happy birthday gene!

So when my oldest sister, Carol, had her first date with Gene I remember sitting on the couch in our living room in Anaheim watching the whole scene. He came in and met everyone that was there and I have this vivid memory where he was wearing a flannel shirt. I know that doesn’t sound right for a punk rocker, or “the blonde kid” as he was referred to by my Dad, but that is what was burned into my mind. Kristy (sister #2) asked me what I thought—which seems silly now because at the time I was maybe nine years old—and I said that he looked like a lumberjack (yet another piece to my memory puzzle to back up my flannel shirt rememberance). I didn’t disapprove, but I wasn’t sold right away either.

Well, it didn’t take Gene very long to take a hold of our hearts (except maybe for Dad, but that may be somewhat understandable considering the lame guys that Carol had dated previously—sorry Carol, although I’m sure you’d agree—and she was also his first daughter to date and get married). We’re so glad that he married into our crazy family because now he’s stuck.
But seriously, we love Gene. He is such an amazing person, father, husband, doctor, surfer, and “kid” to have around. We always feel welcomed, loved, uplifted and enlightened when we are around him. He is seriously a kid at heart and is always up for any adventure.

I even remember being at their house in San Diego and Carol had to tell Gene to come in from skateboarding so that he wouldn’t disturb the neighbors late at night. That was probably three or four years ago. Gene will be the 80 year old surfer.

We know that you’ll never live too far from the ocean or your year-round perfect weather, but please come visit more often! We do have good snowboarding here and I’m sure that Carol could turn that into some sort of field trip for the girls. You’re always invited.

We love you Gene and hope you had a great birthday!

happy birthday tori!

To my little niece Tori-

Happy 1st birthday cutie pie! I’m sad that you are not doing your elephant seal crawl anymore. I hope that you retain that skill though so that you can grow up with naturally mad dance skillz and maybe even become a b-girl on SYTYCD. Although, knowing your Mom & Dad they probably have higher aspirations for you.
Gwen would love to play with you again, so we hope to see you again before you get too old. We should get Lexie in on it as well, and the three of you could get into some trouble together. And I’m okay with the trouble as long as it’s three girls at the age of one instead of sixteen!
We love you Tori!
love, Aunt Holly, Uncle Dave, Inez & Gwen

happy birthday tasman!

Today is my niece’s 9th birthday. I had the privilege of caring for Tazzie when she was almost two for a few weeks. She has always been such a funny girl, although she’s become a little shy as she gets older and needs some time to warm up to us again before she feels comfortable. I blame her parents for living so far from us, but that’s a topic for another post. Here are a few of my favorite pictures of Taz:

A Cherubic Scandinavian babe

Classic Tasman moment, when you just look at her and laugh while shaking your head. From the box on her head to her expression to her belly to the fact that she is drenched to her diaper sagging to her knees…it was never a dull moment.

One of my favorite memories, 4th of July in AZ (not recommended if you can’t take the heat) with the fam. I just love her expression here.


Little hula girl (even though she has Maori blood running through her veins, not Hawaiian)

More recent, and stolen from her Mom’s blog

We hope that you had a great day Taz. Nezzie talks about you all the time and loves it when I tell her that an article of clothing she is wearing used to be yours when you were a little girl. We love and miss you tons and tons!

And yes, our family has a MILLION September birthdays. There are still more to come before the month ends.

happy birthday lexie!

Happy birthday to my niece Lexie! It’s her first birthday, she is one-third of the Kewish cousins born in September ‘06. We are so happy that Gwen will have two cousins her same age, especially when they get older. And although we haven’t met her yet, we think she is very cute! See?

happy birthday mallea!

Today is my niece’s birthday. She came to visit my parents this summer and we were lucky enough to be here also. Inez just followed her around everywhere and wanted to do everything that she did. See what I mean?

She got to deliver some cookies with me and we also hiked the Y with Dad & Jon.

We also watched lotsa good girl movies like Meet Me in St. Louis, South Pacific, My Fair Lady, State Fair, and Oklahoma, just to name a few (hey, she’s a Kewish girl so she’s gotta learn these movies inside and out!). We were so glad to be part of her visit!

Mallea, we hope that you had a really great day today. Happy Birthday! We love and miss you!

happy birthday gwen!

Our baby is ONE! I cannot believe how quickly this year has passed. Gwenie has been, and continues to be, such a good and mellow baby. That is, until we go to church and she turns into an oily octopus.

And I must say, she is so cute. She occasionally folds her little hands during the prayer, says “hi” and “cat-cat” when she sees Finlo, and she loves to push noses to get them to beep.

She is getting better and faster at following Inez around. And I really enjoy watching Gwen watch Nezzie and also see them interact. It melts my heart to watch them play, hug, kiss and laugh. The song “Sisters” from White Christmas often runs through my mind when I am watching them together, and now that I thought about that song again it’s stuck in my head.

And even though she can’t (or maybe just refuses to) say anything remotely close to “Mama,” I just love her so much.

Here are a few glimpses of our year with our Gwenie girl.

happy birthday liz!

Today is Liz’s birthday. In my opinion, she is the best decision that my brother Joe has ever made. Well, that and wearing the skinny blue and pink striped tie for his graduation picture.

Liz, this is one of my favorite pictures of us from when you guys came into town for General Conference.

And this is from the experience that probably bonded us the most: The Deep Sea Fishing Trip from Hell (DSFTFH).

Actually, this picture isn’t from that dreadful trip. It’s a photo of our New Year’s Eve spread, 85% of which consisted of fish dishes.

Let me back up a bit. The place: Bodega Bay, California. The date: December 1999. The situation: after an unsuccesful San Diego fishing excursion over Thanksgiving break, the decision was made to try again over Christmas break after we had returned to NorCal (Jon, that’s for you). And that, my friends, is what led us to the very unfortunate DSFTFH.

On this voyage—that was anything but fantastic—I believe that everyone (Me, Liz, Joe, James, Jon, and Dad) except for the Maori warrior, Vaughn, puked multiple times. But before the puke-fest began, we had a THREE HOUR boat trip out to the fishing spot. Now before anyone can make any Gilligan’s Island jokes here, “three hour” is capitalized because of the fact that we had to ride on this uncomfortable little fishing boat for THREE HOURS. I remember hearing the captain on the loud speaker casually mentioning that it would be three hours until we would reach the fishing spot. Liz and I looked at one another incredulously and one of us said, “he didn’t just say three hours, did he?” We assured each other that we had heard him wrong, but unfortunately for us we had heard him perfectly. After fishing for hours out at sea, we had to come back for another THREE HOURS. It was cold. We were in the middle of the ocean. The swells were large and frequent. We were stuck on this small, uncomfortable fishing vessel.

Now, my pregnancies have been pretty rough. With the first one, I lost 20 pounds because I couldn’t keep anything down. My record was throwing up 11 times in one day. Yet, I have to say that I would prefer being sick with a pregnancy rather than going on this fishing trip again. After this trip, Liz said that is what she thinks hell is like. I did catch a big lingcod, but I have to give partial credit to Joe since he was the one to reel it in due to the fact that I was puking over the side of the boat at the time.

I cannot even convey to anyone just how bad it was. The only good things that came from it were the fish for our New Year’s fry, and the memories that are as painful now as they were then. We laugh about now and give my Dad a hard time for taking us. I will forever be grateful that Liz was on that trip along with me as we sat in the cabin with our heads down on the gross, sticky, uncomfortable tables.

Oh, I forgot to mention that our water heater was in need of repair when we got home, so there were no hot showers available to anyone.

Thank you Liz, for going to hell and back with me.

A favorite memory that both Dave and I have of Liz is from our camping trip to Baja, which sounds a lot more glamorous than it really was. She and Joe brought a sandwich maker that you stick into the fire to make toasted sandwiches. There were a lot of good ones: apple pie filling, peanut butter with banana, nutella and banana, just to name a few. But then Joe made one of nutella and Reeses Pieces and we all immediately started salivating and Liz got a little excited and said, “Oh dude, THAT ONE IS MINE” in a full-on robot voice. She sounded just like Vicki on Small Wonder, but she (Liz) is nowhere near as annoying.

Thank you, Liz, for being such a great sister-in-law! Remember when we used to go shopping every time I would come home over a break at school if you were in California with Joe? Remember how you loved, maybe you still do, Mariah Carey? And remember how I’m your fave?

Hope you had a great birthday!! We love you so much, our baby was born on your birthday!

happy birthday kristy

Kristy. So I’m a little late here because your birthday was back on the 10th and I may or may not blame it on Dave pretty much taking over our blog. Regardless, you had a birthday and I would like to take a little stroll down memory lane. Won’t you join me?
Nezzie with Aunty Kiki and one of her “cousin buddies”

Here’s one of my favorite pictures, I’m not sure where you are exactly (please enlighten us), but I do know that it’s either France or Switzerland as a sister missionary.

At the Santa Clara County Fair in a good old fashioned photo booth

What a cute couple, cutting the wedding cake. Tender.

With the Clintons (who we do not endorse in any way, shape or form) in D.C. back in 1994.

By the way, remember how during this trip to DC we got SOAKED in a downpour as we were walking with our luggage to the metro. I had packed for about 20 people and the wheels on my suitcase broke as we were running three blocks to the station in the downpour. I remember sitting and wringing my hair out. Another memorable moment on this trip would be Mom cutting my bangs while they were wet and they ended up being about one inch long. Or when Mom had to take shelter from a (different) downpour in front of an X rated adult store on her way back to our hotel from the mall. I will always have that image in my mind.

Actually, there are so many memories to choose from. For example, remember when I made the mexican casserole that you served VW for lunch and then you took credit for it? Or when we went hiking up King’s Canyon with Dad and he drove like a mad man in his “magic carpet.” I’m pretty certain that was the trip where we coined that phrase for him as I kept singing the Aladin song “A Whole New World.” Or of course our classic story of when you chased me down the street with broccoli on a fork and made me eat it and sit on a snail shell. I can still hear the crunch and then feel the relief I felt upon realizing it was empty.

But one of my favorite memories is going to San Onofre to a little beach party that Carol and Gene were having and listening to Bob Marley for the first time. You had just returned from your scholastic sojourn in Hawaii and enlightened our family with the goodness that is known as reggae. As we drove down PCH in the white bug, windows down we listened to Legend on your “boom box” because that would have been silly to have had a working stereo in the car. It is so vivid to me, I even remember Carol surfing with Gene! Great. Now I miss the beach more than usual.

So there are ten years that separate us, but I have never felt that separation in our relationship/friendship. I am so grateful to have you in my life. You make me a better person, woman, mother and alto (only when we are singing together though). You have a good heart, you are so thoughtful, you are so generous (I cried when I found your CHI flat iron that you left behind for me last year) and you are an excellent example.

I wish we lived near each other so that I could whisk you away and go for a facial and massage and shopping and movie and (fill in the blank). Can you please move closer? I love you! Happy belated Birthday!!

happy birthday dad and joe

So their birthdays were actually on Monday, August 6th. I’m just a little behind in my posting, but the sentiments remain the same.

My brother Joe was born on my Dad’s 30th birthday. Quite the birthday present, eh? My Dad just turned…well let’s just say he’s “over the hill.” That way, I won’t get in trouble for telling his age. He does however look good for a blankety-blank year old, as I am often reminded. Must be those good ol’ Norwegian genes.

Here are a few favorite pictures of both these guys. And please excuse the age/quality of some of these pictures. Dave just taught me how to scan pictures correctly and I am now becoming a pro with photoshop. And when I say “pro” I mean I am becoming a bit less frustrating to Dave when I ask him how to do something.


Taken the day my Mom was born (Christmas).

Graduated first in his class from NAOCS (Naval Aviation Officer Candidate School).

Here is some guy with Carol, Kristy and Heather, that closely resembles Dad—except for the large mustache. Actually, this was the seventies, as he entered the “B School” at Harvard, so maybe it’s okay?

He has run 13 marathons, and countless 10Ks and 5Ks.
This was after finishing the Palos Verdes Marathon.

Here’s a sweet action shot during the St. George marathon.

Falling asleep in his chair, as usual.

Always making us laugh.

Still running at his age, and winning medals.

A true Cougar, he bleeds blue. Here he is hiking the Y in his “BYU–Heck, Yes!” t-shirt.

Grandpa of 18, and a great one at that.

His wanderlust…

taking Mom with him to the far reaches of the world.

One of my favorite childhood memories (Carol probably won’t remember this;) ) was when we would ride around the neighborhood in our VW Van. What distinguishes it from any “normal” drive was that the side door was open and we would sit with our legs hanging out. As we turned corners and passed over the gutters, water from our neighbor’s sprinklers would splash up on our legs and feet and we would squeal with delight. I know, we were easily entertained. But the best part of my memory is that when my Dad started to slow down as we approached the house, us kids would start chanting, “go, go, go, go, go, go” until he would either stop in front of our house, much to our dismay, or speed up again and take us on another trip around the block, which was always met with cheers, squeals and probably fist pumps.
Here’s a picture of our beloved VW Van, that’s me in the passenger seat hanging out the window followed by Heather in the kickin’ socks, next to Joe and Kristy barely in the frame.

We will be so sad when Dad returns to China in about three weeks. He’ll be to Beijing for a year with Mom and I have simply been refusing to think about it until I absolutely have to. I am in a state of denial so I will probably finally think about it as I sob all the way home from the airport. Although the girls are probably going to miss them even more, they are such buddies.

I hope you had a great birthday Dad ! I love you, and sorry for eating so much frosting off your cake.