We started the tradition of having a fancy dinner to commemorate the first day of school last year. It was such a success that I knew we had to incorporate it again.
It takes an extra amount of effort to plan and implement "extras" like this, but it is always worth it in the end. The boys kept asking if we were having company over for dinner when they saw me gathering supplies. They beamed when I revealed that all of the extra fuss was just for them. By setting the bar of excellence high, we are trying to teach them that they are valued and important to us and we have high expectations from them in return.
Last year's family theme of "Respect" was posted by our back door all year and we often referenced the concept. We settled on "Be Grateful" as this year's theme; something we can all work on.
We introduced the theme during dinner and had a great discussion about incorporating more gratitude into many aspects of our lives.
The boys picked most of the menu which included homemade macaroni and cheese, garlic rolls and fresh green beans. They were most excited about the cloth napkins and sparkling cider which justified the use of our "fancy" glasses. We topped off the meal with the chocolate chip cookies that Nash and I baked during Blake's first full day of school.
Just like last year, we plan on spending one day a month, either during a meal or for family night, focusing on our theme of being grateful and reminding our boys what we're working on as a family.