Dec. 25: Merry Christmas!

I hope your day has gone well and Santa brought you everything you want in spite of that horrible war on Christmas no one even knew we were having. Here’s our Christmas letter for 2013, with Katie and Jack photo goodness at the end:

Dear [your name]:

This is probably the only Christmas letter you’ll receive this year that will not end with you sarcastically clapping at someone else’s accomplishments. You’d think having nothing to report would mean I shouldn’t bother writing a letter this year, in which case, HI! You must be new here.

So yeah, not much changed for us in 2013. Victor still works his same job at which he was given no promotions or recognition worth mentioning. I still work occasionally, also with no promotions; in fact, I kinda got fired from my volunteer job. Katie (almost 14) is in eighth grade and Jack (12) is in sixth. They don’t have jobs.

Like last year, Katie competed in cross-country running and Jack played tackle football. They continue their piano lessons, too, in adherence to our Rule for the Well-Rounded: one athletic activity = one artsy-fartsy activity. Both kids attended classes this year that were supposed to teach them about being more responsible: Katie got babysitter-certified and Jack learned not to answer the door in his underwear. Katie’s orthodontic treatments have begun, as evidenced by the tiny rubber bands all over our house.

We occasionally left Portland, visiting some of our favorite spots in California, Oregon, and Washington, and checking out new places too. The highlight of our travels was spending spring break in Disneyland, our first fly-to-get-there trip in waaay too long.

Other memorable experiences this year: graduation from elementary school (Jack) ... Darlene & Wellington’s 50th anniversary celebration ... singing for the middle school talent show (Katie) ... a fabulous community theater production of Spamalot ... Relay for Life ... poker nights ... My Fair Lady at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival ... football football football ... Outdoor School (Jack) ... pub trivia nights with our geek friends ... a David Sedaris show ... and lots of RE-ing—repainting, reupholstering, repairing, recycling, reminding, relaxing, rehearsing, rehydrating, revising, recalculating, recuperating, refusing, refraining, restraining, retaliating, and retaining (a lawyer).

And the things we hope never to experience again: SWAT activity in our neighborhood ... taser burns ... football injuries ... falling-down-the-stairs injuries ... kidney stones on vacation (Jen) ... root canals ... tattoo infections (Katie) ... cancer treatment follow-up checks that necessitate further follow-up checks ... Windows 8 ... the kids’ extracurricular schedules of Fall 2013 ... and Movember.

As always, we share some of the things actually spoken in or around our house this year:

“Was I a sexy baby?”

“That is not how Yoda said it. If you’re gonna nerd it up, get it right.”

“The smallest drawer in your dresser is for those things you don’t use very often, like belts and gloves and, in your case, underwear.”

“Hi! How come my poison didn’t kill you?
Wait, forget I ever said that.”

“Are we really driving 30 miles out of the way just to eat fast food?” (Um, it was In-N-Out. Totally worth it, but-cept if you’re a vegetarian… so… sorry for the detour, Mother Mary!)

“Are you all packed for Outdoor School?”
“Yes, except for my rubber spider.”

“I haven’t heard Mom curse in, like, three days.”

“Nothing like taking a long car ride with the family to make us wonder why we ever thought kids would be a nice addition.”

“We’ve lived here for 15 years and never knew there was a 30-foot waterfall in the neighborhood?” (It’s true, there is!)

Jack, reading a fortune cookie: “You will live a long, preposterous life.”

Happiest holidays from our family to yours, and best wishes for a new year full of the things that bring you joy.

Victor, Jennifer, Katie, and Jack Manullang
Lucy and Millie too



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