7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 9)

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My goodness this is a busy time of year.  My calendar is full to the brim and I have been trying hard to say "no" to things that are unnecessary.  That being said, I decided to add exercise to my schedule this week (just three hours total).  My husband thinks I'm crazy.  My thought was that if I'm busy, I may as well schedule every minute.  To be honest, I think I am actually much more productive around the home when I give myself more to do.  I am also getting myself in bed before 10:00 PM because even though the activity is flying around me, I am still managing to mentally focus on two things: 1. feeding my family, 2. sleep.

Although I have not written our Christmas letter, I have managed a small number of Advent activities for my little family.  As always, we have our Advent Calendar with a Scripture reflection and chocolate, and of course we have our Advent wreath.  This year I have set the wreath on our prayer shelf instead of the dining room table.  Each night for family prayer, we gather around the lighted wreath and  pray some special prayers together from a book called, Advent Begins as Home: Family Prayers and Activities.  I like, but don't love this book.  We also made an "O Antiphon" house and will begin to open the windows today. 

CLICK HERE for more information on the "O Antiphons" and other neat-o Advent prayer and activities.  I find this site (Catholic Culture) to be a very good resource for all things Catholic/Christian.

The other night I volunteered at the school's craft fair. I was so happy when I ventured into my child's classroom and it was decked with Christmas decor: A Christmas tree, a Nativity scene, a large picture of Mary, Joseph and Jesus.  The teacher, who happens to be a Catholic, looked at me and sheepishly told me it's Christmas in her classroom.  I was a taken aback because I had seen some worksheets on Kwanzaa and Hanukkah come home.  She said that in order to teach about Christmas, she has to teach all the different holidays.  It made me very happy and she has not had one complaint.  I wanted to high five her, and say, "you go, girl," but wasn't sure how she'd respond to that.  I'm pretty sure she already thinks I'm a fanatic because I was upset that one of Grasshopper's spelling words was sorcerer.

Every year about this time my family, including my parents, pile into our van for a trip to Shore Acres State Park near Coos Bay.  If you are ever on the Oregon coast during this season (or anytime) this is a great park to visit.  From the day after Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve they cover every tree, flower and shrub with Christmas lights.  It's fantastic!  We usually drive up, browse the light display, drink a cup of cider then mosey out to dinner.  We drive back late while and the kids slumber all the way home.  There is a great historical fiction novel about Shore Acres, that I have not read yet, by my favorite Oregon author, Jane Kirkpatrick.  It is called A Gathering of Finches.  It's on my shelf of books to read and comes highly recommended by my mom and others.

Our Christmas letter, although not even started, is on my mind.  In past years, it was the first thing I would do.  I love to read the letters I've written, saved in a three-ringed binder, as a sort of family history.  I have one from each year of our marriage (8 so far, 9 when this year's is finished) and one from the year before we were married.  I get sentimental each year as I read about the times we moved, had babies, changed jobs, etc.  This has become one of my favorite Christmas traditions.  However, it does add a certain amount of pressure on me to get this year's letter complete.  It cannot be taken out of my oh-so-busy schedule.  Maybe I can work on it on Christmas Eve after all the gifts are wrapped and Santa has left his special gift...wait, that would actually be Christmas morning.

Oh yes, Santa.  Every year this whole Santa thing is sort of a pain to me (ba humbug).  Now that Grasshopper is eight, she is asking all kinds of questions that I try to avoid answering.  I don't want to spoil her fun, but I have an overwhelming urge to just tell her he is...cover your child's eyes...NOT REAL. Now can we move on to the real, deep, awesome, meaning of Christmas?  I've tried the whole St. Nicholas thing, but it doesn't seem to work.  No matter how much emphasis I put on Jesus and little I put on Santa, if you ask my children what Christmas is about they shout, "SANTA!"  Then, when they see my shoulders drop and hear the deflated sigh come out of my mouth they'll add, "and Jesus" with diminished enthusiasm. Grrrr...

It is so wonderful and fun to sing with a group of people so this year I've decided to have a Christmas Carolling party.  We are not walking door to door, but we are going to sing around my living room after we fill our bellies with sweets and beverages to loosen us up and make us merry. I hope to make this another family tradition. 

What kinds of Christmas traditions do you love to do with your family?

Have a blessed fourth week of Advent (as we move from guadete back to suffering)

1 comment:

  1. Since this is my first Advent as a home schooler, I decided to keep it simple. Fortunately, I found (in my attic) an Advent activity that I never used before. In 2008, my sister send me “The Story of Christmas” Story Book & Advent calendar, and it was put in a box and forgotten. I am so glad I found it. It is set up like an advent calendar, however instead of opening the door, each day has a miniature book you take out and read. Each one tells the story of Jesus’ birth. Dec. 1 spoke about the Holy Land, today spoke of Joseph trying to find a place to stay in Bethlehem. Each book is threaded by a gold cord to hang on the Christmas tree. My girls are taking turns.


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