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Oh brother, here they come again…
“THE Holidays”

As we entered the final quarter of each year, I began to feel the trepidation, as they sort of loom in the not so far off distance…
Every year I try to battle my trepidations with same old method of trying to look at them from new and inventive perspectives.
The general theory behind that is; each year being different, each year yielding different lessons and experiences, leaves me slightly different from the year before. Therefore it shouldn’t be hard to find a new perspective. It’s almost expected…

This is my second year as a single mother.
This year has been chock-a-block full of life altering, personality molding, wisdom earning experience
Has it changed that nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think of the holiday season…?
Not exactly.
Lets face it, some changes don’t always yield the tangible positive end results we expect from them…
Yup, I still get knots around the holidays…
Now,  Don’t get me wrong, I have more than ever to be grateful for… and I am… Deeply indescribably grateful…
It seems the more I go through, the more I can appreciate having gotten through it. Thankful that I’m not down and out. But instead, Moving forward in an upward angle. I have become a living testament to that old phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” This is invariably true in my life.
And I certainly shouldn’t downplay how incredibly lucky I’ve been thus far. For every pitfall I’ve run across,  There has always been a way out. Many of you might consider me blessed. I wouldn’t discount that assessment, as I’ve got no reasonable explanation that would better suffice.
However, there are still holiday drawbacks that weigh on my mind…  for example, Its no fun to be to be so far away from family at Christmas.  I was hoping to be in CO with my sister and nephew this year for the holidays, or at least for my nephews first birthday {which just passed}… and it’s hard to think on how much they miss us, and want to be with us at the holidays, and we just can’t make it.
Obviously, the holidays are never easy on any single parent… the shopping, hiding gifts, decorating the house, picking a tree, carefully choreographing the finances to accommodate everything, the wrapping and cooking, and then there’s the aftermath! Phew! it’s a lot for 2 people… its positively daunting for ONE.
And then there’s the actuality of being alone as it pertains to me personally… No one to kiss under the mistletoe, or as the new year’s ball drops… you know, that  stuff… Blah! 
I’ve learned the most in that  area of my life over the past year…
I learned not to take these things so seriously.  There’s just no need to.  Its just so much easier to let the pieces fall where they may… and just live MY life.
The ability to get along, without expectations, has made me a MUCH happier and healthier person.  And because I can just relax about it, being alone simply doesn’t suck as much… It’s still does a little at Christmas, but not as much, and it WILL pass…
Now that aside, I wonder –  what am I really looking at this holiday season…?
Another WONDERFUL Christmas with my amazing boys.
A Custom, Made-to-order, Marvelously Crazy, full of laughter, full of love, full of a deep rooted appreciation for all we have, family holiday that will go down in the kids memories as another year that we pulled it off, and made something fantastic happen, against the odds.
And that right there makes all the fretting, the extra stress, the financial tango, and the clean-up so very worth it…

Saturday evening… the end of a long day.

I turned in for bed wondering what I might do with my boys the next day.  Its our weekend together, and I really wanted to do something outside the regular weekend errands. 
Sleepless night, with much on my mind, I tossed and turned for several hours.
12:00am – “I’d better get some sleep, because I don’t want to waste the day”
1:00am –  “Ugh! I’m going to be Wrecked all day”
2:00am – “Dammit! What am I going to do with my boys, if I don’t get any sleep??”
2:30am – EUREKA!!! I’ve got the perfect plan!

So at 2:30 am I woke up my kids and loaded them into the car. Flashlight, Blanket, Beach chairs, bug repellant, and a tank full of gas is all I needed, and we set forth on our adventure.
It’s an hour and fifteen minute drive from my home to our destination.
My two boys Love this drive.  They put on music, we tell jokes, and watch for deer, bunnies, raccoons and other night time critters along the way.
We arrived at the Montauk Point Lighthouse at about 4 am. Just before sunrise.
We took a few moments to stretch, gather up what we really needed, and took off for the beach.

When I was a teen, I came out to this very place with my friends for this very same experience, and ever since, this has been my favorite escape. I’ve brought my kids here many times over the years but never for the sunrise, which is Spectacular at this location, since it is the eastern-most point on the Island and there’s nothing but the Atlantic Ocean and the wide open sky as far as you can see.

It didn’t disappoint… What a gorgeous sunrise! What a way to start the day! The boys enjoyed it immensely. And once the morning was in full force, we went for a long walk on the beach and enjoyed the sights, the seashells and everything else we came across. It was a perfect family day. =)

MTK 7-21-13 (2) MTK 7-21-13 (5) MTK 7-21-13 (6) MTK 7-21-13 (7) MTK 7-21-13 (8) MTK 7-21-13 (9)MTK 7-21-13 (10)     Montauk Sunrise 7-21-13 (18) Silly Boys Montauk Sunrise 7-21-13 (19) Montauk Sunrise 7-21-13 (20)

Easter is a big deal in my house. We aren’t religious, and it’s not about candy, but its a big celebration. Like Thanksgiving, but at the opening of Spring. Spring time in of itself is a big deal for us. The winter leaves us feeling depressed and deprived of sunshiney days, and Spring comes along and allows the kids to run around outside more, I get to open my windows and air out the house, Listen to the birdies sing, take walks with my kids, the days are longer, trees start budding and daffodiles start to push their way up through the ground… So we try to make Easter our really special day, all about us. Unlike Christmas, we don’t have to go broke on gifts, or visit with extended family {which is good, at Christmas…} Just my boys and I… We get to really spend a great family day together. Like any other holiday, we have our own traditions. One is our Annual Crazy Easter Cake. Every year its a little different, and as my boys get older I assume it will become a little more intracate. Last years cake was BEAUTIFUL.  Yet it still had some surprises. There were fresh berries, candies, Sprinkles, and hidden sugar cookies… Yup, cookies hidden inside of the cake. Image

We go “all out” on Easter. I prep for much of it in advance so that my kids and I can enjoy much of the day together. While the Turkey cooks all day inside, the kids play with their Easter gifts, usually outside. There is rarely ever any stress on Easter. the kids wake up to easter baskets full of toys and snacks, a little candy, and this year instead of the dreaded Easter grass, I have gotten them new pyjamas to line their baskets {or in our family, buckets} and nestle their gifts and treats into. My kids LOVE pyjamas, so trust me, that’s a bonus. There is usually a light brunch available to them with “pick-ons” {which is what we call snacks – and is also an inside joke/ Steve Miller band reference} to keep them from eating their treats before dinner. Image

Next is the “Egg hunt”  usually there are prizes to be had. Depending on the year it can be anything from sweets, stickers, toy cars one year, and money.  The boys prefer the money {they learn so young}.  

After a long day of playing, and laughing and general over all silliness, the kids are ready for the real feast. For whatever reason I cannot explain, My two children get excited over Easter Turkey Dinner, more than anything else… they start talking about it for days in advance… I find it kind of comical.  I’ve never heard of this phenomenon before. It’s pretty silly sometimes how they dramatize the whole thing. This year they started 2 weeks in advance. 

 ImageSo they wash up and sit down to dinner and stuff themselves like they aren’t ever going to eat again. We all talk about the day, their gifts, the upcoming summer plans, and just about anything else that makes us happy. Just writing about it brings a big smile to my face.

After dinner, the kids are exhausted, I’m exhausted, even our dog is exhausted! But everyone is happy.  There is a renewed strength in our family bond, and thats really what holidays are about, right? Right. 
And that, is this simple grrls idea of true perfection.
This Easter, I wish all of my friends, and family, and anyone else that happens to read this, a wonderful Easter full of love, and happiness.