one fun new tradition i started this year was inspired by Sarah Jane, an illustrator whom i adore. basically she posted about wrapping up 25 Christmas books and reading one to her kids every night at bedtime throughout the month of December. so fun!
i modified the advent a little bit- by making it a combo- it was a "book + activity combo." this means that every day through the month of December, we did a Holiday Activity, and we read a Holiday story. some activities/stories went well together- others had no relation- but i absolutely loved it. i especially loved it because i love Children's Books-- in fact, i have collected them since i was in Elementary School. when i was a Kindergarten teacher, i was awesome at shuffling books in and out seasonally. i try to keep up at home -- but having this advent idea really got me on the ball (and gave me the awesome excuse of adding a few new wonderful stories to my Holiday collection) and made the girls extra excited about books. love when that happens.
anyway- to be totally honest, this post is going to be a haphazard post of sharing some books we read and some advent activities we did. it's basically a mod-podge of all the stuff i've left out (leading up until Tahoe/ our Southern Cal Christmas).
reading the Gingerbread Man/Making Gingerbread Cookies:
reading "the Christmas Snowmen," putting up our Christmas lights (read: M putting up our Christmas lights), then venturing out to see our favorite Crazy-Lights-House, and adding a new Crazy lights house to our favorites list:
reading the Nativity Story for FHE and creating our own Nativity Puppet Theatre -- then performing our own lil plays for at least an hour (this was one of my favorite activities- the girls were so funny! pretending to be Mary or the animals or the wisemen. definitely a repeat activity)
baking / frosting Christmas Sugar Cookies (we did this activity twice -- you can never frost too many cookies, is what i say):
going into the city to the California Academy of Sciences, where we did scientific stuff...and saw Santa's reindeer chillin':
visiting our favorite Christmas Village, set up by a friend/member of our Stake here:
going to Temple Hill to see the Oakland Temple all decked out for Christmas:
reading a story about traditions and then baking my grandma's deadly Chocolate Peppermint Cookies (the ones i blogged about last year here ). oh, and then making some special deliveries, of course:
and if i had to narrow it all down and pick one thing that was my very favorite part of our advent fun/pre-Christmas fun, it would probably be reading Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, then attending our ward Christmas Party, where Ellie / her little ballet studio performed a lil routine to "Run Run Rudolph."
my favorite parts of the routine were:
1) Ellie really knew the dance- even if it was a little delayed.
2) she was very enthusiastic doing it -- especially her running motion. love those high-kickin' knees.
3) her cute lil belly hangin' out at the end. oh to be four and not have a care in the world!
i also have this video of the dance that my friend Liz shared with me (thanks Liz!). i love it. so much. and have probably watched it 30 times. yes, i'm that obsessed mom. whatevs.
the primary also sang -- and it is always so adorable when that happens.....but especially adorable when one of your own kids is involved.
oh, and Alice was there - and was super cute/adorable too. i'm just kinda obsessed with my kids, i guess.
and i already wrote about Ellie and Alice meeting Santa at the ward party- but did i mention that Mrs. Claus was there too? Ellie was very concerned about her hair... "Mom, is that hair....real?" she said to me. well. i don't know, Ms. Smarty Pants Ellie. i just don't know.
M and i got a lil Christmas fun in without the kiddos too- attending one of our favorite annual Christmas parties -- a yankee-swap style party, where M came away with a Pillow Case, complete with our Stake President's face ironed-on it, and i came away with a scandalously dressed inflatable giraffe + 50 $1 bills. yankee swap parties are so hilarious.
we also got all ugly for a fondue/ugly sweater party with some of our favorite people -- always a good time.
we looked so ugly, but man i love that guy.
so obviously, we kept busy. and we had lots and lots of Christmas 2012 fun. thanks to all who shared with us and made it so extra cheery + bright!