I still have to wait to tell my exciting news until the right time.  I can promise you however, (as someone has asked) that I am not pregnant.  Though that would be very exciting news indeed, it would send both mine and John’s parents into coronaries.  :)  So, I shouldn’t be announcing that.  However, I don’t think we would mind all that much. ;)

Instead, I want to share with you some of our Christmas activities that we’ve been doing as part of our homeschooling.  I want this holiday to be a special one for my girls.  I have to be honest and say that coming from a family that experienced divorce, it was a difficult time for me as a child.  I wanted to be two places at once, and it was too much for a kid to feel.  As I mentioned before, John and I both still have a hard time being everywhere and doing everything we would like to be and do this season.  So, I want our own little family tradition to be sweet and simple.  Close knit.  Real.  Acknowledging all aspects of the season.

This year we are observing Advent for the very first time.  It is not commonly celebrated here, so I didn’t know all that much about how to do it up right.  When I went looking for books about Advent, I was asked if it was a foreign holiday.  I have managed to find enough information to adapt the holiday to our family and what we have on hand with the help of Festivals, Family, and Food by Diana Carey and Judy Large, and a great blog I am finding more and more helpful each time I visit it – The Parenting Passageway.

I made an Advent wreath from our grapevine wreath that we decorate seasonally, and some things we had around indoors and out.  It sits on our kitchen table.  The candles are lit at mealtimes.

Each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas we add more decoration to the wreath as we announce another part of the earth that is awaiting the birth of the Christ.

The first light of Advent is the light of stone-

Stones that live in crystals, seashells, and bones.

The second light of Advent is the light of plants-

Plants that reach up to the sun and in the breeze dance.

The third light of Advent is the light of beasts-

All await the birth, from the greatest to the least.

The fourth light of Advent is the light of humankind-

The light of hope that we may learn to love and understand.

-I’ve seen this verse posted several places online without a source given.

I wanted to make an Advent calender, but I haven’t found the time.  Instead, we are using Christmas stickers on our everyday calender to mark off the days until the holiday, which we’ve marked with a manger scene.

I’m really enjoying this focus on the birth of Jesus that Advent brings.  So many times, we can get lost in the buying of gifts and attending parties that we can lose the sense of introspection that this season allows no matter our religious beliefs.  It is a time where we seek the warmth of what is inside of us, and I fear in so many ways we as an American people are having a trying time finding enough warmth to sustain ourselves – not because it isn’t there, but because we lose ourselves in what we think things should be like, rather than what they are.  I’m guilty of this myself, so maybe I am just projecting here.  I want my girls to have traditions they can remember fondly no matter the economic climate or what is going on in pop culture.  To add to the spirit of Advent, our Circle Time story has been the birth of Jesus.

We’ve also made ornaments and snowflakes from the Festivals, Family, and Food book.  The big tissue ball in the picture of the calender is one.

This is the smaller version for the tree.

Deladis loved making the snowflakes this week.  She was giddy.  Our theme for the last two weeks has been snow.  I love the focus on nature in Waldorf and acknowledging the important roles the seasons play in our lives – the role that Mother Earth plays.  Both of the girls have loved it, and I have watched them grow so much.  Ivy is now even trying to recite the poems and sing the songs in words.  Deladis told me for the first time she had a favorite part to the poem “Velvet Shoes” by Elinor Wylie – “We shall walk through the still town”.  They have especially enjoyed “Winter Morning” by Ogden Nash, but I can tell that Deladis’ favorite of all is

Dust of Snow

The way a crow

Shook down on me

The dust of snow

From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart

A change of mood

And saved some part

Of a day I had rued.

- Robert Frost

It is Mommy’s favorite too. :)

Christmas outfits from Mamaw Haywood

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