Tuesday, January 1, 2013


In Ukraine, they celebrate the holidays differently than we do in the States.  As a result, our family has engaged in many discussions about how to merge Ukrainian holidays with our traditional family holidays.

One evening our discussion became so emotionally charged that one of my daughters had a complete meltdown over when Santa should really come and visit our home.  We've obviously created some pretty strong family traditions when it comes to Christmas.  It might be difficult to let go of some of our past traditions, but we realize that under the circumstances, we have to be sensitive to the holidays and traditions that Albina, Alina and Maks feel strongly about.

Since New Years is one of the bigger holidays in the part of Ukraine where Albina, Alina and Maks live, we realize that we need to incorporate it more into our family holidays (up to this point it's basically been a "throw away" holiday).  Over the next while we'll figure out the details a little better, but for this year we incorporated one new tradition for New Years (thanks to my cousin who directed me to this website).

A few days before New Years Eve I asked for each member of our family to write down 5 favorite memories from 2012.  Then, on the night before New Years Eve, James and I took all the decorations off the Christmas tree and added a few of our own:

We kept it simple.  I printed off the memories and put one memory in each balloon.  Then at midnight on New Years Eve we popped open our balloons and read our memories out loud.  Guster got a little crazy with all the popping (he popped a few balloons with his teeth)... but otherwise it was an awesome way to end the year.

Here are a few of our favorite memories from 2012:

This summer we met Albina and Alina for the first time.  Seeing them at the airport gave us all an amazing feeling... like we'd known them before.  When we arrived home from the airport we gathered to kneel for family prayer.  Suddenly, Alina stood up and did the Cha-Cha.

In July our family celebrated the life of James C Watkins.  We drove to Kansas and enjoyed time with family members.  Shelly, Toria, Emma & Isabel sang at "Papa's" memorial service.  Then we headed to the cemetery where we witnessed a touching graveside service.  The military was in attendance and presented the family with a United States flag.  Papa was a great patriot that served our country faithfully.  Before Papa's graveside service, Micah put sunglasses on Sheba (the dog).  Throughout the entire service the dog walked back and forth in the background wearing sunglasses.  It was such a funny sight.  Every time the service got extra emotional, the dog would walk by and instead of holding back our sobs, we would have to hold in our giggles.

This year Micah got a Spy Kit for Christmas.  He spent all day on Christmas reading all about how to be a spy. 

This summer we looked at homes so that we could move closer to Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts.  However, in the middle of our home search, we learned of 3 Ukrainian children that needed a family.  Instead of moving and getting a new home, we decided to add 3 new children to our family!

This spring we worked really, really hard and got our yard looking amazing!  Why?  So our friends could hold their wedding reception in our home and yard.  It ended up being a beautiful event!  However, after the wedding, we were so tired of doing yardwork that the yard wasn't kept up throughout the remaining months of summer.  Oh well!

This year Toria worked hard and was accepted into Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.  This was a HUGE honor!  However, in the end, she decided to attend college at Utah Valley University.  She received a theater scholarship and is studying Theater Performance.

On October 25, Albina sent a message to the family that wished Emma a Happy Birthday.  She then sent a picture and song to Emma on her actual birthday (October 26).  It was the best part of Emma's birthday: knowing that she had not been forgotten by her sister, Albina.

 2012 has proven to be a VERY eventful year for our family.  Last year at this time, we certainly didn't anticipate such adventure ahead!  But as amazing as 2012 has been, I truly believe that 2013 will be our best and most exciting year ever!

I can't wait to pop open the memory balloons next New Years Eve!


No comments:

Post a Comment