What do you think of when you think of traditions? For me, they are the rituals that anchor our family amid the seasons, holidays, and milestones of life: things like specially-decorated cakes for birthdays, monkey bread on Christmas morning, and summer visits to Presque Isle beach. In many ways our family’s annual RV adventures make up so much of the memories we are making with our kids that they have become one of the main pillars of our family’s traditions. The realization that we have such a limited time with our children has spurred Jarrett and I to seize as many moments as we can making memories with our kids. And that is why I am excited to share with you all about a new book my friend Jessica Smartt is releasing this week: It’s called Memory Making Mom.
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I know there are probably some people reading this and thinking to themselves, “My family already has plenty of traditions–I don’t need a book to tell me how to make more.” And I can completely relate to that because before I started reading Memory Making Mom, I kind of felt the same way: I felt like our family already had enough traditions. We make special foods for the holidays. We have special birthday rituals. We go on annual outings to favorite places. And for goodness sake: We take the kids on these epic RV adventures each year.
But after finishing Memory Making Mom, I walked away with a whole new perspective on the “why” of traditions–and how they can breathe life into our homes. Through her book, Jessica offers moms the inspiration they need to make everyday moments with their families intentional and memorable.
She challenges (without any guilt!) to find ways to craft a legacy through family traditions that will “tie us to something larger than ourselves.” Because when we mark those traditions and celebrations, we are reminding ourselves about what matters in this life. It summed up for me one of the main reasons we are RVing and traveling with our kids: When they leave home, we will be sending them off with a heritage of memories and moments that have hopefully shaped their worldview for the better.
And I loved how she reminds us that things won’t go perfectly when we are trying to make those memories, but it is still worth it. Those RV adventures are worth it–even when everyone is testy from too much togetherness in the camper; even when the slide-out breaks for what seems like the 50th time; even when the weather is lousy and ruins your touring plans for the day.
I talked a little bit about this in a blog post from last year entitled “Creating family connections when you can’t take an RV vacation.” Sometimes I know I fall into the trap of thinking that it has to be an incredible experience for the memory to be made. But that’s just not the case: Our kids will remember the awesome trips we took, but I’m fairly confident they will also have special memories of how we worked together to get ready for those trips–and then tackled all that laundry when we came home! Jessica writes that “When we make a memory, something powerful is happening. We are rewriting the story of our families, our own lives. Anyone, anywhere, anytime has this capacity.” And that is so true! Each family will have different ways of making memories—there is no one-size-fits-all method. But we can all be intentional about doing so.
Jessica offers so much wisdom in the pages of Memory Making Mom–so whether we’re new parents or now shepherding tweens and teens, our families will benefit greatly when we take small steps to build those lasting memories through tradition.
And guess what!? I’m giving away a copy of Jessica’s new book! To enter, use the Rafflecopter form below. Don’t want to wait to see if you won? You can also order Memory Making Mom now! Click here to do so!a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Our favorite tradition is celebrating our anniversary each year in Jim Thorpe, PA. Our anniversary coincides with Winter Fest every year. This year I wasn’t sure we would make it with our 5-month old baby and recent sickness. But we did!
That’s awesome! So glad you were able to make it this year!☺️
I love holding our family reunion at our house, there’s nothing like it! Knowing that you can have everyone under one roof all at once….priceless
Family reunions are a treasure! So many memories ☺️
Ashley Waugh says
Being a military family, traditions have to be fluid! Making gingerbread houses every December is a must! And yeast rolls on Christmas Eve with soup then the leftover rolls toasted in the morning. I also decorate the kitchen the night before birthdays for a surprise in the morning for the birthday kid 😊. I heard about this book on a podcast and I’m excited to read it!
Thank you for your family’s service to our country! And thank you for sharing your traditions!
Bonnie Gayman says
Spending Christmas together. We always celebrated our us as a Family. Now they are grown and no matter where our Girls and their families are, we always spend it together.
How beautiful to be together on Christmas! Thanks for sharing!
Diana Alejos says
When our four children were little, we always created an advent calendar to countdown the days until Christmas. Each pocket on the calendar (1-25 days) held a piece of paper with a rhyming clue to where we had hidden a little surprise for each of the kids. They had to figure out the clue to find their treats. They always looked forward to this family tradition each year! Our now grown up children continue this tradition with their own children (our grands!)
We do this with all of the foster children who have lived with us throughout the years, as well. Even though the tradition doesn’t continue when they leave us, they, too, love the activity for the years they are with us!
That is such a great idea! I love the anticipation of it and the clues that they have to solve! 😍