Thursday, December 12, 2013

Decked Halls!

The house is decorated for Christmas! I am apologizing now that this post is a totally random mix of pictures from my phone, Instagram, and my good camera. The fact that I've carved out enough time to write a post in the first place is a bit of a Christmas miracle, so let's all rejoice and read on!

We did something differently at our house this year when it comes to our Christmas tree. My in-loves gave me their old tree after purchasing a new one, and y'all, this tree is HUGE, roughly nine feet tall and very wide. After trying to figure out how to fit it into our living areas, I suddenly had the idea to put it in the dining room. The dining room is round and its window faces the front of the house, so the tree's twinkling lights would be visible from the street. Bam. I moved the dining table into our piano room/playroom and set up the tree in the dining room. 

(You're welcome for the messy straight-from-the-phone picture, taken about sixteen minutes ago, after getting home from running last-minute errands. Yes, we actually live in our house, ha.) I was worried that the chandelier would create an issue resulting in bruised foreheads, but it's actually almost high enough for us to walk under, and so far our heads have been spared. And, oddly enough, it blends in with the tree really well when you're looking at it ... to the point that you forget it's there. Again--good thing it's high!

It's been so fun to have a "Christmas Room" (as my kids lovingly refer to it...seen here with pics from my good camera). We lay on the floor at night and read Christmas books under the tree, and all of our Christmas cards are displayed on the hutch. It's perfectly cozy. 

The tree started out as a mix of snowflakes, icicles, and glass bulbs mixed with browns and golds, but, since having kids, we now have homemade reindeer and cardboard bulbs slathered in poster paint to accompany them. I wouldn't have it any other way.

And, about the dining room table (and back to pictures from my phone)! After moving it into the piano room, I covered it with a sparkly "snowy" tablecloth and used it as the display for our little Christmas village. We started the village when Cub three, buying one new piece each year. A good friend of mine has older kids and did this when her youngest was born, and now her village is big! I'm the kind of person who would rather see it all at once ... :), but it's been so fun to collect one piece at a time. The kids really get into it. And, who are we kidding, I love it, too.

(The first piece, the church.)

(Second piece, the "spinning windmill!")

 (This year's piece, a music-playing conveyer-belt spinning twinkling cookie factory, complete with movable icing tubes. Clearly, any other piece paled in comparison to this one. Sigh!)

And, lastly, a (Instagram) picture of our mantle, when I decorated it a few weeks ago. It's changed a bit after having a baby shower for my friend and moving the mirror into the "Christmas Room"! But, this was the picture I had, so, here you go! Love.

There you have it, friends!

Have a lovely day!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent 2013.

Last night, we lit the first candle of our Advent Wreath, the "Promise Foretold" candle. My Dad made our "wreath" this year by slicing a piece off of a fallen tree on my parents' property and boring holes in it for candles. I absolutely love it. Despite the absence of evergreen, the tree itself still represents life, and I love it. 

As we settled down to light the first candle, I suddenly had a moment of panic. I couldn't find our Advent book anywhere! If you've followed me through any Christmas, you know that I love Advent, and that little book is a huge part of our tradition. Printed in 1994, it was the same booklet of readings that we used when I was a kid, given to us by our church. I'll admit, I was a bit frantic trying to find it. Our peaceful Advent moment was quickly turning into one of those Mommy's Gone Crazy moments when I suddenly remembered that two years ago, I had typed out those same readings on this blog. I searched the archives and, sure enough, there they were! I'm not kidding, I may have wiped away a tear or two. I treasure these readings and this tradition, especially now that my kids are at the age where they are beginning to really understand it. 

I wanted to link the readings here, in case you are in need of some easy, kid-friendly Advent readings. Even if you missed yesterday's candle lighting, you can start today. If you don't have an Advent wreath, they are easy to make--really, just take a fake wreath and stick some candles in it. Bam. In the midst of the increasing glitziness and shimmer that shroud the Christmas season, it's great to remember the importance of simplicity, especially with our kids. They will remember the tradition, the quiet readings and the flames in the darkness, regardless if the wreath is big or small, or if the candles are straight or crooked or mismatched. Each reading highlights a different part of the Christmas story and includes questions to get our kiddos talking.

There is a reading for every Sunday in Advent, hence, the four candles. In our tradition, we include a candle in the center of the wreath, the Christmas Candle, to be lit on Christmas Day.

The Faith Candle


Have a lovely day.