Tonight is the Monster Truck Jam in Raleigh. Michael is taking the boys. There are 2 events Michael takes the boys to every year. The Monster Truck Jam and the Fly-in at the local airport. Michael our boys love things with engines. The first time Michael took Nolan to the Monster Jam he came home and told me it was best night of his life. Michael told me that. (Our wedding and the birth of all of our children had all happened by then….) I don’t go because it’s their thing, and it’s loud. And this year they’re going with their cousin (and we’re all staying all night at their house together).

Nolan woke up at 5 a.m. because he is too excited to sleep. He didn’t go to bed until 9 last night because he was too hungry to sleep. (Should be a great day at 1st grade.)

After Nolan woke up, he woke up Josiah and reminded him that TODAY’S THE DAY! When I found Nolan and Josiah this morning, they were hiding under blankets on the couch grinning as big as their mouths would grin.

We don’t have time to go to the Monster Jam. I’m still swamped with work. Michael has 47 things on his to-due list. I haven’t done laundry all week. I literally do not remember the last day I washed my hair. I just know that for 2 days I have been using dry shampoo. Best. Invention. Ever (except for my programmable coffee maker that grinds and brews). We need to stay home, put the kids to bed at 7, and study.

But the kids are counting on it. This is Nolan’s 4th Monster Jam. Josiah’s 3rd, and Zachary’s 2nd. The Monster Jam comes the same time every year. It’s tradition, and in our home:

Tradition trumps to-do lists.

I have learned that making and keeping traditions is important for building strong families. Traditions foster cohesiveness and build trust. They don’t have to cost a lot of money (unlike cotton candy at Monster Jam = $10/serving!!!). Here are 5 traditions, besides the Monster Jam, our kids can count on:

1. We pray with each child before bed.

2. We eat dinner together around the table (as many nights as possible).

3. We eat food on vacation that we don’t eat any other time of the year.

4. On Christmas morning, we rearrange the furniture to make a big play area in the living room (for some reason, that’s a big deal to them).

5. For their birthdays, I make (pitiful looking) cakes that match the theme of their parties.

We’ve tried things that didn’t stick. Sometimes the silliest things are the ones they remember (and look forward to) the most. And making these little things happen are some of the moments I enjoy most!

What childhood traditions do you remember best? What traditions do your kids count on?

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