Advent. It's a Thing.

Advent is a thing.

I mean, I know it's a thing. I grew up in the Catholic church for goodness sakes - I KNOW Advent. If there's one thing the Catholic church does well, it's tradition. (Cue opening song to Fiddler on the Roof...) The candles, the prayers, the anticipation.  It's a beautiful thing.

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But suddenly it's an INTERNET thing. At least the corners of the internet that I frequent.The Pinterest-y, mom blog, "489 Ways to Celebrate Advent With Your Children!!!!!!1!!"- type corners. And maybe there aren't actually articles with 489 ways to celebrate Advent, but when everyone is posting up all the things they are doing during the season, it sure seems like it. I think by now we're all familiar with social media overload. It's kind of exhausting to think about. Especially when December kind of creeps up on you. I mean, I knew it was coming - it was just November and all - but November seemed like a quick march right up to Thanksgiving, (and travel, in our case), and so here we are, thrust into Advent with no particular plans. No daily calendar, no hidden chocolates or candies or puzzles for each day. Are you covering your mouth in horror?  Because admitting that almost seems like the ultimate #momfail these days.

Let's be honest, parenting small children is difficult enough without adding HOLIDAYS to the mix. The everyday is filled with too many things to do in not enough time without worrying about adding holiday magic in for good measure.

Thankfully, the kids are pretty good about adding the magic themselves.

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2016 11 29 Caden Nativity 01.jpg

Grabbing Mary and a sheep and singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb"? Magical. And, yup, hilarious.

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Being blessed to celebrate another first Christmas?  Definitely magic.

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Listening to Caden read me the Christmas story?  Which involves this SINGLE page.  And goes like  this: "And they say 'hi Jesus!' and they all singing the sheep and the flying and ev-yone happy the end".  Every time.  Magic.

So, with three kids under three, I've committed to doing exactly four things this year to celebrate Advent and lead up to Christmas. (And by now you should have realized...ain't no elves up on my shelves.  Props if you can pull that off, but as for me and my house? NO thank you.)

     1. Read the Christmas story each day. This one is half falling apart from all the love we've given it over the past couple of years. It has the best rhymes.

     2. Play with the nativity set each day.  The one shown above in the first photos was one we'd been given for the kids.  Let's just say that while the figures were kid-friendly in size, they were NOT kid-friendly in material.  A couple of broken wise men's crowns and half a shepherd later, we gave them this one as an early Christmas present.  We gave it to them on the 1st, and it has been THE MOST played with toy by far in the few days since then.

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And since it's, y'know, made for kids, even Nolan can get in on the action.

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"Sing me the SONG, mommy!"  Brooklyn says, each and every time she wants me to act out the Christmas story with the figures. We've been over it many, many times. Caden loves to fly the angel around, especially in scenes when the angel has KEY LINES, such as "Hey btw you're totes gonna give birth to God's son", and laughs hysterically as he zooms away. Brooklyn carries Baby Jesus and "his mommy" around all over the house. And Nolan chews on everything. It's got something for everyone!

It's also great because Caden and Brooklyn are in prime play-pretend mode. So far this morning Mary, a wise man, and the camel have gone on an adventure to "daddy's store" (aka Lowe's). "Do you have your money?"  "Buckle up!" (Apparently this camel has advanced safety features.)  "It's far, far away." 

     3. Sing Christmas songs.  Hymns.  We're loving the Christmas albums from Mercy MeBrandon Heath , and Casting Crowns.

     4. And, of course, we made a paper chain.

(Surprisingly good paper-chain makers.)

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They rip off one link each night.  We alternate.  Brooklyn gets the red ones, Caden gets the green ones, because everything is all "Green my favorite.  I love green, mommy." lately.

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Five days down. Twenty more to go.

We're not going to do everything this year. Or any year, really. But we can do some things.  And this isn't all that we'll do. We made some Christmas cookies over the weekend.  I can assure you that we'll make many more before the season is up. We'll play in the snow, read some Christmas stories, attend some parties. But are we going to cram in every community event, every Santa visit, every single holiday gathering we're invited to? Nope. And I'm fine with that.  

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We're having fun right here.