Saturday, December 22, 2012

Traditions

I consider myself a fairly adventurous person. You won't find me scuba diving or willing to be one of the first to take a commercial flight to outer space (I HATE octopus and outer space), but you will find me trying/creating new things all the time. New adventures, new experiences, new memories with my two loves Zach and Allie. And even though I love to mix it up and explore all things "new," there is a part of me that loves tradition too. Sometimes, it's just fun to do the same thing over and over. Sometimes it's fun to look forward to something each year when you know exactly what it will entail.

When I was a kid, I loved Christmas time at my grandparents house in Jacksonville. On Christmas Eve, me, my sister, and my two cousins got to sleep on the floor in sleeping bags in the formal living room in front of my grandparent's Charlie Brown-ish Christmas tree. It was so fun and felt like such a treat on such a magical and exciting night. I still can remember falling asleep in the multi-colored glow from the Christmas tree lights, just beyond the fancy ceramic nativity perfectly arranged on the foyer table.

Oh Christmas... it always brings back a flood of good memories with my family from Christmases past. Our family of three has now started to create our own unique Christmas traditions since we can no longer travel to Florida to be with my extended family due to our ministry commitments. One of those is our Christmas tree.

Tradition #1: Fresh cut Fraser Fur Christmas tree
Since my dad personally brings us our tree prior to Thanksgiving, (read this post for more details on this tree delivery service :)) we get to enjoy the tree for well over a month! Usually on the weekend after Thanksgiving, we will decorate our tree as a family while listening to Christmas music or watching a Christmas movie. I LOVE THE CHRISTMAS TREE. It seriously brings me so much joy to rush downstairs in the morning and turn it on and end my day sitting on my sofa enjoying it's warm, cozy glow.

Tradition #2: Annual special ornament
We also have started getting a special ornament each year. We might buy multiple ornaments that year, but the really special one is tagged so we can remember what year it was from. (To see what Allie and I picked this year, read this post.)

Tradition #3: Annual Allie's Adventures book
Traditions aren't just limited to the holidays for us, they happen year round! For me, the new year starts off by compiling images and stories from the past year to put in a book for Allie. Each year since we have been a family I have made her one and I look forward to continuing this for years to come. It's so important to me that she can easily remember our adventures and life together just by flipping through the pages of a book! (To see Allie's book from 2010, read this post, and from 2011, read this post.) I am actually pretty excited to get started on 2012's book! Stay tuned. :)

Tradition #4: Summer Memory Journal
And speaking of memories, last summer we started keeping a daily memory journal during the five weeks Allie is here. It was seriously so fun/funny, and I look forward to doing it again this summer. (To see our memory journal, read this post.)

Tradition #5: Family vacation
Last summer we also took our first real family vacation. It was a a tour of the southern coast of the US and included stops in Charleston, Savannah, Cumberland Island, St. Augustine, and central Florida. (To see our trip, start reading this post and the following four.) I really hope we can make this an annual thing, visiting new places each summer.

Tradition #6: Family Reunion
But we also visit an old place each year. For over 40 years my family has been going to Lake Junaluska, NC for summer vacation. I have only missed two summers in my almost 30 years of life and it is something we all look forward to. In addition to being here with the family, we have started going to Big Creek Park, just over the state line in TN. When I was a kid we went to Sunburst, but now we have moved on to a more adventurous locale. :) Allie LOVES this place and I'm so happy she loves this family tradition.

Tradition #7: Birthday tees
For Allie's birthday each year, we make custom birthday tees. Zach and I did this on a whim the first year just to do something fun and quirky, but it has turned into an annual part of the birthday celebration.

Tradition #8: The P Day
If you have been following this blog for about the last 6 or 7 months, you will know that Allie and I have taken to regular P Days for mother-daughter fun. We've had like... four or five this year and each one has been unique and fun it it's on way. (Read this post for more on one of our P Days together.)

Gosh I love making memories with me family at any time of year! It's seriously the best. What are some of your family traditions?

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