Thursday, December 9, 2010

'Tis The Season...

For Holiday mayhem.  Don't get me wrong - I love this time of year.  I love the hustle and bustle to decorate our home, bake goodies, shop for treats, wrap presents, plan outings, experience the things Columbia has to offer, see friends.

But beneath it all - we're trying very hard to keep the spirit of Christmas true to its meaning.

One way is through our nightly reading of the Advent Story Book.  It's a great book broken into 24 stories about a little bear on his journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas.  We read one page each night after we've read our other nightly stories, and talk to the kids about the meaning.  It's lovely, the kids look forward to it, and I do as well.

Another is through our nightly lighting of candles on our Advent wreath.  When we settle down to dinner we take time to light the candles on the wreath, bless our meal, and then read the daily scripture from the Prayers for Advent for Children pamphlet I picked up at church.  (Reality check - that sounds lovely and romantic and sweet, doesn't it?  It conjures up images of a family quietly gathered together around the table, bowing their heads in prayer and reflecting on the coming of the Christ child.  Yeah - most nights it really involves a lot of protesting to come to the table, whining about who gets to sit where, babbling about things Deonne and I think are inconsequential but have deep meaning to 6 and 3 year olds, shushing from us parents to keep quiet during the prayer, and arguing about who gets to blow out which candle.... but we try - and that's the important thing...)

Of course Happy (our elf) has made his appearance - which constantly strikes me as remarkable how a red felt clad elf can be such a positive behavior incentive....

And we've been enjoying the sights and sound of our town - last Saturday night I gave the kids an early dinner and bath, bundled them in the van with cuddly blankets, and took them to the drive-thru lights display at Saluda Shoals (Deonne was en route from his trip to Atlanta to see the Gamecocks unfortunately lose the SEC championship game - which was disappointing for him - but tempered by the t-total good time he had going with a friend who happened to provide tickets to all of the SEC staff events, including the swanky pre-game party where he rubbed elbows with high-rollin' SEC and BCS folks.)

We're hoping the cold snap lets up a bit this weekend so we can take the kids to Riverbanks Zoo to see the Lights Before Christmas, and Anna and I are gearing up for our annual mother-daughter afternoon to see the Nutcracker the following weekend.  This year we're going with some dear friends (grandmother, mother, and two daughters) so a true girls afternoon out.

And intermingled with the 'big' events, we've been busy making cookies (Anna and James helped me make Pecan Sandies after school yesterday- and had a big time rolling the balls of dough into little 'rainbow' shapes.  Jack helped too - until I discovered he was no longer rolling dough but rather stuffing it into his mouth.  He was promptly removed from the kitchen table...)

I've been woefully behind in taking proper pictures - and the few I have are still locked in the camera - so I hope in the next few days to snap some good shots and actually upload them here.

And maybe tonight we'll actually get some lights on the 7 foot Frasier Fir tree that has been standing in my living room since Sunday - and start decorating it.  (Which has been pushed back due to malfunctioning lights, fatigue, and my going out last night for a much needed and super fun moms-night with some of the other moms at Anna's school.) 

So 'tis the season ...  it truly is the 'most wonderful time of the year' ...

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