Traditions: Old and New

So the holidays have been over for a while in my house – though you wouldn’t know it by the state of disarray and lingering ornaments to be put away.  I regularly leave lights and decorations up until after the Epiphany (or Little Christmas as my mom calls it), so I figure it isn’t too late for a pictorial wrap up of the holidays.

Remember last year when I had so many regrets about the holidays?  This year we did it right.

Just before our company arrived, we fulfilled one of our family traditions – the tacky light tour.  Our tradition is to get in our PJ’s (including grown ups) and hit Starbucks for some hot chocolate before loading up the minivan and heading out.

Mmmmm, hot chocolate.

Mmmmm, hot chocolate.

We listen to holiday music as we hit 6 or 7 of the houses on the tacky light tour – but we always save this one for last.

Because it's awesomely tacky.

Because it’s awesomely tacky.

 

I enjoyed having a full house for Christmas.  Every bed was taken, every bathroom shared.  And even though we didn’t do much other than relax, visit, and maybe play some cards, the house felt warm and bustling.  I loved it.

We did do a few fun new things this year, including:

…a professional photo shoot by my friend Deb at Deb Harper Photography.  I’ve mentioned Deb before – she’s somehow able to catch my family exactly as they are.  In the moment.

Goldishy smile

Goldfish-y smile

The older we get, the more we look alike

Sister Love, Take 1
(The older we get, the more we look alike. Lucky me!)

 

Sister Love, Take 2

 

Me and B

Me and B

 

Trouble.

Trouble.

 

My beautiful parents

My beautiful parents

Another new event this Christmas was the surprise party we threw for my Brother-In-Law. We celebrated him getting his Green Card (which he proudly showed everyone and is holding in the picture below).

Pumpkin is awful interested in that green card.  I mean that cake.

Pumpkin is awful interested in that cake green card.

 

Pumpkin performed some dinner theater for my nephew, courtesy of her new microphone…

Shiny shoes and a mic.  The perfect combination.

Shiny shoes and a mic. The perfect combination.

 

And I’m afraid we created a new (and particularly unfortunate) tradition of dancing Gangnam style whenever hitting a strike or a spare in bowling.  While this new tradition did allow me to snap this grainy-yet-awesome picture of my dad…

Gangam style, baby.

Gangam style, baby.

 

….he was also able to capture this equally-grainy and seriously-unfortunate video of me:

If you can’t see the video, try here.

 

Christmas day itself was amazing and I learned a lot.  For instance, never assume all pre-schoolers are morning people.

photo (3)

“Seriously? You want me to smile before my first cup of juice? What is WRONG with you people?”

 

Never tell your kid that she can write anything on her brand new door knocker.

Shame.

Ouch.

 

Glitter tattoos are a huge crowd pleaser….

He loves to sparkle!

He loves to sparkle!

 

'Glitter' is her color.

‘Glitter’ is her color.

 

And lastly, the homemade gift is almost always the show stopper.  This year B and I worked together on a project for the kids that turned out to be their favorite gift.

"Wait, what?"

“Wait, what?”

photo (6)

“It’s a STAGE!!!”

B built the platform and I sewed the curtains.  Super fun and not too hard.  The kids have had a ball singing and playing dress up on it.  I think it’s fair to say that in the battle of Mom and Dad vs. Santa, we pretty much won Christmas. And yes, I realize that’s a not-so-humble brag but I don’t care.  Why?

BECAUSE WE BUILT A STAGE.

I’m not sad the holidays are over – it was great to have my house filled with sound and music and fun.  It’s equally as nice to get back to our routine and  sit quietly on my couch after the kids have gone to bed.

I was struck by gut-twisting gratitude several times this holiday season – for the family I was born into, the family I chose, and the life we’ve all built together.  That gratitude carried me right into the New Year, where I remain fulfilled and hopeful.

Sending you light and love for a wonderful beginning to 2013, friends.  Thanks for reading!

Ryan