Sunday, March 9, 2014

Apparently, We Really Like to Keep Track of the Rates Our Children Grow, or Traditions Big and Small

The first Christmas after COW's grandma died was a sad one.  It was the first Christmas he had ever spent without her.  It was the first one I had spent without her since COW and I started dating.  Each and every year, COW's mom, all of his 7 aunts and uncles and their children and grandchildren gathered at Grandma and Grandpa's house for a big meal and a gigantic, chaotic present opening.  The first year it didn't happen, we were all off.  It didn't really feel quite so much like Christmas.  Since then, we've created a new tradition, but the days of old have helped shape it and are always in our minds as we celebrate.

COW and I love a tradition, so we have taken our favorites from our growing up years and added some of our own to make our years with our children full of them. Big or small, it doesn't matter.  Traditions give us something familiar and fun to look forward to.  They tie us together, and in the future will be the things we discuss around the Thanksgiving dinner table.

When Stasha had a call-out for listicle ideas, I immediately thought of traditions.  She chose it for this week, and I am excited to see the traditions other people have.  I'm always looking for new ones to add to our repertoire.  (Gotta admit, had to look that word up in the ol' dictionary.)

Some of our favorite traditions:

1.  Every summer we rent a vacation house with a friend from high school and his family.  We have just finalized our trip for this, our 11th year of vacationing together.  People are always surprised by this trip for a variety of reasons.  For one, we go someplace different every year.  Mostly, though, people are shocked that the other family goes with us.  They only have one child.  To ensure this tradition continues, we made them the godparents for two of our kids.  They are stuck with us forever.


2.  Every Friday during the school year we get half-price milkshakes at Steak-n-Shake to celebrate the start of the weekend.

3.  When I was growing up, my dad would make us kids sit on the steps for a photo before heading downstairs on Christmas and Easter mornings.  We do the same with our kids.

1986 - My siblings and me


The Christmas before Turken was born. They were so little!
4.  Each child gets to choose a restaurant for a dinner out with the family for his/her birthday.  We don't have a party tradition, as we didn't want to start that sort of thing.  With six kids, that could get out of hand really quickly.  Sometimes we have parties at our house with their friends, but no guarantees.

5.  Each holiday has it's own tradition.  Thanksgiving is spent with my family, Christmas is with COW's family, and the most fun is had at my dad's big 4th of July party.  Kids and water and ballgames and cousins and food and games and fun all day and night.

There's always the big "Everybody stand on and around the porch while one non-family member takes 300 photos with 100 different cameras" event.  

6.  Easter is the only major holiday we spend at home with just our family.  A few years ago we added a fun element.  Roasting Peeps.  Putting them in a s'more is optional.

Don't ask me why it looks like a funeral for a Peep.  They really do enjoy doing this.



7.  Each year we throw a big Labor Day pitch-in party for our friends from school/church.  This last year, we pared it down and only had about 75 people.  In the past, there were well over 100 adults and children running around the property having a great time.  

8.  Every year COW and I skip the school's Super Bowl party and have one with our kids.  We always have a cake from the Boy Scout cake auction (another annual tradition) and a table full of finger foods.  The food varies, depending on whether the meal planner and shopper is COW or me.  The amount of vomit also varies by the same criteria.

9.  Going to the State Fair is a family tradition we rarely miss.  Each and every year, we get a photo in front of the same barn to gauge how the kids have grown.  It is remarkable.

2007
2013 - the barn got a new coat of paint, the kids got ridiculously big.
10.  We are very aware of the fact we have 6 kids.  We work very hard to make sure each child feels special and gets individual attention.  The biggest tradition we have is the yearly trip.  Each year, one child gets to go on a 3-night, 4-day trip with one parent.  (Which means each of the big kids have gone on a trip every four years.  We're in the 3rd rotation.  Turken took his first one last year, and Cuckoo will get his first trip this year.)  The kids pick the location and the companion parent.  In the past, kids have chosen places such as Orlando, New York City, Glacier National Park, Hilton Head, Miami (Star got sooo lucky, as it was his year to take a trip the year COW won tickets to see the Colt's in the Super Bowl.), Denver, and Atlanta.  

Buttercup in front of the house where part of the second Hunger Games movie was shot.  We stumbled upon it while in Atlanta two weeks after the actors left.
Now, please tell me, what traditions does your family have?

Have a lovely day!


28 comments:

  1. What lovely fun traditions! Many are the same, as ours. I had laugh about roasting the peeps. I love roasting marshmallows, but I have never thought to roast peeps before. Cool idea! What a fun Monday Listicle prompt!

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    1. It was our now 15 year old who came up with the peep idea. Brilliant, I say!

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  2. You have some great traditions. With six kids you've done a great job making each of them feel special. Awesome. We have one tradition like yours...the birthday person gets to pick which restaurant they want to have their birthday meal. It's been a fun tradition with us too.

    Have a fabulous week. :)

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    1. Thank you, Sandee.

      The restaurant is extra special since we don't go out to eat all that often. It's mighty expensive when you have 6 people eating off the adult menu!

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  3. Roasting "peeps"....LOVE it!!!

    You have some really fun family traditions that I'm sure will be make lots and lots of great memories for your kids (and you & COW). I love getting together with extended family for much the same reasons...lots of laughs and making memories.

    Have a great week!

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    1. Gonna give it a try this year? Does Riley like peeps or roasted marshmallows?

      I know lots of people resent having to go back home for holidays, or just choose not to because they want to celebrate at home. We want our kids to be around their relatives as much as possible, especially since they still have a great-grandma alive and well.

      You, too!

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  4. I really enjoyed this list! I am hoping to start a whole slew of fun traditions now that we are starting a family. This gave me some great ideas!! :D

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    1. I'm glad! I have no doubt you and your husband will come up with plenty of traditions to do with your family. You seem like tradition kind of people. :)

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  5. I love the idea of roasting Peeps at Easter...it's so simple. And kids love the darn things, so it's a guaranteed hit. But I have to say that the pictures against the barn are just shocking. They grow up so fast!

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    1. The peep roast was a huge hit the first time Phoenix suggested it. How could we not do it every year?

      Seeing the pictures next too each other shocked even me. Being with them each day masks the obvious growth others see, I guess.

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  6. Christine, these are awesome! I wanted to do this Listicles...maybe I still will. I think I can manage that without taxing my poor over-saturated brain too much. I love the one parent, one kid trip thing - that alone time can be so special, particularly when you have a large brood like yours. At-home alone holidays are great. Ours has become Christmas Day, of all things - I'll have to do the post to explain, I guess!

    I love the mix - old and new, some that have evolved. Very cool.

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    1. There's plenty of time! Do it! Do it!
      I'm trying to remember for sure, but is your husband Jewish? Would that be why? I guess you just need to write the post!

      Thanks!

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  7. They are totally look like they're at peep funerals! Those pics are hilarious! I love the tradition of a alternating trip with one kid and one parent. That's just lovely.

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    1. I know! Why do they look so somber?
      We feel that the individual trips are the best things we came up with as parents. I recommend every single parent take time to have individual time with their kids. A trip isn't necessary, but it is nice.

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  8. *happy exhale*

    Ahhhhhhhhh YES!

    And reading all of these, and remembering the posts which fit with them, where you've explained them before, just reminds me again why I just LOVE it here.

    Youse are getting this SO RIGHT :D

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    1. Aw, thank you, Lizzi. We are doing our very best.

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  9. Those are great traditions! There are 7 of us kids and those one on one trips with mom or dad would have been phenomenal. - I make s'mores with peeps with my kids too. :)

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    1. You are the first person I can remember having ever roasting peeps before! They are such a hit, with that melted sugar adding the perfect celebratory touch.

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  10. Oh, Christine! I love this so much! I think traditions, big or small, are so important. I don't know which of these is my favorite because they are all so good but I couldn't stop staring at the kids in front of the barn....wow! That's a lot of growing! I also love the idea of the one on one trip with one child and one parent. That has got to be so special! This post warmed my heart this morning...thanks for sharing it!

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    1. Thanks!
      The barn pictures really shows how fast they've grown. And how much shopping I've done for pants. ;)
      The kids love the trips, obviously, but COW and I love them just as much.

      Thanks for all the kind words!

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  11. Wow! You guys have some really awesome traditions that you've begun, I think the trip tradition sounds like my favorite! With our family moving so much, I felt like we didn't have that many traditions that really stuck, but until I got married, my Dad would take me on and outing with just him for my birthday every year, he did that with all of the kids. It was usually something like a movie, or bowling, or the arcade, and dinner. And I have a lot of good memories from that!

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    1. That is a wonderful birthday tradition! Clearly your dad knew the importance of making each child feel special.

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  12. What a great page and what great photos. I never really had any traditions that stuck, but your page is wonderful. So glad to see you here blogging, so many deserted pages these days. Thanks for letting me visit.
    Susan
    http://amazingcouponanddiscountdeals.blogspot.com
    http://myfavoritesolarlights.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! You are right, there are a whole lot of deserted blogs out there. A few friends packed it in this year, which makes me a bit sad.

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  13. Those are GOOD traditions.
    We go out for ice cream to celebrate the endings of sports seasons (win OR lose), which is one of my all-time favorite traditions we keep as a family. There are others, but all common to most.

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    1. Why thank you!

      Celebrating the end of a season is a great idea! I can't believe we don't do that! Maybe because it seems like soccer never ends... :)

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Thank you for taking the time to tell me what you're thinking!