Wednesday, July 28, 2010

So I'm Not Hank Williams, Jr.

But I do have some family traditions. None of them involve getting stoned (though Bub and Little Bit do love to throw rocks) or even all that drunk. Having just taken the kids to spend a week with my parents, I've been wondering what practices and activities my children will think of as "traditions" as they grow up, what little moments will be cherished in their memories. I've also been starting to think about this blog as, in part, a family archive -- something my kids will be able to read some day to learn about their mom and about earlier versions of themselves. I'm thinking I'm going to make it a tradition to post about traditions.
For the second year in a row, NTB, the boys and I have made jam. Last year, we made strawberry. This year, we went a little crazy and added blackberries and raspberries as well. We also added some cinnamon because Bub was hell-bent on it. If you ask him about the jam, he will say it is "Berry Berry Cinnamon" or "Triple Berry Jam."
Crushing the fruit is the most fun, of course.
Note proximity of nose to fruit.
Helps to explain why this jam is a family-only product -- sorry foks!
Hmmm, six jars of jam when the recipe was only supposed to yield five.
Not sure how that happened.

The floor picture is also a family tradition. I took them with my siblings and cousins. I pose my own kids in them. Now that I'm thinking about floor shots, I want to write an entire post about them and include pictures. For now, here are a few recent shots of Bub, Little Bit, and Sweet P.
I love how these photos capture their little (but big) personalities.

When we were in Ohio, we had the opportunity to watch the final performance of my nieces' Rock Star Dance Camp. The highlight was the wattage of Swiper and Fancy's grins throughout the routine. They were having so much fun, just beaming. The girls asked my sister LAP to put sponge curlers in their hair the night before, which totally reminded my of my own girlhood. My sisters and I always wanted curls for a "big day." I look forward to the days when my little Sweet P will go to bed with pink rollers, big dreams, and delicious anticipation of the day to come.
Sweet P seems taken with her curly-haired, Rock Star dancing cousins. And vice versa, NTB.

Another tradition, though certainly not one unique to us, is going out to dinner for one's anniversary. Because I have such a refined palette or, um, maybe because I don't get out much (read: next to never), I can choose pretty much any place in Chicago, and he will make it happen.* NTB. This year, I chose Girl & The Goat, the newly-opened restaurant of Top Chef Season 4 Winner Stephanie Izard. It's not the most romantic atmosphere (which I knew going in), particularly if you are seated at a communal table (not as awkward as it sounds since the couple across from us were super nice and also have three kids--they described themselves as "four years ahead of" us as their kids are 8, 6, and 4. They promised that it gets easier). Anyway, the food was delicious -- best green beans I have ever eaten, and I also want to raise the roof for the smoked goat pizza, the scallops with pork belly on top, and the corny goat bread.
I don't think I'll make the self-portrait-on-the-way-home shot a tradition, though it could have turned out way worse. Seven years and we're still smiling!

Any traditions being forged in your family this summer? Bloggers, to what extent do you consider your blog a family archive? That's not how I originally conceived of mine, but I've been considering that aspect more lately. Anyone made any jam this summer? Please share in the comments (your thoughts, not your jam).

*With a little help from others -- Thanks, Dory!


Lap said...

We get pizza and have family movie night almost every Friday, especially during the schoolyear. (Playing outside sometimes wins out in the summer which is fine.). We eat out of the plastic popcorn cups and the kids all sit in their anywhere chairs. I've recently decided to start a tradition of taking each kid out by herself on her half birthday. Birthdays are crazy and already exciting for them so why not have another special day later in the year? Those are two off the top of my head.

Good to have you back on the blog. You look nice in your anniversary picture! I also liked your description of fancy and swipers smiles:)

Stacia said...

The traditions we have are mainly focused on Christmas, perhaps because my favorite summer tradition is staying inside while the AC blows on me. And as good as that one is, I better come up with some more, don't you think?

PS: Happy Anniversary!!
PPS: How cute are your kiddos' smiles?!

Heather said...

I started this blog to share stories/pics of the kids with my out-of-town family. Then it morphed into bonding with other bloggers and making new friends and having an outlet to vent about my life in general. I still consider it a family archive, though, but I need to back it up on some discs in case blogger ever deletes it (I've heard horror stories).

Do you have a simple recipe for jam? I would love to use my blackberries for that! Please share.

You have me thinking about traditions now...sounds like a good post.

I LOVE the pic of you and your honey! Happy Anniversary! You look so happy!

Sorry I missed your Ohio trip...maybe we can meet up on the next one?

cake said...

awesome post. i love the jam photos, and really love the shot of sweet pea staring, in utter fascination, at her curly cousins.

whenever i freak out about how i haven't kept up with printed photo albums (as i had hoped to do) or made a traditional baby book with consistent entries (we have a "baby box"), i remember that i have this steady blog, with images and notes about our family life since cosmo's birth, and i feel better. i want to do the blog to print thing, but haven't gotten around to it yet. hope blogger doesn't crash and burn before i get a chance!

Actchy said...

While all of the photos in this post warmed my heart, the one of you and your hubby made me smile the biggest. Happy Anniversary, guys.

E... said...

Loved hearing about your family traditions -- they are great ones, that I am sure your kids will remember fondly, much as they will enjoy reading about their lives and yours on this blog. I have always seen my blog as an archive of my kids' lives, though I would like it to also reflect my own interests and experiences. I'm afraid I'm not as successful on that front, though the pure idea of writing posts does get get me thinking about what is going on in my own inner life, even if the posts don't always get written.
I am jealous of your meal at Girl and the Goat, and seriously can't wait until we can plan our shared Top Chef tour. Thank you again for your recommendation of Graham Elliot when we were in town. So delicious.
Our own family traditions are evolving. O. recently put in a request for game night, and I'm looking forward to making it a regular occurrence. Eating out at a local place on Friday nights is probably one we've fallen into. I am also currently trying to construct an advent calendar of sorts to help make the countdown to N's birthday/start of school/New Baby's arrival a little more concrete for the kids, so I can see a similar thing becoming a tradition for important dates. Sure do miss you and wish we could plan some joint family traditions!

The Empress said...

It's so funny you bring this up. I just saw an ad tonight for "blog2book" where they make your blog into a hard bound book. It is exactly this reason why I won't print anything that I wouldn't want my children to read about me to their children.
Exactly why I keep my nose clean.

Adorable pix...

Mrs.Mayhem said...

Those photos are so overwhelmingly sweet, with your three little ones in a row. Actually, it brought back memories from years ago, when i had two little boys and one baby girl. Cherish this fun time!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the shout out, Megan! Troy said you both had a really nice time and he also commented about how great the green beans, goat pizza, and scallops were! I was drooling a bit when he described everything. I'm going to check out the "Girl" as soon as I can get myself a reservation (they're tough to come by). Happy Anniversary!

P.S. Your kids are too cute!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

I love traditions! They are what tie us from one year to the next and from generation to generation. We have lots that focus around the holidays, but everyday traditions are just as (if not more) important.

msh said...

i am insanely jealous of your close proximity to so many top chef/top chef master dining experiences. it's just not fair.
(but happy anniversary!!!! 7 years! and i am quite impressed with the jam tradition! makes me hungry for some toast!)

CaraBee said...

I love the pictures of all three lined up. It's stuff like that that makes me reconsider my no more kids ruling.

My blog is our family archive. I never made a baby book and there are no photo albums, so this is it. I've begun the process of creating a book out of the first two years, but since I am so particular and there are a lot of posts, it's a lengthy project. I hope to finish it up before too long.

I love the picture of you and T-Baby! So rare to see a photo of the two of you! Congrats on 7 happy years and to many, many more!

PS - Not sure what I think about goat pizza.

dusty earth mother said...

Love the jam pictures, Mep. It looks tres yummy even with the nose in close proximity. And blog as archive? Yes, indeed. I seriously should make a hard copy of stuff, though, because I have kind of a computer black thumb; I just know that all my stuff is going to disappear from the blogosphere at some point, never to be retrieved. Heavy sigh.

Anonymous said...

Hey..... The thought of smoked goat cheese pizza has me in a tizzy!!! Where is the Girl and the Goat? We're going!!! You city dwellers are always in the right place @ the right time.
The shots of your sweet children are fantastic. And Happy Anniversary to you and your handsome husband! Wow, 7 years has gone by sooooo fast....

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