Christmas Traditions?

Conor’s first Christmas is quickly approaching and the idea of creating everlasting Christmas traditions has been on mind. I don’t really remember us having a ton of Christmas traditions growing up. There were some activities that were always a constant..

  • When we decorated the tree we had to lay tinsel one strand at a time.  
  •  As we decorated we put on a Nat King Cole Christmas album that my Mom had as a girl, and listened to “I’m the Happiest Christmas tree”  
  • We did not open any presents until Christmas morning
  • When we came downstairs Christmas morning (as a group, there was no pre-entry into the living room allowed), after gushing over what Santa left, we then did stockings while Dad got into position with his supply of garbage bags.
  • Then the remainder of the morning my Dad handed out one present to everyone, and then we all opened together. Putting our wrapping in the bag, and moved on to the next.

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    Conor’s First Christmas

As I write these, I see that they aren’t so much “tradition” as they were protocol. I loved it though, and I have so many happy memories. I seemed to have carried on these “traditions” with R. Minus the tinsel… because, nobody does tinsel anymore.

This year we have made sure to have some photos taken to document the occasion. They turned out beautifully.

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Our sleepy little elf

I think we will make this an annual tradition of having photos taken around this time of year.

I have also been working on a stocking for Conor, so that he will have a special stocking that he an use year after year. R was of the opinion that I should buy a really nice one. I prefer to torture myself, so have been making him one. If it doesn’t turn out I’ll be buying one at a perfect time for discounts.

I thought an annual picture with Santa is a great tradition, and as parents I think we are contractually obligated. So, yesterday we decided to head out to the mall to get the first annual picture with Santa.  We thought we were smart arriving before the stores opened, as I noticed Santa was going to be taking pictures during that time too. Apparently not so smart, as half of the city evidently had the same idea.  We spent the next hour and a half in line, watching parents corral their kids, do their children’s hair and hearing screaming children as they made their way to visit the big man.

Conor promptly fell asleep in line. R kept giving me “the look”, and suggested that maybe we come back another time. I explained to him any other time would be just as busy, and we need to get this done or we are essentially bad parents. After meandering through Santa’s forest for over an hour an a half, with the sounds of Goldfish Crackers crunching below my feet.. I was starting to wish we had opted to come back.  Crossing the wooden foot bridge to the throne area (does Santa sit on a throne?), I caught a glimpse of the man of the hour. My heart sank a bit. From the side I could see his real beard beneath his fake beard, and he just wasn’t the Santa I was hoping to have. I turned to R and said “Seriously?”. R laughed and said, “I’m sure it looks different on camera and from a front angle”.

Luckily he was right. We tried and tried to wake Conor up, but when he is out, he is out. No matter how hard the elf lady jingled her bells or yelled out his name.. nothing. We did get a big yawn, a one eyed glance and then back to sleep. I was also pressured into buying the various packages that they offer. I now own about 50 wallet sizes, a number of 5×7 and 8 x10,  and R and I each have a key chain of this magical moment.

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The magical moment. We were all exhausted. 

So far, we know Santa photo will be an annual tradition. I’ll have to have them done in early November when the lines aren’t horrible. I may scale back on the package!

I know that we’ll hang our stockings and do the cookies for Santa thing, read the night before Christmas etc.

What other traditions are there? I’d love to hear what traditions you share with your families.

 

 

 

 

 

Summer of Activity- Watching for the Life Lessons

Summer 2015 has been a summer of change, activity and possibilities on the horizon. We kicked of the summer season by getting married, and then as newly married couple we dove head on into our adoption journey.  It was a summer of meetings, home studies and learning.  A summer of  laughter and dreaming of the adventures to come.

This summer was also one where I decided to stretch my abilities and try new activities.  (It may have also been a way to keep my mind clear and stop the constant adoption thoughts).  I took part in three different paint nites and ran in 6 different 5, km, 10 km and half marathons!

I used to think that running was only helpful if you were being chased; but I am actually

Midway through the Manitoba Half Marathon
Midway through the Manitoba Half Marathon

growing to really enjoy the challenge.  I am by no means a phenomenal runner, my times are mediocre at best.  I have had to put aside my natural competitive spirit though, and remind myself that what is important is that I am trying it.  I am putting myself out there. I  have learned some great life lessons from running. These races have reminded me  that if I focus, if I push through when things get uncomfortable and just listen to the natural rhythm

Laughing hard as we cross the finish line at one of our 10 Km runs.
Laughing hard as we cross the finish line at one of our 10 Km runs.

 

 

 

my body wants me to take, I can accomplish the task.  Even the pain and ache the next day after a race serves as a reminder that you worked hard, and while it may hurt a little, you are better for it in the end.

Paint Nites have also taught me important lessons to take with me.  In life sometimes you just have to let go and try something new. Paintnite You don’t have to be perfect, and by letting go and just enjoying the challenge you can produce things you never thought were possible.  Each paint nite you begin with an oath, place your hand on your blank canvas.  “I promise to relax and have fun. And not to judge my painting or the paintings of others.” The oath continues with us pledging to not say “My painting sucks”, “I can’t do this”, “I ruined it” or “Can you do it for me?”. Then we toast and begin the night.

I know it sounds hokey.  My first time was met with an eye roll or two.  Then I thought about it.  In life I need to relax and have fun.  I can’t judge myself harshly or ask others to do something for me, just because I’m worried I might not be the best.  By making something as simple as an oath before starting an activity, it changes how you approach it.  You become aware of the negative self talk and the barriers you can put up for yourself.  IMG_1078Sometimes you just have to let go, be in the moment and that’s when the creativity happens.

As summer comes to a close, I look back on my summer of challenges and I am looking for the life lessons.  With winter on the horizon (yes I said it), I am thinking of ways to continue this trend.  As someone that hates the cold, and avoids being outside at all costs during the winter.. my challenge to myself will be to get active outdoors this winter.  Find new ways to push my boundaries, and try new things.

Be in the moment and look for the life lessons in the everyday.