How is it December already? I was reading off the schedule for my children's art school to the family, it was in the latest email update, when I finished, I said, "And just like that it's 2017. I haven't even gotten used to it being 2016."
Hubby replied, "That's because we are getting old!"
After that I didn't want to admit that I still struggle with the fact that we are even in the 2000's and lived to tell about it. As a child, it seemed too hard to believe and life was supposed to be like a Sci-Fi movie by year 2015....anyway back to Advent.
On the note of time flying, though, my biggest plan for this Advent is to have this baby. Even more than not believing it will be 2016, I can't believe we are just a couple of weeks, literally days, from having a new little one in this house. Can I admit that I am still in disbelief that I'm even pregnant! I know a whole lot of surprised wonderment going on here!
I am trying very hard to get everything packed up and ready to go. I was so focused on what the baby and I need for the hospital that it took until last weekend to remember I need to pack for the other kids, too. I'm almost there. In figuring out what the kids each need, I realized that Little Man would not make it through if I packed up a few shirts because he often goes through 3 shirts a day and despite me getting him fall clothes (with the help of his aunt) he never seems to have enough as it is.
So I hit the Cyber Monday sales and got some great deals at Kohls. I then began to worry that throwing new clothes into a suitcase and shipping him off may be more than he could handle. He is attached to his clothes and a homebody. So, before I submitted the final order, I had him pick out what HE wanted from my own highly clearanced choices. Now, he can't wait for the clothes to arrive and I am hoping it will be a happy surprise when he opens his suitcase. I know, this still has nothing to do with Advent...bear with me..my brain is on lots of hormones.
Normally, we would decorate gradually for Christmas, putting out just the Advent wreath and a nativity and then building from there. I like to save the big decorations for closer to Christmas so that we have more of a delineation between Advent and Christmas. However, this year, I decided I needed to just get it done while I could. So, for the first time ever, everything came out on Black Friday. Then I took a nap! :)
The one piece of the decorating puzzle that I couldn't figure out was the tree. We usually buy a real one a couple days before Christmas. This year, the cost of a real tree just wasn't something we could afford. In addition, it would require me figuring out how to get it decorated either extremely pregnant or with a brand new baby. Then there i the watering and cleaning up needles. It just wasn't happening. I announced that we would have a fake tree and began surfing the whiles of the world wide web for a deal. And boy did I find one, only $16 for a 5' tree with shipping. Buddy helped me pick it out and we eagerly waited for it to arrive.
AHEM...it arrived all right! And I learned once again that you get what you pay for. It is a darling little tree, and is still bigger and fuller than Charlie Brown's, but that is about as much as I can say. Our Jesse Tree is actually taller! Sigh....at least we have one.
The kids decorated it and threw on some big old-fashioned lights and now it looks almost as glorious as when the Peanuts gang finished sprucing up the tree for the Christmas spectacular.
This is the first Advent that I was not crawling around in a super short attic with barely any light trying to find Christmas decor. Now that everything is piled in our storage room, I can't believe how much we have. There must be a million ornaments--ironic considering quick take #4!
I have realized something else, though. Over the years we have worked to turn our entire focus to the birth of Christ not the hoopla of the commercial holiday, and our decorations reflect that. Aside from the millions of ornaments, most of our adornments are nativities. I think we are at 10 and counting! Oh, wait...make that 11, we have one for outside that needs to come out of the shed.
I am pleased and blessed to see how our Advent and Christmas traditions have developed, and also that my children love all the nativities so much. For them it really is about waiting for Jesus, with some gifts on the side.
I am also planning St Nicholas Day and everyone is so excited. It will be a simpler celebration this year than most, but isn't that more in keeping with the spirit of the feast! I have some special meal plans--still working on breakfast! Some little treats have been gathered for shoes. Our cousin gifted us with two bags of crafting items (Thank you Jesus) including a huge fit to build and decorate a foam gingerbread house. We usually make our own gingerbread or graham cracker on St Nick's day, but I wasn't sure how I was going to get the money to buy the supplies--lo and behold, God always provides. It is a silly thing, but my kids are thrilled. So, it may be a toned down celebration, but we will have all the special elements they look forward to each year--including the gingerbread house. I'll post pictures next week sometime, I promise.
St Lucy's day, I still need to work on A LOT! At least, this year we know where the crown and gown are--last year everything was still in boxes. I'm not sure what to do for treats. Hubby and I don't drink coffee anymore and I can't have gluten and milk. Need to find a allergy friendly option that doesn't require pricey ingredients. Suggestion would be greatly appreciated!
I usually make a Swedish feast for dinner for St Lucy's, but I think we are just doing the pea soup and buttered noodles this year. It will be special to mark the feast and I am trying to remind myself that it is about celebrating the liturgical calendar, not going all out.
Then there is Our Lady of Guadalupe and St Juan Diego to consider...at least Mexican food is an easy option.
We have concerts and recitals, a gallery opening event (for Cowgirl's graphic design class), a book report meet-up, 4-H, volunteering, a healing Mass with the pilgrim image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a craft fair to work, cookies to bake, a charity celebrity to meet, bambinellis to get blessed, and a partridge in a pear tree in the coming weeks. Once all of that is over, the time of waiting for this baby will be, too! Then comes the most special birth of all--Christmas day! It is going to be a busy and wild season but it is very blessed.
What are your plans for Advent this year?