I don't know if I'm having writer's block or what, but I have totally been slacking on this blog!
I guess with both my daughter's birthday party and Christmas fast approaching, my mind is consumed with recipes, favors, decorations, presents, Advent activities, and a million other things besides blogging. It's unfortunate, because blogging has been such a great release and just a great experience for me so far. Hopefully I'll get more consistent again as all the birthday and Christmas details come together.
Despite the holiday busyness, my sanity has been ensured by the attention my kids and I have given to keeping Jesus' birth at the top of the importance list this Christmas season. I cannot say enough how amazing the Good Morning Girls' Avent Bible Study has been in keeping my heart focused on Jesus. I have been so blessed by the daily readings and family activities!
This week's family activities deals with the Nativity scene. Each day I'm supposed to wrap a character from the Nativity scene (I'm using a felt sticker set from Hobby Lobby), then have my kids unwrap it and discuss it with them. Today they unwrapped the three wisemen. It makes learning fun for them and my son has been excited all day for tomorrow's "present." On Friday we'll take all the characters we unwrapped throughout the week and put the whole scene together.
Last week was about loving others, and loving others at Christmastime usually means giving. I helped the kids write thank you notes to give to a few people, we made it a point to do something nice for someone else each day, and our big activity was visiting the bell-ringers at Walmart. The kids loved it! The bell-ringers that night happened to be a couple ladies from our church who let the kids ring the bells and took pictures of them putting money in the bucket. It was such a fun experience for them! And me too! ...Even if my daughter then proceeded to throw a fit, scream, and yell while I picked up a few things inside...Life with a toddler!
Speaking of life with a todder, my toddler was boucing off the walls today! I was looking at my to-do list for this week and feeling quite productive, and then I took my daughter to gymnastics. She yelled in the car most of the way there. She wasn't upset, she just wanted to yell for fun. Then when we got there she decided to run around in circles rather than participate in her class. I chased her around the entire 30 minutes and I don't think she's ever laughed harder. She was hilarious! But oh so exhausting. On the way home she screamed "Lights!" every time she'd see Christmas lights. It was cute, but a Momma can only take so much screaming! My productivity kind of went away by the time we got home. Anyway...
We've also been keeping up with our Jesse Tree. Both the kids really like coloring the ornaments and putting them on the tree. Today, however, my daughter had a major meltdown when I told her it wasn't her turn! We started out strong in reading the scripture listed for each day (for about the first 2 days), then the kids started getting bored and I got frustrated, so now we compromise. We talk about each picture and I read a little from the Bible, but instead of reading verbatim I try to put it in story form. The kids respond much better to this!
We've all enjoyed our fun Christmas activities and have been able to include Daddy in some of them. We do our Advent activities during the day while he's at work, but we try to do our fun activities with him in the evenings, like playing Merry Christmas Bingo, making Jelly Bean bracelets, and having a movie and popcorn night. Next on the list is making cinnamon ornaments and maybe some fun fingerpainting projects!
So things may be a little crazy right now, but I am having the best Christmas season I think I've ever had and I'm confident my kids are learning about the importance of Jesus' birth. I am so proud of my son and the things he's learning about Christmas. He is so smart and I pray our activities are building the foundation for a Jesus-focused heart and life. If nothing else, I hope my kids are learning to associate Jesus with Christmas, even if we're still a few years away from them truly understanding the significance.
I hope your Christmas season has been great so far and I hope you can embrace the busyness while remaining focused on Jesus. It's possible and it's wonderful! Merry Christmas!