family fun

Family Fun: New Family Summer Traditions

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Finding new family traditions while fostering old ones is a challenge that all parents have faced a one time or another. How do you find the activity that your will children will not only enjoy, but will hopefully remember for the rest of their lives and possibly carry on with their own families?

I know that I have not given my parents enough credit over the years. They raised 6 children with a 15 years age difference and I am the youngest. With that many children in the family, I know that the family activity budget was limited and necessity became the mother of invention. They also had the added challenge of entertaining teenagers and small children all at the same time. No small task!

What I remember the most was spending a lot of time together camping! We spent a lot of time outdoors while my father taught us to fish on the canoe and my mother was a culinary expert of the camp fire. But the best times were hiking and enjoying each others' company as well as a couple s'mores around the campfire. We did this as often as we could. As the kids grew up and started to move away, our camping trips evolved into camp grounds with different amenities and eventually graduating to the cabins and toboggan runs this last winter. While the locations and activities have changed, the love of spending time with each other in the midst of nature has remained the same.

We are now organizing family reunions with the grand children and starting new traditions. Four years ago we held our first ever Shepherd family reunion right before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. With that in mind, we held our own family Olympics with events ranging from relay races to water balloon volleyball and even a mock awards ceremony. Everyone had a great time, both young and old.

We also rented a huge blow up bounce house. This was a huge hit with all the ages. It was also a fun way to stay nice and cool.

That same reunion introduced our newest and probably one of our best traditions with the arrival of the “Family Film Festival.” As children, we made a lot of home movies that we still enjoy watching and laughing over to this day. We decided to involve the next generation by having each family prepare a movie before the reunion. With treats and drinks in hand, we set up a home theater and laughed until tears ran down our legs! We have repeated this tradition and I think that it will continue to get better and better as the bar is raised with each reunion!

Thank you Mom and Dad for working so hard to keep the family traditions alive!

 What are your favorite family traditions?

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