Before 7 a.m. I usually breastfeed Helen, who is now almost 21 months old. And yes, the nursing is still going strong, though she is night-weaned except in cases of illness.
Before 10 a.m. the sun is not visible. It stays dark here a long time and while I thought I might have a problem with that, it turns out I LOVE IT! I mean, really, I get to see the sun rise (on the days when it rises as opposed to the days when it hides behind a veil of grey clouds all day) every day. And I’ve done stuff before-hand, so I feel productive, even if I didn’t get up until 8:30 or 9. Ha!
Before 11 a.m. I will usually see Travis for a coffee break, which means I have to make the coffee before then.
Before I can make coffee, I have to wipe down the counters (why the dish fairy doesn’t do that I have NO IDEA! If you see him, please tell him I like the counters clean as part of doing the dishes). Oh, and I have to clean the coffee pot out, because for some reason the dish fairy usually forgets about how important coffee is.
Before Helen can sit down for a meal, she has to take off her ballet tutu. It’s the only time I can get it off of her without a fight. That girl likes to be clean!
Before I can eat three bites of a meal I usually have to get up from the table about four times- for water, for napkins, because someone forgot to give me a fork… oh, for salt! These people like salt!
Before 5 p.m. is a better time than after 5 p.m. to start thinking about dinner.
Before 9 p.m. I start feeling super sleepy. Then I perk up and can’t sleep until after midnight or 1 a.m. What is up with that!?!!
Before I can take a bath I have to clean out the bathtub. I hate doing that. I need a maid.
Before I go to bed I check my email and blog and read a devotional and play a game on my iphone. Sorry if I haven’t been keeping up with some of you on Words With Friends lately. I sometimes get so tired by then I can’t think of any good words. Or any words at all.
Before I go to sleep I open the window a little for background noise and so I don’t get too hot. Yes, we live in Moscow, but I think our place is really well insulated.
Before the morning the wind has pushed the window open too much and I’m cold and I don’t want to get out of bed.
Before I can lazily wake up Helen calls out, “Maaaaaaaama!” pause. “Maaaaaaaaaaaama!” and I get up to nurse her and try to convince her to go back to sleep, preferably until 10. That doesn’t work so after she nurses, she plays in her room while I lay there and pretend to sleep for a little while longer. After all, why should people get up before the sun?
Oh, we’re back to the beginning. Well, read it again if you want, but as for me, I think I will check email now and then, oh, wait you already know all that. Good night!
We spend a little time each day reflecting on the promises given in scripture of a Messiah to come. We re-live the days of God’s people in the Old Testament; we remember the failures of mankind and the faithfulness of God. We re-count the times of old, and anticipate with our forefathers (spiritually-speaking) the need, the desire, the longing for Christ.
|This is our felt, hand-made, totally not fancy advent tree.
If you’re strategic, you can stand gazing at it and get kissed!
We follow the scripture outline I found online for a Jesse Tree. Here is one with the pictures and a reading. We did a few things differently: I wanted it to all be done in the month of December, so that way it wouldn’t matter when Thanksgiving was or what day advent started that year, since that changes every year. So, we combined day 2 and 3 by putting the world and the serpent/fruit passages on the same day. Also, I don’t like cribs or cradles, so for the account of Sarah having Isaac, I made the silhouette of a pregnant woman in pink with silver glitter hair.
The tree has little velcro squares randomly all over it. The pockets have their numbers stenciled on with gold glitter glue. I used the kind that comes in a little pen. It was easy. The whole thing is made from felt- the kind that comes on a roll at the fabric store and lined with a wired ribbon, which I wouldn’t do again, because over the years it has poked me from time to time on the corners. I glued that on with fabric glue, because my sewing skills were minimal when I made this. On the back is a dowel rod that runs through three loops on the top. The dowel rod is hung by a couple of nails in the wall.
|I could only find white velcro, so I went over it
with a green sharpie in hopes that it would look better when naked.
This is how the tree starts out- completely bare. Each pocket contains that day’s bible passage reference and the item, made in felt, that will be stuck on the tree.
The felt pieces are just simply cut from different colors of felt, in the basic shape that was on the link above and embellished with glitter glue. Thomas and I made this when he was about 3 or 4 and we had a lot of fun doing the designs together.
|The labels I made by just printing them out and cutting them.
They have the date so we can put it back where it belongs
and a description of the “ornament” so we know what goes together after Christmas.
It stores all together in that day’s pocket.
|As you can see, the ornaments are not fancy, but they are fun and interesting.
On the back of each one is velcro, so they stick to the velcro squares on the tree.
|Close-up of the pockets.|
The star is always the last ornament, and we save the top of the tree for that one. The kids trade off years for who gets odd and who gets even numbers, so it’s “fair.” Of course, that will all be changing with Helen able to participate this year.
I love doing the advent reflections. It is a wonderful teaching tool for the kids, and an important reminder to Travis and I about what in this life really matters and why.
I understand that over at A Holy Experience you can also get the Jesse Tree Advent Readings in book form, or as part of the day’s blog post. Ann’s blog is truly inspiring, and quieting, and good for reflection.
I hope you find new hope and joy this advent season. And may you be able to rejoice the way the angels did at Christ’s birth:
Success: because– hello! I blogged 21 days in November!
I really thrive when there is a high goal in mind. Or in a competition. (Have you ever played Nertz with me?) And so, since the month of December I haven’t blogged, even though there are plenty of things for me to
bore all my readers regale you with.
So I decided to make my own challenge for myself. And here’s what inspired it: the alphabet soup that resides on my refrigerator.
Do you have an alphabet zoo living on your fridge?
I will blog in alphabetical order. That is to say, the titles will begin with A, then B, then C… you get the idea. I am really hoping some of you bloggy friends of mine will join me!
If you join in, let me know in the comments, so I can read your life, alphabet-style! Or, if you feel like linking everyday, then post your A on my A post, your B on my B, etc.
Oh, and skipping a day or 2 here or there isn’t a problem with my challenge. Just pick up where you left off. If we succeed in blogging everyday, though, we can make it through the alphabet just in time for the new year!
And then, if one of your Resolutions is to BLOG MORE, you will have gotten a head start on that bad boy. And then you won’t have guilt in March because you did really well for awhile and then you just started watching tv too much again.
Oh, and have you noticed that you can’t snack while writing? Maybe it’s never one of your goals to lose weight, but it’s always one of mine, sooooo……. BO- NUS!
Travis: Let’s see if we have any mail today!
Travis: Do you think we have anything?
Helen: may-me (maybe)
Travis: Maybe… or maybe not.
Helen: may-me mahn (maybe not)
Helen’s newest expression is maybe… maybe not, said in her adorable baby-way. That little sweetie pie is so stinkin’ cute!
Last night we stayed up late to get all the dishes done and the house in order so that…..
Today we could put up the Christmas tree and nativity and decorations.
|We have a really tall really skinny tree- Sadie is putting the angel on top|
|Helen wants to do everything Sadie does.|
And we were greeted by a blanket of white when we opened the curtains and the sun came up.
For the first time in our Little Green House, we have had a White Friday.
|Helen saw the stockings and promptly put hers on her foot. Smart little baby!|
Now I know some of you will be busy running around having a black Friday.
I tried that a few years ago; turned out the stores didn’t have nearly the kind of “good deals” they advertised and the people were all pretty grumpy.
I prefer staying home, eating leftover turkey and singing Christmas music and recalling the memories brought to mind as we hang each ornament from the tree.
|One of my little helpers|
The kids get to pick out one ornament each year that is their “special” ornament. We have a wooden german tooth fairy for the year Thomas lost his first tooth, a ceramic ballet slipper Sadie painted at a dear friend’s birthday party to remember the year she started ballet. We have a sand dollar from Destin, Florida and many other unique ornaments, special for what they represent, rather than who gave them or what they are made from.
In addition to the kids’ ornaments, Travis and I buy a bell each year to remember some aspect of that year in our marriage. The bells are not all traditional; in fact, some of them are more like art than a Christmas bell, but as we hang them up, one by one, we read the note written inside the box; we remember that this bell was for the year we had 3 babies in heaven and one here in our arms, or this one is for the year we bought our first house, and this one is to remember that Travis is out of the Navy and we won’t ever have to be apart again.
What traditions do you have for preparing for Christmas?
And p.s. my turkey turned out great. Yea! Actually, everything was totally delish and the only oops was that I forgot to make the green beans. So, we had no green veggies. But I even managed to make a good gravy, which all of you who have ever eaten the BIG DINNER with me know I usually mess up BIG TIME.