Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tea Time with Tiffany #29 - Merry Christmas! Looking forward to fun new adventures in the new year...

Hi all! This is a very special Merry Christmas episode of:


Yay! Today I talk about Christmas staycation plans, a holiday craft update with show and tell, the Downton Abbey knit-along, and excitement about the coming new year. Oh, and my Thomas Kinkade chiming clock started playing a Christmas carol right in the middle of the video, AND this was already a re-shoot because my webcam was doing that weird, annoying color flickering thing on the first take. Such is the way of things when you don't know what you are doing.


Items mentioned in this episode:
  • 2015 was a great year, and I look forward to only more goodness in 2016!
  • My troupe has new dance costumes. :0 Expect lots of excited squealing and frantic bead repair in the new year!
  • Downton Abbey Mystery knit-along and crochet-along.
  • Holiday crafting update.
What are your Christmas and New Years plans, dear reader? Tell me all about it in the comments. I'll be on blogging hiatus through the holidays, but rest assured that I will be with you again on the afternoon of January 4th. Until then, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A final holiday knitting update, & book club plans!

Well, it's officially three days before Christmas. I have been knitting and crocheting myself ragged, and yet I realized weeks ago that there was no way in tarnation I was going to finish all of the holiday crafting I had originally planned. Such is the way of things in the life of overambitious knitters. I DID finish 2 pairs of socks for Cristina's sons, plus a boatload of dishcloths for various aunts. I also finished a commissioned colorwork hat for Allison:

Free pattern is Sanpo
In these final days, I currently have various and sundry cat body parts stuffed into my knitting bag as I frantically crochet them in preparation for assembly tomorrow (hopefully). I *think* I'll have her finished for Anne on Christmas morning. I also have a sock for Henry that I'm about to start the gusset for for. Yes, you noticed correctly that I used a singular there :0, so there is no way I'll have the pair finished for him by Christmas, but I'm aiming to complete them well before the new year.

After that, I have another of socks and two infinity cowls to knit for gifts. And poor long suffering Mike's cable tweed sweater. Oh, oh! And in January comes the Downton Abbey Mystery Knit-along! And Crochet-along! I am doing both, because I am stupid and always like to take on more than I can handle, you know this about me by now. So my goal is to finish as many of these gifts as I can by early January, and then allow myself a reprieve to work on mystery shawls. Are any of you crafters out there going to be participating in any of the Downton Abbey mystery alongs? Do let me know!

In book club news, I have come up with a plan. I don't want to assign dates in advance for books anymore, because I sometimes just cannot make my own deadlines. Big surprise, right? ;-) So, what I'm going to do is keep up on the sidebar the Catholic Book Club Reading List. They will be in some semblance of order in terms of when I'll review them. When I've started reading one, and thus can schedule a date for review, I will add it up there so that you'll know specifics if you'd like to be sure and finish with a certain title prior to my review, so that you can participate in the comments. A few readers mentioned that they use my book club list as a way of forming their own To Read list, and I think this system will still aid them. And it has the added benefit of not stressing me out if I have a slow month of reading.

I'm also going to have secular titles on there sometimes. Rest assured that these will be wholesome secular titles, most likely non-Catholic inspirational fiction, or non-fiction having to do with dancing, crafting, family life or another topic that I enjoy and frequently write about on this blog. We're Catholic, but we read all sorts of books, right? I'm a huge fan of biographies, so those may pop up from time to time. Sound good? I would love to hear your thoughts on this now that I'm fleshed it out a bit more.

I'll be back with a short video message tomorrow. Until then, enjoy these final days of Advent!

Monday, December 21, 2015

A weekend of puppy love, Christmas video shenanigans & birthday plans...

Hello all! It's Christmas week, isn't it exciting?! The kids and I enjoyed a lovely (if a bit cramped) 11 am Mass yesterday for the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Our parish combined the 10 am and noon Mass, and so the new 11 o'clock Mass has more people squeezed in. It's totally understandable, but with a 4 year old in tow, when people sit on either side of us in a pew, there are inevitably multiple times during which one set of them has to move for Anne to break through to and from Children's Liturgy of the Word. And a loudly demanded bathroom break.

*long suffering sigh*

At any rate, I had a perfectly fabulous weekend. And I want to hear about yours! Let's settle in with our tea and coffee.

I took the day off on Friday to attend the annual Christmas party of my crafting group. I look forward to this every year, and it always a joyous day. I absolutely LOVE the women in my crafting group. We all work in the same place, and get together on many of our lunch hours to knit and crochet. And solicit advice or comfort, or whatever the case may be. Think of us as a knitting support group. :)

And each year we do a Secret Santa gift exchange. It's always exciting for the big reveal of who had who to craft for, and what they made! This year, my recipient was my dear friend Bridget, who is an avid cook and baker. Thus, I crocheted her this adorable apron:

Don't you just love the cherry pocket?
It turned out so cute I wanted to keep it for myself. ;-) In turn, my Secret Santa, Alix, knitted me these lace socks:

I put them on my feet the instant they came out of the package...
I have never had a pair of socks knitted by anyone other than myself. These are a TREAT for my feet! I adore them! They look red in the photo, but the color is actually a burnished orange. I mean... :0 I love them!

While we were there exchanging our gifts and having an absolutely fantastic lunch, I fell in love with a dog. ;-) We were are Bridget's, and she has two adorable dogs, both of whom I enjoyed petting and playing with throughout the afternoon. But the one little guy, Logan, just absolutely stole my heart. I texted Mike this picture with the message "Look at my adorable Secret Santa gift, Sweetie! Can I bring him home?!"

:0
I mean, did you ever?! I LOVE HIM. I may dognap him in the night. I WANT HIM.

Mike handled my Logan love well this weekend. ;-) He reminded me that Henry is allergic to dogs, so it's really not a good idea for us to get one right now. But Henry is 10, I responded, in eight years he'll be a legal adult, so I'm just thinking ahead to our future. Which so obviously includes a dog.

*sniffs innocently*

After the party, I had some family time before heading to my troupe rehearsal wherein we filmed this now infamous Christmas video. It went pretty much like this:

(1) We warmed up.
(2) We practiced in our regular clothes since none of us could remember the ever evolving and loosey goosey choreography.
(3) We got it to where we were all mostly doing the same thing, stuck a free style segment at the end, and called it done.
(4) We threw on red and green costumes.
(5) One of our troupe members' boyfriend filmed us dancing this thing no less than a half dozen times, including multiple angles of our ridiculously silly choo choo train while tray balancing segment, and a circle tray spinning segment.
(6) We all got very tired.
(7) We changed and went home. :0

It was fun, and the word on the street is that the video turned out very well. I'm very curious to see it when it debuts on our website!

Saturday began our two day Mike birthday extravaganza. He had a milestone birthday this year, and so I wanted to make it really special for him. We had dinner plans Saturday night just the two of us, then a whole Mike day planned for Sunday. Prior to our dinner, the kids were getting restless, so Mike and Henry had a father/son movie watching afternoon, and I took Anne out for a girls afternoon to a Lularoe open house nearby. Here is Anne in the new leggings she procured at the event:

Isn't she adorable? She also has very loud taste :0
We had SUCH a fun time. I got her another pair of polka dot leggings she was eyeing up for her Christmas stocking, and we generally browsed the skirts and dresses with abandon. The boys would have considered it torture to have endured such a thing, so we reveled in our leisurely girl time.

In the evening, Mike and I had our dinner, and then Sunday the kids and I woke up early to make him chocolate chip pancakes. Well, the chocolate chips were mostly for us, I think Mike would have been fine with just plain pancakes. ;-) But we had a delicious breakfast, gave him his gifts, and later we had his parents over to watch football and order pizza (his requested birthday take out). It was a really, really nice day.

And so now here I am back at work. I am so long suffering. But it's only a three day work week, so I can't exactly complain. How was your weekend and Fourth Sunday of Advent, dear reader? Do tell me all about it in the comments!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tea Time with Tiffany #28 - Wrapping is my Kryptonite...

Well look at that, it's Thursday. Time for our weekly installment of:


This week I have an Advent update, of both the spiritual and more task oriented variety. And that would include both wins and failures. ;-) Also, preparation for Christmas! Want to know my least favorite part? View on, dear viewer. You'll notice that I've been keeping these videos shorter of late. I'm just trying to keep them accessible and easy to watch. I can be chatty, so yes indeed some of my older videos are more in the 10 minute family. Lately, I've been keeping them closer to 6 minutes. If you haven't watched my videos in the past, try out one of these shorter ones and give it a try!


Items mentioned in this episode:
  • Pray More Novenas Christmas Novena. We're only on day 2, so totally fine to catch up and join in!
  • Feedback from the last video about possible audio editions of Tea Time? *crickets* :-) So the videos are staying, I won't swap them out with audio! But stay tuned for a new audio project in the new year.
  • I mentioned the Magnificat Advent Companion, which you probably either have already or don't want to get at this point. BUT Magnificat has a Year of Mercy Companion available for download with the same type of format of daily reflections.
How are you, dear reader? How is your Advent going? What are your weekend plans? Do tell me all about it in the comments. :-)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holiday crafting wins and epic book club fails...

Happy Advent Wednesday, everyone. The third week of Advent? How did that happen? I had a dream about my birthday last night (which is coming up in February), and in it I was trying to put a brave face on about getting another year older, so I know that that particular life situation is very much in the back of my mind. :0 But let's not let that little factoid derail our Advent and crafting fun.

I have been a super busy bee, with my knitting needles flying. All gift dishcloths are done, and 2 pairs of gift socks. I still have 2 pairs of socks to go, but the news has been broken to those recipients that while their socks will not be ready for Christmas day, they will be a priority in January. In fact, they'll be ready for Candlemas, so I'm still all liturgically correct. ;-)

One will be a pair similar to these that I made for myself earlier in the fall:

I did also finish the 2nd sock. ;-) Pattern is Petty Harbor (free!)
This pair is for a friend, and will be knit in a slightly darker autumn-inspired tonal colorway called Foliage. And the other pair will be for Henry, a plain ribbed pair of socks knit with this awesome self striping yarn in a gingerbread house colorway. Fun, right?

Right now though, I'm working on a colorwork hat that someone asked me to knit on their behalf. Colorwork is always magical to knit, and I love how it's turning out:

Pattern is Sanpo (also free!)
Those little critters at the bottom are called totoros, I think they look like owls. :) In their chosen color, they have a frosty, wintry thing going on, right? I think they're so cute. The things above them look like spiders to me, though I don't know that that is what they actually are. If Anne were here, she'd name him Webster and call it a day. I'm hoping to have the knitting finished tonight, and then block it at the end of the week, so that I can ship it and get it to it's new home by Christmas!

After that, Anne has asked for a black cat. In the absence of a real feline, she likes this one. That should be quick to crochet up. So I'm getting there!

Speaking of not having enough time...

*insert chagrined face*

There is *no way* that I am getting the book club book read this month. Eek! Sorry about that. I just haven't been able to read much this month, and when I do, all I want is to sink into some escapist Christmas romance. Non-fiction just hasn't been appealing right now. So, what to do? I could just push the two books that I have listed back to January and February, but I'm wondering if should structure the book club entirely differently. Thoughts? Maybe a non-fiction title every 3-4 months, with fiction posts sprinkled in between? What do you think? Maybe we could add in non-religious titles too? Obviously, I still want to include spiritual reading, but the fact of the matter is that my taste in reading is quite varied. I enjoy Catholic non-fiction titles, but I also read secular non-fiction and lots of different types of fiction. Sometimes too my enthusiasm for a title is quite immediate and doesn't lend itself to being scheduled 3 months ahead of time. For example, right now I am totally jonesing to read this book that I discovered recently:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012271YJY?colid=1GYP34YO3NPNQ&coliid=IRY0OY2XROQE5&ref_=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl

I mean, I REALLY want to read this book and would download it right now if I was finished with my current fiction title. Anybody want to read it over the Christmas/New Year break with me? We could have a dialogue post about it the first week of January. I am eagerly awaiting your responses. :)

Let me know what you think. I enjoy the Catholic Book Club posts, but I think it's time to re-examine how I approach those. I would absolutely TREASURE your input on this!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Of wacky holiday crafts & open mic nights on the 3rd Sunday of Advent...

Hi all, and happy third week of Advent! How are things going for you? My Advent has been lovely, I've been feeling calm and happy. And yesterday, Gaudete Sunday, is one of my favorite Sundays of the year! I wore a pink top to Mass to commemorate this occasion. :-)

Our Advent wreath all lit for week 3, oohhhhh...
The kids were very well behaved at Mass, and things generally went well over the weekend. Lots of activity to report in, so settle in with your beverage of choice...

The weekend found me doing LOTS of last minute gift crafting. I finished the socks:

Can you hear the angels singing?
...and moved onto to frantically knitting dishcloths. I knitted watermelon dishcloths earlier in the fall, and I wanted to supplement those gifts, so I embarked on a fruit-themed endeavor. Here is Anne posing with her penguin in front of an in-progress strawberry dishcloth:

I also finished an apple cloth, and a different, solid green watermelon cloth. That was a win. Then I started on a colorwork hat that I've been commissioned to knit, and I seriously LOVE IT. I will post photos later this week. Oh, and I also have to squeeze in a crocheted cat before Christmas. We're getting there!

In other crafting news, I spent some time on Friday readying my tray for my dance troupe's Christmas video shoot. I gathered garland, ornaments, and a gift box to adorn my tray:

Kinda sorta?
It's not terrible, right? I don't have a hot glue gun or any fancy supplies, but I did what I could with materials found around the home. And it balances well.

This is what totally normal people do on Friday nights, yes?
We rehearsed this past Friday, and will record this week. I'm certain that will provide much amusing fodder.

Speaking of amusing dance anecdotes, we had a performance Saturday night. There is a new organization in our area called Dance Days, and they hosted a 12 Days of Dance event at the beginning of December. There is going to be a big festival this summer surrounding it, which is super exciting, but in the meantime, Saturday night was a fundraiser toward paying for all of this dance goodness. Our troupe was asked to perform.

It was a bit different than what I was expecting in that it was an open mic night. So, any performer could show up and perform, it wouldn't all be dance. We were given an approximate time slot, just given that we are a full group and there are more logistics to getting us all there and ready on time, as opposed to solo performers. Our slot was 9 pm, which is all "late" for those of us in the over 30 crowd.

I have to admit, given the above, I wasn't as excited about it as I usually am. I was feeling tired, and was wanting to lay around in my pj's on my couch, knitting, drinking wine, and watching Downton Abbey, as opposed to dancing squashed onto a small stage with 7 other women, a piano, and two Christmas trees, while a sparse crowd sips hot cocoa. But such is the way of things.

We all crammed into two cars and drove together down to the venue and the aforementioned tiny stage. We sat around for a bit, beads uncomfortably digging into our skin, watching various stand-up comedians and singer/songwriters. The only other dancer there was a tap dancer, who was very fun.

When it was our turn, we all herded onto the stage in our bright pink troupe costumes, making it appear as if a case of Pepto Bismol had just exploded. The space was a little tough, some of us had to dance down on the floor level in order to accommodate everyone. Me, knowing myself, paid very close attention to how near I was to the drop off between levels throughout our performance. The last thing we need is a belly dancer in a pink heap on the floor with a sprained ankle.

Thankfully, all went well, although I nearly accidentally kicked a floor light during a hip drop segment. The crowd was attentive, and although the event wasn't exactly bursting at the seams, there were a decent number of attendees. Afterward, we stayed for some more singing and one chanting/spoken word performance that I can only describe as surreal (and not in a good way :0) before slipping out. I was happy to get home to my wine.

Coming up I have lots of fun dance events that I'm looking forward to. I was asked to perform solo for a restaurant gig, but it was for New Years Eve, and I'm already booked that day with Mike and the kids. :) Alas, because I'm certain that would have been amusing fodder. After the new year though, there is MUCH more dance fun to be had, so I'll keep you all posted!

How was your third Sunday of Advent? I've got some book and other crafty stuff to post about this week, so make sure to check back! Looking forward to chatting with you then!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tea Time with Tiffany #27 - Teaching winding down, & Advent successes and fails...

Morning all! Squeezed in right before a reference shift, we have this week's installment of:


Today I talk about teaching! End of the semester grading, minor annoyances, that sort of thing. :) Also Advent and Christmas preparation! What have I kept up with, and what have I neglected? View on!

A hair flip! :0

Items mentioned in this episode:
Oh, oh, before I forget! I mentioned at the beginning of the video that I had contemplated tossing in audio tea sessions sometimes. Like maybe I'll record something while I go out for a walk, or something like that. Would you all like that some weeks instead of a video? Let me know!

Otherwise, also let me know how your Advent is going, and how your Christmas preparations are shaping up! :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Holiday crafting: How is that going, Tiffany?

Well, it's funny that you should ask. :0 It's been on my mind a lot lately too, great minds think alike, right? ;-) Soooo, here's the scoop, settle in with your beverage...

There are traditionally many stages to the holiday crafting life. In my experience, they go like this:

(1) July. You excitedly make a list of handmade items for Christmas gifts. You get all giddy with creative energy and feel tremendously accomplished.

(2) Still July. You place a giant yarn order, feeling zero guilt whatsoever, because, seriously, THIS IS FOR GIFTS!! You can go *hog wild* and feel nothing but sanctimonious warm and fuzzies about your purchases.

(3) August. You cast on for a pair of gift mittens, feeling that if there were a Nobel Peace Prize for Knitting, you would clearly win it this year.

(4) September. You have finished one mitten, and are hip deep in the fall frenzy that is sweater knitting. None of these are gifts, but you fret not. It's only September. There's still PLENTY of time!

(5) October. You have finished the mittens, but you have finally re-looked at that list you created back in July. Oh dear. Better start focusing on those red and green colorwork dishcloths.

(6) November. You have finished multiple gifts, but you have come to the sinking realization that you are in deep trouble. You still have MANY gifts to go, of which socks somehow number about 57. You place another yarn order for sport weight yarn to replace the thinner fingering weight you originally bought. This will make them knit up faster!

(7) Thanksgiving. You are in denial. You are frantically knitting sock #6 and have convinced yourself that there is STILL TIME! to finish everything by Christmas. Is it possible to knit socks out of super bulky weight yarn? They'd be like pillows for your feet. Who wouldn't want that?!

(8) Early December. You are morose. You have come to the conclusion that you are an absolute IDIOT for making this clearly unattainable list and have set yourself up for failure. AGAIN. Also, you are sick to death of knitting socks.

This is the point I am at, my friends. I have indeed finished some gifts, but I am no where NEAR what I had hoped to complete. I'm not even going to go back and link to my originally posted list from this summer, because the whole thing would be just too demoralizing. :0 I recently finished this pair of socks:

But SO many more socks to go. I'm nearly done with another pair, I'm on the heel flap of the second sock, so that will get done this week, and I can mail those off. After that...more yarn winding, more sock knitting.

*sobs!*

To add insult to injury, I nearly *ran out of yarn* on that blue pair you see above. I was holding my breath knitting the foot of the second sock in the pair, praying to whoever is Patron Saint of Overambitious, Insane Knitters, that I would not run out. Because if I had to order another hank of yarn just to close up a toe, I would NOT have been a happy knitting camper, no sir. I finished with a few yards to spare and felt very thankful indeed.

That's sort of where I'm at. I'm not going to finish everything, but I'm doing what I can and have gotten substitute gifts where possible. Mike isn't going to get his promised sweater, but I have other ways of distracting him until I finish. ;-) You know, around the 4th of July. Perfect alpaca tweed sweater weather, right?!

In other news, the kids have harvested the saints they received on St. Nicholas's feast day from their shoes, and tucked them away with their friends in preparation for Christmas. Here is Henry's saint collection:

All nice and orderly.
That's St. Stephen, St. Isadore the Farmer, St. Blaise and St. Nicholas, from left to right. Lined up like soldiers. Anne's saints, on the other hand?

What is happening here?

Apparently, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of Czestochowa are taking a nap in a plastic container she rescued from the garbage, and St. Nicholas is watching over them. She also has a collection of soft felt saint dolls who are all packed together into a baby crib. The saints like to sleep a lot, it seems.

Everybody is in high Advent mode with Christmas readying, it seems. ;-) How is your holiday crafting going, dear reader? General Christmas preparations? Do write in and tell me all about it!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Of tales in excruciation from the portrait studio, annual pilgrimmages to The Nutcracker, & holiday dancing adventures...

Well, happy Monday to you all! I have been grading all morning, and you can only imagine how much fun that is. *sarcasm* But I'm coming up for for a breath of fresh air, and happy to be taking a break. The semester will soon be over, so hope springs eternal!

I had a nice weekend, and I hope you did too. It was busy, to be sure. Got your tea?

I started the weekend as I always do, at dance troupe rehearsal. We have a performance coming up on December 12th, as part of a "12 Days of Dance" enterprise, so we ran through the numbers we're going to be doing there. Then we got all giddy and started created a Christmas choreography that we want to record for our website, in which we dance to a Middle Eastern instrumental version of a traditional Christmas song and balance trays on our heads of assorted holiday decor: Gifts, ornaments, garland, we've all been tasked with getting creative this week and decorating our tray. I mean...is it any wonder why I love these women?! This group has brought more fun and joy into my life than I could have possibly imagined. We're all going to deck ourselves out in red, green or gold costumes for the recording and I can hardly wait.

:0

A super fun trip to the craft store is in my future, yes indeedy. In other news, Saturday morning dawned as the assigned day for our family Christmas photo. As background, we don't often take family photos. We haven't had one taken since before Anne was born, just to give you a sense of the photo-aversion we're working with here. But the grandmothers have been clamoring for a photo, and I thought it would be nice to surprise them for Christmas. Thus, I signed us up for a weekend slot over at our local JC Penney Portrait Studio and demanded that everyone dress nicely and smile. There were some collective dour faces from the children, but we arrived for our appointment looking cute.

Where we encountered...scores upon scores upon score of other people. All with pending appointments. It's a busy time of year for such things, and it was a Saturday morning, so it wasn't a huge surprise. We settled in to wait. And wait. And wait. At various points, children started sobbing. Not ours, thankfully, but you know, the ambiance wasn't exactly a joyful one.

Just when I was starting to contemplate counting the carpet fibers to pass the time, it was our turn. We zoom in. We only wanted one family photo, no extras or costume changes or anything like that, so I figured it would be a few quick snaps and we'd be good to go. And it likely would have been, had we not had Anne with us, the child whose facial expression lent the impression that we had kidnapped her on the way over and forced her to pose for photographs with us. It took some doing to get her to cooperate and smile.

In the end, we would up with a few shots that turned out well, with us all smiling and not blinking. We were there for two and a half hours, but the photo turned out great and it was cheap.

#winning

Later, we went to the vigil Mass for the Second Sunday of Advent, since our Nutcracker tickets interfered with our usual Sunday Mass time. And after we got home and had dinner, the kids put their shoes out by the hearth, in anticipation of St. Nicholas's feast day. And in the morning, da da DA!


St. Nicholas came over for a visit. :)
Each kid got a book, a saint and some chocolate. Henry has a small St. Nicholas tucked into his shoe, and Anne has Our Lady of Guadalupe. Henry keeps his saint dolls carefully up on a shelf, all lined up, while Anne puts her in baby cribs, sleeps with them in her bed where they are constantly rolling onto the floor, and generally hauls them around to watch TV with her or go on errands tucked into one of her many purses. Lots of adventures with the saints, to be sure.

Also on Sunday morning, we had our annual trip to see The Nutcracker, performed by a local ballet. I LOVE this tradition and look forward to it each year:

Anne and I dressed & ready for the show...
Henry even wore a tie, how precious is that? (he declined to be photographed ;-)) We headed to the theater, and as we do every year, procured a new nutcracker doll to add to our collection, as well as several sparkly ornaments for the tree. The kids did great for the performance, I just had to endure Anne sitting on my lap for the entire second half, kneading her elbows into my internal organs. It seems that she has an aptitude for this talent both inside and outside of the womb.

So that was our busy weekend. Now I'm in Grading Purgatory, but I'm offering it up for all of you. ;-) How was your 2nd Sunday of Advent, dear reader?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Tea Time with Tiffany #26 - Advent goings on & end-of-semester busyness...

Well look at that, it's time for our weekly chat once again. I missed you all last week!


This week I talk generally about busy life happenings (the recent audio projects, end-of-the-semester teaching adventures) as well as how my family Advent observance is going. Care to catch up with me? Let's do this!


Items mentioned in this episode:
Relatedly, this is our family Advent calendar, day 3. Can you guess who put up 2 of the magnets, and who put up the latest one?

Apparently, one of the wise men can fly...

All right my friends, I want to know what is going on with YOU! How is your Advent starting out? What devotions are you trying out this year? How is your Christmas shopping going? Do tell me all about it in the comments. :-)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Advent goodness - Nativity sets abound & calendars that secretly multiply in the off season...

Morning everyone! I hope that your first week of Advent is off to a good start. Did you light your candle this week?

We did. :)

This was the first week of our parish moving from having an 8am, 10am and noon Mass, down to just an 8am and 11am. We attended the 11am, and all went very well. I wasn't quite prepared for the new parking lot situation, but that's all right. We'll all adjust! The liturgy was quietly beautiful and the kids both behaved like angels. I assure you, this is not always the case, it is not due to some special Catholic Mothering Trick that I have patented. I just got lucky this week. :)

Yesterday on December 1st, we started the Advent calendars. The kids each have a chocolate calendar this year, and we have a new wood calendar with magnetic pieces. I have coveted this calendar for years, and finally bought it over the summer. Tip: this calendar often goes on sale during the non-Advent season. :) That's when I snapped mine up. At any rate, Henry LOVES this new calendar, and has been sneakily getting the pieces out and set up before Anne and I come downstairs in the mornings. Anne had a pout face on about that this morning, so I had to secure a promise from Henry that Anne could do tomorrow's piece.

*long suffering sigh*

Speaking of poor Henry, he has whatever Cold From The Very Pits of Hell that Anne and I had recently. He was coughing a lot yesterday and this morning. I could sigh again, but I won't, and instead offer up yet another instance of lost sleep via parental sacrifice. Before I was a parent, I had NO IDEA about the dire nature of the sleep situation. I think that this all should be taken into consideration during our turn at the Last Judgment, don't you agree?

At any rate, the other Advent items proliferating in our house are nativity sets. Henry has a set, Anne has a set, and we have a family set. We also have other random, partial sets in the storage that sometimes intermingle during the off season and result in eclectic family situations come December. As in a wise man is suddenly a member of the Holy Family, or an angel is stepping in for Mary. She deserves a break sometimes, right? Far too often, baby Jesus Himself is missing in action. It is most distressing when this happens. Henry keeps good track of his set, and Anne's is confined to her room, so it's the main downstairs set that sees the confusion each year. I just try and piece together as coherent a representation of the nativity as I can and call it a day.

So, our home traditions are all going well, but I am feeling rather busy these days, which I am decidedly not enjoying. I want things to settle down and all of us just enjoy the season. Oohh, I'll talk about this more in our weekly video chat. *beams*

How is your first week of Advent going? Do write in and tell me all about it. Oh, oh! I almost forgot. If you want to watch or listen to my spell over on the Catholic Mom Hangout podcast, check it out right over here. The topic is Advent, so it's all perfect and everything! :)