27 November 2012

No Big Dill Production Presents!

Before I had kids I had plans for grand productions.  
We were going to have dozens and dozens of traditions for every single holiday.
Traditions that were entwined in meaning and great thought.
Each would be executed flawlessly, worthy of glossy pages in Martha Stewart.
Then.  I actually had a kid.  Plus 5 more.
I wish I could say we have the most spectacular traditions, so much so that the children tug on my sleeve, begging to know when we can start their favorite tradition of...
No.  That's not how it happens, even if that's what the pre-children rehearsals looked like in my head.
There's part of me that feels I need to do more.  Always more.  More decorations, more baking with each child, more symbolic traditions, passing down the ways of my childhood or Ryan's to them, to engrain my preconceived thoughts of how each holiday should be into their forming memories.
But, I'm trying to let that part of me fade as I continually, constantly re-write the script for my family.
Of course we still include some of the most fond traditions from my childhood.  Sauerkraut for Christmas is...Christmas.  That will always be.
But I try not to let the set design and costumes and special effects get in the way of the actual production,
the message I'm trying to teach my family and the most important element of being, doing, and loving together.
Our annual Thanksgiving walk on the beach to reach destination Starbuck's Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate (which I'm determined to recreate chez Dill), is a tradition that I hope wins a few Tonys in the eyes of the participants,
and so far, that one's not a hard sell, except when the sand is whipping in our eyes and we have to walk backwards for the majority of the "to" portion of our journey.
But, I am determined to always enjoy each and every production as long as they're running, because isn't that what it's all about in the first place?
ps I still have a giveaway running here.
pps one of my favorite sales is going on here! (need an invite?)


  1. Perfectly said & I only have 2.....this world piles so many expectations on what a grand production our life should be! We're not big valentine celebrators and so I decided to just make a simple candle lit dinner for my fam of 4 several years ago......this has become a highly anticipated tradition, who knew?!! Being together rules!!

  2. Kera--isn't it funny what they will think is such an amazing tradition that turns out to be so simple? :)

  3. Oh please oh please develop a recipe for the salted caramel hot chocolate! Then share!

  4. You are sooo right! Keep trying though...and i just have 2!

  5. I found this on pinterest the other day, I have not tried it yet but it is worth a try!


  6. Katy, I loved this post. I'm still in the pre-kids dreaming phase and sometimes I get overwhelmed just by all the things I dream of doing! It was a great affirmation of not having to be perfect, but just to love your family dearly. Again, I just loved it!

  7. I loved this post. Traditions and holidays can be hard. My parents and mother in law both live within 20 minutes of us and we are expected at each of their homes for every holiday. Which leaves no time for us to make our own holiday traditions. We are trying to slowly trying to make the holidays about our own little family of 5, but without hurting any feelings. It's an art and a very difficult balance.

  8. I actually thought of your family on Thanksgiving because I've been a reader long enough to know your family takes a walk on Thanksgiving. I truly enjoy keeping track of your family and the fantastic sewing projects too! :)

  9. I also love salted caramel hot chocolate, but not the starbucks price tag. This weekend I used some extra whipping cream to make this butterscotch http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/12/ridiculously-easy-butterscotch-sauce/

    And really, isn't butterscotch, sort of just caramel with salt? We also got some fancy hot chocolate as a wedding gift, so tonight I will combine the two and report back how it tastes!

  10. Aw I love your life posts. There is a street here called Peacock Lane that puts on the best light show in the city. I've gone nearly every year since I was little, and it's fun to take my kids now. We also have a major Christmas music tradition - it's on pretty much constantly starting the day after Thanksgiving. Oh and Chex party mix...I need to make some of that STAT. :) It's fun once you start your own family to figure out which traditions to let go of, which to hang on to, and which to start.

  11. Your little Drummer is absolutely delicious! What a sweet family.

  12. Oy! why is it us mother's are so hard on ourselves??? I'm just saying from a person on the outside looking in, you guys are doing great, love is your tradition!

  13. The sixth photo down is really striking, Katy. Enjoyed the post too :)

  14. This year has been a defining year for me in terms of traditions as well. I haven't figured out anything new really, but I feel different about it all. This posts really resonates with me. You're the best my friend. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

  15. Oh and I MUSt try that hot chocolate. I'm dying to recreate it too just by looking at it!

  16. Katy--Your dad will attest to my breakdowns at Christmas trying to make it the most wonderful and memorable for everyone. I never could quite achieve my visions. Then I, like you, finally realized it was being next to each other that was the most important with a little ambiance thrown in! You're the best.

  17. The traditions that are the most meaningful for my family are the ones born in the act of being a family - cheeseburgers on Christmas Eve, not-boiled custard, and pranking my uncle were all products of time and a ton of laughter.

    My sister and I remember these things best and really hold them close to our hearts. They don't seem like much, but the years without them are somehow less full.

  18. Williams-Sonoma has a salted caramel hot chocolate...CHOCOLATE not cocoa. It's actually shaved chocolate ready for melting with milk. I haven't tried it yet but I thought you might be interested.

  19. For what it is worth, I have seen some of our family traditions....change over the years. Now that my children are gown, special events have a different kind of special-ness to them.
    Now I am the matriarch and that is very, very strange.
    I am the big boss. Haha
    But we have started doing some neat things that are unique because I am now in that role.
    One example is last year at Christmas we did a Southern themed meal. My husband is from the south and we lived there for 8 years.
    This Christmas we might do a Mexican themed meal, partly because I have a special needs daughter who LOVES taco salad.
    We keep the traditional foods at Thanksgiving, but I am seeing a new trend for Christmas.
    It is helping us all ease into big kids going to in-laws or that sweet other person's house for part of the day.

    I don't know, I think I like it.

    All those sweet traditions we did when they were little, like yours, seem to have laid a great foundation for continued building.

  20. Wanted to chip in, and say thanks for inspiring our new tradition. I read last year about the Book Advent you did. I have spent all year collecting Christmas themed books and stories to make my own this year. My mum made my kids a wall-hanging calender in time for this December, so I put one chocolate coin and a card with a book title/page reference on it. On day 2 now and they are loving it! I also like the way we can use this as another opportunity to educate them about the actual meaning of Christmas without being heavy-handed (mine are 6,4 and 2). The other bonus is that 24 divides by three nicely, with enough repetition that they get lots of goes at finding the number and eating the chocolate while all getting to enjoy the story. This may well become one of our new Christmas traditions.


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