Christmas Memories

Every Monday night we have family night. Sometimes we play games, sometimes we watch a show and have popcorn, sometimes we have a lesson, whatever strikes our fancy. Recently we had a family night where we talked about Christmas. We read a few Christmas stories. We sang some carols accompanied by Jacob on his guitar. Then we talked about our favorite Christmas memories. It was a fun evening together.

Since then I’ve been haunted by the ghost of Christmas past, trying to document some of those memories, gather pictures, etc. I thought I’d put them down here.

Our first Christmas as a family unit was in December 1998, Manina and I as newlyweds on our honeymoon (and use that term very loosely) in Alaska. We stayed at my high school principal’s house, house-sitting for them, and we managed to kill most of his fish and I vaguely remember some flooding problem. It was great.

The best gift that Christmas came from my sister, Abby. We had rented an apartment at BYU, but hadn’t moved in yet. We didn’t have much money, and hardly any possessions. Our shower curtain was hung with twist-ties. Abby found out about that and bought us some proper curtain rings.

Both Manina and I were surviving going through school, and we lived in a dump of a basement apartment in Provo. Our tree that year was a mini-tree, probably only 2 feet tall. We decorated it and put in on our coffee table.

First Christmas with Jacob. I can’t believe Manina actually dressed him like that. Poor kid.

Christmas 2000

On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, our furnace went out. Yeah, good luck getting anyone come out and fix the furnace during that time. It was getting really cold in our house, so we called up my parents and they were gracious enough to let us crash their Christmas morning.

Christmas 2001

We had added little Megan to our family earlier in 2002, and we had a fun little Christmas together. Uncle Derek even came by for a visit earlier that month.

Christmas 2002

This was a very exciting Christmas for us for a couple reasons: we had recently bought our first home, and we also had welcomed Katelyn into our growing family. Also, Grandma Ria came down for a visit the day after Christmas and stayed with us for a while. We love having family around at Christmas time.

Christmas 2003

The gift-giving was out of control in 2004. We went way overboard. It was just so much fun having three little kids who saw and love the magic of Christmas.

Christmas 2004

xmasdisaster 2004

We have a Christmas day tradition at my parents house where we light candles on the Christmas tree, read the story of Christ’s birth from the Bible, and listen to the Hallelujah Chorus. It’s a great way to end Christmas day — usually. This time it ended in disaster. Grandma Jan had the great idea to show five-year-old Jacob how to put out a candle with wet fingers. Jacob tried it and promptly burned all the skin off his finger and thumb.

December2005 024

December 2005 Burned Fingers

I’m not sure when we started this tradition, but it’s one of my favorites. On Christmas Eve, the kids get in their pajamas and get all ready bed. Then we read a beautiful pop-up book of The Night Before Christmas with the kids. That book is untouchable for every other day of the year, so it’s something the kids really look forward to each Christmas Eve.

Christmas 2006

We were expecting Drew any day, but Christmas 2007 was great. It was also pretty well-documented as the first chronological post here at

We had a great Christmas in 2008, with Uncle Matt coming for a visit, also Grandpa Mike and Grandma Jan came by early Christmas morning, and we also had a great snowstorm that day. We wondered if it was the best Christmas ever?.

Can’t wait to see what memories we will make for 2009. Merry Christmas to all!

Dad on SportsBeat

My dad was featured on SportsBeat on KSL this last weekend. He is a pretty amazing guy with a really cool story, and I thought Kathy Aiken did a pretty good job of telling his story in just over three minutes.

The best part about it was showing it to the kids. They were all so excited that their grandpa was “famous.” A few of Jacob’s friends also saw it and were pretty excited about the whole deal. Funny.

Anyway, here is the clip. Enjoy.

Best of 2008 is now a year old, and in the honor of the god Janus (for whom January is named) we’ll take a look back at 2008 before looking ahead to the new year.

So, here are some of our favorite posts from 2008. What a year!

January: Drew’s arrival trumps everything else. Five kids. Wow.

February: We’re a family of freaks, and this post highlighting all our bizarre talents proves it.

March: A busy month. I survived in a snowcave, Drew got blessed, and the kids made a huge mess for FHE.

April: Started the month with a classic April Fools’ joke which scared more than one or two of you; Jacob shows off his dancing skills.

May: We made several all-time stupid decisions which were both very stressful and expensive.

June: Manina won a washer and dryer set.

July: Jacob gets baptized. Claire goes to the hospital.

August: Summer wraps up with a fun golf outing and Seth conquering Suncrest.

September: We took a fun trip to St. George where Seth hiked the narrows and Manina went to Les Mis.

October: We love the fall leaves in the mountains and Halloween.

November: Megan has been losing teeth this year.

December: Manina has been losing money this year.

Hope you enjoyed 2008 as much as we did! To view more posts from 2008, be sure to visit the archives page, or you can also use the handy little search box too!

Process it and let it go

So I flat out lost $100. Gone. Two crisp fifty dollar bills that Seth’s mom and dad gave us for Christmas (early so we could do Christmas shopping) that are now either in a dumpster somewhere or in some less-than-honest guy’s pocket.

It all started last night when Seth and I went to his company’s Christmas party. They rented Costco from 10pm till midnight and gave everyone gift cards to spend, served hors d’oeuvres, and had a live band. Other than the time of night, it was a nice gathering. After a few shrimp and a couple Italian sodas we were beat, but we also needed to purchase a few staples: diapers, wipes, milk, etc. It was when we went to pay for our items at the register that the fifties vanished. Continue reading Process it and let it go