Traditions are made to be broken, started, altered and passed down. And this Christmas was definitely hit on all of those this year. And all of my best plans for Christmas Eve, failed quickly, but taught me a really valuable life lesson.

Growing up, Christmas Eve was my favorite day of the year. It represented a time of anticipation and innocence. Normally, I give my staff at work the day off and I man the office, but this year, I took the day off and planned on grabbing wings and a cold beverage, grabbing a few last minute things for my wife’s stocking and as a family, going to church and then getting baking cookies and putting out luminaries and watching It’s A Wonderful Life. Each of these things, minus going for wings and beer, were things that I did as a kid growing up and something that have and still mean the most to me about Christmas. But this year, things didn’t really work out like I had expected or even thought that it would.

On Christmas Eve eve, my wife was at work and called to say that she was going to the local urgent care and that she was pretty sure that she had strep throat. Great! Two years in a row of her being sick, last year was pink eye. BUT, that wasn’t the real concern, the real concern was the boys and it was quickly appearing that they too were sick with strep and that this was becoming a tradition of them being sick at Christmas.

So, my plans for Christmas Eve went from going out and having some downtime, to taking the boys to the urgent care center, only to have it confirmed that they too had strep throat. The problem, Boy B HATES medicine and oh right, he didn’t just have strep, he also had Scarlet Fever. After getting home and trying for a few hours to get medicine into Boy B, it was quickly apparent that he wasn’t going to take it. After a quick call with a friend of mine that is a Doctor, he advised us to take him to the ER and that Scarlet Fever wasn’t something to mess around with.

So, there goes my lunch of wings and a beer, shopping, and now Christmas Eve service, because my wife and son headed straight to the ER for our first ever visit. The medical staff was awesome! They not only took care of him immediately, got a dose of medicine, they were able to break his fever. And not only did they take care of him, the ER Doctor, took his hand and lead him down the hall to a toy closet, were he could pick out any toy that he wanted! How awesome is that (this will be a future blog story about the toy closet)! So what toy did he pick out? A Star Wars Storm Trooper helmet, not because he loves Star Wars, but because his brother does and he knew that his brother would want to help him color it.

RELIEF! He was on the mends.  Peace and a deep sigh of relief for a moment.

After a few hours in the ER, my wife and son arrive back home and within 30 minutes of being back he ate more in just those few minutes than he had in the previous 24 hours. He was back to being a little boy, that was smiling and excited at the arrival of Santa coming in a few hours. So, in a few hours before their bed, we still had time to bake and decorate cookies, we watched the Charlie Brown and then we put out cookies and Reindeer food. And as we were putting out the food for the reindeer, I remembered the luminaries.

Luminaries for me growing up, were the start of Christmas. I didn’t always have the best Christmas mornings, often time there was uncertainty if this was my families last Christmas together or if there was going to be a lot of arguing? But luminaries represented calm and peace in a sometimes difficult time in my life. And as I got the luminaries together to put out in front of the house, I had the boys to come over and I told them how this was one of the many traditions that I wanted to pass down to them and they really seemed to love the way that the luminaries lite up the walk way out front as a way to give Santa a landing strip for their house.

After the boys settled down for the night and Santa had come and gone, I realized that I was still able to keep some of my traditions and even pass some down to the boys. I was able to run out for a few minutes and get candy for my wife’s stocking and found her a few other little gifts. I was able to watch our Christmas Eve church service online (Love technology and that our church really leverages it and a cool way to stream church services) and I was able to have a glass of wine while wrapping gifts and watching It’s A Wonderful Life. But most importantly, my kids were feeling better and they got to for the first time, help me put out luminaries and got to see their expressions as I talked about the candles and how peaceful it was before Santa came.

Traditions are important. Traditions are made to be broken, expanded upon, altered, started and most importantly, passed down.  I most certainly hope that the tradition of being sick at Christmas is broken, but I really look forward to seeing how next years traditions grow and stick with the boys.



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Thanksgiving traditions have changed for me throughout the years. As a kid, as with Christmas, we always loaded up and went to my grandparents. We would eat lunch at one grandparent and then go to the other grandparent for dinner. But what I do remember is all of the riding. I remember to this day where all the bumps were in the road and sights were on the road and I remember being out on the farm and running around.

And as an adult, my Thanksgiving traditions changed when I moved to Houston, as for the first several years, I didn’t realize that I had family out there. But my traditions revolved around watching the parade, going to Luby’s for lunch and then finding a place to volunteer. But what I liked the most about those traditions, is that for several years, I didn’t have to travel. I could just stay within a 5 – 10 mile radius of my house.

Now that I have kids, my Thanksgiving traditions have once again changed. And I say that, because they are going to change again next year. But this year, my wife was called out for work, so the boys and I got up early and watched Star Wars – Return of the Jedi, then watched the parade and then we played and I also cleaned the house.  We did travel to have lunch with my wife’s family, but that was it. But it couldn’t be that easy could it? Nope. Today, after work, we’ll load the kids and drive for 3 1/2 hours for another Thanksgiving.

So what is the change for next year? NO TRAVELING! NONE. NADA. ZIP. ZERO. I’M DONE TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAYS!

I’ve hit my point in my life that I’m done with traveling, if family want to see my kids or me, then load up and come on over. I’ll take care of all the food and will have a cold beer waiting, but don’t expect anymore traveling. Traditions were made to be broken and I’m breaking this one. I don’t want my kids to remember the bumps in the road and all the little sights like I did. I spent more time in the back of a car going from place to place and honestly, I resent it. I resent that my parents didn’t stand up to their parents and ask them to come to us. Sure, later in life, driving wasn’t as easy and that I understand, but not when we were kids. And as soon as my wife starts talking about our travels for the holidays, my blood pressure shoots up.

So, this years Thanksgiving traditions stayed the same, but going forward, we are making new traditions and traditions that I hope that my kids can carry on as they grow up and start a family.

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Today/Tonight is Christmas Eve. A night that is holy for those that are believers that Jesus was born on Christmas day. But, it is also something more than that. It is the day that kids look forward to all year, in hopes that they have been good enough for Santa to come for a visit.

This year for Christmas Eve, we are doing something a little different. We will be staying at home and starting our own family traditions. In the past, we’ve stayed at my Father in law’s house, but this year, we wanted the boys to wake up in their own bed. My wife and I have spent a lot of time talking about traditions that we each had growing up as children and things that we wanted to start doing with the boys and I think. After church, we’ll head back to the house and have dinner, put on new Christmas PJs and watch a few Christmas movies.

For my wife and I, we are getting to witness for the first time that joy and excitement in our boys faces when they see Santa on TV.  I don’t know that I can even put into words how excited I are to see what Santa is bringing the boys, but if I had to guess, there will be a lot of trains appearing Christmas morning.  But just seeing the boys faces light up for the first time after Santa comes, I don’t know that I will be able to put into words how excited I am going to be.


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After a great week of Christmas, please take a moment to reflect on the 2011 year and both the good and use that as your foundation to 2012. So many times, people focus so much on the negative, that they look past the good things that are happening around them. So, out with 2011 and in with 2012. So what are you going to do different this year? How will this be the best year of your life?

For me, I have a list of goals that I would like to complete, which I will share tomorrow, but I want to be grateful and live for today. I want to live like today were my last, because if something where to happen to me today, I would want all of my family and especially my boys to know how much I love them.

So make 2012 the best year of your life, and from my family to yours, Happy New Year!

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My wife and I had been married for 3 years when we found out that we were expecting our little boys. Now going on year 4 of our marriage, we have two little boys, how is our life going to change? What new traditions will we start together as a family of 4 now?

So here is what we have started thus far for our new traditions:
1) Saturday morning breakfast – every Saturday morning, the boys and I get up at 6am, I feed them a bottle and we come downstairs and watch the news together.
2) At our church, which is a Methodist church, we observe communion once a month. Even though we take the boys to the nursery during the service, we do get them and take them to the front of the church for communion. For my wife and I, communion is a very sacred thing and we want our boys to experience that with us, as a family. The boys are too young obviously to partake in communion, but the ministers pray over them as we proceed to take communion.
3) My wife and I alternate the feedings with the boys. Most week nights, we both feed the boys at 6am and at 7pm and then obviously on the weekends, we have them all day, but we alternate feeding the boys each night, so tonight I get one and then the next night, I would feed the other baby. And whoever we feed, we put down to sleep that night.

My wife and I have tried to combine some of the traditions that we had already established and now we are creating new traditions with the boys.

What traditions have you started?

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