Our Advent Activities and Books for 2013

Advent Calendar with Homemade Envelopes

Apparently December arrives tomorrow. Let me say that again: December arrives tomorrow.

As I attempted to relax a little bit this morning, I realized that I still hadn’t found the Advent envelopes that I made a few years ago. We’re a little behind on some of our decorating, so I hadn’t come upon the right box yet. I eventually found our handmade Advent calendar and hung it up in our dining room. Since we moved to the new house last year, our Jingle Tree sits in front of our calendar, and everything is uber-festive.

Advent Calendar with Homemade Envelopes

I made one new envelope this year, having misplaced the one for Christmas Day yet again. It seems that since I take the envelope for Christmas Day to our bedroom on Christmas Eve, it somehow gets misplaced every year. The boys know to come straight to our room on Christmas morning so we can open the envelope together and do what it says — which is read the story of Jesus’ birth together. I am assuming that I will someday find a stack of handmade envelopes with the number 25 on them — far, far in the future. This year our 25th envelope features a card from last Christmas from my husband’s grandmother. (Yes, I keep cards from the previous year just in case I have to make one more envelope.)



I’ve written a “rough draft” of our activities for the year. Some are date specific, some can be moved around as need be. As I learned the hard way the first year, I haven’t included any snow specific activities, but reserve the right to substitute one in if we happen to have a good snowfall sometime between now and Christmas Eve. I upped donations to a few local places this year for obvious reasons. We’re also doing more baking/cooking and less crafting. We’ll also be doing other things that aren’t on the list, because the holidays remain busy, busy, busy.

  • Go get a real Christmas tree!
  • Make Chex mix
  • Write letters to Santa
  • Watch the court house light show
  • Visit Santa
  • Mail Christmas cards
  • Watch a Christmas movie in jammies
  • Bake Christmas cookies
  • Christmas music dance party
  • Secret Santa donation
  • Clean out toys to donate
  • Deliver Christmas treats & cards to neighbors
  • Bake cupcakes for Munchkin’s birthday
  • Take photos in front of the tree with the dog
  • Christmas craft!
  • Donate canned goods to a food pantry
  • Make more Christmas cookies.
  • Have a hot chocolate bar!
  • Donate to Haven of Hope
  • Make a snowman pizza
  • First day of winter! Make snowflakes!
  • Game night in front of the tree!
  • Christmas light scavenger hunt
  • Unwrap one present (of mom and dad’s choosing)
  • Read the birth of Christ in the Bible together

We will continue to unwrap one Christmas story before bed each night. It took until mid-month last year for LittleBrother to realize that the books were all books that we owned, just wrapped up for extra fun. I’ve added some new ones from sales after Christmas last year. The Christmas coloring books and Christmas books that didn’t make the cut will also be in the box by the tree so they can read holiday themed books as they so desire throughout the month.

Our Advent Book List

I’m excited for the month of December. I adore the holiday season. I love watching the wonder and joy on my sons’ faces. I struggle on some personal levels with various aspects of life, but I push through because I know how much they love this time.

Here’s hoping that this year’s holiday brings good things for us all.



Firefighter Apparel by Black Helmet Apparel

SNOW DAY! (The First): Remind Me

Snow Brothers

Remind me of this post when we’re on Snow Day! (The Fourth or Fifth or … worse).

Remind me how BigBrother flew out of his room at 7:53am, shouting, “We’re going to miss the bus,” panic heavy on his voice. And how I rolled over and looked at him, overtop of his brother who had crawled in bed with me about an hour earlier. “It’s a snow day!” The way he looked at me was comical. His face lit up for about two seconds before it fell. “Aww! But I wanted to go to school! I wanted to learn!”

Remind me of how they rushed through their breakfast because I said I would let them watch TV for a little bit.

Remind me how they played really well together with all of their LEGOs, using their imaginations to build a hotel next to their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “dojo,” which the Ninjago guys are also allowed to visit. And the firefighters.

Remind me how excited they were as they bounded up the steps after I informed them it was time to go play in the snow. How they quickly — without whining or complaining or arguing or falling over — put on all of their snow stuff by themselves. Well, minus their brand new boots; I would have needed help with those suckers too.

Remind me how excited they were to get out in the snow.


Snow Brothers

Throw a Snowball

How happy the dog was to chase them, to jump and bite a snowball out of their hands, to knock them over into the white stuff.

Remind me how they stayed outside for an entire hour without whining about being cold or wet or tired. Remind me that they joyfully shoveled the entire driveway, though they did compare themselves to Calvin. I told them that it builds character. Remind me that they just blinked at me.

Remind me how they fell inside, giggles and red cheeks, ready for lunch and hot chocolate and warm, dry clothes. How they chattered and laughed about their “adventures” in the snow while they ate.

Remind me of all of this joy later, when the winter lingers on too long and the school cancellations fall on inconvenient days instead of the lazy day before Thanksgiving. Remind me of the joy snow brings to these little boys, to my own heart. Remind me… as they did today.


52 Weeks of Brotherhood: Week 47

52 Weeks, Week 47

52 Weeks, Week 47

Oh, these two.

To get this one decent photo of the two brothers and the two parents at their birthday party on Saturday, we had to go through 15. 15 shots of this.

Oh Dear

Which resulted in this awesome exchange:


Can you see me saying the -er of his name?

I'm still mad here...he doesn't care

Can you see their two, very individual, very different personalities in these photos? Can you see mine? Please note that my husband is sitting perfectly, smiling as if the whole thing isn’t as awful as nails on a chalkboard. I’ve trained him well.

Those other two goobers on the other hand, well, I have some more work to do on them. I feel like when I look back on this year of brotherhood pictures, I will treasure this series of goofiness though. (But don’t tell them that, please.)