Ashley was poking around in other people's brains and one friend suggested focusing a little on traditions. Traditions can mean so much in life. This particular friend placed a baby about 18 years ago and said traditions were a big thing for her in choosing a family. I agree with her. Traditions have such fond memories associated with them. Traditions mean continuity. Here are some of the traditions we enjoy through the year.
- Ashley is a huge Disney fan. We even took Panda to Disneyland when he was 10 months old. We plan to go to Disneyland, or a Disney park every three years or so.
- Panda has received pajamas on Christmas Eve every year and we will continue that.
- Every summer we go to Bear Lake as a family with friends. We hope to continue this for years to come, but it depends on how long Ashley's grandparents own their condo. We plan to go camping for his first time this summer. Wish us luck! As our family grows and ages we will add more traditions. I love traditions.
- Every summer Daniel's family holds a big campout with his mom's extended family. She has 9, yes 9, siblings. There are 51 grand kids, not including spouses, and we are at 120 great-grandkids and counting. Wow! We meet up with them twice a year. The second time is Christmas. Each year at these summer campouts we have at least on meal with everyone. His uncle makes this amazing syrup for the pancake breakfast that is like liquid gold. Hmm, drool. Many of us bring 4 wheelers. There are dogs, and kids and food every where! We've played bingo and had crafts. Our favorite is the tie-dying. A few years ago we got white sheets from Target and dyed those. But a favorite part is the auction. To help pay for everything without everyone feeling charged admittance for a family event, we auction stuff. People donate and make things. Blankets, hair bows, one year Daniel's mom made super-hero capes, pillow cases, vinyl letter, crafts, etc. It's so fun to see the talents of everyone.
- The second time we see everyone on Daniel's side is the Christmas party. It is held at a local ward house, on a rotating basis, and we have about 150 people come. This last year we had 225. There is a carnival with games and treats. It's tons of fun.
- The best part of these two traditions is seeing Daniel's Grandma. The matriarch of the family. So many people call her family. And she remembers them all. Amazing! We tease her about having as many great grandkids as she does years.
- Every month we have dinner together to celebrate the birthdays in the coming month. The wives talk, the husband deliberate on sports or economics (we're a bit of a nerdy family!) and the kids enjoy playing with all the cousins. We are blessed to have them all close to us (everyone within 1.5 hr drive!) and we love this. Being friends with your family as a grown up is so fulfilling. Panda loves seeing his older cousins and so much and we all have good relationships.
- Ashley's family's regular traditions include the annual Bingo party. It is a big deal. Almost everyone comes on her mom's side of the family and we get all cozy in her grandparent's basement (60 people and counting!) and play bingo. It is a homemade game with cards that Ashley helped her mom make almost 20 years ago. We play for prizes like pens, pencils, 2 liter bottles of soda, king size candy bars, and other little trinkets. It's a time for all of us to reconnect and catch up.
- Ashley and Panda to go her grandparent's house twice a month for lunch with her mom and any aunts who are around. It has been great for her grandparents to see Panda so regularly and has helped build a strong relationship with them.
Ashley's immediate family:
- We're still smaller. There's only 9 of us, but it is wonderful. Ashley's younger sister and her husband live back east while he is attending medical school. They had a baby in February 2017 and Panda finally has a cousin on that side! Ashley's family especially likes to giggle. Ask her about the screaming goats video sometime. It makes her giggle like a school-girl. And her siblings do too. One of our favorite things to do after dinner is play games.
- Each summer we go to Bear Lake and stay in her grandparent's condo. We don't normally do the "big-boy-toy" thing. We go for walks, play at the beach and in the lake, tennis etc. This year her mom taught us all to play pickle-ball. Turns out Ashley is pretty good.
- For Christmas with her family we have an annual "surf'n turf" meal. Ashley's dad started this idea about 10 years ago and we've been enjoying it ever since. 2012 was the first year without her dad, but it was a glorious meal and we toasted Joe. We are looking forward to enjoying that fantastic meal year after year.
What traditions do you have? We know adding to our family through adoption will mean we get more people to love and call family! We can't wait to add new traditions that will mean as much to us as the ones we currently have.
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