I finally got my act together and did an advent calendar with Reagan this year! I've been wanting to forever but I couldn't find one that incorporated all the things I wanted it to... so I just made my own (with zero dollars spent thankyouverymuch.)
I went back and forth multiple times on whether to do an elf on the shelf this year or not. Zach even bought one and surprised me with it one night but I decided to have him take it back (cue Aunt Debbie's eye roll haha!) Every year after Christmas is over we have those post-Christmas blues. We recognized that we struggled with getting caught up and losing the real meaning behind the holiday, myself majorly included. As Reagan gets older we are constantly re-evaluating what the heck we are doing. Our big motto recently has been being "intentional" in our parenting and I knew for us and the stage we are in- the simpler the better. I also knew going into it, that I would be single-moming it during the week days because Zach had been working out of Rockford. If I tried to do elf on the shelf plus advent calendar plus all of the other activities we have going on this month by myself, things would get muddled and everything would be mediocre. Sort of like if everything is "special" then nothing is really "special?" And also, in true Reagan-fashion he's been skeptically asking questions about these "holiday characters" since around last Easter so I was trying to avoid putting any emphasis on fictional characters as much as possible.
Whew, so there is my long winded explanation that no one asked me to explain.
(I tore out pages from old books to make the advent envelopes with)
I looked at our schedule ahead of time and planned certain things around activities we already had in place or traditions we usually did anyway. More towards Christmas I did simpler ones because I knew we would be traveling and they needed to be easy enough to do in the car. And if I'm going to be honest by the end of the day we probably got to 75% of the envelopes. I tried to not kick myself for not getting to one on certain days because I realized by rushing through it/pushing it on to him it was defeating the purpose of doing the whole thing in the first place. Zach helped me with some of the verses, a lot of the times the activities that had corresponding verses played off of certain words/ideas in the scripture. I'm not going to lie, it was kind of time consuming so I wrote it all down to reference in years to come.
25- John 8:12, Take a drive and look at the lights! (We had Reagan get ready for bed and then told him to open the first envelope. He was not expecting to take off and get in the car. Tony and Steph were actually at our house so they hopped in the car with us too.)
24- Hebrews 12:11-13, Nerf war!
23- Exodus 16:14-16, Donate canned goods (his school was actually have a drive at the time.)
22- Luke 2:1, Make hot chocolate mix.
21- John 3:16, Awana night.
20- Help with Christmas cards (he put the return address labels and stamps on.)
19- Luke 2:8, Christmas movie with treat!
18- 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, Family game night!
17- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, colorful bath (I used this homemade recipe. I took my shower after his and just ran water over it, no scrubbing at all, super easy clean up.)
16- Romans 6:23 open one gift early (it's always a Christmas book from us.)
15- make a gift for your teacher.
13- Psalm 95:1-6, go to Sofie's choir concert!
12- Matthew 5:13, make salt dough ornaments.
11- visit Grandma Sugars.
10- Genesis 7:1-8:21, Animals deserve a trat too, make a peanut butter bird feeder!
9- Acts 2:13, wrap a gift for Shep
8- Matthew 14:19-21, have a picnic dinner under the tree
7- John 4:14, Awana night!
6- 2 Samuel 22:51, random act of kindness
5- Exodus 15:2, listen to Christmas songs
4- 1 Thessalonians 5:16, make a list of things you're thankful for
3- cut out snowflakes
2- write a letter to Santa
1- sing Happy Birthday to Jesus
(Christmas around the house)
When my Grandma and Grandpa Shadoan were up for Thanksgiving my Grandma gifted us with wreaths, bows and her general awesomeness of talents. She fulfilled my lifelong dream of having wreaths on my windows during Christmastime (you think I'm kidding.) Saying I loved it was an understatement, even though you enter our driveway from the side of the house, I would still take the long way to see it from the front day and/or night. I've taken way too much pleasure in decorating our first house for the holidays (read above for more on losing the meaning behind Christmas.)
The house on the first snow!
My poor porch swing! We should have taken it down, crap. Shep and I swing on this everyday while we wait for Reagan to get home from school, a scene straight from the old-time-50s (a reagan-saying.) It's true! I love it.
one of the wreaths fell during this storm and the asymmetry is killing me.
Tired of pictures? Too bad!