Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Starting Traditions and Memories

One of the young women in my class a few weeks ago told us a memory she has from a time when she was three years old. After her story, I couldn't help but say, "Wait. You remember things from when you were three?!?"

And that's when it hit me. Eli is in memory zone. It counts now. We've entered the phase of parenting where I am held to my every interaction with him. Because he may just grow up to be 15 one day and talk about how I never did any crafts with him when he was three. And then he'll be in therapy for the rest of his life because his three-year old childhood was artistically deprived. I couldn't let that happen. So we crafted on Thanksgiving Eve.
In case he doesn't remember this three-year old memory in 12 years, I will show him these pictures.
And he'll probably wish his three-year old memory was a little less documented. Ha.
On Thanksgiving we went to my parents' house for a grand feast of deliciousness.
Behold the one bite Carson happily ate of dinner. Because then he screamed for the next 20 minutes. And everyone left our table probably due to the screaming. So Jeff and I had a romantic Thanksgiving meal all by ourselves in the kitchen while everyone else was laughing and storytelling and gorging in the living room.
Eli quite enjoyed his Thanksgiving meal.
Eli also quite enjoyed the evening's entertainment -- Youtube videos of trike tricks. Eli was smitten. Except when the trikes would crash. Which I am assuming is the reason for the frown in this picture.
He would have watched trike videos all night if he could have.
I love setting up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.
This is by far the best looking tree we have ever had. But felt trees don't put up much competition in the good-looking department, so it was kind of an easy win.
We've been bribing Eli with movies lately if he is a good boy at church. It's been pretty effective! Jeff had a free rental from GooglePlay, so we watched Planes one Sunday. Eli was obsessed with it. He had to run up to his room in the middle of the movie to find a plane so he could play with his plane while he watched. Then he zoomed planes around the house for the whole next week. It was the cutest.
Now that Eli allegedly could be remembering any of his life experiences for the rest of his life, I figure it's the perfect time to get some family traditions going. One of our traditions is to make a new ornament every year. This year we made a melted snowman.

It took us forever to get our first Christmas tree, and then when we finally had a tree last year, it was skirtless all season. This year, we really upped our game. Tinsel, pretty ornaments, more lights, and dun dun duuuuuuuuuun -- A Crooked Branch exclusive one-of-a-kind tree skirt!
I love it. Even though it ends up crumpled up in a ball under the tree most of the time.
With the tree decorated, the tree skirt in place, and the stockings hung, it was time to scribble heart-felt letters to Santa.

Eli drew an unrecognizable picture of an airplane, a tool, and a Lightning McQueen backpack. He also is in the process of learning to write his name. You can see his "I" in the lower left-hand corner of the page. He drew it by drawing four horizontal lines in all the corners, then two horizontal lines to connect the top and bottom corners. And then the one long vertical line down the middle.

And then we experienced a Christmas miracle. Someone special arrived on our front step as we were writing our letters to Santa! Jeff went to take the trash out while I was coloring with the boys, and he saw that we had a package on our front step that I never heard get dropped off earlier in the day. Lo and behold -- it was our lowly elf eager to meet us.
Now. I must disclaim. I hate Elf on a Shelf. When the elf is naughty and extravagant and used as a constant threat to enforce good behavior. But I do think it's a fun idea to have the kids wake up every morning and run to find the elf. So for us it's more of a hide and seek kind of thing. Or that's what I'll tell myself anyways.
We named our Elf Barry. The boys love to point to Barry throughout the day and say hi to him. It's really cute.
Another cute tradition I saw was to have your kids open up a wrapped Christmas book every night for like 12 or 25 days before Christmas. I thought that was a cute idea too. So the kids have a new Christmas book every morning. After Christmas we will put all the books away, and then pull them out again next year and we'll use the same books every year. My boys love books, and I tried to get books that focus on Christ's birth, or stories of giving and the Christmas spirit. It's been fun to gather as a family in the evenings and read the books together to get everyone feeling the joy of Christmas!
This has been Barry's most creative hiding spot so far. He's an amateur. And he will probably stay that way for his whole existence.
This year I've been on a tradition kick. I'm hoping that if Eli really does remember anything from this year of his life, he will remember the beginnings of traditions, and I'm hoping a few of these traditions will stick and be a fun thing we can look back on and look forward to over the years.

1 comment:

Kim said...

What a darling turkey craft. So glad Eli is thankful for eyeballs.

I love the pictures of the boys writing letters to Santa with the tree lit up in the background.

I saw Barry the Elf yesterday. Carson was quick to point him out to me the second I stepped into your house. It's a fun idea to have the kids look forward to reading Christmas books. Such cute pictures of Jeff reading to his boys.

Looks like you've got some great and memorable traditions begun in your household.

And just out of curiosity, how much do you actually remember from way back when you were Eli's age??