Category Archives: Family Traditions

Happy Easter, Sad Easter**

Instagram finally became available for Android users last week and I downloaded it with great excitement – ready for yet another way to social medialize my life. I’m learning how I will best use it – but I am just happy I never gave in and got an iPhone just so I could have Instagram (such was the extent of my jealousy for those who could use the handy app) – I love my droid phone (even though it died on me once). [Note: I just read this article on Facebook acquiring Instagram – I hope this means it will improve but I’m a little fearful.]

So here’s our Easter according to Instagram:


A gazillion plastic eggs stuffed with all manner of peanut butter-free candy. Plus three Lightning McQueen “eggs” for three very lucky little boys.


The best of the Easter photo attempts. Also the first time the boys were in dissimilar or non-matching outfits for a holiday. I blame stress for this lapse, that and Simon’s extreme dislike for my propensity to want to coordinate them (his aversion clearly stems from the fact that he and his brother wanted to dress alike for years – according to his sister, they cried if they had to wear different clothes).

Liam amused himself for far too long by rocking wildly in my parents’ chair. For this I blame the massive amounts of sugar he consumed – we allow the boys to eat as much candy as they want for Easter and after that limit them to 1-2 pieces a day until I can pawn the rest of the candy off on Simon’s staff of college students.

An hour before we were going to sit down with the whole family and eat Easter dinner, Jack was playing in the garden (dangerous place, apparently) and managed to fall and smash his face on a rock. I was inside and Simon and my dad were outside. My dad came in and said I had better go check it out so I took a washcloth and ice because this was not my first rodeo.

After 30 minutes or so he managed to cry himself to sleep, but not before trying to insist that he was all right and could keep playing outside, only to be freaked out by the broken piece of tooth that was still hanging on in his mouth (I do not blame him at all for that freak out, to quote him, it was not my favorite, either). So I cuddled him until dinner time, at which time he woke up and we gave him children’s Motrin and he was more or less content to sit on the couch and watch Backyardigans while I ate dinner next to him and had a much-needed glass of wine. In the meantime we called various dentists in my parent’s city and then ended up talking to our own family dentist who said we could come in Monday morning first thing or call him later in the day if Jack was inconsolable (Simon was ready to jump in the car and head home, further proving I’m the more level-headed one in our relationship – we all have our strengths; me, I’m good in a crisis). By the time we were done eating he only seemed bothered if he felt the tooth piece move but was very gung-ho to do the Easter egg hunt so we let him join in, with a spotter to keep from smashing his face again – we aren’t completely irresponsible parents. At some point in consuming jelly beans, he must have knocked the tooth piece loose because I checked his mouth and it was no longer there and after that he didn’t really complain about his mouth, except to indicate that the rest of his mouth sort of hurt.

Monday morning the upper part of his mouth was fairly swelled and more bruised but the tooth wasn’t loose or overly sensitive. A quick trip to the dentist for x-rays showed that the nerve has probably been exposed due to the back of the tooth sheering off but the bone and underlying structure was undamaged. Our dentist was amazing with Jack and ensured that despite the reason for the visit, the visit itself was a super positive experience. He referred us to a pediatric specialist and we have an appointment for Friday to determine next steps (i.e., extraction vs. capping). It may be that the tooth is broken too far back and cannot be salvaged and the dentist hit the nail on the head when he said that we’d just have to deal with the emotional aspect of losing the tooth because dentally or medically, it wouldn’t ultimately make a huge difference. It would certainly suit Jack to be missing a front tooth because that kid is an all-in sort of child, always on the run and seldom kept down by anything. It does not surprise me at all that this has happened. Not at all.

But this Easter, while still happy, will still be the Easter we remember as the one where Jack nearly knocked his tooth out.

**I nearly titled this post, Sunday, Bloody Sunday but decided against it ūüėČ

Things I Love Thursday: My Family Photos

I’m very blessed to know many¬†awesome photographers who I call my friends. They all do amazing work and I’ve “used” most of them at one time or another but this is also a problem when it comes to getting photos taken because it’s hard to choose who I want to take the photos without it seeming like I’m playing favorites. This year a solution fell into my lap by way of my friend Cindy who is revving up her photography business, Indigo Stick Studios, and needed someone to create a logo and business cards for her. Perfect – in exchange for my services, I asked her to take photos for us – it could not have worked out better!

Here’s her logo:

I had a Groupon that was expiring soon for a canvas print (thanks, Mike and Joan!) so I emailed Cindy and asked if we could meet that weekend and knock out some photos – thankfully she agreed! Cindy met us¬†at Calvin (where I went to college and Simon works) and in less than 30 minutes, we were done. And despite the crazy wind and my children both falling down and getting their jeans muddy within minutes of arriving, we got some awesome photos! I’m sure Cindy has some less than stellar ones with our eyes shut or us making funny faces but I love all the ones she sent to us… could not have been happier!

(I added the title to cover¬†up¬†our awkwardly angled hands – this was for a photobook I made¬†of the photos). I love Liam’s casual pose in this one.)


Love those boys!


We had a great time playing and just being ourselves.

Especially in the “whale” art installation.


Thanks again, Cindy, for so perfectly capturing my family! We love our photos!

And once again, in the interest of full disclosure, the top photo is totally a combined-in-photoshop¬†image of two different photos – I wanted just one photo where we were all looking at the camera ūüėČ I love the “outtakes”¬† just as much but if you have access to photoshop, why not use it!?

This post is linked up with Jill at Diaper Diaries.

Things I Love: Family Traditions

I was reading another blog today that mentioned you can just expect a Christmas tradition to happen on its own. That you can sit around and plan nothing and expect that in a few years, your family will have a tradition to fall into for the holidays (unless your family tradition is doing nothing, then you are golden). This made me think about what traditions do I want for my kids, my family.

Growing up and really, currently, my Christmases have always looked the exact same and Thanksgiving was also pretty¬†set – just a slight change-up in locations for dinner on that one between my parent’s house and my brother’s house (I hosted once and until we have a bigger house, I probably won’t host again, but I’m more than happy to make food to bring).

For myself, I’ve starting spending the month of November listing one thing I’m thankful for every day as my Facebook status, I hope to keep this up in future years because one can never be too thankful, trust me on that one. I’ve also mentioned that the church I grew up in has a tradition of a Thanksgiving morning church service during which everyone gets to write something they are thankful for on a paper leaf. The leaves are collected and then hung on an empty tree at the front of church – filling it with color and thankfulness. I love that. We’re also starting a tradition of grown-up game night over Thanksgiving weekend one evening after the kids are tucked in bed. We snack and play games (Apples to Apples is our favorite). So fun.

Christmas is always the same… Christmas Eve at my parents house after we are all back from church. We have dinner and then open presents as a family and then eat some more. Christmas Day we go to my brother’s house and eat some more, watch movies and play games (sometimes we even go for a walk, but only if we’re feeling extra ambitious and there isn’t a blizzard).

The problem, which is not so much a problem, is that all of things happen away from our home and aren’t so unique to our little family. So I’m trying to figure out things to do for my kids, traditions to kick-start so they will have fond memories when they are older.

Here are the things I’m going to try to add this holiday season [Note: Can I stop for a minute and note how unprepared I am for Thanksgiving to be NEXT week – yikes!]:

  • Making our own thankfulness tree at our house.
  • I made mini-chalkboards¬†that I’m going to take to Thanksgiving dinner and try to get the whole family to write down their own thing(s) they are thankful for this year.
  • Actually spending a Saturday decorating the house for Christmas with the kids – we have yet to put up a Christmas tree as a family because (a) we have¬†a small house, (b) we are never home for Christmas, (c) we have had small children who would likely knock the tree down about 5 minutes after it was up and decorated – so we probably won’t put up a tree but I have tons of other decorations and lights that can be put up.
  • Doing an Angel tree gift, or something similar, with Liam (Jack can get in on it next year).
  • Doing something every day during advent to prepare our hearts (as a family) for the real reason for Christmas – we just picked up a family devotional last night that might be perfect.
  • Reading a Christmas-related book every day leading up to Christmas.
  • Making and delivering holiday goodies to family friends (this one may or may not happen… we shall see, don’t get your hopes up if you are reading this and you are hoping for something)

What holiday traditions do you have with your kids or do you hope to create?

Top Ten Halloween Observations

1. Traditions are wonderful and I’m so glad we’ve got some for our kids – one such tradition is spending Halloween with our good friends and their girls. We’ve done this every Halloween since Liam and Keila were 1 and plan on continuing it long into the future!

2. My mom totally had the right idea about being the one to stay at home while my dad took me around the neighborhood trick-or-treating. Tracey and I send the boys off with the kiddos and we hand out candy at their house. It’s a perfect set up.

3. Halloween really is fun for the whole family – the kids get to haul in the candy with the illusion that they will get to eat it all and the parents get to sneak it out of their buckets after they go to bed.

4. I enjoy being able to make Halloween costumes – and I’m not at all being sarcastic about that. Though I feel like the Angry Bird costumes might be the pinnacle of my costume-making career.

5. The grown up costumes are way more entertaining than the kid costumes – all the teachers at Liam’s school dressed up for the parade but my favorite was the male teacher who was dressed like a blond Dorothy.


He at least should have gone the extra mile and shaved his legs, don’t you think?

6. If you are helping out with the class Halloween party and having to make a fool out of yourself by doing Halloween motions with the kids for a game (e.g., flap your arms like a bat, walk like a skeleton and dance like a princess), the least the other parents could do is avert their eyes and not sit and watch you.

7. Carving pumpkins is not worth the effort if your kids are too little to actually clean them out and do any of the work. We tried last year and completely skipped that activity this year but since I made their costumes (from scratch, without a pattern) I figure I can let it slide.

8. Parents at our school take the Halloween parade very seriously – I arrive 20 minutes early and still had to drive on the bike path to park out on the lawn by the road.

9. My kids make darn cute Angry Birds.


10. When you haven’t eaten a whole lot of sugar for¬†6 months – 3 snack sized candy bars make you hyper… but at least I know the crash is coming…

P.S. It’s NOVEMBER! How did this happen?

Top Ten {Tuesday}This post is linked to Oh Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday.

Happy Halloween!

Hope you had a fun and memorable Halloween! This photo absolutely cracks me up! One child is having a mini-fit while the other is spaced out. But at least I look cute. That’s what it’s all about!

Now to raid the kids’ candy buckets… at least they also each¬†got a toothbrush! More tomorrow – right now I’m in a sugar coma!