Thanksgiving and Christmas have come and gone...no posts. Although, I have been very busy with the Christmas season - not an excuse, just fact. When we were in the middle of losing our twins, I just wanted it to be time to get ready for Christmas, so I had something else to focus on. Something joyful. So, as soon as Thanksgiving was over, we went whole hog. I embraced the season as I haven't in many years. I baked my heart out. We did several projects, and had a blast all Advent long. A couple of the things we did, I would like to make a annual tradition, I loved them so much.
|Jeffery Fam 2011|
One of the first things we did was to really celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas. We have actually been doing this for a number of years, but this year I let the teacher in me escape just a little. Oh, how I wish I could let her out all the time, but I am afraid of what she might do. We wouldn't get a whole lot of lessons done, but we would bake, and do art, read stories and find ways to weave our lessons together so that they made more sense. We would do all art, literature and history, with very little math or science - just the bits that would leak in with the baking or other activities. We would play all day and learn about all the saints and never do much actual book learning. So, I have to keep her under control. (I think I am an unschooler at heart, but afraid my kids won't learn enough so I have to have some structure!)
So, back to St. Nick. The arrival of his feast day is always met with chocolate coins in the shoes or stockings, and candy canes for the tree. We put the tree up over Thanksgiving, but save the candy canes for this special day. This year I made up
My husband and I also carved more than our usual share of time out together to do our shopping. We had several afternoons of going out to lunch, shopping for gifts and just enjoying the season and being together. He is not as big a fan of Christmas as I am, but he's coming around. When I met him he was a bit of a "Bah-Humbug!" sort, with a tiny little Charlie Brown tree. Now, as the father of so many children, he has been forced to love it a little more. He joined me in the kitchen, or rather, I joined him, and we cooked and baked so much, we were vying for counter space! Me and my cookies and sticky buns, him and his fudge and turkeys and hams and mashed potatoes. We had a lot of fun delivering treats to loved ones.
We also had our first annual cookie eating and ornament making party. It was so much fun! We had an open house and invited my sisters and my close friends and their children to come over. Moms sat and talked, kids ate cookies and painted wooden ornaments to take home. I really, really loved this and plan to make it part of our Advent from now on. We kept everything super casual,and I think it was a success.
Our youngest daughter, Jenna takes tap dance lessons with her cousin, MaryKate. They had a fun, not nearly as stressful as the Spring recital, recital. It was very fun and Christmasy to watch as they tapped along to "Jingle Bell Rock".
After a bit we had to go and get ready for Mass, where our Luke would be a shepherd, my big boys, Jonah and Kolbe would serve Mass, and my girls would sing in the choir. Christmas Eve Mass is always, always my favorite part of Christmas. All the sweet little voices of the children's choir singing "Pa rump pa pum pum" and yelling "Go Tell It on the Mountain". Every year I wait for that, and just sit and savor that moment. This year, as has happened in other years, we were getting all these kids where they needed to go for the Mass, and missed out on sitting in the church. Always bums me out a little. I have to work pretty hard at not being truly annoyed at the people who only go to church at Christmas and Easter (the Chreasters, as our pastor puts it). I know its small and petty, and I really don't want to feel that way at Christmas, but when I have to miss seeing my children in the choir because of people crowding the church one day a year, I get a little peeved. Off soapbox!
At home we get dinner, baths, and tuck wee ones into bed after reading the Christmas story from Luke. Most of the time the bigger kids are strangely willing to go to bed early, and this year was no exception. Kolbe, who is nine, was really worried that we weren't going to bed, too. He didn't want to take a chance that Santa wouldn't stop because we were still up. If he actually believed in Santa, that is. This year took a lot of work to keep him believing. The clincher was a handful of old jingle bells donated to the cause by Liz's mom. She knew Kolbe was having a hard time believing this year, and thought that the old jingle bells, left just for him, might do the trick. She was right!
|The Seven, as I call them, on Christmas Eve|
Now, I said that church is my favorite thing at Christmas, but this year I had a new favorite moment. Two of them, actually:
Cousins, Jenna, MaryKate and Reagan and the little guy is Sam, my brother's son. So, so lovely.
If you are still reading this, Merry Christmas, and a Blessed, Happy New Year. Christmas isn't over yet! The Feast of the Epiphany is Sunday! I am going to Christmas it up until then...not ready for it to be over just yet...