Showing posts with label traditions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label traditions. Show all posts

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Bill's April Fool's Joke

          Bill and Jenna both share a similar personality.  They enjoy pranks even when it is not April Fools - so I really don't know what makes it different from every other day.  At least Bill separated the two events that occurred on April 1st.          
retrieved from Facebook.  I thought it was hilarious
          I remember having learned that the Julian calendar had originally started with April as the first month of the year but the other months were added.  History channel says "Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582 when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar."  Either way, the start of New Years supposedly once fell upon April 1st.  People who forgot about not being a new year were pranked.  Or else Bill and Jenna among others made certain their ancestors found a way to create the tradition of "April Fool"

          Bill and Kayla have a tradition of doing the Easter eggs and "gifts" on Saturday.  So the kids had already dug through their baskets buckets of treasures, experience the hunt for plastic eggs and decorated  (or attempted to anyway) almost two dozen eggs the day before Easter.

          After the children were asleep, Bill made some Jell-O and put it in cups.  On Sunday he brought them out and told the kids that he had made a special drink for them and that they should drink their "punch" as quickly as possible.  They enjoyed his little "trick".  But none bothered to eat the Jell-O.  

Bill's weren't filled quite as high

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Ham, Potato Salad and Other Memories

            When I was growing up, Ham and Potato Salad were on the menu during the Easter holiday.  I remember my mom saying she had made (or was making) a big batch shortly after Jenna was born (though she arrived eight days earlier than her due date - which was on Easter that year).  I was still in the hospital and mom had made arrangement for our oldest son (Ooki had lived with our family for his senior year but was living with another family when Jenna was born) to bring her the car seat and she fed him and everybody else in the family who had come for Jenna's birth.  What a rip-off!  I had to stay in the hospital with my newborn and would have rather had mom's potato salad than hospital food.
            Mom packed some potato salad in a container and brought it with her the next day. 

            This year Kayla made deviled egg sandwiches for lunch on Easter Sunday.

Ooki with his one day old American sister

1 day old Jenna with dad and brothers

Jenna's first birthday

 Jenna turned 14 yesterday.  Oh the memories!

Jenna's 14th

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

St. Patrick's Grunge Pledges

                Our Saturdays are usually tied up with plans - most of the time it's been going to Roseburg to do shopping, though there are the occasional weekends our plans are attending various activities here in Myrtle Creek or surrounding areas.  Occasionally we actually have a free Saturday which is what I had supposed this last weekend, but Jenna reminded me that I said I would drive her over to the pool to watch the "Grunge Plunge". 

                Most of the pictures I share are cropped screenshots of live event video posted to South Umpqua Memorial Pool page on March 17, 2018

                On March 4 last year, South Umpqua Memorial Pool held its first ever "Grunge Plunge".  I didn't even know about it until after the fact - which is actually kind of weird as social media, namely facebook, seems to be this town's most important source of marketing. It appears that there were ten jumpers last year.

2017 Jumpers holding up awarded t-shirts saying:
I Survived South Umpqua Memorial Pool's 1st Grunge Plunge

          Those that had pledged help raise 2,600 and added a pooling carpet to the hurtful cement floors in the dressing rooms and spruced them up to look nice.  Their goal this year was to raise over that amount - which they did.

         The pool site was/is in need of a makeover and the Grunge Plunge provided the community with a unique fundraiser by making pledges for certain individuals to jump into the grungy (and I would imagine frigid) pool that, although covered by a tarp since September, has still had elements effect the conditions of what was once clean water.  

SUMP facebook page cover this month

            I think Jenna would like to do the jumping, but the jumpers have to be over sixteen years of age.  I like that as she had been sick last year and was barely getting over her cough this year.  Four teachers and principal challenged their students to raise at least 200 dollars.  They announced that each of them would jump for every 100 raised after that and if 600 was raised, all five would jump.  There was also call for a germ phobic who said she would go in if 1,000 was raised.  They also challenged South Umpqua High School.  I didn't notice a response.  
            This year they did not have to jump as individuals but could do so in groups.  They could also choose to jump from either side of the deep end (shallow end still covered in tarp) or they could go off the diving board.  There were 13 groups or individuals that were sponsored to jump.  We had representatives from Coffenberry, Myrtle Creek Fire Department, State Farm and the mayor among others.  

            Josh Norton was the emcee who passed out awards/trophies before anyone jumped in. Our mayor received one for his attire 

our mayor accepting his award

and the water treatment boys received one for the most money raised.   

2018 trophy

Toward the end, Josh challenged one of his lifeguards to jump as well.  He didn't seem happy about it but accepted the challenge.  Josh jumped in last and thanked the community for the amount of money that was raised: more than twice the amount as last year.

See the crowd all around the pool

calm waters before the jump

Before the jump

After the jump

water with jumpers

            It was a fun event.  Crowded.  I'm happy that it was recorded as It was easier to watch and identify some of the people on the video than it was from behind the fence.  Jenna had gone inside to stand with the crowd to cheer on the Coffenberry instructors.  I prefer standing away from the crowd - or next year - sitting in my pjs and watching the video.  Then I don't have to worry about parking either.  I LOVE living in a small community!                    

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holidays are the Hardest - Missing Traditions

Pie Making

         I can’t find a reference to mom’s traditional pie making event. I suppose it could have started with her children.  I do recall having assisted with pies at least once in my childhood.  Kayla says she remembers a time when it was just her and Corey that did it with mom.  I don’t think I ever viewed it as an actual tradition until Ellen and Kimball were small.

            My mom made a huge assortment of pies on the Wednesday before  Thanksgiving each year.  The grandkids looked forward to assisting with rolling out the dough and filling the pie with whatever they chose. 
            We’d have apple pie, banana cream pies, coconut cream, chocolate cream, cherry, lemon meringue and of course, pumpkin.  More pies were added to the dinner each time new grandkids were added to the family.

            I don’t remember how often my boys had made pies with grandma.  At least twice – and they have fond memories.  And I have pictures of some of the pie making events.  Jaime may have been a baby when some of these were taken.  Neither Jenna nor I recall her ever having had the opportunity to assist with rolling out the dough or wearing an apron.

            It wasn’t long after Jenna was born when mom announced her last year for her annual pie making event.  Each year after that we ate pies that had been made in the bakery department of various stores.

            My boys had just recently commented on how much fun they had had making pies – and then Kayla had posted a message in facebook about the yesteryear tradition.  I got overly sentimental and cried for nearly a half hour.

            I miss the family that I grew up with. I miss so many traditions that we shared at one time.

 Hand Made Nativity

            When I was growing up, I loved “Dip n Drape” dolls.  I remember going with mom to look at pattarns and material for the project.  We settled on a nativity set as it was closed to the holidays.  I remember buying Styrofoam balls and cones and craft sticks and following directions.  I was in high school at the time.

            It was a good first project.  We had it on display just once a year – usually on top of the piano – where the entire thing fit nicely.  And many of the flaws were overlooked – like one wiseman who had the appearance of having a “stuck-up” personality.  And one wiseman who’s arms were heavier than his body – and was giving a present to lean on so that he did not appear as though he was trying to do push-ups.  And the baby Jesus became a permanent part of what Mary held in her arms – though it probably looked like she was dropping him.

            I had intended on making a manger – so that it would appear that she was placing him in.  I had intended to make camels and sheep – though realistically the seven pieces I had took up quite a bit of room both on display and then in storage.

            It boggles my mind that the set has been around since I was in high school – making it roughly thirty-five years old now.  Mom hadn’t taken it out the last few years that she lived at home.  And I took it back before we sold her house. 

Growing up, I never thought of our house as huge.  It was an average sized house.  It had three bedrooms, two baths, living room, kitchen and unfinished basement.

            Over the years my parents put in the money to have half of the basement finished and added a back room addition to the house.  The house included five bedrooms, three bathrooms, kitchen, living room, family room, game room, dining room, laundry room, storage room – not to mention it had an attic. 

            I’ve lived in two houses since I’ve been married.  The two houses combined did not have as much space as the house I grew up in.  So of course there is not nearly as much storage room

         I had put the nativity up last year.  I had to put the wisemen on a different area than the other four pieces.  Roland had suggested that I part with it last year.  I just didn’t have the heart to throw it away – though many of the dolls were beheaded.  I had planned on making it one more round.

We have even less room for it to be displayed than we had last year.  Plus I’ve been cleaning out my shed and either throwing out or donating a lot.  (12 yard bags and counting) but I still couldn’t bring myself to throw it out. 

         I knew if I donated the dolls to the thrift store, the majority (if not all) would get thrown away, and so I put it in the classifieds and someone picked it up less than an hour after I had posted for free.  She didn’t seem to mind the fact that many of the dolls needed to be repaired.   I hope it works for her and that it may be around for a few more years at least.  


Christmas Lights

I remember one year going with my sibs and mom to temple square.  It was Christmas night and the weather was really quite awesome.  We had gone downtown to see the lights.

This year the November was nice weather overall.  Cold, but bearable.  Excpet the last day.  It was cold and bleak and actual typical of so many November days that I can remember – although the last few years have seemed to make an exception.

            I was surprised at how warm the weather seemed yesterday – well, in comparison to Sunday.  Jenna and I started out with a beautiful morning.  I had dressed in layers, but had taken the top layer off as I headed back home.

            I had dressed in layers while picking her up.  I had stripped both layers down while waiting for school to end.  Both Jenna and I carried our coats to the bus stop.  But by the time we reached the crossover, we both had our coats back on.  It cools down quite drastically once the earth rotates away from the sun.

            Roland had given me a camera for Christmas last year – only he had given it to me before Thanksgiving so that I could take pictures and get a feel for it before Christmsa.  It was a nice camera.  A red Nikon which I liked a lot – that is until pushing the power button no longer did anything.  

It had died before Roland and I had taken to Jenna to Disneyland at the end of August.  I hadn’t had the camera an entire year.  That was truly upsetting.  

            I was hoping the battery was the problem, but I had the battery tested in addition to another working battery put in my camera.  I was told my best bet was to send it into the manufacturer – which I did.  I never heard back from them.

            The other night he produced another camera meant for Christmas.  This time a Sony W830 – which may take me a while to figure out.  I’ve had Sonys before, and I like them, but they have all died as well.  And I don’t expect this one will last much longer than the Nikon – though I welcome the opportunity to be proven wrong.

            I told Jenna that we should go downtown to see the lights.  December started out with quite pleasant weather and I though since it was so nice that we should go last night. I suggested to Roland that we go see the lights for family home evening.    I would have just taken Jenna on the train if he had not wanted to go. 

            Downtown was crowded with patrons who had come to see the lights and take pictures.  I really don’t have the hang of my camera.  It will be a while.  I did get a few okay pictures – among a bunch of duds.  Thank heaven for Photoshop, huh?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Gingerbread Traditions

           As I have mentioned in a few posts already, I grew up in a house across the street from George and Peggy Bird. Both are from American Fork.  Peggy grew up learning all of the domestic skills of saintly motherhood.  She cooked, she sewed, and she baked. She loved her boys.  She was a devoted mother.
            My mom was raised in San Francisco.  She did not grow up understanding canning and food storage or many of the skills that Peggy had acquired.  Mom did try her hand at baking, sewing, crocheting, and even canning.  She loved us.  She was a good mom.  But I think my brother Patrick and I both believed that Peggy was better at baking.  It seemed like she was always baking.  I remember almost every time I walked into the house, she was baking.  What I remember most is the molasses cookies.  Was there ever a time I had gone across the street when molasses cookies weren’t available?  Not when I was in elementary school anyway.


I also remember the many Christmases we spent with the Birds. We became part of their family and enjoyed their traditions.

            There was the annual Christmas pageant.  For the longest time I was Mary.  When other families were invited to join in the production I lost my glorified role.  I remember getting demoted to an angel with no speaking parts.   Humility was not my strong suit.

            One tradition that mom had adapted into our own household was the annual ornament that each of us received and would add to the tree.  And when we were grown and out on our own or starting our own families, we would take our ornaments with us.

            One tradition that we didn’t adapt (though Patrick and I would drop hints each year) was the annual gingerbread house that Peggy made from scratch (I now fully understand why mom didn’t seem as excited about what Patrick and I thought would be great.  And perhaps she did attempt it but it just wasn’t her forte)

            I don’t know how early in the month she made it.  I would imagine it was decorated on a Monday night.  Each of the boys would help decorate (as I recall) and it would become part of the decorations.  On New Years Eve the boys would hold their annual Gingerbread Smash.  I think Patrick must have gone to them all – and I’d gone to a few (I usually got sick just before the new year) and we would each have an opportunity for hacking away at the house and then devour it.  That was something special.


            Nowadays commercialism offers pre-made gingerbread kits.  The taste of the gingerbread isn’t near as wonderful as the rich taste of Peggy’s made-from-love.  But Roland purchases kits each year – first for the boys and now for Jenna.  And each year Roland builds the house and instructs the kids on how to assist and then allows them to finish decorating with wherever their imaginations lead.  Less than 24 hours later the house gets broken into.  A few pieces here and there – the house goes from slum to run down eye-sore.  He doesn’t believe in display.  Too bad.

            Fortunately I have taken pictures every year – even last year when the house started out looking like a HUD home. Crooked, run-down.  Each year we’ve used up all the frosting.  This year was just a little bit different.  Roland purchased a pre-made house that we didn't have to glue.  We also ended up with tons of frosting left.

            Jenna decided that she wanted a green roof.  Roland helped her to spread the icing.  Other than that she decorated the entire thing by herself.  She included a flower on one side and a vegetable garden behind the house.  I thought it ironic that she’d call them vegetables as two of them in real life are vegetables that she refuses to let near her mouth.  

            Jenna created a vine and gave it tomatoes.  Next to that are two carrots.  And then a corn stalk with a few ears.  Finally eggplant which I don’t think she’s ever tasted before.  I have.  Haven’t been impressed with the taste of it.

            On the other side is a Christmas tree.  A Christmas tree and a vegetable garden.  I suppose it’s possible.  Not in my part of the world.

            Roland took some cookies out of the pantry and told us to decorate them. 

We still have frosting left.  But many parts of the gingerbread house have been eaten - including some of the roof.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Broken Traditions, Grafting Branches

We didn’t do our annual Christmas dinner last year (the one with mom and her children) – at least not with the same dishes we usually prepare.  We gathered at my one brother’s house and had soup and bread.  It was simple.  We played games and exchanged gifts.

This year we didn’t even do a dinner. Each sib went his separate way.  We weren’t together for Christmas Eve or Christmas – not all four of us. 

Corey had gone back to Las Vegas to be with his sweetheart and to register as a permanent residence of Las Vegas.

Sunny and her youngest had run by mom’s house to drop off some gifts.  They were just in and out.

Kayla and Bill had planned to visit with both families on Christmas Eve – but as we weren’t getting together as siblings, they chose to stop by mom’s on the way to spending Christmas Eve with his family.  And Roland, Jenna, Biff and I stayed with mom for four hours after everyone else had left.  Well, almost everyone.

As it turned out, Nate and Ellen never left my mom’s house as Ellen had been sick all morning.  Both Kayla and I guessed pregnancy.  Neither Nate nor my mom would believe it was even a possibility.

We didn’t draw names this year.  It was a gift to ourselves to not have to worry about spending money we don’t have or creating gifts that might not work . . .  

Randy and Carrie stopped by yesterday morning to exchange gifts.  We watched a movie.  Randy and Carrie then took Biff with them to Christmas brunch with her family.

Roland and I returned to mom’s on Christmas day.  She had had breakfast with Patrick’s family, but Ellen had brought her back.  We met Bill and Kayla there and exchanged gifts among the kids.  Mom also opened her present from Corey and Joh – and the unwrapping of gifts came to a halt until the frame and pictures they had given her were hung.

We all played games for about six hours and went home.  Had to explain to mom what needed to be done each round – but she played all of the games we did.  Jenna played most of them – and we talked her into watching “A Christmas Story” for the first time.

I understand that Tony had a less than perfect Christmas.  He spent it at the park dog-sitting while his wife and daughter stayed in their apartment.  Haven’t received all the details.

It wasn’t a terrible Christmas.  It was different.  Feeling kind of empty. Though I KNOW I am not alone in thinking that.  Many missing family members for many this Christmas.

 We’ve never spent the holidays with Roland’s family.  We had planned to one year, but plans changed.  I think that would be more different than missing traditions with my family this year.

Mom thanked me several times for coming.  That alone was worth it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Having our Christmas Dinner in July

          Family has grown.  We used to do a dinner on Christmas Eve. We would gather at the house where Aunt Gertrude and Uncle Ted live.  That was a tradition for years.  My grandma Helen and her three kids and their children - we started out with just three of us -  I was the eldest, then my cousin, Michelle, my brother Patrick and then Michelle’s brother came along.  It was another seven years before Edmund and Corey were born and then Rosa and then Kayla. 

          Daddy’s only sister, Chrissy got married to Kim.  Eventually they had four boys and the family continued to grow.  Both Patrick and Michelle found partners and married. And the family continued to grow.  It seemed like there were more people than room. 

It got hard for Trudy to host not one, but two dinners each year.  Not that she was supplying all the food.  All of the families chipped in. Trudy and Ted had hosted at their house on Christmas Eve for the families of one of their brothers and Christmas day for another.  After a while she no longer felt the need to do Christmas day as (I would guess) other family members took over – and I suppose it wasn’t as meaningful to Don’s family as it had been to ours.

          Each year Aunt Trudy would tell the family that it would be the last year that she would have it. And then she would call us the following year to make arrangements until one year mom said we could do it at her house.  But still, the families all continues to grow.  In-law obligations.  Too much running around.  So one year Michelle had suggested that we start a new tradition.  Instead of having a family gathering in December, why not have a pool party in July?

          So that’s what we do now.  The weather is a lot more inviting for driving.  Everyone is more relaxed.  There is a Christmas tree next to the gate to the pool and Christmas music plays in the background. We no longer have the ham and turkey, the funeral potatoes and glazed carrots.  Hamburgers, hot dogs and salads fill our plates. Instead of bulky sweaters, we have on swimsuits and trunks and enjoy our Christmas much differently than we have in the past.

          This Christmas Eve it will just be Roland, Jenna, mom and I.  Possibly Biff.  It will be the smallest Christmas dinner that I remember.  But that can be nice.  It’s a matter of attitude more than it is people.  Later on today I will call Aunt Trudy and Uncle Ted and see if they would like to attend also.  They come to the pool parties – but never come into the pool.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Jesus Sock: and Other Traditions

          Each of us has traditions.  Many are the same.  Some vary. Some get lost.  Some don’t work.  A tradition may be carried on for generations. Some may brush away.

          One of my favorite Christmas books is “God’s Vitamin C for the Christmas Spirit”  which shares stories, ideas, traditions and reasons.  One of the thoughts I read was written by Christi Anne Shepeard in which she shares a tradition of “The Jesus Sock”

          The story unfolds that there is an extra sock in her possession – one that doesn’t match the other socks selected for each family member that year.  She decided to make it a sock for the Savior in which her family would write letters and insert them into the sock – every year. 

          I thought that sounded like a cool tradition – one I wanted to incorporate into my brand new family.  But only Randy and I seemed serious about keeping the tradition and wrote faithfully for three years or so.  And I continued by myself for a while.  But then I seemed to lose track as well.  But our thoughts and words to Jesus are pretty much all year around without the sock.

Gifts  -         One of my favorite traditions is to actually take turns watching one another as we open our gifts individually.  When everyone is tearing into their own gifts they miss out on the joy of watching one another – I think.  I don’t know when it started for the family I grew up with, but I remember doing it that way more than not.  And that’s how we did it after I married into my new family.

          I thought the greatest Christmas would be if we could milk unwrapping packages all day.  I tried incorporating thoughts and scripture or singing carols between each gift.  That lasted only one Christmas.  But I finally got my wish when Jenna was a year and a half.

          Oddly enough her sisters actually spent Christmas Eve night with us – but Roland was instructed to have them home by 1:00 on Christmas afternoon.  The ward had provided many of the gifts that were under the tree – plus there were some from each sibling and the girls had brought gifts for Jenna, Roland, me and the boys.

We had set up an appointment to feed the missionaries for an afternoon lunch. And just so the girls wouldn’t miss out on seeing one another’s reactions, we had to make sure to open all the gifts that were to or from the girls before the missionaries arrived. 

We’d opened maybe 20 gifts before the missionaries arrived.  Somehow we had missed the one to the boys from Francis and Pamprin.  But Jenna took it upon herself to find and open the gift while we visited with the three Elders who came for lunch.
After the Elders left our house, we loaded up the cars.  Roland took Francis and Pamprin back to Malificent’s and I took Jaime and her brothers to my mom’s and we opened more gifts after Roland joined us.

We were at my mom’s for several hours, playing games with siblings and cousins and enjoying the holiday.  It was kind of late when we returned back to the house where Roland and I resided at the time – still many packages awaited beneath the tree.  Each we opened one at a time.  It had been an all day event!  I absolutely loved it!  And would love to do it again.

Ornaments -         And then there’s the ornaments.  Mom and Dad had no ornaments the first year they were married.  They decided each of their children would have ornaments to take with them when we left the nest. My mom and dad traditionally brought each child an ornament for every year they lived at home. 

Actually tried that one with the boys – but it didn’t take.  They had ornaments. I had ornaments – more than just the ones from home – they had doubled, quadrupled even.  And the amount of ornaments in the box always outnumbered the branches on our mostly Charlie Brown trees.

Roland was more into themed trees.  One year we had a boring one that consisted only of silver baubles.  I like the personalized ornaments much better.  The children have always decorated the tree.  I believe Jenna rearranges the ornaments on a daily basis.

Family dinner -    we do this on Christmas Eve. For the longest time we had it at the home of my great aunt on my father’s side.  It continued – even when the family seemed to outgrow the house.  10 of us became 12 and then 16, 17, 20 . . . and then it became too much work for my great aunt.  So we did it at mom’s house for a while – 25, 30, 32 – in-laws, schedules, more-than-not inconvenient weather.  And one year we said: “Maybe we can do a family bbq in July instead” which has its perks. 

We still do a family dinner, but right now it is just mom and her children and their families.  14, 15 16, 18 and growing. Neither my sister nor I have houses large enough to have us all around the table – but to take the stress off mom, we did a simple dinner at my brother’s house last year.  Their house is small, too – but somehow it seems to work.  As it would have worked at the first house that Roland and our children and I lived in.

Hats -          On Christmas morning the child who passes out the presents wears the Santa cap. Often the rest of us will wear elf or Santa caps as we open our gifts. 

Exchange - There is still gift exchange – though family to family is more of a recent thing where we draw names.  We used to get for everybody – but the economy’s made it tough.   Actually, we didn’t even draw names this year (that usually takes place on Thanksgiving)  Just as well.  We’re all on the financially strained side – three of the families are anyway.

Movies  -     I enjoy watching Christmas movies, no matter how trite and sappy.  I will always tune in to “It’s a Wonderful Life” just as Clarence jumps in the water to save George who jumps in after him.  I love that cute angel.

A tradition I have only for myself is to watch at least five different versions of the Christmas Carol between Thanksgiving and New Years.  Among my favorite are the Muppets, the American Christmas Carol, Mr. Magoo and the musical Scrooge.

And those are just a few of my personal examples. What are some of yours?