At The Kentucky Horse Park - Lexington KY
We enjoyed the traditions we grew up with and so still keep many of them - plus we've added some of our own. Here are some of our favorites:
  • Teenager books - Amanda's family started a tradition when her oldest niece was turning 13 of putting together books of letters written by family members and friends to the person. In the letters we include things such as what we wish we had known when we were 13, memories we have with the person, what we think the person's gifts are, the most important things we have learned, important qualities we think all men/women should have, what we wish for the person, our favorite things in life, what we believe, pictures with or of the person, and anything else we think would be helpful. So far we have had 6 of our nieces and nephews turn 13. They have all really looked forward to getting their books.
  • Family Reunions - at least yearly
  • Christmas Traditions - We both grew up reading the Christmas story as a family (Amanda's family actually acts it out) on Christmas Eve as well as singing Christmas carols. While we love this, our favorite tradition is actually having a Christmas family (a family in need that we do Christmas for). Also, Christmas Eve we eat fajitas - yum!
  • Rebel basketball - Amanda's parents have had season tickets for Rebel basketball games since before the Thomas and Mack (the stadium they play in) was built. Her dad's enthusiasm has rubbed off so that the whole family (including sons-in-law) are all Rebel b-ball fans (unless they are playing BYU Cougars, then it's debatable). We always try and get a game or two in when we are in Las Vegas during basketball season. Go Rebels!
  • Birthdays - The b-day girl/boy gets breakfast in bed, as well as picking what's for dinner or where to go for dinner. Also, Amanda's parents have started a tradition to celebrate their grandkid's b-days. They take the grandkid on a one-on-one date to do whatever they are interested in, and then to get a gift. The grandkids LOVE it!
  • Travel - We both grew up going on family trips every year. We feel these experiences helped us bond with our families and build lasting memories. Amanda's family generally went to their family cabin (about 4 hours from Las Vegas, it was built by her grandfather - we still go at least once a year, but those closer go many more times a year) or to San Diego. Ryan's family generally trekked to Utah to visit family. We both have memories of other trips as well though. We'll see how it all works out, but we have talked about a yearly camping trip, family reunion trip, a big family trip (somewhere different every year), and a yearly trip for just us (no kids - we feel that this will help us keep our marriage strong). We would also like for our big trip to be international every 5th year. Our idea would be to decide on a place we would like to go and then study their history and culture (including celebrating their holidays) leading up to it so not only will it be fun but super educational as well. If we choose to get very ambitious we will even try to learn the language before we go.
  • Regular dates - We plan to have regular dates on weekends with just the two of us as well as take one of our children on a one-on-one date. We hope these dates will help us maintain our strong marriage, as well as build good relationships with our children as we provide them with personal time.
  • More as we come up with them
Abby with her cousins, Michaelanne (the oldest cousin - teenager books started with her) and Ellie
On a family hike at Cedar Breaks National Monument - near the cabin
At family reunions we often do a craft of some sort - this past year we made these shirts

Amanda's parents (and her dad's best-friend) came to visit us as well as to attend a Rebel basketball game (UNLV vs TCU)

In Valley of Fire - near Las Vegas
Sea World - San Diego

Amanda as Mary

Abby played the role of Jesus her first Christmas
Heather, Molly, Ryan's mom, Ryan's dad - celebrating Amanda's 31st birthday with her
On an air plane

Our nephew Ben and Amanda's dad at the beach in San Diego

Abby taking Grandma for a walk - San Diego
Amanda's parents and all the grandkids they had at the time (Abby and Wesley have since joined the family)

We make a point to visit the wild flowers each year
Abby's first 4th of July