Friday, February 21, 2014

Family Traditions, Wonderful Memories

Lake Living
Looking back on my childhood, there are a handful of memories that stand out among the rest, the vacations we took and our family traditions. Every Halloween we had dinner together and my family took part in the Halloween party I arranged before we headed out to trick or treat. My dad always took my sisters and I out while my mom stayed inside to hand out candy. And no wimps allowed, when it came to trick or treating we wanted to cover the entire neighborhood and no cold weather or rain would stop us. Once we were satisfied with pumpkin buckets bursting, we hurried home to spread out our goodies on the floor while categorizing and trading with each other.

Most likely my first party invitation, age unknown

Christmas Eve was another favorite, we were allowed to open one present, attended Christmas Eve Mass, enjoyed a candle light breakfast and a reading of  Twas the Night Before Christmas before my sisters and I excitedly gathered in the same room for our "sleepover!" To this day, I actually prefer Christmas Eve with all the excitement and anticipation over Christmas Day.

Of course who can forget a family vacation to Disney World?! I remember my mom planning this trip for months and it was every bit as magical as I had hoped it would be. My husband and I took our boys last year for their first time while the girls got to spend some quality time with grandma and grandpa (we are planning another trip back when the girls are older). It has been six months now and the boys are still talking about it. Plus, it was great to give them our undivided attention again since they have been so patient and loving towards their little sisters.

Another vacation tradition was our week long cottage vacation on Lake Michigan. I remember these vacations like they were yesterday, always the second week in July, playing in the white sand all day, swimming in the warm water, the 100 year old Victorian cottage with a wrap around porch, drifting off to sleep listening to the waves crashing on the shore, picking out candy at the nearby general store, and spending time with our extended family. It was an event we all looked forward to every year and still talk about to this day.

Now that I have my own family, we have started many of our own traditions. Visiting the pumpkin patch for a hayride to pick out pumpkins, filling the kids' rooms with balloons on their birthdays, visiting the tree farm to pick out the tallest Fraser Fir our home can hold for Christmas, and our after dinner walks and water balloon fights during the summer.

This past year we mixed it up and did this instead of filling their room with balloons while they slept. They LOVED it!

I have also carried over many of my old family traditions. One of the those is our week stay at a cottage on one of Michigan's many beautiful lakes during the summer. We started doing this when the boys where just 7 months old and have been fortunate enough to do this almost every year since. This particular year, I was pregnant with the girls and spent a relaxing week over the Fourth of July floating in the water and spending fun filled days with "my boys,"our family and friends.

Sisters having a blast on the water!
The table is set for our 4th of July shrimp boil
I made a shrimp boil for the boys' Under the Sea party when they turned two and was excited to try it again with a couple adjustments. Fourth of July on the lake with our family was the perfect opportunity. Shrimp, clams, red potatoes, onion, corn on the cob, and sausage all boiled with a little Old Bay seasoning and garlic. Simply drain the liquid (strong muscles required, as this is heavy :) and serve with lemons, hot sauce, cocktail sauce, butter, and bread.

Shrimp boil
The rest of the ingredients for a relaxing and memorable vacation at the lake are .......

Peaceful mornings with coffee and a magazine
Lots of time on the water

and in the water
Watching an amazing  fireworks display put on by a fun uncle
Eating lots of s'mores made over a campfire while taking the time to watch the sunset

and lots of love.

So while the latest Lego set or Barbie mansion might be highly desired by our children, it's the family traditions and time spent together that we remember forever.

Do you have any family traditions you would like to share? Please feel free to leave me a comment.

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  1. Beautiful pictures and beautiful memories. It is the family traditions that you will remember the longest. If Amara didn't hide under the covers every time I put her to bed so that Grampy could find her -- would just be wrong! I don't think she will ever let us stop doing it. We love traditions! PS your pictures really remind me of summers in Michigan.

  2. Lovely photos and very meaningful post! That first picture could be a travel magazine cover! I agree with you about time spent with family being the thing that children remember most warmly about childhood! My best memory was our week in Disney World! I remember everyone's smiles in the airport when we came home nicely tanned, wearing Mickey hats, and carrying stuffed Minnie dolls!