A Busy Calendar

Last week was calendrically* rich.

I held a meeting on Wednesday, February 13th, and wanting to pay attention to the time of year, the chronology of our lives, I planned a reflection on Lent (it was in fact Ash Wednesday), tweaked my Valentine’s Day love quotes quiz, and sought a poem or reading that would allow us space for celebrating Black History Month. I love ritual and traditions and living life in the rhythms of the liturgical, secular holiday, school year, and sports season calendars.

We mark many of the seasons, days or events of the year in our family with a bit of ritual:

  • During Advent/Christmas we do an Advent candle lighting and reading each evening at dinner
  • Sometime around New Year’s, Drew and I go out on a date with a piece of paper and pen and write down the major happenings of our past year.
  • For Valentine’s day, we write each other and our children a “love letter” or Valentine. You might not know it but Drew can create beautifully with pink construction paper. Most year, we make a nice dinner at home and eat on china as a family.
  • During Lent I turn off the radio in my car and drive silently in an attempt to listen and pray.
  • For birthdays, the birthday person gets to eat on the “You Are Special Today” plate, pick a sp
    Birthday pages

    Birthday pages

    ecial breakfast treat, and we tell what we love about that person before the meal.

  • For each kid, on their birthday, I trace their hand on a piece of paper and we write their 5 favorite things at age whatever and some timely character and personality notes.
  • We like to get to Colorado for Labor Day weekend and go to Lakeside for 10 cent ride ticket night. Eli rode the big wooden roller coaster as a 5 year old- no age or height limit at Lakeside- just ride with an adult if you’re little.
  • Despite my small house, I love hosting a Halloween party (for no more than 6 children and for up to 15 adults). I serve chili, request everyone come in kid spoon racecostume, and host the annual and very competitive candy corn spoon race.

    Melissa as a lawyer, Christine as half of double rainbow, James the construction guy and Poppy in a sombrero facing off.

    Melissa as a lawyer, Christine as half of double rainbow, James the construction guy and Poppy in a sombrero facing off.

  • At family gatherings for Thanksgiving, Easter or Christmas, and at the Christmas party I host with Laura for our friends, I like to lead a candle lighting, sharing time- acknowledging God’s presence, God’s movement in our lives, and our current experience of the Story.
  • I make cookies, fudge, toffee, cranberry pudding and stuffed french toast for the Christmas season.
  • We relish the years of the Olympics.
  • We go to Castaway on assignment every July….this summer will be our 5th in a row…probably not a tradition we can keep up nor one we set intentionally but one we excitedly, humbly, and gratefully fulfill.
  • Drew is great at celebrating our anniversary with some connection to the traditional gift for that particular year. Last year, for #8, I got BRONZE nail polish. Way to go babe!
  • When in doubt, for most any celebration or gathering, I serve Root Beer floats. The most epic occasion upon which a root beer float has been served so far would be our wedding- as the appetizer at the reception. This summer, we let our kids in on the hallowed tradition- the first pop they’d be allowed to drink. Andi ended up not being able to break the “no pop” rule and had just ice cream instead, but Elijah fully embraced the goodness and continues to tell people he’s too young to drink pop…unless he’s having a root beer float.
  • We’ve started a new tradition in the past 2 years of family dance parties in the living room- disco ball optional but ever available. Eli switched it up at bit on Valentine’s night this year and wanted us to sing our own songs while dancing, solos and duets, instead of using the the iphone for music. In the comfort of our own home, we all let loose.

Today is President’s Day and I’m very tempted to find pictures of faces of presidents, glue them onto card stock and hide them around my house for Eli and Andi to find. Or perhaps I could find a way to get a mask of their favorite presidents they could wear while doing a spoon race.

I love marking the moments, paying attention to the spiritually significant or simple and silly and being with people I love. I’m grateful for the indulgence those sweet people give to my ritualistic whims!

Have a great Presidents Day everyone!

*Calendrically- a word I just made up to describe a period of multiple occurrences in one space of time.

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