Saturday, November 24, 2007

Starting Traditions...

I've always been a little sentimental and either Aaron is being a good husband and humoring me or he's grown a little sappy in his old age too. :) Through Tyler I've seen just how fast children grow up and I've decided that I want to establish some "family traditions" that our children will look back on and remember fondly.

When I was growing up we ALWAYS had colored lights on our Christmas tree and we always had a real tree. Once the lights were strung, mom and dad ALWAYS put the ornament they bought on their honeymoon on the tree first and they always kissed as they hung it. Over the years, my brother and I picked out "our ornament" and when we hung it, we hugged each other. It was the one moment of the year that we called a temporary "truce" from typical sibling arguments and acknowledged ever so briefly that down deep we liked each other. :) Our Christmas eve and Christmas routine evolved over the years to accommodate different situations with my grandparents, but there was always some kind of gift exchange on Christmas eve, a very, very early morning up to see what Santa brought and a Christmas day gift exchange with my dad's family. To this day, I STILL get excited on Christmas eve and wish everyone would eat dinner a little faster so we could get on with the fun stuff. Not because I'm greedy or really in a rush to open gifts but because it takes me back to my childhood and reminds me of a time when December was without a doubt, the most exciting month of the year. I want my children to have these kinds of memories too!

In October, we had our first annual family pumpkin hunt. We gathered the troops and went to the local pumpkin patch (see blog below) and all the kiddos picked out their pumpkins. It was such a hit that we've decided to go every year. Today, we had our first annual family tree cutting day. We loaded up the van this morning and traveled an hour and a half to a tree farm in the beautiful North Carolina mountains! It was a long ride and as we were traveling, I wondered if it was really worth the trip. As we got there and set out to find our tree, I knew it was definitely worth it. It was a cold, cold day and we all got bundled up and started down the path. At one point, Aaron pointed out into the field and said "Tyler, you see that tall tree that stands above all of the others...why don't you go see how tall it is." We were looking for a 7' to 8' tree and when we took the measuring pole out there we saw that it was just over 7' tall. Tyler and I looked it over and deemed it perfect in every way. Grace came to check it out and agreed so we called the tree farmer over to cut it down and tag it "ours!" As we waited for the tree to be brought back to us, we drank hot chocolate and ate cookies and just enjoyed each other's company.

I'm sure as the children get older there will be much more "discussion" about which tree is the perfect one, but very young and very agreeable makes for a very pleasant start to a tradition. :)

Next month, we will start another new Christmas tradition. Starting this year, it is our plan to travel to Texas every other year to celebrate with Aaron's family. We are really looking forward seeing everyone and are especially eager for our children to meet some of their cousins! Stay tuned for pictures and stories from our trip!