The low-key first part of Wisconsin

On Sunday night, our crew drove back to Wisconsin to stay at my folks’ home. There we spent some delightful, low-key days, primarily just with Grandpa and Grandma (although we had some extra special days with Auntie Sal, too) We had a little bit of overlap time with the whole family the first part of that week, before my siblings headed out to spend time with their in-laws — in Michigan and in Chicago — for the Christmas weekend.

We played a lot of games – Codenames, Pinochle (which my mom used to play a lot and re-learned on the computer before teaching us), and Saboteur. It was funny to see how difficult it was for the boys to ever believe anyone could be bad in that game. Such sweet, trusting guys they are!

There was a lot of artwork done. Some cooking with Grandma. And lots of reading and relaxing.

On Christmas Eve, we worshipped together. Then we enjoyed our annual shepherd’s meal celebration. We did this inside this year since it was a little rainy. I think we’ve all decided inside is lovely. =D And then Mike and I watched “Scrooge” (aka A Christmas Carol) “with” my parents. This is a Christmas tradition (that Mike was apparently unaware of, despite being married to me for 15 years…). I grew up watching this black and white movie with my fam every year since it’s my dad’s favorite. The new tradition is to watch it while they sleep in the chairs surrounding us. Very memorable for all. =D

On Christmas morning we stayed in our jammies for a long time, ate delicious apple pancakes, and eventually watched the Packers game all snuggled up together.

Next up: more time in Wisconsin with the whole fam.

Advent Activities

As you probably know, Advent is one of my favorite seasons. I love the anticipation and the waiting. I love thinking about the long-expected Jesus’ birth and also His second-coming. I’m thankful for the intentional season to prepare for Christmas.

Throughout the Advent season we usually go through a book and do a little something fun each day leading up to Christmas Day. This year has felt a little disjointed (we’ve missed a few days or had to put a few activities all on one day), but we’ve had some fun nonetheless. We are reading “Prepare Him Room” by Marty Machowski this year. And we’ve done many of our usual activities including: making Christmas cookies, having a family sleep over (we did this on Micah’s birthday) in matching pjs (a ridiculous splurge I did this year that made us all laugh a lot), Christmas wrestling match, caroling with our church family, driving around to see Christmas lights, red and green dinner, breakfast for dinner, picking up trash in the park with friends, participating in their piano recital, and watching home videos from 2021 while enjoying ice cream sundaes (on a Sunday, of course).

Enjoy Ethan playing Breath of Heaven. Watch Micah play God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, his first piano recital piece. And enjoy Micah playing Rainbow Colors, too. You can also watch videos of them and other pianists recording at their piano teacher’s home.

Advent activities for the past couple weeks included breakfast by the fire, making Christmas cookies, ice cream sundaes (on a Sunday, of course ;)), a family sleepover, making Christmas cards, watching a virtual performance of The Nutcracker, going for a winter hike, a drive to see Christmas lights, a family wrestling match (Ethan won), and a white winter breakfast for the first day of winter:

Other activities in December (fun in the snow, pics from various walks, virtual church with our very own Advent “wreath” (thanks, Auntie Mel!!), time by the fire, timeline lessons with Auntie Sal and Grandpa and Grandma (look closely and you’ll see I’m sporting a mustache), piano-playing, watching Ivan and Abe in their virtual choir performance for their church, playing with LEGO, our Hope sign (another thanks to Auntie Mel), and watching “The Grinch” over Zoom with the family:

We hope your December is filled with much cheer and good memories! It may not look the way it looks most years, but there is still lots of joy to be found.

Advent Activities, etc.

The boys and I were feeling pretty sad after Daddio and Grandpa Russ left. Mike stayed in Missouri for another five days to help get things settled there, so we spent some time solo again for the first time in a very long time! That first day we wanted to do something a little special – so we went birding at Cherry Creek Reservoir. Couldn’t have asked for a more lovely way to spend some hours to lighten our heavy hearts.

Advent activities while Dad was out included making homemade egg nog (yum!!), secret acts of kindness day (no pictures of that, obviously!), breakfast for dinner, picking up trash around our park with friends (followed by a snowball fight), and a Christmas art class.

And here are some other pics from throughout that week (virtual church, workouts during memory work review, Ethan reading in a tree, Grandma reading to us, snow on one of my walks, and my favorite cozy spot after a long day of parenting solo):

Advent Activities

We celebrated Advent again this year by doing various activities each day.  We didn’t get a chance to do a few of my favorites and I definitely didn’t snap a picture of everything we did.  But here’s a glimpse into the festivities for Advent 2018.  Activities included, but were not limited to: watching a Christmas movie, enjoying ice cream ‘sundaes’ for a meal, red and green meal, making Christmas snacks, Christmas art class online, decorating gingerbread houses, and painting Christmas canvases.

We definitely enjoyed the anticipatory season of Advent.  Meanwhile, we also read Ann Voscamp’s “Greatest Gift” Advent book.  We really enjoyed that.  And I read a book called, “Keeping Holiday” which I liked a whole lot and will read to the boys in the coming years.

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