We had a really lovely Thanksgiving. It feels a little wrong to have had such a nice time on the first year that Mom wasn’t with us, but there it is. I think maybe it’s that our Thanksgiving tradition in the past few years has been fluid. There wasn’t a particular chair to be empty, or place to look lonely, at least not in the way that really punches you in the gut.
We went to my brother’s house, and in addition to really good food, we had excellent entertainment. Levi sat right by Uncle Chris and they regaled each other with utter nonsense for nearly the entire meal. Levi’s belly laugh got quite an airing as he told joke after joke that mostly made no sense whatsoever. They were so bad that we couldn’t help laughing, which pleased him no end.
L: How does a squirrel swim?
C: I don’t know. How?
L: THEY DON’T! Baaahahahahahahahahahah!!!
L: What is that stuff on your hand?
C: Um, my skin?
L: What’s skin for?
C: It keeps my guts in.
L: WHAT?!? Hahahahahahah!
L: <starts to tell a joke for the fifth time>
C: That’s the same joke!
L: I like jokes!
C: How do you feel about repetition?
L: I don’t know what that is! Hahahahahahaha!
If it sounds slightly manic, that’s because it was. We were a little afraid at one point that Auntie was in fact going to choke from laughing.
I put an OSU shirt on Levi on purpose, since Uncle Chris is an alum, and on a whim, taught Levi what you say when someone says, “O-H!” That may have been a bad decision, since I’ve had O-H yelled at me nearly constantly since, and if I don’t respond with I-O there is great wailing and gnashing of teeth.
The passing of Thanksgiving means that Christmas is coming, and the beginning of December means preparation for our Advent days. The boys really looked forward to this last year, and started asking in October if we were going to do it again. It makes me happy that they like a tradition that is all about time together and goofy activities, instead of loot. (Not that they’re not into the loot as well, at least in Levi’s case. His Christmas list keeps growing as thoughts fly into his little head.)
So the Advent tree will appear on Monday morning, each box loaded with a picture for the day’s activity. This is the first year I’ve included words instead of just pictures. Some of them (“decorate” comes to mind) Levi will need some help with, but I think he’ll get quite a few of them on his own, especially with the help of illustrations.
As always, the plan is simple:
- Make paper chains to count to Christmas Day.
- Decorate the kitchen windows with static clings of a nativity set.
- Watch Frosty the Snowman together.
- Color in craft stockings. (These were purchased last year in January for something like 90% off at Target; they’re cloth and come with markers.)
- Make paper snowflakes.
- Go see Santa.
- Set up the Christmas tree.
- Make paper chains to count to the extended family Christmas trip (meeting the Torontonian relatives roughly halfway for a night).
- Set up the Veggie Tales nativity set together. (Also includes me bracing myself to hear the first bars of Jesus our brother kind and good … ad nauseum until after Christmas or I break down and take out the batteries.)
- Make homemade soft pretzels.
- Make homemade Christmas cards.
- Have breakfast for dinner.
- Drive to see Christmas lights.
- Decorate cut-out cookies.
- Make latkes.
- Make a gingerbread house. (Felt craft, also purchased at Target at deep discount last year. I don’t know if I can handle an actual gingerbread house at this time.)
- Watch Rudolph together.
- Have hot chocolate with marshmallows.
- Read The Animals’ Christmas Eve together.
- North Pole Breakfast! (Red and green pancakes last year. Huge hit. It’ll be something along that line.)
- Make bunelos.
- Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas together.
- Read The Night Before Christmas.
- Have a birthday cake (or cupcakes, if I’m lazy, which is quite likely) for Jesus, after the Christmas Eve service at church.
As always, and even as simple as the plan is, I will execute it imperfectly. We will probably have to skip days and make them up. I may have to move things around as the schedule fills up. The boys don’t seem to care. Sometimes they don’t even care when we do the actual activity, or at least not as much as they care about pulling out the paper in the morning. Anticipation seems to be the thing.
Even I am looking forward to it. Perhaps my Grinchy heart is growing just a smidge.