A Tradition Lives On :: Camp Sandman

I’m big on traditions.

Traditions made my childhood incredible.

Every Sunday, we’d get donuts after mass. Every birthday, my Dad would make us chocolate chip pancakes. Every Valentine’s Day, my Mom would surprise us with a giant chocolate chip cookie in the shape of a heart. Every St. Patrick’s Day, we’d set up an elaborate trap to catch a leprechaun and each year my parents would come up with a new cool way to keep us believing that he really existed (my favorite was the gold string left behind because his clothes were “unraveling” because he got caught in the door). Every Easter, I’d write a letter to the Easter Bunny begging him to stay out of my room but to leave the candy behind (yes, I was afraid of the Easter Bunny and I have the letter to prove it). Every year on Christmas Eve, we’d park in the same parking lot next to a beautiful church and open our “before Christmas present” (typically a new pair of pajamas or slippers).  And every year, we’d gather with our family and go camping, a tradition we nicknamed Camp Sandman (Sandman is my maiden name and the 1st Camp Sandman took place in my parent’s backyard with all the kids). 

Since I love traditions so much, it was always hard for me when one would end. When my brother and I stopped believing in things like the Easter Bunny and Santa, I would feel so sad. The good thing is that one tradition, Camp Sandman, was one of my favorites as a kid and I’m happy to say that after a 10+ year hiatus, it lives on!

Here we were at the first Camp Sandman ::

Camp Sandman in backyard

And here we are now in reverse order (+ Alix because she wasn’t around yet and minus Jared!) ::


Here’s a family picture from another Camp Sandman in 1991 ::

Camp Sandman 1991

And here are a couple more from this past weekend (we’ve definitely expanded the crew) ::

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This past week/weekend, 26 members of the Sandman/James/Leiker/Modugno/Duren family gathered in San Diego for 5 days of fun. Out of the 26 people, 7 of them were little kids (all under the age of 4.5)…it was crazy, but it was well worth it!  We had people from Washington DC, Las Vegas, Atlanta, the Bay Area, Monterey, and LA all gather to create new memories.

We visited the beach…


the zoo…

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and the playground…


We shared meals and stories and we reminisced on old timesWe enjoyed far too many slices of pizza, ate way too many cookies, had a few too many old fashions (though somehow I never managed to get one), and savored every bite of s’mores we could.


It was such a wonderful, special trip and I am so happy this tradition lives on. I’m hopeful that it will continue on for years to come, that we won’t have another 10 year hiatus, and that maybe…just maybe…our kids will continue the tradition as well.


Wouldn’t that be something??

Until next time, Camp Sandman!  Where are we off to next!?


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1 Response

  1. September 9, 2014

    […] we’ve been everywhere but home. To kick things off, we flew from Oakland to San Diego for a family reunion. Then we made the cross country trip to Atlanta with my parents (while my Dad was on crutches […]

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