With the season of Advent last month, our family tried really hard to make it more meaningful and, particularly, to take it at a slower pace than in past years. I have to say, looking back, we were actually – very surprisingly – successful!
With the holiday season, December is full of preparations: putting up a tree and other decorations, buying and wrapping gifts, and making delicious, only-eaten-for-one-month-of-the-year treats. Although that is all fun too, Advent is meant to be a different kind of preparation: getting ourselves ready to meet Jesus someday. Somehow, only by the grace of God, we managed to get most of the typical Christmas to-do’s done by early December, leaving much more time this season for family, friends, and faith. Just a few high points of our joy-filled month:
Anna loved playing with her Nativity set and was visited by St. Nicholas on December 6.
We spent an entire day with John’s family: after attending Mass together for the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the girls (including the four little girls under 2 1/2) baked Christmas goodies while the men brewed beer, then we all dressed up and went out for our yearly dinner at the Oak Grill in downtown Minneapolis. John’s parents started this tradition over 30 years ago, and this year had two new attendees (yay babies!). Also, we’d like to point out that even with all the little ones, we were able to enjoy a nice sit-down dinner: good conversation, great food, and not a single tantrum or even minor meltdown. It was beyond wonderful! Thank you, Rob and Kay!
John and I had a nice date night which included lots of Christmas lights; some of the best we’ve seen in years, actually! We also fit in a few fun, glamorous (for us) Christmas parties and dinners.
And now, the moments when we actually remembered to take pictures:
Josie turned 8 months old…
…and became much, much more mobile. (Please ignore the spit-up on her sleeve… editing photos is not something I made time for last month!)
Anna helped decorate our Christmas tree for the first time.
We had a huge snowstorm and it was just nice enough to go out and play in the snow for the first time this year. She loves it, like a true Minnesotan!
After playing outside, we decided we needed something to warm us up, so we devoured a cup of hot chocolate together.
Josie really wanted to play outside too, but those mean parents of hers just haven’t gotten around to finding a water-resistant snowsuit yet.
In early December we had the chance to explore the Children’s Museum for free (free parking, even!) as a benefit of being part of the National Children’s Study. It was AMAZING! There were maybe 20 other families there, tops, and Anna could play with whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted. We even got to enjoy the night as a little date with just our Sweetest Pea, as Kay and Rob came over to babysit Josie.
As we start the new year, we hope you were able to relax a bit during the busy holiday season and enjoy time with your family and friends as well!