Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Favorite New Traditions of 2009

This past year, we've started two traditions in our family that I just LOVE!

First, we realized that we had the same number of missionaries out from our ward as we had people in our family, so at least one Sunday a month, we sit down and write to the missionaries. Each family member writes to at least one. It's put a new focus in our family. Dearelder.com has made this process so much easier.

I'm infamous for writing a letter and not getting it into an envelope, or if I get it in the envelope, not addressing it, or if addressed, not getting a stamp on it, or if it's stamped, not getting it into the mail. That's just who I am. I'm embarrassed to say. Dearelder.com does the whole thing and most of the time, the missionary gets the letter the next day. To write to some missions, you're required to pay postage, but some are absolutely free. It's WONDERFUL! Sorry, I didn't mean for this to become an advertisement, but it really is a great service they offer.

Second, some time early in the year, we realized that our eldest had no desire to attend church dances. This is an activity we want our kids to be enthusiastic about. It was something Z and I did as kids, and it was a great way to make new friends. She was having a hard time getting excited about the dances because she only has a few girls her age in our ward, and they weren't dance goers either. So, we put a plan together.

Each week before a dance, we allowed her to invite enough friends from around the area to come to our home for pizza and games before the dance. Because we can't afford to buy pizza each time, we asked each kid who came to pitch in a couple bucks, and we went out before they arrived and bought pizza and provided soda and usually brownies or some kind of dessert. Q also became engrossed in getting the house clean for her friends. Many weeks, she wanted to do it alone, so she knew it was just how she wanted it. That's something I'm not going to argue with.

She actually started looking forward to dances. We've had a variety of kids here and now that G is attending dances too, he invites half and she invites the other half. Some kids in other wards have started this same tradition. It's been great to see it grow and watch groups of kids bond together. It seems that a lot of kids who were hesitant to go before now have the support of other kids in their wards and schools to go with them. YAY!!!

The other twist that's been added to this is that sometimes the dances are kind of far away. On these occasions, Z and I will have our weekly date in the town where the dance is. We'll find a fun restaurant and have dinner and enjoy one another's company for a few hours while our kids are off having fun. We've even had another set of parents drive a van-full of kids, and we've double dated with them and then gone back to pick up the dancers.

With the kids we have, this tradition should go on for years and years. I'm hopeful that our children will look forward to turning fourteen and attending the dances.

2009 has been a great year for our family. There have been a lot of positive changes. I'm looking forward to what 2010 holds.


Anonymous said...

Great ideas, J!

Nikia, May and da kids said...

You know that dance tradition is great. Mind if I pass that along to our Youth Leaders over here? The kids are so spread out in our Stake, some driving over an hour and a half away that they too get discouraged making that trip. Maybe pizza or sleepovers to make it easier for kids in the Stake to get to know each other.

That website is a FANTASTIC tip! Thank you. Never heard of it until now.


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