Saturday, December 19, 2015

...enjoying the family advent


School is out for the year.

I am not sure if I am more excited about this or the kids.  I love the fact that we don't have to worry about bed times and wake-ups, making lunches and finishing homework, or piano lessons and wrestling meets.

And I love the holiday season.  "It's the most wonderful time...of the year."

All of the kids love the routine we have around here during the month of December.  Opening the Lego Advent calendar, opening the family advent calendar, lighting the dinner candles (AND blowing them out).  Thank goodness we have an even number of kids; this means every kid gets the same number of calendar-opens and candle-lights.

Oh yes...and searching for the Elf.  They LIVE for finding that guy.  Well, at least two kiddos still can't wait to find him.

I love that even Will gets excited about the activities we do.  Some evenings the activities have to be quick.  As-in less than fifteen minutes quick, because sometimes that is all the time we have together as a family before it is bathtime/storytime/bedtime.

He was just as excited about the painting-the-ornament activity as the girls.  You know the kind of ornaments that are bought from Michael's for $2.00 that only come with three random colors of nearly dried up paint?  Oh yes.  He fought with his baby sister about getting the lovely snowflake over the ugly elf.

On gingerbread house night there was no fighting this year.  They were all exactly the same.

A little background...Making gingerbread houses ranks right up with carving pumpkins in my book.  I can never get the house frames to actually stick together.  Frosting gets everywhere.  There is never quite enough candy included in the kit.

Decorating houses generally invokes a lot of tears.  Mine.

I cheated on the gingerbread houses this year.  When I saw that Rice Krispies had their own 'gingerbread' kits I couldn't believe my eyes.

Best.  Idea.  Ever.

They enjoyed doing them and they turned out cute...

Then, they actually wanted to eat them!

We may try the train next year!  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 start thinking aloud again...

...during this thoughtful season...

This is the busiest time of year.  School activities, finals, shopping, sicknesses (mostly mine this year), and advent activities.

In particular the advent activities are what my kids look forward to most.  Each day of the month, one of them opens the door of the calendar, and our family does something special.  Some days the activities are more focused, sometimes they take several hours, some days only a few minutes.

What our children don't realize is that I love making these memories more than they love the surprise  of the activities.

We went to get our Christmas tree after school on the 4th of December at the same farm we cut our tree down at last year.  Unlike last year, the weather was surprisingly nice this time.

Thus, the kids' spirits were surprisingly good!

It was a good thing we all started out so happy...

Because we walked a long way and got pretty cold looking for the perfect tree that we never found to cut down.

Then the sun began to set.  And we still didn't have a tree.

And the kids grew a little weary.

And a little grouchy.

'Till we finally settled on one of the farm's pre-cut trees (Abbey was so grouchy by this point she refused to get into the photo).

 A few days later...

We were taking communion at church and I was last in line behind my family.  Audrey and Abbey were leading the way crossing their arms, William and Isabella followed their sisters, and Mark was right in front of me.

As I stopped to take the cup, the Eucharistic Minister said to me, "You have such a beautiful family".

She caught me off guard.  And I had a catch in my throat and tears in my eyes when I thanked her.

She sure is right.

I am so thankful we are all together and healthy this holiday season.