I was anticipating a quiet, restful Advent this year. I scheduled a medical procedure the beginning of December for the express purpose of sticking close to home and spending a quiet Advent instead of doing a lot of running around and activity. The boys were going to be spending a week at my parents and would miss the Christmas parade in Alabaster, so we planned ahead and went to the Montevallo parade instead which took place in November. It wasn’t the same, but it was something.
The boys went off to my mom and dad’s and I spent the time they were away resting. I thought I might do lots of reading during my convalescence. (Since my mother made me promise not to take on any house projects while they were away.) I did neither, but caught up on all the sleep I have missed over the past 9 years. Truly, there is no value that can be placed on 7 nights of uninterrupted sleep. My mother did not enjoy the luxury that week. Sebastian came down with fever the night they got there and kept it most of the week, giving it up only to Gabriel. My dear mother felt bad about bringing home sick children and offered to keep them a couple more days, but we were ready to have them home again. As it turned out, if she had waited until everyone was healthy we would not have seen them until New Year’s. So we did stick close to home, but it wasn’t particularly restful. I did consider asking the doctor to put me back in the hospital for a few days. 🙂
We enjoyed the return of evening Advent devotions and the daily discussion of whose turn it was to light the candles and blow out the candles. We read the stories together over Skype while the boys were at my parents. At the end they’d gather around the computer and blow on the screen while I blew out the candles. (It could be why everyone ended up sick, I suppose.) In spite of passing around our sicknesses we had some fun. The boys helped decorate the tree. They got a practice run at my mom’s, decorated ours, and helped decorate Kathy’s tree. I told them next year they should hire themselves out as profession tree decorators.
On a rare day when everyone was fever free and no one was lethargic on the couch we decorated gingerbread houses. In the past we have always done 2 dimensional houses, but they informed me this year they wanted to construct 3-D houses. I called Kathy and asked her to come help, which she graciously did. I spent 4 hours baking enough gingerbread for 5 houses. Sebastian still got a 2 dimensional one along with a gingerbread person. I made royal icing, set out the candy, and we began. There is, I suppose, some secret to gluing the houses together, but I’m afraid it is a secret I have yet to learn, because the icing didn’t hold them. I had read about using melted sugar, so we tried that route and managed to get one house together before the sugar caramelized and turned into solid candy stuck on the pan. I pulled out another pan and tried again, but this time didn’t even get a whole house together. I did manage to drop the melted sugar on my finger and decided there was something wrong when Advent activities made you want to say bad words. We managed to get 3 of the 4 houses standing at least temporarily. The boys had fun. Kathy and I were worn out by the end. I think next year I may resort to the hot glue gun.
Sebastian had a preschool program. It is the first of this type of event we have ever attended. They stood on a stage and sang a few songs, we shared a meal, and then had a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Clause. Santa spoke Spanish as well as English, which made quite an impression on them all.
We missed most of the Advent Sundays, but everyone was fever free Christmas Eve so we made it to the Christmas Eve service, along with my parents who were here visiting. We went last in the communion line so no one would have to go after us. Sebastian got to add baby Jesus to the nativity and we didn’t catch anything on fire.
The boys asked a few times why Advent seemed so long. It felt long. But Christmas Day came at last.