Let me start this post by saying that I am not vowing or promising or otherwise saying in any way that I intend to blog every day this month. Inevitably there will come a day where it’s simply impossible. That being said, I’m aiming for at least once a week.
This morning the older two woke up before the baby, and managed to wake me up without disturbing her peaceful slumber. I said a quick prayer over the day: Lord, please let Laurelyn sleep long enough for us to have breakfast and make our advent calendar; please give me patience; please remind me what is really important every time I start to lose my temper so that I may be an effective tool in Your Kingdom. As He is prone to do, God answered my humble prayer. Laurelyn ended up sleeping another 2 hours! We had breakfast (which involved 2 cups of coffee today) and got the supplies for our advent calendar: the box of our new, fresh wreath; a box cutter; envelopes; mounting squares; a hole punch; twine; WASHABLE markers; Frozen stickers.
After I cut the sides of the box off, I let the girls color / sticker-fy them. Then I attached 25 envelopes onto them. I chose to do this with craft mounting squares because it was easy; I didn’t know how much time I had, so I was trying to speed things along without rushing, because then it would be stressful instead of fun. I reminded myself over and over again that if the baby interrupted, it would not be the end of the world; we could just finish it later. And so, I was able to get through our project without stressing out and consequently freaking out at the kids whenever they did kid things (like color themselves instead of the cardboard, fight over markers, fight over coloring space, fight over stickers, etc).
By the time we got to the sticking the envelopes on part, the girls were over it. So I suggested we put in a Christmas movie to watch together. Of course, they each picked different movies. So I put each behind my back and Eowyn picks an arm at random. Ary’s movie was selected, so Eowyn lost her mind and ended up in timeout. I wanted to lose my temper at her ridiculous behavior, but that would hardly send the right message since she was in trouble for losing her temper. Motherhood is full of irony. She ended up sitting alone pouting long after her timeout, but I took a deep breath, calmly told her that she could join us when she wanted but was not allowed to turn the other TV on, went back to Ary and patiently waited. She eventually rejoined us of her own free will, and we had a nice time watching Charlie Brown Christmas together. Laurelyn literally woke up right as I was finished putting the supplies away. Absolutely perfect timing. But then again, God’s timing is always perfect.
I am getting ideas for activities for our advent calendar from a blog that I found via a Google search. I’m not just cutting and pasting completely; I’m changing some things up with my own ideas too. But this post is a great foundation to start off of.
All three girls actually managed to nap at the same time, and Laurelyn was not sleeping on me, which NEVER happens. I think that was our first Christmas miracle! So I used the 40 minutes I had before I had to wake Eowyn up for dance class, (Ary didn’t fall asleep right away, so I spent the first hour of nap time putting her back in bed while I nursed Laurelyn), to cut and write out as many cards for our envelopes as possible. I was able to get the first 9 written out, but only had time to shove the first one in the envelope. I dug out mini candy canes from last Christmas and shoved two of those in there.
My random act of kindness for the day was a note and candy for the lady that tends the front desk at Eowyn’s dance studio. I know how much work it is to stay on top of all the administrative duties, and she also teaches a class, and is in the studio’s Nutcracker production. She works hard and despite being obviously exhausted all the time, is always nice. I wrote that out during nap as well, and used leftover pinata candy from our Frozen party last week. This literally cost me nothing extra but my time.
She looked especially tired today; her smile was heavy this time, but as always, was present as she asked how she could help me. I paid my tuition and slipped her my note. She came up to me halfway through dance class, and she looked completely refreshed. She had a smile from ear to ear as she thanked me for my note, telling me how much it meant to her. I am so happy that God was able to use my simple little note to brighten her day.
Since Eowyn is only 4, the best way that I can think of to teach her about random acts of kindness aside from example, is to point out when she does something nice out of her own free will. That way she’ll form connections and begin to think of her own ideas for random acts on her own. Her dance teacher is 8 months pregnant right now. Before leaving class, Eowyn went up to her teacher to give her a hug and then put her arms around her pregnant belly and said, “Bye, baby!” Her teacher looked like she was going to cry because she was so touched. While I was making dinner tonight, Eowyn took stickers that she got for her birthday and gave one to each of us (Laurelyn actually got 2). Both things I pointed out to her as random acts of kindness, or ‘the power of doing good’ which is what she calls it.
Time got away from me once we got home, so we didn’t get around to opening the day’s envelope on our advent calendar until 10 minutes before bath time. Of course, they fought over who got to open the envelope. Since they were both yanking on it, the candy canes fell on the floor and broke into pieces. Then they were so distracted by their excitement over the candy that it was hard to get them to pay attention to the card. I told them they weren’t allowed to eat the candy until after we did the activity, so we got them to listen. Kind of.
The ‘Whisper Game’ is the telephone game that we played as kids, where you sit around in a circle on the floor and have one person whisper something in their neighbor’s ear and the last person in the line says the message out loud. I thought this would be the best way to demonstrate the prophesy of Christ being born being whispered from the prophets throughout the years. The line started with me and ended with Ary, so it took a few turns before she got the message of “Jesus is born”, but she got it! The girls ate their candy canes and then we announced that it was bedtime.
“That’s it?”, Eowyn asked.
“Well, yeah, sweetie. We did our activity and you guys had your candy. That’s it for today.”
“But we didn’t do a craft!”
“I never said that we were going to do a craft every day; just that we would do an activity every day.”
“No! I want to do a craft!”
Great. She hates it already.
They did enjoy the activity, I think the problem was that it just wasn’t long enough. Note to self: don’t start advent activities 10 minutes before bath.
After the kids were in bed, I put the other 8 cards in their envelopes and got the candy canes out. I popped one in my mouth before putting more in the other envelopes to discover that they were a bit soft. I gave my kids old candy that tasted a bit old! Mom fail. I chucked those and filled the envelopes with candy from their pinata grabs from a party they went to yesterday. Takcy, I know. But at least there’s candy in there for them to find! Like I said, I’m making this up as I go along.
So here’s our advent calendar:
Yes, those are princess stickers on the envelopes. What do princesses have to do with Christmas? Absolutely nothing, but it’s what we have on hand. Hopefully I can get the rest of the cards written out tomorrow so it’ll be done.
How did you go out of your way to touch someone today?
The Second Day of Christmas
A Christmas Pledge