Christmas Card 2018

In 2018, we entered adulthood. Two kids, a career, a car payment — we’re responsible now for more than we’ve ever been, and we feel it. Our son Lucas was born on Dec. 24th last year (A month early! While we were out of state! It was crazy!) and it still feels like we’re in survival mode. As 2019 approaches, we’re hoping to slow down, simplify and start fresh.


Highs: Improving at his job, swimming with sharks in Hawaii, becoming a dad of two, paying off our car, hosting a former student from our teaching days in China, reuniting with friends at a mission companion’s wedding, and continually beating his PRs on the local biking trails. Lows: Always working at his job, sleep deprivation because of those two kids, getting audited by the IRS, and always falling off of his bike because he doesn’t have enough spare time to ride those biking trails.


Highs: Losing 50 pounds, making new friends at MOPS, growing her freelance editing client base, welcoming our niece Brittany to Irvine, camping with family and friends, and roadtripping down the California coast during the week of Thanksgiving. Lows: Having two children who don’t consistently nap, struggling to balance responsibilities with selfcare, losing an uncle to cancer, saying goodbye to a dear friend who moved away, and feeling disconnected from far away loved ones.


Highs: Having a new baby brother, becoming potty trained, attending preschool, eating candy, playing at Chick-fil-A, and growing up at Disneyland. Lows: Having a new baby brother, falling down the stairs and getting stitches, having to occasionally take off her Elsa dress, and sharing Daddy (especially with Mommy).


Highs: Being near, looked at or held by Mom, being rocked every night by Dad, eating table foods (especially meat), and saying his first word: Lila. Lows: Naptime, bedtime, and anytime someone wasn’t giving him attention.

As you can see, our highs and lows are intertwined. Isn’t that how life goes? It’s easy to get caught in the daily grind and forget that overall, we have a good life. We’re grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ who lifts and strengthens. This season we pray you’ll feel the peace He brings and grace he offers. We love you. Merry Christmas!!


Halloween 2017 was our introduction to celebrating holidays with kids, and it’s just gotten better since then. Easter was, not surprisingly, a big hit. It seems like every holiday is based around showering our kids with candy and gifts. What’s not to love? This year Lila participated in five Easter egg hunts: One with our MOPS group, one with our ward friends, one with the Stevens’ family, and two with just me and Lance.

At first she didn’t really understand, and would pick up an egg, open it and either eat the candy immediately or decide she didn’t want it and put the egg back down. Ha. I guess I have some unresolved Easter egg hunt anxiety, because I anxiously followed her everywhere encouraging her to just get as many eggs as she could before they were all gone! HA! By the end, she knew exactly what to do.

After the final session of General Conference on Easter Sunday we drove to Newport Beach and raced our colored boiled eggs down a course we made in the sand. In the Stevens’ family, it’s tradition to decorate and race eggs in the snow outside the cabin. I’m excited to make and adapt our traditions as the years go on!

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The Christmas Countdown

*Written January 2018*

This year we were determined to not let the holidays pass us by. After Thanksgiving, Lance and I made a list of all the festive things we wanted to do this season. Per family tradition, there are no bad ideas during a brain storm, so lots of things made the list:

Go skiing and sledding and build a snowman; have a snowball fight
Go caroling
Make gingerbread houses, homemade hot chocolate and Christmas cookies; deliver treats to friends
Plank in ugly sweaters
Drive to see Christmas lights
Watch: “Ernest Saves Christmas,” “The Santa Clause,” “The Office” Christmas episodes, “Christmas with the Kranks,” “Claymation Christmas, “Charlie Brown Christmas” ” Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”
Go to live nativity
Read the Christmas Story Luke ch. 2
See a movie in the theater
Go to Disneyland — Jingle Cruise, Small World, Christmas Parade etc…
Avoid sickness
Adopt a Child/ Secret Santa
Have a picnic under the Christmas tree; have a sleepover by the tree
Build a Christmas lego set
Drink eggnog; Sip on Martinellis whilist wrapping presents
Get an advent calendar
Attend Nutcracker ballet
Throw a holiday party
Donate food to a food  pantry
Hang mistletoe in bedroom 😉
Make ornaments and Christmas crafts
Reenact the Christmas Story
Have a birthday party for Jesus: Give a gift to Jesus
Make a special meal / Breakfast / Goose
Write a letter to Santa; meet Santa
Give a gift to UPS, FedEx drivers
Make a “Cookies for Santa” plate

Naturally we couldn’t do everything on the list, but we certainly tried. We assigned an activity to every night in December, as well as a few in the last of November. In the end, our month looked like this:

Last days of November: Decorated the house and tree and went to Disneyland (which is magical during Christmas!)
Dec. 1: Bought Lila Christmas jammies and a Christmas-y book
Dec. 2: Attended tree lighting at Light the Cove (Crystal Cove State Beach) and Adam and Alicia Rose’s ugly sweater party

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Dec. 3: Walked over to Irvine Civic Center’s Winter Wonderland event
Dec. 4: Dropped by the Johnson Brother’s Tree Lot (and though the trees smelled wonderful, we stayed for less than 15 minutes because it was so windy!)
Dec. 5: I went to the RS Holiday Dinner
Dec. 6: We made Christmas cookies and dipped pretzels in caramel and chocolate; met Santa at our apartment complex

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Dec. 7: Delivered Christmas goodies to friends, neighbors and ward members
Dec. 8: Went to Disneyland

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Dec. 9: Attended Ward Christmas party and drove around looking at Christmas lights in Woodbridge

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Dec. 10: Went to the Live Nativity in Rancho San Margarita and viewed the hundreds of creches
Dec. 11: Drove around looking at Christmas lights in Nellie Gail Ranch in Laguna Hills
Dec. 12: Went to Disneyland
Dec. 13: Made and decorated Christmas sugar cookies

Dec. 14: Lance went to “Star Wars” with the Elder’s Quorum
Dec. 15: Went to Disneyland

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Dec. 16: Walked around the well-decorated Irvine Regional Park in the cold
Dec. 17: Watched the Newport Boat Parade

Some days we were tired and had to push ourselves to follow the schedule, but we were determined to. And I’m glad we did! My favorite activities were decorating sugar cookies, looking at Christmas lights at Nellie Gail Ranch (we did that last year, too) and seeing the Newport Boat Parade.

Christmas is such a special time of year. It was so fun to introduce Lila to some of the traditions of the holiday, and to make new traditions ourselves. She did so well meeting Santa this year compared to last year. It helped that we met him so many times (at Disneyland, the ward party, the tree lighting at Crystal Cove and at our apartment complex). We tried to make the season about more than just Santa, though. I’m so glad we got to go to several (two) live nativities. Especially this year, I got so weepy during both. Being 8 months pregnant, with a boy, I felt a renewed appreciation for Mary and all that she went through. Now that Lucas is born, I can’t help but wonder if I felt the Spirit so strongly during those presentations because my spirit knew I was going to give birth on the Eve of the Savior’s birthday.

Christmas Card 2017

Big news: We’re expecting a baby! We’re excited to meet Baby Boy in mid January. Have a name suggestion? Send it our way — we still have no clue what to call him.

Other news: Lance continues to work as a business consultant at Gallup. He’s pretty great. The job is flexible, he enjoys the work, and it pays well so we really can’t complain. Lance enjoys mountain biking enough to regularly wake up early to ride before work. If you’re into that kind of thing, follow him on Strava where he records his miles of glory.

Keri continues to work as a freelance writer and editor. Her clients vary, as does her interest in what they want her to write about. This year she has learned a lot about drug addiction treatments, tracking mileage for your taxes, exercise ideas for seniors, and what your smartphone says about your personality. See what I mean? Keri’s weekly highlights include her spin class and scripture study class. She also enjoys meeting with her MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group bi-monthly at Voyagers Bible Church.

Lila was recently named the cutest two year old of all the two year olds. She sings more than she talks, often belting out “How Much is That Doggie in the Window” and “Be Still, My Soul.” Lila loves Mickey Mouse, her friends, shoes, Chick-fil-A, reading books, and calling her parents by their first names.

As a family we still enjoy Disneyland (really, it doesn’t get old), the beach, nightly walks, hiking and being outside. This fall we flew to Europe and spent two and a half weeks exploring Austria and the Czech Republic. We hiked in the Alps, biked along rivers, visited hilltop fortresses, wandered through ice caves and enjoyed cities both big and small. It was amazing. We flew home days before Lila’s 2-year-old birthday, so we didn’t have to buy her plane ticket, which means we’re winning at life.

This year we’ve seen miracles big and small. We are so grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ and gladly celebrate His birth, life and gift to the world. We love you and wish you happiness and health!

Fourth of July

*Written in December 2017*

As usual, we rode in the Brighton Parade. My favorite part was singing “Yankee Doodle” at the top of our lungs over and over. We had so much fun being silly and crazy. Instead of throwing candy, we received it from on-lookers, which made us laugh and laugh. It was a great way to celebrate our country and Grandpa Arlo, who fought to protect it.

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Oct. 2013 – Feb. 2014

I made this blog almost six months ago, and have been sitting twiddling my thumbs ever since. Actually, I’ve been getting a lot done — stuff I would’ve procrastinated otherwise — all because I was suffering from a common ailment. Writer’s block. Fear. Uncertainty. What do I want this blog to be?

I’ve given up on all of that, so here I go playing catch up…

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