More from our Thanksgiving trip this week! Meanwhile, anyone else having trouble getting ready for Advent? It seems to me that usually having a day or two of November before the Advent calendars start on Dec. 1 does in fact make a lot of difference–particularly when much of ours is DIY. Of course, my issues are mainly strategic planning related. If I’d had my act together I would have had my Advent box upstairs before we left on our Thanksgiving trip. I would have found four of the Advent calendars the kids needed that I had hidden from eager hands–these sticker calendars from Adoremus Books that I’d bought in October–and would have found them before yesterday. And we would have had both our Advent trees up–the real and the wooden. The wooden one is still on the other side of the boat and the real one is languishing in a Wal-Mart garden center (unless I find another place that sells 4ft trees between now and Saturday)
However, I plead extenuating circumstances. When Advent officially began I was 500 miles from home. Purchasing a real tree for Advent at that time would have entailed it being strapped to the van for said 500 mile trip. Would much of it have been left upon arrival? And the kids aren’t complaining about the delay in calendars much. They’ve been able to open 2-3 doors a day or add 3 stickers or color 4 houses. Starting today it’s 1–just 1–from now until the 24th.
Another new thing I introduced was the idea of choosing a random sibling name on a slip of paper and being that sibling’s Secret Santa. I wanted them to get a better idea of keeping a secret and participate more in the giving of the season besides wrapping Daddy’s present or seeing that our UPS man and mail-lady get a bag of cookies. The key is to do a good turn for the brother or sister (only the oldest four are participating this year) and then choose a gift to give them on Christmas, wrapped by their very selves. Rascal took to it right away. He’d picked Dino’s name and thought of a good deed to do on the sly for his brother. Later in the day Rascal came over to me and said: “Hey, Mom! I just made [Dino’s) bed. If he thanks you for doing it, just say ‘ok,’ okay?” Then he scampered off, which is good because I was already smiling wryly at the thought of Dino thanking me for making his bed. It would surprise me if Dino even noticed the bed was made! Rascal also began dreaming of pricey gifts for said brother but I reminded him that Dino would love a plastic dinosaur from the grocery store just as well. Ironically, Dino has Rascal’s name and when I suggested a good turn would be to take the clothes Rascal had left on the floor and toss them into the laundry hamper about ten steps away, Dino was shocked: “You mean I have to clean?!“
On Saturday we went to the Children’s Museum thanks to my parents’ awesome grandparents membership. The Museum had its Jolly Days exhibit open replete with faux snowball fights, a tiny “iceskating” rink, “ice-fishing”, a huge play kitchen and family room, meeting Santa, and other great fun. Princess sighted a museum volunteer dressed as the Sugar Plum Fairy (I assume), and couldn’t rest until we found the wandering ballerina and Princess exuberantly divulged her life-long ambition to be a ballerina, too. I honestly don’t think the poor volunteer knew what to do with the redheaded ball of enthusiasm that bounced her way, but she took it pretty well.
One person in the Museum totally capable of handling excited five year olds is the Jolly Old Elf himself.
The slide behind the water clock!
Saving the best for last.
Ah, the quintessential first picture with Santa.
Happy first week of Advent to all, and to all a good day!