Friday, December 5, 2014

Good Stuff Forever & What I Know For Sure

I am a believer in the good in the world and the good in all of us.  I am a believer in simple joys and the power of family traditions.  

When I was a kid, my mother was very good at making moments and holidays and milestones special.  She made memories.  She made us feel loved and safe and important.  After my family sort of fell apart completely and my mother began battling mental illness and addiction, it was the memories and traditions that I clung to.  

As a kid, a few simple ceremonies made life a little more magical. Making my granny's bread sticks every holiday was just something we did, no matter what. The traditions, the ceremonies, the bread sticks...they mattered.  When families fall apart or the world seems uncertain and angry and upsetting, sweet family traditions make most of us feel more loved and safe and sort of like some things are going to be okay.   

When my mom moved away when I was in high school she sent me a box of ornaments from my childhood.  She said it was so I could carry on traditions of my own.  I think my mom meant well, but it just seemed like an ending to me instead of a beginning.  I mean I was only 17, I didn't really want to make my own traditions just yet.  

Years later though, when I became a mother, I jumped into tradition and memory making with my whole heart and soul.  I wanted to recreate the good parts of my childhood and make new even better memories for my kids.  

Now I have a lot of my own family traditions.  We do the "Friday Pump" (pumping your hand up in the air and chanting Friday because we are pumped about the weekend, duh) every Friday morning before the kids go to school which is based on something a teacher did with our class every Friday back in my middle school.  We go to the pumpkin patch before Halloween.  We go on road trips in the summer.  We have an Elf Night to kick off the Christmas season.  And a million more little and big ceremonies, dance parties, special foods and traditions.
We started doing Elf Night last year.  It involves a ton of paper snowflakes, waffles and marshmallows for dinner, an elf-naming ceremony and watching the movie Elf together.  
It is one of my favorite nights of the year. 
And I am pretty damn proud of my 3-D snowflake.

That's Keith Babu our elf
(he is a wrestling action figure in the off-season).

Over the years some things change and I know as the kids get older it will keep changing.  But my dream is to have my big kids come home from college over the holiday break and ask to do the Elf Night.  I want them to feel loved, safe and important for always.  Maybe it sounds naive, but I know for sure that I don't want our family traditions and the good stuff to stop, ever.

Here's what else I know for sure this week:
  • I married into an amazing family that so gets the whole tradition thing.  In fact they may be the best I've ever seen at all of it.  I made a video about them a few years ago.  It is about the Kimball Family Christmas party that has been going on for years and years and years.

Kimball Christmas Party from Jumping With My Fingers Crossed on Vimeo.

(It's a pretty long video and I watch parts now and I am critical of some of my edits and transitions, but overall am pretty proud of it because it reflects the love and awesomeness of this family.Even if you watch just the first minute or so, you'll get how sweet they are.)

Tim watched the video with the boys the other night.  That's one of the reasons I made the it, so that they can understand a little better how cool their family is.

  • Cutting down the Christmas tree is a newer tradition of ours and we love it, even if it doesn't go perfectly.  Check out all of our tomfoolery that went on this year.

(Cick here to watch the video.)

  • JT loves Christmas.  When I was a kid I used to put the Christmas tree skirt on and twirl and twirl while everyone else decorated the tree.  JT wore it as a cape last weekend and flew around while we decorated.  Tradition!!!!!

What are your traditions?  What do YOU know for sure this week?  Share it here in the comments or on my Facebook page.


  1. I get it! I get it!

    I know just what you mean about tradition and how important it is at staving off the (in my case) darkness, loneliness, sadness, by filling it with good things! I love your traditions and I am certain your kids will come home from college (and later with their own kids) and love it too.

  2. We don't have any traditions yet, because I didn't grow up with many. But I am excited to start a few with my kids very soon!

    I love you and your family!

  3. I like changing things up a bit every year and making memories special so we can say "Hey remember that one year when we...?" But the traditions are great, too.

    PS Love that 3D snowflake!

  4. I know for sure that I want to live at your house. I need you to teach me how to be fun again instead of Disciplinary Mom.