Saturday, December 13, 2008
12 Traditions of Christmas: Gilmores take two walks down Fresno's Christmas Tree Lane with friends
Our family is big into traditions. Ericlee's mom had a host of traditions with him as he was growing up and the Lazos had many too. We thought we'd share 12 of our favorite traditions with our readers - one for each day before Christmas.(Commence singing the song here. You know the one.) One tradition we started a few years back is walking down Fresno's Christmas Tree Lane with friends. Each year it turns out to be a little different crew. This year we actually did it twice with two different groups of close friends. We started out last Tuesday with our small group: Cori & Darrel Schmidt, Troy & Allison Vasquez with Mia, Matt & Bev Ford with Josiah and Bethany, our growing fam and Stacie & Forest Benedict.
We started out at our house for a Taco Soup dinner made by Stacie with all the fixings from the rest of the crew. Meilani was especially excited that her friend Josiah Ford joined us for the festivities. The two of them love to run, play, rough house and sing together. Their a perfect match.
After a warm dinner and filling our thermoses with hot apple cider, we headed for Christmas Tree Lane, which is right here in Fig Garden where we live. This tradition of walking the lane is shared by hundreds, maybe thousands of other Fresno families. Meilani and Josiah decided to stick together and hold hands even in their separate strollers. So cute!
Forest posed with one of the wild Christmas decorations. Who is more buff?
One of our fave parts of Christmas Tree Lane this year was a jazzy band from University High. Those high school students were talented. We loved their jazz renditions of some traditional Christmas carols to round out our evening.
This Wednesday, we headed to our friends Jessica & Billy McGowen's house for a Christmas party. They called it "So you think you can Cook?" and hosted a fun cooking contest. All the guests had to bring a dish - appetizer, side dish or main dish to enter in the contest that would be judged by the kids.
Peyton McGowen knew his vote right away. Amy Tosland's super nachos complete with homemade guacamole, salsa and sour cream. Prego Mama Dorina couldn't get enough of those either. (Yes, I'm still a nacho freak!)
Meilani and I had spent the afternoon rolling out homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli in the shape of Christmas Trees. In the end, our dish won the contest by one vote! We had fun adding a mascarpone cream garnish and decorating it like a cake. (We didn't tell the kids it was filled with vegetables!)
The whole group couldn't stay together for the whole walk because there were hundreds of people on the Lane. We hung out with our friends, Josh and Amy Tosland, and their boys, Isaiah and Luke. We haven't had quality talking time with them in a long time so it was great to connect while the kids oohed and ahhhed at the lights.
We love this tradition because it's about getting out into the community, connecting with friends and even exercising together.
After the walk, we warmed our toes at the McGowens place and indulged in some chocolate pie and hot cocoa. (Ok, and a few more nachos!) Here Jessica, Amy and I are posing by the tree. (You have know idea how much effort it took to get a "just mamas" photo and keep all the crazy kids out of it!) Good times.