One morning while I was making breakfast I turned on the new FamilySearch recipe videos for the children to watch.
The little boys watched and watched oohing and aaahing over the traditions and recipes shared. The fourth time through the videos they moved to a bigger screen for closer inspection if ingredients and they needed their hands to eat their breakfast burritos. They critiqued the ease and/or difficulty of the food preparation. They discussed how they would alter the recipe, leaving out ingredients they did not like or additions that would enhance the food. Apparently, Si, from A Bountiful Kitchen, did not add enough chocolate chips in her family cookie recipe. The boys were not convinced even after I told them that they were indeed perfect, having tried such cookie from Si. We will have to make them ourselves and see what they think.
An impromptu dance party happened when the French onion soup music came on and the morning turned into an unexpected teaching moment, in a way that was relatable and fun the children were learning about how food and family history are connected. Often when I bring up a topic, they roll their eyes and tune me out, this morning they were engaged and asking questions, and I just sat back and enjoyed the process.
"Mom, let's start a tradition."
"We already have food traditions. Can you think of any?"
I was met with blank stares and doubting minds. They are not convinced that we already have food traditions. They wanted to adopt one of the ones featured in the videos.
Then I proceeded to tell them all the different ways food is part of our family history and narrative, from holidays to comfort food our lives are filled with memories that revolve around food. The boys quickly joined in talking about their favorite foods and how we could make our own food video.
Steve Rockwood of FamilySearch said, “No matter where you live and no matter where your family is from, in all cultures throughout the world, we have all gathered joyously around food in the kitchen, around the dinner or breakfast table, centered around homemade dishes prepared thoughtfully by a loved one. We perpetuate these wonderful experiences and, in a very real sense, honor our heritage when we share these wonderful recipes with our children and grandchildren."
You can watch his RootsTech presentation here: "What is your Rocky Road." His talk doesn't have a title, so I made one up from a question he asked the audience after sharing one of his family food traditions. He talked about food traditions in such a beautiful, engaging, and delicious way and inspired me to want to create more meaningful cookbooks and recipes.
I am viewing our food preparation and time together in new ways. It also comes at a perfect time for us as our family meal time is harder to have with conflicting schedules. Family dinners have always been important to us, something I learned from my parents and grandparents. It would be so easy to let this time go in the business of our lives, but the value is irreplaceable, so I appreciate a beautiful reminder of the learning and memories that take place in our home.
I hope you will join me in documenting those smells and tastes that fill our memories with love. If you want to learn more about FamilySearch/Recipes go here or here. You will find examples and questions to help you think about your family food traditions. I have a few stories I am just finishing up to share with the family. Legacies and heirlooms that will help them remember who they are and where they come from because that is what is important.
As I was looking for photos to use in the food tradition blog post, I came across these adorable photos from 2010, and I thought about how the food we eat affects all parts of our lives. For example this simple nursery rhyme:
This little piggy when to market,
this little piggy stayed home,
this little piggy had roast beef.
This little piggy had none and
this little piggy went wee, wee, wee all the way home.
I have never understood why the pig has roast beef. Of all the foods in the world, why that particular meat. I've even done a little sleuthing to see what I could find online, and I'm still not satisfied with any of the reasons. So when we started having children, I changed it. My piggy was going to eat tortillas, because who doesn't love a delicious homemade tortilla. No one I know. I know it's too many syllables for the rhyme and it gets shortened to "tillas" the second and third time around.
It was a simple decision, something I certainly didn't give a great deal of thought to at the time. I don't like roast beef; I do like tortillas.
However today as I have been thinking about food traditions and how much food affects so many different areas of our lives, this simple thing is perhaps more meaningful. So much of our lives revolves around food. We need food to survive so it's only natural that the same life-giving substance should also be pleasurable and evoke memories. Smells are powerful, and the smell of homemade tortillas makes me feel safe and loved. It is the smell of love, for tortillas come from the kitchens of my maternal line filled with strength and resilience.
Today everyone is too big to have their toes wiggled and then tickled with a silly nursery rhyme. But perhaps one day when I have grandchildren I will wiggle their toes, and my home will be filled with the aroma of homemade tortillas as I kiss their little cheeks and tell them stories of their parents and the lives lived before them.
Look what I found while trying to find something for another project. These photos are from last year, but perfect for this week and the starting of RootsTech.
One of the first things I noticed is the light in Guelita's eyes has dimmed. She has Alzheimer's, and it's amazing the change I immediately noticed. It's happening so slowly, yet quickly, but in an instant, I saw these photos I could see it. Her short term memory is nearly gone, and it's hard to see her body deteriorate, but she has lived a good life and misses Guelito terribly.
One day while I was visiting with her I bought out her wedding picture, turned on my phone and started recording her talking about the photo and that time in her life. It was unscripted and simple, just Guelita and I at the kitchen table. This is what I love about family history; there are not rules. It can be a simple as a video and photos on your phone to the words on a page. There is no wrong way the beauty lies in the record and sharing the stories with others.
These photos were going to be something I was doing for last year's Easter celebration: Hallelujah. You can still watch the video about how Christ is the reason we will see our loved ones again. Each of the children picked someone they wanted to know better. I remember thinking I am going to focus on each of these people during the next year, but I forgot. I got busy with other things and didn't follow through, but the beauty of family history is that it's never to0 late to start. I can start this week, and we can remember these special ancestors who have shaped our lives.
One story a week. I can do that.
Not a biography, a story. Something simple.
As I think about my RootsTech experience the last two years, I am amazed at all that I've learned about family history in general.
I'm not an expert and might not ever become one. I am constantly asking friends and family members to get me out of binds it's amazing the messes I can get myself into, but with each mixup, I learn more than I would have otherwise, and the most important thing I have learned is nothing is permanent. Everything can be fixed, and the important thing is that I am trying.
Family history is for everyone. There is something that everyone can do, no matter your circumstance and situation in life. Big or small your efforts will be rewarded in ways you never thought possible.
Little things over a long period of time yield big results. I don't have significant periods of time to devote to family history, but a minute here and a minute there create a greater whole. I've learned not to disregard the single minutes.
The story is important, perhaps essential. This is certainly not a new knowledge for me; I am the storyteller in my family. I am the record keeper and talk about it regularly here, there and everywhere. The thing I have seen the last couple of years is how much this knowledge has been reaffirmed over and over again.
Open the books. I have books sitting on my shelf about my ancestors, files on hard drives, and stories on FamilySearch. They don't help me if I don't open them. Great sacrifice was made so that I could have them. I am grateful more and more each day.
Our ancestors don't like to be called dead. Now this might sound crazy, and technically their bodies are dead, but their spirits are very much alive and help in miraculous ways to find their records. I could tell you experience after experience whether personal or from a friend, neighbor or from an email of how the ancestors' presence was felt. It's impossible to put into words, but it's real and powerful. Miraculous.
Your love will grow in ways you never thought possible. I feel like it's a cliche to say, I've heard it so many times for teachers and apostles. Family history was always for someone else, or I'm too young, or whatever excuse I have felt or given. As I result I have missed out one some beautiful relationships that I am making with my ancestors. I am so thankful for their lives in new and beautiful ways.
Everything circles back to love. Love of family. Love of the Savior who made this all possible.
Posted on February 06, 2017 at 04:00 AM in A & C family, Brick, Dash, faith, family, family history, Fred, Gus, Ivan & Beth Cutler family, John, John & Teresa Kimball family, Loafie, Rock, RootsTech, Samantha (aka: Arnold), Samuel & Hermila Alba Family, Tank, Whitney (aka: Munch) | Permalink | Comments (0)
My intentions are good. Some years I am on top of things, and everything falls into place. This is not that kind of year. I started this process of choosing a Christmas card in November. I had everything planned, and it was going to be easy. I had an amazing assortment of wonderfully beautiful pictures. I had most of the addresses ready to go from the wedding, and now Christmas is just days away, and I never got around to finishing.
I love Christmas cards. I love cards in general. I love writing a simple message of love and thinking about each person and how much they mean to me as I prepare each card to be mailed. But this year I got sick and lost weeks just trying to survive, nothing serious a terrible sinus infection, but the medications gave me some adverse effects. I wondered which was worse the infection or the drugs.
So this year it will just be a digital version and will perhaps only reach a few who come and visit here, but please know that I thought about you, the people I love to send cards to. Know that you have been in my heart and how much you mean to me. This might be impersonal, but this year I hope you will forgive impersonal.
From our house to yours. We wish you the merriest of holidays. As we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, we are filled with peace and joy of His life and ministry. He is our all.
I try to get the children new pajamas each year. In the past, our tradition has typically been to open the pajamas on Christmas Eve just before bed. Then there would be a Christmas movie and giant sleepover. However, as our lives change our traditions change. It was cute and fun having a bunch of tiny little people sleeping on our bedroom floor. Not so much now that they are big, snoring, and staying up late. Besides most of them want to sleep in their beds as the floor is not so comfortable. The three youngest are holdouts, but the end up sleeping around the Christmas tree, so it all works out.
Old tradition leave and new traditions start.
Our new tradition is to gather the first Sunday of the month of December, have a nice dinner, watch the Christmas devotional and then open the pajamas. A couple of reasons I made the switch. First conflicting schedules. Our entire married lives we have juggled our different family traditions. We each gave up something to make it all fit, but the problem is it doesn't leave much time for our own little family to start our own. Not without giving up more and I want my children to have the associations and traditions with their grandparents. That was something I loved growing up.
So we've been looking for ways to create meaningful traditions that won't interfere with what we already have and more importantly with what our future in-law families will bring. I am learning that the event isn't about a date or place, it's about the people who are with you and I want to continue to provide times when we can all be together.
Another reason for changing the date is I adore festive Christmas pajamas and would much rather see them all during December rather than all during January. I know it's silly, but I'm okay with it. However, I think I might only get plaid pajamas from now on. I love plaid, and you can wear plaid all year long.
Starting our new tradition, that is really an old tradition. John's mom would give the children a children's book every year, still, does. This year she gave us The Christmas Story by Robert Sabuda. The pop-up cutouts are beautiful and will hopefully last longer with fewer tiny people. I decided to start our Christmas book tradition this year now that Whitney and Andrew are married. I also decided to give all the children their own copy of Mr. Willowby's Christms Tree by Robert Barry. It has always been the children's favorite and a good place to start. The younger children thought it was crazy to give them their own copy to keep until they move out, but if I don't give everyone the same thing every year, but the time Loaf moves out, and everyone in between it will be a chaotic mess of who has what. This way we can all read together, and I can just put their books in their "when I move out" storage boxes.
New traditions. Old traditions. So happy to spend time together.
Nearly every night since we put the tree up the three youngest have slept in the music room around the light of the tree. I hear them talking about what their gifts might be and the adventures of the previous day. Laughter fills the room, and I hope that they will always remember these moments together. Last night they wanted to sleep with their ancestors and cuddled up under our fan chart quilts.
At the beginning of November as part of my family history display I was created I remembered this local company that made family history fan chart quilts: see here. It was a last minute order in preparation for a conference, and they were so fantastic to work with me to get them done in time. Thanks to everyone at Stitched Custom quilts. I planned to take a quilt when I go and teach because it's such a great backdrop and of course I love quilts.
The quilts were sitting on the couch waiting for me to photograph when the little people pulled them out one evening after dinner and started reading the names and asking questions. I sat and watched for several minutes while they giggled and talked and recognized the names of people. They were creating connections in a way I had not anticipated. They put John's quilt and my quilt together to create a big circle and remarked about how all these people must love them.
They wanted to know more about their ancestors; they wanted stories from the names on the quilt. I found the perfect app/site to help me with this: All my stories. It's not really an app, you use your browser, but it compiles and shows all the stories that people have added to FamilySearch. I just keep it open on my phone and can see if there is anything to share quickly. It has also made me realize once again how important it is to include the stories so I have something to share.
I will have to admit that the fan chart has never meant very much to me, but that night my love for a simple graph grew into something tangible for all of us.
Now the children will grab a quilt and say they want to wrapped up in the love of their ancestors.
It made me think to a darling friend, who at the conference said those exact things. She wanted to get a quilt for her grandchildren when they are born so they can be wrapped up love. What a brilliant idea, although I think I have a few children that might want one now.
I have no affiliation with this company, nor is this a sponsored post. I just happened to find them and never dreamed that the quilts would be so meaningful in our home. Here are the details, you need to download your fan chart using your FamilySearch account. If you don't have an account, you can sign up for free. It will aways be free. FamilySearch is a nonprofit family history organization dedicated to connecting families across generations. FamilySearch believes that families bring joy and meaning to life.
Once you have downloaded your fan chart pdf, upload it in the required spot on the fan chart quilt order form and order. They will print the quilt, quilt the quilt, bind the quilt and ship it to you ready to use. They use Minky fabric on the back, so it's very soft which the children love. I did ask them to boost the color a little bit, to make the fan chart a little brighter.
Stitched Custom Quilts has generously offered a 20% off coupon code to use by the 14th of December to get your quilt in time for Christmas. Type FAMILYSEARCH in the checkout coupon done for the discount on the fan chart quilt. Thank you Stitched Custom Quilts.
A dear friend shared a recent experience where one of her young daughters said, "Don't worry, we're the B______'s, we got this!" when faced with a challenging situation. I haven't been able to stop thinking about this innocent declaration of understanding of not only who she is, but who her family is. As I looked around at my children last night with the bickering and teasing, I stopped and asked myself, "do my children feel the same way?" Do they face a challenge and say, "I've got this." and square their shoulders and get it done because they know who they are and that they have a support group waiting to help if needed? Do they remember the countless prayers offered on their behalf, for their success and strength? Do they remember daily "I love you!" and kisses as they walk out the door?
As I watched the little people being interviewed yesterday, I saw a glimpse of that knowledge that they do in fact know who they are and that they are treasured. It wasn't perfect; it isn't supposed to be, life is messy. It's complicated and filled with ups and downs, but together we can accomplish anything. Together we can pull together and say, "Don't worry. We're the Kimball's; We got this!"
I'm not sure if any of the footage will be used. Maybe early next year, but it was chaos on the couch. I probably should have prepped some of the answers, but I wanted them to be authentic. There were some gems. Clearly, we didn't color coordinate. Finding non-logo apparel was more challenging for the boys, rethinking future wardrobe purchases. After thanking the children of participating Dash said, "Wait. We had a choice?" I don't think he cracked a smile the entire time we were filming, which I don't understand because he was so excited to go. Ups and downs.
One of the reasons I love Jonathan Canlas, besides his fantastic images, is his interaction with people. He has a gift for making you feel at ease. He makes you feel valued and important in a genuine way. He cares about you. Perhaps it's part of a bigger relationship that has formed over the years, but I have felt this way since our first session when Loaf was a baby. Jon is just a loving person with a wonderful gift and skill with a camera.
His portraiture work is wonderful, but I adore the candid images that he captures. The true moments of who we are and our relationships. He doesn't force a situation, but rather is able to recognize and capture the seemingly ordinary moments that in the end are remarkable.
Also, Ellie was so good to sit and be involved in the photo shoot. I have to say it again, she is the best dog.
Another thing I love about Jon, he just takes his shoes off and becomes part of the family. We are a take your shoes off and join in the fun kind of group and I this one action endeared him even more.
You can read a little bit about his philosophy when it comes to shooting families here: Jon Canlas on Film and family. Dash is one of the photos featured in the bottom.
It's fun to see what everyone else was going while some of the shots were being taken.
Ellie getting a little love from her girls. She looked pretty cute in her black bow.
I didn't take too many photos as there was so much happening as we were trying also getting ready for the ring ceremony that would happen later that evening. It was a busy few days, but it was so wonderful.
Side note: I've learned about lightroom templates, I'm sure it's not new, but wow! I want to stand up and cheer. It has revolutionized the photo to blog process making it faster and easier. Eliminating steps in my workflow just gave me the boost I needed to blog more frequently. HOORAY.
The day before Whitney got married Jonathan Canlas came over to the house and took photos of my side of the family as nearly all of us were in town for the wedding. I also had Jon take some just of our little group in non-wedding clothing. I love, although that is a minuscule word for how much I adore these images. They are a treasure.
How I love this man! My best friend, my love, my other half. He shares his food when his order is better than mine. He is patient when I give terrible navigating directions, and he tells me I am more beautiful every day.
The original nine. I might always take an original nine photo each time we have a family shoot. Not because I want to exclude the children that will join our family, but I think it would be fun to document these nine over the years like this.
She might have stolen the show or at best there is a high percentage of photos of little miss Loaf. I'm also so thankful these images were captured before her hair got cut a couple of weeks later while we were in the UK. Thankfully it seems to grow quickly and will be long once again.
I wish I had photos like this with each of my children. Truly one of the best things about being in the pictures. I think Jon captured the love we have for one another. How grateful I am for this single moment.
Tank might be the second most photographed person. He loved being in front of the camera, and his expressions are priceless!
Helping. These are some of the favorite kinds of photos that Jon captures. They melt my heart.
Because my the world would wrong without them. They love and build and bring light. They laugh and tease and support. Daughters. Sisters. Best friends.
These two are best friends.
She had a hard time learning to love Andrew because he brought another huge change in her life. She wasn't sure she would ever see Whitney again, and that was hard for her to understand. They have since become friends, but change will always be something she will have to deal with.
Jon told arranged them and then let their personalities shine.
Extra thankful for this man who loves my daughter and cherishes their union. He is a good person who makes her so happy. Blessed to have this new son.
Love is getting a text from one of the girls with the Loaf quote. "I know that dad already got his birthday present a long time ago....... Us........ Isn't that such a sweet thing to say?!" Or, "I love everyone in the whole wide world, even mom and dad."
They pretend not to like one another. They say they don't like hugs and kisses, but I know they secretly love them.
Loaf wasn't so sure she liked Jon at first, but his assistant Annette (I think that was her name, now I feel bad that it might not be) played with Loaf and helped her feel comfortable, so I'm really glad Jon captured this moment. Thank you, Jon, for capturing my family so beautifully.
I can't wait to show you more, including the wedding photos.