Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Sunday in Advent

I'm really striving to make bed by 10:00 p.m. so this post began last night and I'll finish it now. LOL Family, friends...I sure hope you enjoy all these inane photos and they give you a sense of living the Season with us. LOL Of course, with my memory as it is, I have to blog to REMEMBER what we do. ::snort::

The day was FULL.

We attended chapel. We enjoyed lunch as a family.

We had our first devotional.

Zander graduated from topping the tree to LIGHTING the FIRST Advent candle.


Who says inductive study has to be boring? I didn't have copies printed yet for the children to mark so we simply did actions for various words and discussed the questions. This is the sign for Bethlehem - I don't know WHY....because I wanted to see the young men do it? (No time to lighten this photo).

They really did participate - but Jamin wasn't about to snap their photos. Payback ya' know?

Mike took Nolan to Nutcracker practice. Mike went to the gym.


Jamin and I went to the mall, Walmart and Sam's. "10 and 2 son, 10 and 2."


We completed two Advent projects (details below).

Zander wanted a "ticket" and so Mike set him to folding...he thought it was terribly hard. ::snort::


We forgot our first Sunday gift and pulled it out later. Mad libs....what fun.

Stacia pulled each little book from the bag and gave it to whoever she felt it would work for.




We ended the day creating a few mad lib stories. Mike read a chapter out of Great Brain for the younger boys. We've not decided if we want to do a Jotham book this year. It was a very full day to begin a very full season. Why can't I accomplish this much in a "normal" month?

©2008 D.R.G.

Advent Activity Calendar

This another new addition to our celebration this year. Thanks so much to all who helped me brainstorm this idea.

Arielle and I took this project over. We planned out 25 (32) activities we wanted to do. We checked the calendar and did our best to put easy things on busy days etc. I'm sure we'll be flexible with this.

I experiemented with various sizes and paper (constrcution, wrapping paper, scrapbook paper)...and finally this is what we did.

Make a 5 in template from cardstock.
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Fold paper in 1/2....
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and 1/2 again.
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Trim about 1/2 in off the edge (this size gave us 4 per sheet).
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Fold corners up...rotate view to the right....
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Fold third corner over
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Write activity on paper
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Close with a sticker (we used some scrapbooking ones I had - I forgot to take a close up).
Jared helped us hang the line...which became MUCH longer than I expected...I'm glad we didn't go with the original size we tried. LOL
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We finally ended up hanging them around the top of the entertainment center.
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We're happy....I'm really happy to think that the things we WANT to do stand a better chance of not being lost in the busy-ness of the chapel/base schedule this year.
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Every family will have a unique list. This is what we hope to do in the next month. (Yeah, the masterlist is for ME in case I lose the scrap paper.)
Today: Put Advent candles in wreath, begin our Family Inductive Advent Study, top the tree.
  1. Attend the Base Christmas Tree Lighting and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies afterwards.
  2. Make snowflakes and decorate the windows.
  3. Go to Eggemeyers and buy fudge. This is a HUGE treat around here.
  4. Make truffles and favors for the PWOC "Delight in the Light" Tea.
  5. Go to Christmas at FT. Concho.
  6. Play tickle little kids, host the PWOC Christmas tea.
  7. Attend the Nutcracker: Go Nolan, Erik, Emma and Ellie....and everyone else. Enjoy ice cream Sundaes...the Nutcracker is over.
  8. Take a walk and enjoy the Christmas lights.
  9. Start work on our Christmas Puzzle (make sure we have opened this from the calendar).
  10. Take toys to Toys for Tots.
  11. String Popcorn and cranberries.
  12. Decorate an outside tree for the animals and read Night Tree by Eve Bunting.
  13. Dance like crazy.
  14. Take a walk to see the deer.
  15. Watch a Christmas movie.
  16. Have an indoor picnic to Christmas music.
  17. Prepare the staff and chapel gifts.
  18. Bake Christmas goodies for neighbors.
  19. Pick up BreAnne and David at the airport!
  20. Make a gingerbread house.
  21. Act out the Christmas story.
  22. Have a picnic at the lake (indoors if need be).
  23. Meet Krista at the airport. Family game night with hot chocolate and appetizers.
  24. Visit the living nativity downtown and attend the Base Candlelight Service.
  25. Have a birthday party for Jesus and open our "Jesus stocking".
  26. Have a family scavenger hunt - would other famlies be brave enough to join us? What would the town think if a zillion mini-vans and 15 pass vans were zipping around town taking photos while oodles and oodles of kids spilled out????
  27. Go see the light show on the Concho river.
  28. Sing Christmas carols - who cares if we are late - maybe we can do that with the scavenger hunt.
  29. Take a candle-lit bath, paint our toes, go each his own.
  30. Family game night - dance like crazy.
  31. Play charades, attack someone with silly string and sparklers.

©2008 D.R.G.

Christmas Tree Part 2

After my desperate plea for prayers yesterday, many assumed that I did not KNOW that you start at the TOP of a tree when putting on lights. I did. I checked the lights before I began and they lit. I plugged the tree in and only the bottom ones lit. LOL

When Mike was done outside he came in with a little "light checker" and figured it out.

Another tradition we have is buying an photo ornament for each child, each year. WELL....Mom buys them an ornament in keeping with their interests or hobbies each year too. Those are so they will have them when they set up house. I some how got mixed up and offered Josiah all his photo ornaments this year. It made me sad. He said I could keep them another year. THEN I REMEMBERED...the photo ornaments are MINE to keep as long as I like. The other ornaments are theirs now. Josiah will take all his ornaments to his apartment as soon as he has time to pick them up.

This year we decorated solely with photo ornaments again. We'll put this years' new ornaments on as well. Arielle and I took the time to note each year that was missing for each person. Surprisingly, we discovered that there were years when NO ONE had anything.....1997 - the year Arielle was 3 months old, 2000 - the year I miscarried on 1 December, 2005 - the year that Stacia was 4 months old...and the year Mike deployed. We are debating if I should "recapture" those years or let the absence of tradition speak. ::snort::

Here are a few shots of the tree. I LOVE to sit in the still and remember all the years these photos represent. It spurs me on to stay engaged with the younger ones.

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Bre at 18 and Krista at 4
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Arielle at 3 months
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Krista 2 - Bre 4, Arielle 3
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A special friend sent me this ornament in 2000. She knew I was struggling. She sent this ornament as she knew that Christmas would always remind me of our loss in 2000. It's a simple clear bulb and filled with shimmering tinsel. She said to hang it as I chose, if it would help me, to remember - when all others had forgotten. It helps. I always find a moment, when I'm alone, to hang this ornament. It has come to remind me of the 8 babies we've not held, and of beloved family members who are waiting in grams, my Uncle Bill, my Aunt Gin and this year my Aunt's fitting it hangs on our "family tree".

We choose to top our tree with a crown of thorns. This is simply a way to remind us that this season is about the gift He brought and about his ultimate Advent in the future.
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Each year we let the youngest child, who is capable, top the tree. This is the first year that Stacia had this job.
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She was thrilled with herself.
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And expected everyone else to be just as thrilled.
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©2008 D.R.G.

Advent Countdowns....

We have many different things we do to countdown until Christmas. In the past we've had a countdown candle. Take a candle, make 25 marks on it. Burn a mark each day. This is very visual for young kids. You can do the same with chains etc.

I made this years ago.


This year we added a "real Advent Calendar" to our line up for the first time. I couldn't quite figure out how little pieces of cheap candy would be fun...and we didn't do well with the Lego and Playmobile calendars.

Becki, left a comment that helped me figure this out for my family. Mike and Jamin took over the job of writing daily clues. Those are in the box. They will (hopefully) lead us to the day's gift. This was a bit dangerous as THEY are tricky.


I found little gifts at the store and around home. I really can't say what all I bought or the young ones will know. I put them into ziploc baggies and they are ready for Mike or Jamin to hide each day.

©2008 D.R.G.

Giving Thanks

  • Our chapel was VERY cold today. We're having ongoing gas problems and CE turned off the gas until Monday. As I shivered, I was thankful that we usually have heat and that we have a place to worship.
  • I am thankful that Josiah joined us for lunch.

  • I am thankful that Josiah was able to join us for our first Advent devotional and the topping of the tree.

  • I'm thankful we've made so many memories this weekend that I am hard put to keep up with the blog.

  • I'm thankful Mike is in America this season.

©2008 D.R.G.

Tell me Quick...

I bought 10 Holiday Crackers on clearance after Christmas last year. "Each cracker contains a snap, ajoke, and a surprise novelty."

Will one of my English friends please tell me the proper day to use these? I'm not sure we'll hit it right, but I'd like to try. It's one of our gifts in the Advent countdown.

Still working to get it all together by tomorrow...but will post photos soon. What fun we are having!

©2008 D.R.G.