Thursday, April 2, 2009

Living Lovely With Family~Yearly Edition

What an enormous magnifier is tradition! How a thing grows in the human memory and in the human imagination, when love, worship, and all that lies in the human heart, is there to encourage it.

~Thomas Carlyle

This week our Living Lovely with Family theme is Yearly Traditions. I am, once again, looking forward to reading your thoughts and ideas on making meaningful connections and memories with our families! Everyone is welcome to participate. Share your thoughts on your blog and add your link below. Feel free to grab the above image (or the smaller button on my sidebar) to add to your blog post. Or share your ideas in the comments! (Scroll past Mr. Linky for my contribution!)

Most of our yearly tradition lines are blurred between seasonal activities and vacations (next week's theme).

The last two years, Levi and I have joined my sisters and my niece and nephew to watch a local outdoor Shakespeare performance. The location is incredible, the weather has favored us both years, and the productions are stunning! I'm looking forward to this coming year, and I can't wait until the little boys and hubby can join us!
I have been attending our family reunion every summer for over 20 years! My Dad's family is large, and we enjoy each other's company immensely. The family has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, and I'm thrilled that my boys are being grounded in extended family relationships. It helps that most years we've met at my aunt and uncle's house on the river. I can't tell you how many times I've scaled this ramp heading up from the water:
As a child, my family camped in the same spot every year. Now, Russ has started a boys' camp tradition at this most sentimental spot. This will be their fourth year, although Luke was only old enough to start attending this past year (and Leif has another year to wait). I'm so pleased that Russ is dedicated to this father/son time!

We hope to begin camping as a family again soon (I'm too wimpy to tent camp with really little guys), but we've visited my second favorite spot on earth on day trips each summer. I know that my boys will have glorious memories of their time spent here, just as I do!

When I think of yearly family traditions, though, I immediately think of the Christmas holiday season. We kick it off with our Thanksgiving celebration.

This year we added a new tradition. Green Friday. We spent the day after Thanksgiving on a nature hike and at my sister's farm house in the country gathering moss, branches, rose hips, apples, and other treasures with which to makes our homes festive for the Christmas season.

We have various 'around the world' celebrations during December (Las Posadas, St. Lucia Day), but my favorite is St. Nicholas Feast Day with our best friends! It has been a tradition for years, now. The kids love getting chocolate gold coins in their shoes and our favorite activity is creating marzipan fruits and veggies.
One of our most exciting Christmas traditions is attending Ben and Shan's themed Christmas party with all my family and some close family friends. Every year (13 years now?), they choose a different theme and go all out. Paris Dinner Train (murder mystery), Morocco, 50s Diner, Hawaiian, Camping, Irish, A Christmas Carol... We even try to come dressed appropriately (several times we've been fully costumed!). I wonder what this year's theme will be! Shannon?

Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world.
~Susan Lieberman


Brianna said...

As the mom of (soon to be) three boys, I love the idea of a boys' camp!

What a treasure to have a husband who invests in his boys that way.

Heather said...

It's so funny b/c I came across that very same Carlyle quote to use in my post this week :) It really is a great one, as well as a perfect fit, for this week's theme!

As always, Heidi, your photos (and your thoughts) are lovely! There's something to be said for traditions, and the ones you're continuing, along with all the new ones, well... they'll shape and mold your boys in amazing ways! Thank you for all the wonderful ideas, and thank you for sharing~

Lora @ my blessed life said...

What wonderful tradition! I love the family reunion and the camping trips! I really want to start camping with our kiddos. I remember your post about Green Friday, too, that was great!

Mominin said...

Great traditions! It looks like you guys have a lot of fun. A themed Christmas Party sound really cool!

Unknown said...

I'm not sure I will have time to post on my blog, and I'm sorry I haven't had a chance to participate in past themes, as these subjects are near and dear to my heart, but I will take a moment to leave a comment at least.

We do a wacky april fools supper with wacky serving plates (pot lids, etc) serving utensils to eat with, and serve it in five courses, everyone picks a label out of a basket that says what dish they get and then again for their utensil. Then we pick out of the food basket and have to eat in the order we pick, which sometimes means starting off with dessert, and sometimes means eating spaghetti with a spatula. Very fun

We also do the nature walk on Thanksgiving day after our meal and go down and walk along the river.

We also sit down with the kids on their birthdays and ask them the same questions every year and keep them for future references.

We have a special passover meal every easter, not a traditional Jewish one, one entirely of our own making.

We have a spring run-off party as soon as the water is melted enough to be running in the ditches, we take rubber ducks and bathtub toys and race them through the culverts.

We have a spring treasure hunt (easter egg type thing) but not at easter, we wait until things are truly budding and it is warm enough to be exploring the woods outdoors and I really make those kids hunt for their clues and then hide huge baskets of goodies at the end of their journey.

We do a similar scavenger hunt in fall along with a teddy bear picnic.

Setting up for Christmas on the last saturday of november is huge for us. Since the power went out on us once on that night and we had to do it by candlelight, that has now become a tradition. We sing at least two or three christmas carols every night of December and read favorite tales from Christmas books.

Just regular farm routine things are huge traditions for us as well. the birthing of the lambs, the first crabapple slushes, first bowls of fresh strawberries, etc. They don't fall on specific dates per se but we anticipate them and celebrate them with great fervor.

I'm so big on traditions that even the changing of the comforters on our bed is a time of celebration for me just to change things up and welcome in a new season. *grin*

Heather said...

Prairie Chick, I *love* those traditions! Thank you *so much* for sharing them, especially that April Fool's dinner--- oh, my boys would LOVE that!

And Heidi-- I just wanted to thank for passing along a nugget of your mother's wisdom a few weeks ago... the bit about kids and their melt downs (and the 1 of 3 reasons why they might be behaving as such). That thought has stayed with me and it's been a HUGE help! Your mom is so right... and it's funny b/c it just never occurred to me before-- with that sort of simplicity-- but it's been life-changing... really! Thank you so much~

Heidi said...

Prairie Chick~ I am so glad you took the time to share your traditions in the comments. You *have* to do a post on that sometime (it doesn't matter if you don't do it for my meme). You have crazy great ideas! I want to come live at your house!!

Heather~ I'm so glad that word of wisdom has worked for you. It has been revolutionary around here, too. My Grandma was a very smart woman. :)

Renee said...

Thanks for the idea! I enjoyed so much looking through pictures and posting our traditions. What gratitude and excitement it stirred in me!!

Laurel said...

Heidi - Not sure I'll get to post on it but I am loving reading others! (I'll try though!) I think you are doing such wonderful things for and with your family.

I also have to echo the comment above regarding your grandmother's wisdom. I too have mentally referred to that nugget over and over again since reading it. It just helps to give some perspective and GRACE to our little ones when they are driving me batty.

Rachel said...

I hope it's o.k that I'm late. I was trying to get it posted and didn't get it up in time. It's there now.

It's been so fun reading how everyone lives life with their families. Some new great ideas too.