You make us smile every day. We love it when you climb up your bridge and come up to get a view of the living room. Your fur is so soft and your nose is always looking for a treat in our hands.
You’re a clever one. When we hand you a stalk of millet, you skip past all of the seeds and bite off the stem so you can grab the full cluster before we can take it away.
You are a gift from God and the most adorable little fluff ever, You wink and lick your lips and squeak, melting the hearts of all who see. Whenever you eat banana no one can keep the awws in as you devour the sweet treat.
Thank you for the joy you’ve given me band I hope you enjoyed your birthday cake (you better because I spent 10 minutes on it).
We’ve been thrilled that Violet joined her middle school choir. The love of music is something Jenni and I hope to pass to our kids. So we were proud when Violet surprised us with a solo during the final song.
For the kids’ spring break, we planned a day trip up to Seattle and revisit several 10th birthday locations. For Kadie’s 10th birthday, we explored the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass. And for Bruce’s 10th birthday, we enjoyed Olympia’s Hands On Children Museum.
Bruce loved sharing the dry ice fountain with his sisters. We met up with Jenni’s uncle Todd, who lives in Olympia. The kids were disappointed that the sock skating station was no longer there, but we did discover a bench xylophone.
Then we trekked north to see the Chihuly Garden and Glass before riding the elevator up the Space Needle.
Since it had been nearly five years since Kadie and I were last here, I had flashbacks to the trip as we walked through familiar sculptures and sights. I’m grateful for the special trips I get to take my kids when they turned ten.
The Space Needle got some upgrades in the form of glass barriers at the top to reduce wind and provide clearer views. And, they added a glass floor that rotated.
We visited Jenni’s college classmate Paul and his wife Jennifer for dinner before driving home.
I enjoyed created new memories with the entire family while reminiscing the trips I took with Kadie and Bruce prior.
Two weeks ago, Kadie came home feeling unwell after school and she developed a fever that evening. We tested her for COVID and the test showed negative. We had a low-key weekend as she recovered, and when Monday came around, her second test revealed a positive result.
As we lit fireworks after midnight, I found myself mixed with emotions. I regard myself as aggressively balanced, so it surprised me to feel both deep sadness and hopeful expectation as twenty twenty-two began. It only became clear after looking back at twenty twenty-one in photos that I realized what I’ll be missing and be thankful for.
Charlene was chatting with my brother and me one late night two years ago. She was great about coming up to Portland to visit family between (or because of) adventures and I always try to get some time with her.
We were stewing around the dance of dating and relationships. It was a thoughtful discussion and I remember being confident that someday I would travel to California for her wedding.
20 years ago today, Grandpa Gene passed away. I was at work in Wilsonville for my MECOP internship at Mentor Graphics when I found out from Kevin. I left work immediately to go to Po Po’s house.
My mom cried a little when I first arrived, but then put on her strong face to take care of all the arrangements. His body had been already been taken from the house. Most of the rest of the day was a blur. I do remember that there wasn’t much for me to do, so I went out dancing at the Viscount that evening. It felt weird to be out dancing. He was my first time someone close in our family passed away.
Grandpa Gene taught me multiplication early in my childhood, which gave me confidence in math to be ahead of most of my peers.
He took Jack, Kevin, and I on trips to OMSI by bus because he didn’t drive, but we would spend the whole day at OMSI (back when it was next to the Oregon Zoo). I frequent OMSI with my kids today.
He taught Kevin, Jack, and I how to play bridge. We played that for hours with him. It’s an amazing card game mixing strategy, luck, and teamwork. He mainly taught us so that he could keep us from doing stupid stuff around his house like blowing up dog crap with fireworks we got from our dentist visits.
He loved parks. I remember going to parks often for family outings playing frisbee or badminton. He loved tennis but I never got a chance to play it with him. Though I wonder if it’s the reason I enjoy ping pong.
He was the one with a flash and a SLR camera taking family photos, back in the days with film and prints. Now, we all have cameras on our phones to capture our family adventures and share them on social media or text messages.
Thanks Gong Gong for the gifts from your life. They are still blessing me 20 years after.
Originally posted on our “Cousins from one Gene” Facebook group in 2019 and edited for new time reference. I wanted a permanent place for this memory on our blog.
One of my coworkers bought a drone for inspecting rooftops. Unfortunately, he crashed it and when he reported it to the manufacturer, they kindly sent him a replacement. He was shy to fly again and asked if my kids wanted to a drone. They might, I thought, but I was more interested.