Tag Archive for memories

Family Traditions & Collections

At the beginning of this year I had posted a picture on my “Renee’s Revelings” Facebook page with  my son, Bryan’s, collection of Christmas ornaments.  I have had quite a few traditions with my kids over the years, and wanted to share the ones that mean the most me.

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A lifetime of Christmas ornaments.

 

When I was a working mom, with four active kiddos I was always paying attention to things that I wanted to incorporate as traditions for us at home.  Holiday traditions, summer traditions, and just plain old family traditions.  Can you tell I’m a traditionalist at heart?

One of my favorite “traditions” was with the kids friends.  When any of them had a friend over for dinner they were always considered a guest in our home the first three times they had dinner at our table.  (I honestly cannot remember how I arrived at the number three.) After that I always told their friends you’re no longer a guest now you’re part of the family. Which was heart-warming for the friend, but my kids knew it meant I expect your friends to help out with serving dinner and cleaning up afterwards. I was usually the one doing the cooking.

During the summer months I had this tradition of taking the kids out for an ice cream after dinner.  The kids would be all bathed and clean and in their pajamas.  I’d say, “Hey let’s go get an ice cream!  Don’t change you can just go in your pj’s.  Pajama run!!!”  And then we’d all head for the car and the kids would be giggling all the way because they’d go out at  night in their pajamas.  Such fun memories.

Whenever we went to the beach during the summer I’d be sure and stop for an ice cream treat on the way home.  Are you noticing my  ice cream loving pattern here?  They still talk about the places we used to stop on the way home.  Such fun times piling everyone in the car along with all the gear for a day of sand and surf!

My holiday traditions with the kids are the ones that are the most precious to me, and the ones I know they will carry with them into their own homes.  Since my oldest daughter was a baby, and on her first Christmas in 1981, I bought her an ornament each year to commemorate the holiday.  The ornaments were the most precious of all of our family traditions for me.  Every year I would buy a special ornament for each one of the kids and paint their names and the year on each one.  I knew that one day they would be leaving the nest, and that collection of ornaments would go with them to start their first Christmas in their own houses with memories of their childhood.  Some years I would buy them all them same ornaments; Santa’s, or snowmen, or nutcrackers.  Other years I bought them ornaments based on a trip we had taken that year, or some place they had been, or a hobby they were interested in.   My oldest daughter has already continued this tradition with her own kids, and I hope she knows that she is creating memories that will last a lifetime.  That is precious to me.

As this New Year began and I was taking down our Christmas tree and the decorations I packed up my oldest son’s decorations for the last time.  I put them in a box with all of his other personal decorations that he will take with him to his own home later this year.  I will admit that I did get a little teary eyed during this process.  You see he’s the last one of our kids to take his beloved ornaments with him as he leaves the place he’s called home for over 25 years.  He’ll be getting married in the fall of this year, and have his own box of ornaments to decorate his first Christmas tree with in his own home.  That warms my heart knowing that his childhood memories and the collection of ornaments that he grew up with will live on each and every holiday season.

For me traditions, memories, collections, and pictures are the core of our family history. They are those little things that remind you of the warmth and the love of your home.  Or maybe certain traditions remind you of your parents, or grandparents.   The things that are important and special to you will last a lifetime, and are always the most meaningful.

A Fond Farewell

10847257_10154864705160401_3281772053450910475_oToday while I was driving I was trying to remember the last time that I talked to my Grandma.  I am fairly certain that it was Thanksgiving Day.  I called her to wish her and my Grandpa a Happy Thanksgiving.  They were bustling around the kitchen together getting their Thanksgiving dinner ready so we did not talk for very long.  I wished them a “Happy Thanksgiving” and told my Grandma that I loved her.  A week later to the day, she was gone.  Our dear, sweet, loving Grandma was no longer with us.

My Grandma was one of the kindest people I have ever known.  You know on her 90th birthday we all pitched in and got her a Mac Book which she loved learning how to use. Her love of learning never faltered.  She was a voracious reader, and loved learning how to use Google to find the information she needed. As a matter of fact at one point in her life she wrote a letter to The Encyclopedia Britannica correcting them, and they listened!

Some of my fondest memories of my Grandma include-

Her stories and memories of times gone by.  Especially the stories of how she met my Grandpa, and how their favorite place to go for their anniversary dinner was the Dog-n-Suds.

The fact that she drove a red convertible VW bug, and then a gorgeous blue Mustang. I thought she was so cool, and so hip!

We would always talk about gardening, composting and how her fruit trees were doing.  She would always ask how my garden was doing, or what I was planning on planting.

A couple of my conversations around her birthday centered around granddaughter Madison.  We were discussing the fact that Madison’s zodiac sign was the same as hers (Madison’s great-great grandma).  My Grandma kept telling me she’s going to be stubborn and independent just like me.  Remember my recent story about “Madditude”?

My memories of my Grandma are always surrounded by her love of her family.  She would always stay in touch with everyone on birthdays, anniversaries, and at Christmas time.  To me she was like the glue holding all of the extended family together.

I consider myself incredibly blessed to have been included in these five generation pictures over the years:

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4-Naomi's

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Is still amazes me to this day that my Grandma, my Mom and I are in all three of these pictures.  Such priceless history, and such precious memories.   I will miss my Grandma dearly, and hold my memories of her close to my heart.

Sometimes life can be overwhelming.  The week before my Grandma passed away is when our daughter suffered a serious epileptic seizure.  I remember saying to myself I cannot handle anymore, my plate is overflowing.  But minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day we get through life.  My Mom and I have a new saying we share with each other when life is overwhelming us.  We just tell each other or remind each other that “Life is Life”.

My Baby Girl is 25

My daughter, Hilary, turned 25 this weekend, and when it’s the birth day of one of your children you somehow always get in reflection mode.  I justed wanted to share a little bit about Hilary and her birthday weekend.  We had a wonderful grilled pizza dinner Saturday night and a fluffy lemon cheesecake for dessert (recipe on that one later).  Plus, Travel Man made it home for one night to celebrate with us.  Yay!!

Sunday was Hil’s actual birthday, not the fake one from the celebration the night before,  that’s what Evan would call it.  So when we got up on Sunday morning we decided to go to Disneyland for a few hours and have some lunch.   It was a gorgeous Southern California day.  Sunny and about 90 degrees by the time we got to Anaheim.

So, we’re standing in line for the Toy Story Mania ride and Hil’s,  Auntie Laura calls to wish her a Happy Birthday.  After that, and mind you we are still in line for the ride, we start reminiscing a little more about the day Hil was born.   I told Hilary that when we got the hospital bill for her, we were charged for a circumcision (!), and of courses I had to call the hospital and tell them we had a girl.  I so clearly remember the billing office person telling me, “Oh my gosh the doctor has her marked down as a boy!”. I still laugh to this day when I tell that story.  Hil was cracking up when I told her this one today!!  Also I remember Hil’s big sister Naomi and her Aunt Jan sneaking me some homemade Chinese food into the hospital soon after Hil was born,  Naomi thought it was so cool to be sneaking the yumminess into me.

When I was on the phone with my sister this afternoon she reminded me about coming into the hospital to see me after Hil was born, and she says to me ,”Yo Adrienne, I can’t believe you done dis!!!”.  Such good memories, such a great family.  We are so lucky.

Our Christmas Power Outage

Christmas Day has come and gone, already, but I had to share our family story with you from The Day.  The Party House hosted Christmas Day for the entire family.  We are quite a group when all assembled.

This is our family picture from Christmas Day.  It was a balmy 75 outside, doesn’t really put you in the mood to wear your best sweater when you have a house full of people.

Let me introduce you to everyone:

Seated (from l-r): Evan, the grandson; My Parents Joan & Jim (who are also the grandparents, and great-grandparents – they wear a ton of hats!); Tom, my husband(The Travel Man), and our fearless dog, Clyde.

Standing (from l-r): Cassie, Zach’s girlfriend; Zach, #2 son; Mary, #1 niece: Hilary #2 daughter; my brother Jim, and his girlfriend, Elaine; #1 daughter, Naomi and her husband Brad; #1 son, Bryan, me of course, and our #1 nephew Jim.  Whew!  That was a mouthful!

After the picture-taking festivities, we nosh on some appetizers, have a few cookies, and then it’s time for opening presents, Evan was very, very excited.  At the suggestion of our nephew Jim, we opened the gifts by family.  So each family was giving their gifts to everyone and then we got to enjoy seeing all of the present opening.  I’m kind of a stickler with this, even though it takes awhile with such a big group I love seeing everyone opening their presents.  It’s a giving thing.

So we are at the point where we only have one or two rounds of gifts to go, and……the power completely goes out on our street.  What happened next will go down in the family history books under the “Remember When” section.  Everyone who had a cell phone handy brightened up the room with their screens, and some of the kids have a flashlight app, so those came on right away.    I remember hearing my brother asking the kids, “What’s the name of the flashlight app?”.  It felt like you were at a rock concert with the lighters waving in the air (am I dating myself?).  So hilarious, I cannot begin to explain how funny this was, and how funny it looked in our dark living room.

Now, we have a generator in our garage for an occasion like this, and Tom was at the helm getting the generator started, and a few lights on so we could finish opening presents.  The guys were rigging up extensions cords, and trying to figure out how to keep the oven going so the ham could stay warm.  And, of course,just as they were about to pull the stove out from the wall, voila the power comes back on.  All in all I think it was only out for about 10 minutes, and it was definitely and adventurous 10 minutes.

As soon as we could corral everyone back in the living room, we finished opening presents which ended with my  Mom passing out our family calendar.  This is an annual event for our family, and is a wonderful way to put together pictures of the years past happenings.  More on our family calendar in another post.  It deserves its’ own story.

Evan was the paper pick up master for this event.  I could not let this post go by without posting this sweet picture of him.  Such a cutie pie!

Picture credits in this post go out to my nephew, Jim, and Elaine.  Thanks for always keeping the shutters flying at our family events.

So we have marked another year of memories on our calendars. It is always such a treat to corral all of the kids in the family for a nice holiday dinner.  And of course we always miss our long distance relatives who cannot join us.  Thanks to all of you who contributed to our Christmas feast.  I’m thinking next year were just doing appetizers and desserts!!  Did anything wild and crazy happen at your Christmas Day festivities?

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