the biggest tree we could find that would still fit in mommy’s car.  we climbed up and down the hills, navigated through mazes of spiky branches, and stepped over and around freshly cut stumps.  after the 3rd lot, sienna and i were tired and ready to go home.  so we picked the biggest tree (6 ft.) in the lot we were at, and daddy and i cut it down.  (see videos, below.)  sienna and mommy didn’t want to help.

next year, i guess we’ll have to go tree hunting on black friday (that’s the day the tree farm opens) in order to get a big tree.

when we got home, we put up the tree and decorated it immediately.  mommy and daddy wanted to use the tiny white lights, but i insisted on the big colored ones because they are prettier.  and we could only find one box of ornaments (the others must be packed away in a box somewhere), so the decorating went really quickly.  we need to add this to our list of decorating experience for our half-tree decorating service!

here’s a video of me practicing cutting a christmas tree.

and here’s the video of daddy helping me cut down the tree that we actually took home.

Tags : , | add comments

tanaka kids half-tree decorating service

Posted by kyden on Thursday Dec 5, 2013 Under Uncategorized

do you suffer from back pain caused by bending over to hang ornaments on the lower branches of your tree? 

do you scuff your knees while crawling on the ground to spread out your tree skirt? 

20131206-DSCF9658the tanaka kids have a solution for you — hire us to decorate the bottom half of your tree!  services offered:  hanging ornaments, spreading tree skirts, stringing lights (although nobody has allowed us to string lights yet), setting out decorations

we have decorated 3 trees with an ornament breakage rate of 0%.  we are not very efficient, but we are super silly, a ton of fun, and we get the job done.  eventually.  but don’t take our word for it.  feel free to contact our satisfied customers for references:  mommy & daddy (2011),  mommy & daddy (2012), uncle henry (2013, pictured here).

comment here to schedule your free estimate or text us and mention this blog post for our friends and family discount.

Tags : | 2 comments

i’ve been learning that around the holdiays, we give presents, and we get presents. and when we get presents, we put them under the tree and open them on christmas day. i also learned that christmas fell on a tuesday this year. so ever since last week, i’ve been asking “what day is today?” and when i got my answer, i’d follow up with “why it not tuesday yet?”

well, today is finally tuesday. and that means it’s christmas. and that means i got to open all my presents!

after breakfast, i looked under the tree and found all the ones that said K-Y-D-E-N next to the “To”. that meant that it was for me. i helped sienna find her presents too. there was even one for koda. i helped sienna open her gifts, and i said stuff like “oooh, sienna, look at that. how cool!” (just like mommy and daddy say to me when i am opening my presents.)

then we went over to grandma and grandpa’s house for lunch. auntie barbara and uncle randy were there, too. there were so many presents under the tree. and guess what — most of them were for me and sienna! i guess that’s what happens when you’re the only kids in the family 😀

after spending the day with the tanakas, we went to grandma and grandpa lau’s (our great aunt and uncle’s) house for dinner. all of mommy’s side of the family was there — everyone from cousins zoey, justin, caitlyn, and jerrod to bak-bak (great grandmother), and all the aunties and uncles in between. guess what. we got to open more presents! i think we need to buy a new house to fit all of our new toys.

when we first got to grandma lau’s house, sienna and i were both tired and grouchy. i warmed up quickly and started playing with my cousins right away. sienna pretty much just clung to mommy. bak-bak really wanted to hold sienna, but sienna wasn’t having it. toward the end of the night, mommy gave bak-bak a tiny piece of jello and told her that she could offer it to sienna to help win her over. it worked! bak-bak ran off with her, and sienna did not protest at all.

a few minutes later, mommy’s intuition kicked in and she suspected something fishy was going on. she went to the next room to check on sienna, and there she was, sitting on the kitchen counter, licking her lips, and looking giddy. bak-bak and grandma lau were feeding her frosted cinnamon buns! what’s wrong with a little sugar on christmas? it’s not the sugar — it’s the egg and wheat! (if you don’t remember, sienna is allergic to both egg and wheat.) mommy protested, and bak-bak looked confused. she knew about the allergies, but didn’t realize that cinnamon rolls had egg and wheat in them. hives started appearing on sienna’s face, but nothing serious. i didn’t get to use the epi pen. darn.

i love christmas. i love seeing all my family (especially cousin caitlyn, who i don’t get to see very often). and i really love opening presents! mommy and daddy make sure i read the tag before unwrapping my gifts so i can remember who gave me what. and whenever i wear/read/play with that gift, mommy always tests me to see if i remember. i get it right about 1/2 the time. but sometimes i just guess.

we got so many great clothes, books, and toys (and in sienna’s case, shoes and shoes and shoes) from our friends and relatives. thank you to all of you for being so thoughtful and generous. merry christmas everyone!

p.s. auntie jan asked me if santa came to our house last night. i told her no, but we saw him on the train. why would she think that santa would come to our house? was i supposed to invite him over?

Tags : , , | add comments

i totally get christmas

Posted by kyden on Monday Dec 26, 2011 Under Uncategorized

i never understood why everyone says that christmas is the best holiday.  sure, i like seeing all my family.  sure, i like staying up past my bedtime.  sure, i like eating “special occasion” foods (like a bite of pie or a few crumbs of a cookie).  but those things happen on lots of holidays, right?  well, i finally get it.  on christmas, i get presents!  opening presents is SO FUN.

last year, i needed a lot of encouragement (and a little help) to open my gifts.  this year, i figured out how to do it all by myself.  i take off the bow and ribbon, find the seams of the wrapping paper, then rip the paper off.  if the paper is taped to the box, i make sure to remove every single scrap of paper before opening the box.  i was going to help baby sister with her gifts, but i was taking so long to open my own that mommy had to help her instead.  unwrapping presents is so fun — it doesn’t even matter what’s inside.  although, i do love (and appreciate) all the gifts that i got.  and i got a LOT.

we hosted christmas at our house this year.  we had 24 people over for dinner.  there would have been 26, but uncle mike and auntie z couldn’t make it.  uncle mike was nice enough to send along the tri-tip that he cooked as well as some mystery goodies in a little plastic bag.  mommy asked auntie cindy to try the goodies to see what they were.  auntie cindy passed them off to auntie barbara, who thought they weren’t half bad…  until we realized that they were crickets!  crickets!!! *gahhh* auntie barbara gagged.  everyone else laughed.

we all had a really fun time.  and i totally get christmas now.  although, i’m still not sure about the santa guy that i heard my cousins talking about.  i think that’s the guy i saw on the train ride last weekend.  it seems like everyone knows him except for me.  i wonder if i’ll see him next year.

merry christmas everyone!

Tags : , | add comments