You have to love traditions. Those often remembered, easily savored memories of times gone by. Those special days and activities or get togethers you look forward to all year, and relish each minute you live through it. Traditions are a great way to impart values on to your children, to relive a bit of your childhood, and to ease the passing of time. Some of my favorite traditions revolve around the holidays, but we have others that we hold close to our heart here at home. And Little B will be quick to begin counting down days till a favorite holiday, event, or occasion.

The Army is replete with traditions. And, by some crazy coincidence, so is our family. Many of the traditions we’ve adopted in our little family are new ones, though we cherish and treasure one’s we’ve brought from our own families. Blending traditions, by the way, can be tough! Little B is especially lucky around the holidays : between Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Three King’s Day he’s got two whole months of nonstop fun and excitement.

But here’s the thing, when I was growing up we had only a small handful of traditions in my home. Easter? Didn’t know much about all the hoopla. True story, Christians that we are. Other than the Bible story we just didn’t do Easter things. We pretty much reserved our traditions to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays. So when we had Little B I just knew I wanted to impart some rich, amazing, joy inducing traditions, to not only enjoy the journey but also to witness a little “magic” along the way.

And then there was the first day of school.

Every school year finds me teary eyed. That’s a personal tradition of mine, mind you. Our boy is just getting so big so darn fast. Third grade, goodness!

This year we are obviously beginning school a little earlier than expected. And yet, even with the demise of summer vacation The Boy was beside himself because he just knew today was going to be a special day. He loves being surprised and I love surprising him.

I made a sign commemorating his special day. I love signs. I think those who know me might have caught on to that point by now. And I like making them different because, well, same can be lame. And Little B likes seeing what I’ll come up with next. True story.

Little B was ecstatic to wake up to a sign. Of course by the end of the day he was using his basketball to mess with it, but that’s another story. Because it was his first day of school I also let him choose the breakfast menu: crepes, of course. This is The Boy who placed” Crepe Day” into our summer fun jar.

Here is my go to crepe recipe. It’s the kiddos favorite, so it’s what I use. It’s super easy to put together and always makes enough to keep some batter on hand for the next day: http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/06/having-my-cake/

I heart the Smitten Kitchen. She’s amazing.

Then we tried our hand at a new tradition. Brooks has always stated enthusiastically that he’d love to go to school so that he can ride his bike. Forget the rest of the day, recess, whatever else kiddos might enjoy when they think of school, it’s the bike ride to and from that draws Brooks’s interest. So I thought that I’d surprise him with a bike ride to “school” this morning. After stuffing themselves with crepes I handed The Boy his helmet and told him it was time to ride his bike to school. He looked confused and scared all at once. I had to laugh because it was pretty cute. “Just around the block,” I assured him.

He had a blast riding his bike around the neighborhood. I think we might have to make that a weekly or biweekly thing. It was kind of nice to be outside before the heat became stifling.

Afterwards we came home and Brooks took his official first day of school picture. Typically we take the photo while he’s sitting at his desk but this year I thought to try something different. I have seen parents take first day of school pictures while the child holds the number of the grade they are entering. Too cute!

We also worked on a first day of school project. We like to mark his height, weight, likes, dislikes, names of friends, and his wishes for the upcoming year. Brooks gets to decorate it and it makes a great keepsake. I always wonder if he’ll want all the stuff I’m saving. It sure is adding up!

We enjoyed a full day of classes. We took it easy today, not worrying so much about sticking to a particular start time, but more so about getting back into the routine of the school year. That made it stressless and fun, for both of us.

After classes we baked up a huge cookie on a pizza stone. I thought that the proverbial milk and cookies would be more fun with a HUGE cookie as opposed to a whole bunch of small ones. The kiddos thought that was hilarious and enjoyed watching it bake, which took forever!

While the cookie baked I went outside and filled water balloons for an impromptu water balloon fight. I had seen on someones blog that every year on the first day of school they like to bomb their kiddos when they get off the school bus. Ingenious! So after filling a ton of balloons and setting piles of them around the yard I called Brooks and sternly told him to “come outside to see this THING!” Poor B thought he’d done something. Of course I hid and bombed him as soon as he came out the door. After looking around confused he spotted a pile of balloons and our balloon fight took off. My aim is rather poor, that’s my excuse for losing so badly, though I was outnumbered two to one. Not quite fair.

We finished our day by going out to eat. I let Brooks choose the restaurant and then we went to watch the Green Lantern on post. By the way, we ended up leaving early. The Boy was so frightened that we opted to go home. Some of the visuals proved to be too much for him. The Poor Thing was shaking.

I am so thankful for another year of homeschooling. I am so grateful for the love and support of my best friend and husband, who, like me, had never envisioned homeschooling when we thought of our kiddos schooling. It’s been such an amazing journey so far and I just know this school year is going to be the best one yet!

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