Sunday, September 7, 2008


About this time three years ago, we had a disruption. A very difficult time. We had hoped from the very beginning to adopt the three kids. They came ranging from age 6-13 and left ranging from 8-14. They were TPR so that situation was different from the situation we are currently going through.

I still have a very broken heart for the three of them. The oldest was fourteen and had never spent two Christmas' in the same house. Each family has their own Christmas traditions. They may follow the same basic time line of dinner, Christmas Eve Service, etc, but each has its own unique twist to the basic. Christmas doesn't feel like Christmas because the calendar says so, it feels like Christmas because we get in our jammies and drive around town looking at Christmas lights.

Traditions can be done at any time or any place. Making wherever you go feel more like home. Tonight we had macaroni for dinner. Before the kids could talk I would sing "Yankee Doodle" whenever we made macaroni. I'd sing up to the "and called it..." part and then try to get them to say "macaroni."

We hadn't done this in awhile, so tonight when one of them asked what I was making, I told them and then Felpsy said you can't say "macaroni" that's our job. So, we went back and did it right. Up until now, it was our own little secret family tradition. I'm quite sure that I'm not the only person on the planet that does that.

When I was young we would dress up, gag and go across the road to my grandmother's house. Our local extended family was all there, we ate soups with little tiny crackers, and got one gift. The giver had been determined when the entire clan from my father's side gathered at Thanksgiving, immediately after our post turkey hike, and right before the pie. Each year my uncle would build some very elaborate box that required tools to open for the gift his family got our grandmother. I think that we were more excited about the box than our gift. The only gift I ever remember receiving at a Christmas Eve celebration was a watch when I was in the second grade. Because we ALLLLLL got watches in the second grade. Because it was tradition. At precisely 10 o'clock we scattered like the house was on fire, because we all knew we had to be in bed by midnight or Santa would fly by our house and we'd miss out.

I have been lax at the family tradition thing. Probably because I had my kids so young I didn't see the importance. At eighteen everything was still lame. Although I have anxiety to this day when I see stockings on someones mantle before Christmas
Eve, and even worse if the stockings don't match.

I've started a few new traditions lately. We were going to have a first day of summer sno-ball fight. You know, the grodiest pink coconut covered hostess snacks that aren't fit for eating. Well, I couldn't find any around summer time, so I waited until the 4th of July. It was hilarious.

For the past couple of years we've had people from church over for Christmas Eve dinner. It hasn't ever been on Christmas Eve though. We go to a megachurch so Christmas Eve services might start as early as the 22nd. But it's awesome, ham balls, potatoes and gravy, rolls, I love it and hope it continues for years to come.

I've been wanting to start a new one for Christmas ever since my friend told me that their kids only get three gifts for Christmas, because Jesus only got three. It's hard though. You want to get the kids everything. But you can't, so why not get them three special refrigerator boxes things? So, we are going to try to exercise a little self control and limit our gifting this year.

And, I hate to admit this, but for the last three years, my post New Year's tradition has been to take back all the banned substances from my house. Since the kids are still wards of the state, people feel the need to get them things. I appreciate the sentiment, but three small children with 10-15 noise producing toys, can you imagine? So, yes, I Annie, take gifts intended for orphans and trade them in for gift cards and buy other things.

Here is a cry for mercy tip for those of you who would buy gifts for foster children. MOST foster homes have LOTS of children in them. There are the exceptions, but for the most part six is normal. Now take the popular gift items such as Lego's, building blocks, story books that sing, cell phones that ring, 100 piece jewelry sets, Barbie and her entourage, crayons. Multiply that by six and scatter them about your house. That's what I would be dealing with. So, I very lovingly pick out a couple of nice things, and donate what would be useful to another family of many, or exchange them for something that would be useful to our children.

So besides stealing gifts from orphans, what are your family traditions?

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