Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Advent, Days 7-24

Yeah, remember when I was blogging about what we did for each day of Advent?

Let's see, where did I leave off?

We had gotten a tree!

Well, in the remaining days of Advent...

We put lights on the tree.

We decorated the tree.

We set up the nativity.

We made theeee most delicious gingerbread pancakes imaginable, and wondered why people bother making pancakes that aren't gingerbread.

We also made gingerbread boys and girls.

And I introduced Nell to the art of dunking a cookie in a glass {or mug, as the case may be} of milk.  She approved.

Then we made grain-free cranberry muffins one morning... because things can be Christmassy and delicious without being all sugar and white flour, right?

We read all the Christmas story sections in the Jesus Storybook Bible.

We sang Christmas carols with Daddy at the piano.

And Christmas Eve came, and we went to church, and made cardamom bread, and put Baby Jesus in the manger.

When I write down the little activities and look over the photographs, it seems quite nice.  

We had an Advent wreath with beautiful beeswax candles.  We sang "Once In Royal David's City" and "See Amid the Winter's Snow" every night at bedtime, and Nell grew to ask for them by name and sang along with some of the words.  Every morning she was just as excited as the day before to open the day's box in the Advent calendar.  She would take out the slip of paper and pretend to read it, "Today, we...." and trail off as she waited for me to tell her what fun awaited.  We read all the children's Christmas books in the house, and Nell became fond of proclaiming at random intervals throughout the day, "Don't be afwaid!  The angel say dat, wight, Mama?"

The reality of it was much more stressful, as I suppose everyone's December is.  There was one day I recall in particular, a day with a long rehearsal in Boston all morning and a concert in New Hampshire in the evening and the usual rushing around in between that life with children requires, and on that day, I blessed Nell for not actually knowing how to read yet, and looked at that slip of paper and told her something quite different than what was written down.  Our "special activity" for the day involved the Starbucks drive-through.  I'm sorry.  

It was a busy, crazy, very full month.  We all had colds at least once, we didn't sleep enough, and the season of Advent felt, to me, generally lacking in the sort of peaceful family coziness I had longed for.  I cried to Nathan about it on at least one occasion, swore that next year we'd have to take fewer gigs and attend fewer events and plan fewer events of our own and work less and spend more time in those Christmassy pajamas we didn't actually even have, but ought to.

{Well, Marie had a pair, and they were glorious, making me wish for a pair of my own, too.}

Still, when all is said and done, I hope Nell remembers it -- if she remembers any of it -- the way I remember the Christmases of my childhood, where somehow the flickering lights of candles and Christmas trees made everything oh, so beautiful.

And now, since Advent is like, so last year, I shall publish this post and be done with it.

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