Advent 2009

I can’t believe how much blogging I’ve done in December, and yet I haven’t even mentioned the Advent Calendar. Where was all this inspiration during NaBloPoMo?

Anyway, we’ve been steadily working through our Advent activities and having a really good time. This year I’ve found it a bit more challenging than last, for two reasons. First, the Captain is in school full days now, so I’m trying to work our activities into the narrow window between home-from-school and cooking-dinner. Since that time is also for doing homework and having a snack and occasionally playing with friends who are invited over, it’s been tough to squeeze it all in, but so far, we’re making it happen. Second, the Captain has complained about a couple of activities as being “too babyish” for him and he has been a fairly reluctant participant. Next year I’ll have to brainstorm some more exciting things.

I’ve been taking pictures all along the way, but since I don’t post pics of the kids here, it’s hard to find photo evidence of our December fun. Here’s a sampling, though.

First up, we hung up our stockings…

Angel Stocking Hanger

And then we put up the tree…


Both of those were fun and will likely remain the same every year.

On day three we made rice krispie squares, the first activity that the Captain claimed was below him (say what? Krispies are ageless, man!). He was more than happy to eat the results, though. Since it’s Christmas and everything I let them go to town on the pan and they each had three big pieces, before dinner. It was a good night. Not shown: Little Miss Sunshine with a face full of marshmallow.

On day four we went to the LEGO exhibit at the Science Museum. It was our second time going — we wanted to have another chance to see the LEGO before it goes away in January. It’s worth it to go back in December because they are having a “guess how many pieces” contest with the giant Space Shuttle that was built for the exhibit on the day it opened. I can’t tell you how many we guessed because we are TOTALLY going to win. The Captain has already spent most of the $1000 prize (which must be spent on LEGO, which is SO not a problem for the Captain).

And again, I can’t show you the pics because the kids are in all of them. Doh.

On the fifth day we were supposed to wrap some gifts, but I decided to take the older two kids to The Nutcracker instead. It was lovely and I have to say, our seats in the very back row of the upper balcony were excellent. The kids were able to stand any time they wanted to, and I didn’t worry as much about the noise they were making. Plus, they could lean over and see right into the orchestra pit. I would possibly actually choose to sit there again in the future. The Captain in particular loved it; Gal Smiley was ready to go home after she’d heard her favourite “Russian Song” in the second half, but she stuck it out until the end.

Day six was family swim, always a good time. Day seven, we built a fort in the front room, so now my living room looks like this:


This was another activity that the Captain chose not to do — he played LEGO with his buddy in the kitchen while I built the fort with the girls. He likes playing with it now that it’s done, though. Hm. I am detecting a pattern here. A pattern of LAZINESS.

Day eight, all three kids had a bubble bath in the big tub:

Jelly Belly Toes

Always a hit, I had to force them to get out. Although, we are starting to move the Captain toward having more private time in the bathroom, so this may be the last year that I put all three kids in together. And now I’m sad.

Day nine, we coloured pictures for Nanny and Ba, the kids’ two grandmothers. I like this activity a lot because it gets them thinking about other people and doing something nice for someone else.


Gal Smiley and the Captain were really into this idea and made several pictures each for their grandmothers, and then they were pretty excited to mail them afterwards. Then they went outside and played in the massive snowstorm we were having and all in all, it was a pretty awesome day.

On Day 10 we made peppermint bark (recipe at the very end of the linked post), which I love. I must say, we have entirely too many treats in the house this December. I’m already pushing the boundaries of my pants, and we still have weeks to go. Not good.

Peppermint Bark

Not shown: Little Miss Sunshine with a face full of chocolate.

Yesterday was Day 11. Sir Monkeypants took the day off of work because it was Gal Smiley’s Christmas concert in the morning (CUTE. OVERLOAD.). Then we picked up the Captain from school and took the kids to see Santa at the mall, and to drop off some toys for Toy Mountain, only I forgot the toys at home (DOH), so now we have to go back there today or tomorrow or some other time when I’m ready for the hell that is the mall in December.

Santa was good though. Not shown: Little Miss Sunshine with a face covered in candy cane.

Question for you parents out there: do you try to manage your kids requests to Santa, or do you just let them ask for anything they want? Like, do you let them ask for a pony if they really want a pony, knowing that there is no way in hell that they are going to get a pony? Or do you gently suggest things like, “I don’t think Santa can fit a pony in his sleigh, honey, why don’t you ask him for a toy pony instead?” Last year the Captain seemed really heartbroken when Santa didn’t bring him exactly what he asked for, so this year I have tried to provide some guidance. I also planted the idea that Santa knows what kinds of things you like, and will bring something he knows you will enjoy, even if he can’t fulfill your exact request.

It’s such a tough call, though. I invite opinions on this topic if anyone is still reading this EPIC NOVEL of a post.

Today, day 12, we’ll be chilling out by watching a Christmas movie (A Muppet Christmas Carol) with some chips and popcorn. Yum! And then tomorrow, we’ll be making gingerbread houses with FameThrowa and Mr. Chatty. Double yum!

Time to bring out the buffet pants.

5 thoughts on “Advent 2009

  1. I generally only let them ask for stuff that I know they’ll get. My friend has a ‘Santa doesn’t bring live animals’ rule. We just say that Santa has to bring a lot of toys to a lot of kids, and their letters generally say “we’d like something like this, or whatever you think would be good”. When Angus was three, we were at my sister’s place and he was sleeping with Matt; when he woke up in the morning, he said “Daddy, can you go check if there’s presents under the tree before I do, because if there aren’t any, I’m gonna be really sad”. I just can’t add to that pressure 🙂

  2. So far my kids have only asked for things that are do-able so I haven’t had to cross that bridge yet. I do say that “Santa can only bring you a few things so be reasonable” if the list gets too long. Normally there are only 4 things on there anyway. My oldest seems to get that there has to be room for all kids’ presents in the sleigh and that seems to keep it reasonable.

  3. My kids are still young so I’ve managed to sort of point them in the direction of the kind of gifts I’m hoping to buy them anyway (which are of course things they would like). Hana looked through the Toys R US flyer a while back and wanted about half the stuff shown, so I started to really talk up the things that I thought were best choices, which made her get more excited about them. Now she totally thinks they were her idea. I’m devious like that.

    I’m sure it does get harder as kids get older, though.

  4. My 7 year old had a pretty impressive list this year. She had an ipod touch on it. So we talked about how lists & wishes were fun, but she had to know that she wouldn’t be getting be getting everything on the list and sometimes Santa would pick out things that he thought she would like just as much or even more than some of the stuff on her list. She seemed to think that was a reasonable explanation.

  5. Betsy Mae

    Mouse is in school full days this year too and it’s been more challenging to fit in a family advent activity each day, but we’ve managed to do it. I’m guessing when the kids have a slightly later bedtime it might be a little easier?

    My kids have asked for simple things from Santa so far, not sure what I would do if they didn’t? I think I would guide them.

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