Monday, November 30, 2009

Decking the Halls

We put up our Christmas tree up last night, after much anticipation from the boys.  Tommy and Ben were so excited to have Grandpa, Grandma, and Great-Grandma join us for the event.  This was the first year that they were halfway helpful putting the ornaments on the tree and seemed to understand the concepts of fragile and gentle.  They enjoyed looking at each new ornament they unwrapped from the big box and finding a place for it on the tree.

We have a system that seems to work for us where we place unbreakable ornaments on the bottom part of the tree (at kid-eye-level) and put the fragile ones up higher.  We also have a "one-finger" rule, which always takes a few days of heavy enforcement.

After we finished decorating the tree and drinking our warm apple cider, Grandma, Grandpa, and Great-Grandma joined us for our first Sunday of Advent celebration, with candle-lighting, songs (kid songs and traditional carols), Bible reading, and more songs.  It was amazing to have four generations of our family gathered to worship God and join in the anticipation of Christ's birth.

Flashback from December 2006 

Friday, November 27, 2009

Beach Friday

One of the wonderful things about creating a new family is being able to create your own traditions.  Traditions are a thing of trial-and-error; sometimes you try something that seems like fun and turns out to be a disaster that you never want to repeat.  But sometimes you try something new that seems like a fun idea and actually is a lot of fun.  That’s what happened today.

Instead of herding out the door this morning at 5am to take part in the American phenomenon of Black Friday, we decided to pack up our Thanksgiving leftovers and head to Monterey.  I had just been there two weeks ago with some friends and had such a great time that I wanted to go back with my family soon.  So the Friday after Thanksgiving seemed like a great time. 

So this morning we headed to our bagel shop for breakfast (another tradition - we always go there on the morning that we head out for a family adventure) and then drove southwest to the beach.  It was foggy, rainy, and cold, but we decided to go anyway.  One of the things we love about road trips is that it gives us time to talk during the day that we don’t normally have with kids around.  So we had great conversation while the kids listened to books on CD piped in the back of the car.

We drove down 17-Mile Drive and stopped at lots of beaches along the way.  The kids had a good time climbing on rocks, exploring sandy nooks, finding iridescent shells, and chasing seagulls.  Then we had a picnic lunch of Thanksgiving leftovers - Thanksgiving wraps (mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey, and cranberry sauce), nuts, pumpkin pie, and cookies.  By this time we were chilled to the core and decided we’d had enough beach and it was time to head home.  We tucked the kids into their car seats with their blankies and headed to town to find some hot chocolate.  Ben fell asleep almost the moment we got back on the road, so only Mark, Tommy and I got to enjoy it.

What a wonderful way to spend Thanksgiving weekend...making great memories with our family while being filled with wonder at God’s glorious creation of the ocean.  I can’t wait to have Beach Friday again this time next year.