What we've done so far:
1st: Rode on the Polar Express (St. Joe's operates this every other year in Needham); this was a day filled with hustle and bustle, actually, since I was helping to run the preschool fundraiser that morning, and then we had the train ride, a birthday party afterward, a holiday party after that, and my niece Bella coming to spend the night. Whew! The boys loved the train, and as Dave said re: Finn's love of Santa, "what a difference a year makes."
2nd: Got our Christmas tree. We went to Volante Farms this year, and the guy who helped us was beyond knowledgeable, not at all pushy, and encouraged us to look until we found the one we really wanted. I think it is perfection, and he helped us find the precise height we needed as well. While Dave got the transaction squared away, Bella, Will, Finn, Bridget and I headed indoors for some apple cider donuts. Yum.
3rd: Decorated our tree. We stopped and started this activity a few times because...well, I'm sure you can guess why. Between the choking/strangling/electrocution hazards for all three children and the adults' very clear and sometimes contrasting picture of how we wanted the tree to look, it took a while. No arguments broke out, though--we just took a few pauses during the process. But it got done! And beautifully. Since both our mothers like to give us ornaments for Christmas, and really pretty ones at that, we have a tree full of silver and fine china, and everything from angels to bunny rabbits. Will was old enough to be both mildly competent and wildly excited about decorating this year, too, so that was fun.
|The lights are less top-heavy than they look here, I swear!|
5th: Watch Rudolph movie. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Firstly, here was my drawing of Rudolph on the back of the Advent card. (Did I mention that this year I'm using all our billions of extra envelopes to put these little activity cards in, since the boys love opening mail so much? I am.)
Dave says this Rudolph looks drunk and possibly like he's about to hit on an unsuspecting rein-doe. I am proud of this reindeer, because I had to go online and find a cartoon drawing of a reindeer and copy it because I'm such a lousy draw-er. So there!
Anyway, Rudolph is the boys' favorite Christmas character this year, so I thought watching the movie would be great, but it turns out that Rudolph runs away (Finn: Where's his daddy? And later: WHERE'S HIS DADDY I'M SCARED WHERE'D HIS MOMMY GO????!?!) and then there's a snowmonster who is impossible to spin into anything other than what he is (Me: He's just roaring at them because he wants to play, guys. Relax. Will: But he's going to eat Rudolph!!! [dives under pillow as I frantically FF in case he's right about the eating part]), and THEN (spoiler alert from 1972 or something) THEY ALL THINK THEIR FRIEND DIED WHEN HE FELL OFF A CLIFF RUNNING FROM THE SNOWMONSTER. By the time we got to the surprise twist happy ending (friend not dead, snowmonster did want to play, although probably would have eaten them if he'd caught them, let's be honest), everyone was so traumatized that Rudolph's presence didn't even register. You know things are bad when you feel like you need to read them something light and happy to distract them from that kids' Christmas cartoon they just watched, or take them to a midnight showing of Argo.
|Will and Finn, visibly shaken; Bridget, blissfully ignorant|
7th: Make gingerbread cookies for Inger's baby brunch and for our neighbors. I made the dough* and refrigerated it beforehand, so it was ready on Friday. I emailed Will out of school because he's been working so hard lately and seemed a touch overwhelmed (of course I'm talking about working hard at social/developmental stuff, not academics, but still). Then we spent much of the day rolling and flouring dough, cutting out the ninja-bread shapes, and planting some chocolate chips. They loved it, and Finn made a ginger-snake out of a piece of dough and felt extra proud.
8th: Frosty the Snowman day! Okay, all this really meant was that we read our copy of Frosty that has Bella and Joe's recorded voices singing it to us (awesome) plus drew some snowmen and watched the last five minutes of the old cartoon movie. (I learned my lesson, apparently, and pre-screened those five minutes to make sure we only viewed the happy ending. It worked.)
9th: Gave a Toy for a Tot. Part of our annual Christmas brunch with the Isis families is that Mo collects any Toys for Tots we want to contribute. They particularly need stuff for older kids, 7-10ish, so we donated an extra Jenga game I'd bought for next to nothing. I don't actually think the boys were paying any attention to this, but again, it's an activity that will mean more as they grow older. Also, I'd like to increase the percentage of Advent days spent in service to others, but that will have to wait.
10th: Delivered cards and cookies to our neighbors: We did this after nap/quiet time this afternoon, and the boys loved it. It was certainly warm enough (60 degrees!), although it started to rain halfway through. Still, this was a tangible way to do nice things for people--people we know, whose houses we can literally walk to--so I could imagine the boys feeling a little bit empowered, getting to feel kind and generous as they gave away their baked goods. "Merry Christmas!" Will called out at a couple of houses, then turned to me and said, "Mom, I was really polite and friendly."
|Smiling about all the Rudolph-related therapy bills I'll be paying well into the middle of the century|