Birthdays are kind of a big deal around here. They are basically our own holiday. Mal loves to spend time planning and making the cakes with the kids. Rick loves to take the day off work to celebrate.
The birthday child gets to pick what we eat for each meal and what we get to do most of the day. Sometimes it's the splash pad or the pool, going to a movie or a children's museum, having friends over, etc.
We also love to have a party with Grandpas and Grandmas, Aunts and Uncles, and Cousins on a weekend close to their birthday.
Valentines Day is always a fun day! The kids love to help make decorations and fun meals. We play a game or watch a movie. The kids get treats and new books and Rick always plans a fun date night just for Mom and Dad.
St. Patrick's Day
The kids spend a lot of time getting ready for St. Patrick's Day. They love to leave out coins for the Leprechaun to turn into gold chocolate coins and other candies. They also like to make traps to try to catch the Leprechaun. The Leprechaun also turns all of our food green.
Easter is such a fun holiday for us. We have an Easter Egg hunt and dinner with extended family on a Saturday close to Easter. On Easter we have an Easter Egg hunt at home in the morning and then attend Sacrament Meeting and Church classes. We celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ and talk about the things that He has done for us as we do fun activities at home and make a really amazing dinner.
May 1st is the day that Rick and I had our first blind date. He asked me out to go hiking to a waterfall and the rest is history! We celebrate May 1st each year by going out to do something fun like hiking or biking.
It's all about being together with family, barbeques, and biking! We also use this time to talk about those who came before us and gave us the life that we have.
The 4th of July
The 4th of July is always so much fun! We drive up to Rick's family's house to get ready for the big parade. Grandpa finds a great spot on the grass to set up everyone’s chairs. We also get to see Aunts and Uncles and play with the cousins. We all dress up in red, white and blue and everyone gets bags to collect candy that is thrown from the parade floats. The kids love it so much!
After the parade we go back to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for a barbecue. We spend the afternoon with the grownups talking and the kids playing with each other. Grandma always has fun activities for everyone.
Later we get ready for fireworks. Some years we go visit Mal's family to watch the fireworks and sometimes we come back home to watch fireworks at the park. We get to go biking until it gets dark. Then we bring out the glowsticks and sit on a blanket to enjoy the fireworks show.
The kids love to pick out their costumes weeks in advance so they can play and run around in them all month. Close to Halloween every year we have a Halloween party with Grandpa and Grandma and cousins. We have dinner, games, and a piñata!
We have started the tradition of painting our pumpkins rather than just carving them because they last a lot longer and we can get even more creative and it has been a blast. Rick is a master at using the natural grooves or stems to make something really cool. This year we were able to travel to the kids' Uncle and Aunt's farm to pick out our pumpkins. It is always so fun to see family and visit the farm!
On Halloween night we make homemade pizza and watch a movie. Mal hands out candy to the neighbors and keeps hot chocolate waiting on the stove. Rick takes the kids trick or treating around the neighborhood. Our two youngest have food allergies so the "Switch Witch" magically changes all of the candy into safe candy.
For Thanksgiving we have our own family meal the Sunday before Thanksgiving so no matter what we can always have a celebration together even when extended families have different schedules.
On the actual day of Thanksgiving we take turns with our extended families celebrating and enjoying the day. Mal and the kids have fun making apple pie and Rick loves making his famous sweet potatoes.
We talk about the things that we are grateful for and make a "gratitude tree" - writing the thing that we are grateful for on leaves and display it to remember what we talked about.
We love to have Christmas parties with our extended families and exchange gifts with our neighbors. The kids have named our elves Peppermint Cookie Blizzard III or "Peppy" for short and Holly Eve Noel. They come to visit to make sure we are being good for Santa to come on Christmas.
On Christmas Eve we read the story of the birth of Jesus Christ from both the Bible and in the Book of Mormon. We also love to watch different video versions of the story. It really sets the mood for us and reminds us what Christmas is all about. We like to light luminarias and line our sidewalk and driveway to light the way for the Christ child. Mal served as a missionary in New Mexico and learned this beautiful tradition from the people there.
On Christmas Day Rick makes an amazing breakfast after we open gifts. Then we spend the day traveling to visit and spend time with our extended families.
Our elves Peppy and Holly come to visit us all Christmas Season and bring lots of fun with them!