Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Advent day 14. 15. 16. 17...so many things;)

Advent Day 14 was intended to be cookie day, but we got a little busy with activities and I made dought too late in the day.  It was firm enought by bedtime so cookie day got pushed back.  Advent Day 15 was our Bethlehem dinner and we had two families join us but guess what, I was so busy enjoying their company I did not take a single picture- DOH!  So I give you- Day 14's cookies made day 15 after our sweet friends departed;)

The book?  It is a book on the history of Christmas Cookies and their symbolism and ways they have been used to share the gospel:)

Day 16- Jesus washes our sins away so our hearts are as white as snow.  Let's celebrate by taking a Christmas bath.

Oh how well I remember the giggles of toddler in bubble baths playing with our nativity bath toys.  Our kids are far to old now to take pictures of them in the tub.  But the bath bombs I used this year were well....da bomb.  They had little Christmas squinkies in side. The kids loved them;)  ANd even Ava still enjoys Christmas bath night, she said, "I forgot how much fun it is to play with toys in the bath tub."  LOL

Day 17- God created the world in seven days...the entire world in seven days.  Not only did he make each person unique, he made all of nature unique.  Look at how many different types of animals, of birds, of fish....have you ever wondered why he didn't just make one type of tree or one type of grass?  He is infinitely creative!  Do you knwo that no two snowflake are alike?  Millions of snowflakes fall each year and no two are alike.  Today we will learn a fwe facts about snow flakes and then we'll make some of our own!

Look at the concentration on these faces;)

Benefit of traditions I suppose is practice make near close to perfect!

I lvoe this because Christian and Chloe proudly hang their snowflakes underneath Ava's.  They are just as proud of theirs;)  Oh that the confidence of children would never dissipate!

Not sure if Phin didn't want his by Ava's or just wants his own space.  He likes to march to the beat of his own drum.  He is definitely a kid who values his individuality;)

Advent day 13-ELF Night

It is always fun to have friends join us for Elf night.  John has been our dear friend since our days at Penn.  He's known each of us longer than we've known each other;)  He was kind enough to stand up in our wedding ON his birthday and I was fortunate enough to be able to witness the birth of his first born.  Jane has become a dear friend and though we live close, life with kids never give us enough time together.  How thankful we are that they were all able to join us for Elf fun...Horrocks fam knows how to have fun;)

Elf night is definitely one of the most fun nights....our kids get more sugar on Elf night than on the rest of Decemeber combined.   In fact, I think they actually had a bit of a sugar hang over the next morning...and yes, I am sure that is a real thing;)

Advent summary days 11-12

This has been a good experiment in returning to the world of blogging.  I love the parenting place I am in, but Ava is up now until my bedtime.  The truth is many nights I fall asleep on the couch before I grab the laptop to blog.  I am in a very healthy place with Hashimoto's but I still find myself exhausted at the end of days.  I have always been a person who needs regular sleep, with the Hashi's my body just puts itself to sleep if I try to push it farther;)  So I have fallen asleep instead of post pictures, but I fall asleep smiling.  Life is beautifully full.  I continue to find that planning our advent helps keep life slow during December.  Blogged or not, these days are joyfilled and I am savoring them.

Day 11- There is not much to say....it's WINDOW CLING DAY!!!

Day 12-  Time to use our gifts and talents to worship the KING!  Let's go watch Chloe and Phin's Christmas Concert!

I do love that our schools concerts really are expressions of worship.  Chloe began playing the violin in September to she was over the moon to play in Silent Night.  Phin plays the drums and we could not stop smiling that he was the cowbell in on of their songs.  His glockenspiel playing certainly was the best use of his talents, but nothing beats watching you kid who looks like Patrick MaHommes play cowbell while your phone keep dinging with messages from other parents of similar age and all the messages read, "more cowbell!"

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Advent Day 10- RUDOLPH

Advent Day 10-
Here is a riddle- what is red, round, and glows?  That's right, you're so smart!....It's Rudolph's Nose! Let's eat some food and watch his show!  

Rudolph is a Christmas classic.  It's easy to focus on the silly song and the nostalgic animation, but there is also a sweet lesson about not excluding others or judging those difference from us.  The bible tells us every one is fearfully and wonderfully made by our greatCreator.  Rudolph is a fictional tale, but leads to great conversation about times each kid has felt like a misfit, that Marc and I have felt like misfits.  We challenge ourselves to be on the lookout for people being excluded just because the look different or like different things that others around them.  It's a good reminder to look outside ourselves and ask God to show us the beauty and gifts in each person around us, even if they could not be more different from us!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Advent Days 4-9

This getting back to blogging thing is going "great"....I'm just six days behind already🤣  Whatev's!

Day4- What's super sweet and sometimes pretty?   We've done them in the county; we've done them in the city.  It's tradition to make and also to eat.  Phin may say, "Today can't be beat!"  Figure it out?  Do you have enough clues?  We'll paint them red, green, white and blue?

Yes!  Chocolate Lollipop day is here!  Let's make them and share them to bring other's good cheer!

This is hands down Phin's favorite day.  He is a chocaholic!  His lollipops were finished swiftly; he wanted to leave plenty of time for them to harden so he could get a nibble before bed.  He did kindly take time on a couple and brought on of them to his teacher the next morning.  Christian licked as he painted so his are not going to anyone but himself;)  The girls took their time and were thoughtful about each color;)  Ava finished a full hour after everyone else...hers will all be gifts- they are perfection;)

Day 5- 
Let's continue our theme from yesterday....God gave us Jesus, our very best friend! Our Savior!  Our Teacher!  Our God who never ends!  He didn't stop there, he gave us family, friends and more; Let's remember all his gifts as we gift wrap our doors!


We are at a new stage of life.  Ava had Piano and voice lessons and a ton of homework so she said she'd do this activity another day.  She has not, which is fine; it's all fun anyway.  It is definitely foreshadowing the future.  I try to savor each moment, I know as they grow they will get busier, they will naturally pull away, the nostalgia and joy they still find in these simple activities may disappear in the teen years.  Each stage will have it's joys, I am trying very hard to purposefully embrace all the joy of this season and hold my hand open to receive what each day brings.

Day 6-
Your're not left behind while we catch a plane! Let's face it, the mere thought would make mom go insane!  Still tonight, Mom and Pap have a party to attend, so you'll have you here with your siblings like you would with your friends.  You'll camp out, beds all over the floor; there'll be pizza and pepsi and popcorn galore!  Home Alone for a short little bit, you'll watch Kevin's antics and they're always a hit!

Marc's work Christmas party was tonight.  We left the kids "Home Alone" tonight with Ava in charge.  We've done it lots during daytime hours; this was the first after dark departure.  They did awesome....Definitely feel like we just realized we have a whole new level of freedom.

Ava is the best.  She kindly took a photo of us before we left:

AND she took photos of the kids doing Home Alone night; she totally gets me;)

Day 7-

We have mroe than we need; we have more than we know.  It's time for some of these things to GO!  Let's give much thoughts to our closets and rooms.  

Let's purge!  Let's Donate!  Let's give things away!  Then we'll go have some time for Christmas play.

I make the kids purge every year.  This year, afterwards we ended the day with family game night- one of MY favorite nights;)

Day 8-

Saint Nicholas day is Decemeber 6, but a planned Christmas party made it a miss.  So today we'll remember this historical man.  We'll watch a movie and read a book or two and then we'll go and give to others like Saint Nicholas would do. 

No pictures from this day;)  We do random and secret acts of kindness so taking pictures would take away the secret aspect;)

Day 9-

God is so creative, just take a look around.  Not a place you can glance where his handiwork isn't found.  We can't make the world just by speaking a word, we can't make a dog or tree or a bird.  But we can use our creativity, a reflection of his, to make GINGERBREAD HOUSES- it's fun, it is!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Advent Day 3- Making our own Wrapping Paper

We give gifts to others to honor Christ's gift, let's take some plain paper and give it a little lift! We'll use it to wrap presents for those we adore, so the gift is homemade even though bought from a store.

Large rolls of plain paper, sponges we used sharpies to trace shapes on and then cut, and washable tempera paint....simple preparation for creative juices to be given room to flow.

I love seeing how the kids wrapping paper has changed with time.  Christians is still mostly scattered but the older three give much thought and organization to the task now.  Each one really is such a reflection of themselves;)

Monday, December 2, 2019

Advent Day 2- It's Christmas PJ time!

 What is advent without delight?  Delight will be plenty on this advent night.  What's cozy and silly all wrapped up in fun?  A Christmas PJ photoshoot is an advent home run!

We have been wearing Christmas PJ's before they were easy to find everywhere.  I used to pay a LOT more for them and only a few stores carried them.  I love all the options available and all the deals to be found!  This year a facebook ad way back in September sucked me in....Golden State Warriors Christmas Pajamas.  Ridiculous and perfect;)

Phineas, dear child number two, is a tough nut to crack.  He is kind and polite and obedient most of the time.  He's also introverted and doesn't easily spill his heart.  He connects, like many men do, through shared experiences.  One way we connect is through reading classic books together at night, but I needed more connection with him, so I have become knowledgable about basketball.  I watch games with and without him and I watch Sports Center on the regular.  I am gaining knowledge of football and beginning to enjoy it.  I have always loved basketball, so I have just tried to take a dive into all the facts he is so interested in.  We followed the draft and all the team swapping that went on in the NBA this summer.  Phin appreciates so many players in the NBA so we have quite a few teams he'll root for on any given night, but the team he is most obsessed with is the Golden State Warriors.  I knew when I saw this silly ad, that these PJ's would bless him.

I know, I know, this probably isn't the BEST year to be wearing Warriors PJ's, but fans are fans even in the middle of the worst season ever;)  Phineas was delighted to open up blue and gold this morning: and advent is about hope, so we couldn't help but laugh at the symbolism of the PJ's this year.  If any team needed hope...

And now after that entirely too lengthy explanation as to the origin of our pajamas.....I give you- our silly photo shoot;)

Family fun is always a win...even if the team your reppin' is losing;)

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Advent 2019

Advent!  It's my favorite time of year- life has slowed down in the Aneed home and we are awaiting the coming of Christmas with anticipation.

I am surprised as my children grow older how many of my advent activities they still look forward to.  Tradition and Nostalgia, it seems, trump feelings of being "too old" or "too mature".  They have been talking for the past weeks about the days they know are coming.  They each have favorites.  I had planned to do more "new" things at this stage in their lives; I assumed they'd outgrow Christmas Baths and Window Cling Day, but I was wrong.  They love the memories: Christmas brings out the youngest parts of them.  They even refuse to let me get rid of our Little People Nativity set!  We are long past the Little People stage for every day play, but today they still set up their toddler nativity set, still wanted fresh batteries so the angel could glow as "Away in the Manger" played, still wanted to give voice to the chubby little wisemen.

I watched them today as they eagerly embraced wonder and couldn't help but think about how to pull more of this wonder into our every day.  I could not help but ponder how I can provide more opportunities for them to throw their age and the expectations that come with getting older by the wayside and give them opportunities to just innocently worry about nothing but play and laugther.  I thought of Jesus words, "Let the children come to me" and  I wondered how often I push my children to move past the very childlikeness he embraced.  How often I am too independent myself, to caught up with cares and worries and 'to do' lists, to just run joyfully into my Saviors lap?  Children teach us so much!

I am aware as I type of all the mamas who are stages ahead of me in life; I know many a friend who would be quick to remind me how young my children still are!  Yes, we have made it past diapers and potty training.  We have four kids who can ride bikes and read.  Those foundational physical skills have been accomplished, but how much more is yet to be done in nuturing and growing their hearts.  Each day the weight of parenting is apparent; the passage of time ever swift.  Days like today carry a lightness, a freedom of childhood that my heart craves.  I sit and savor.  Perhaps the nostalgia of the day pushed me back into the world of blogging, afterall so many precious memories are held here.  Perhaps I sit to type to stay in these moments just a bit longer, to cherish a little deeper, to make a record to look back upon with fondness.  This blog is a permanent time capsule I can always dig up and I am grateful for the record of my teeny children that is kept here.  So I return to record more in THIS blissful life stage of children who are capable of so much and yet still have hearts full of innocence and joy.    God has given us much and as we focus on him this month, I will record again the joy and peace this focusing on him brings us each year.

This year our Advent season will be a bit compressed.  Moving cross country has made us renege on our vow to always spend Christmas at home.  (School vacation is limited and the distance from grandparents is far.)  This year we will spend Christmas with Marc's family in Colorado.  Packing up all our gifts becomes difficult when we have six people and all our winter gear.  We will just do Christmas stockings on Christmas day and open up presents early on 12/20 before we leave.  This has made advent planning a bit compressed.  I had to pull back on outings to fit in all the my children's "must have days";)

Advent Day 1:

Advent is a word taken from the Latin language that means "the coming".

We are eargerly waitng for Christmas, now just 25 days away.  The jewish people were eagerly waiting for the coming of the Messiah for hundreds of years!  As we anticipate Christmas, lets make sure to focus on what it is really about- not presents and wish lists, not chocolate lollipops and cookie making, not even family and friends.  Christmas is about Jesus.  Jesus came many years ago as a baby.  Let's not forget as we anticipate the day celebrating his first coming, that Jesus is COMING AGAIN!!!!  Many missed his first arrival, they were looking for the wrong things; they had their own ideas about who the Messiah "should be".  Let's make sure we are focusing on Jesus and learning about who HE tells us he is.  Let's make sure we are honoring him in our hearts and by our actions.

Today, along with out box of Christmas books and nativity, we will get out our manger, reminding us of the humble way Jesus came.  Every time we honor him with hearts of humility and service, we will add hay to the manger as a symbol of hearts that welcome him.  Today we will also remember that Jesus came to earth to die....came to be payment for our sin.  We will set up our Christmas tree, evergreen and full of life because our Saviors death upon a tree gave us life eternal.

Each year the kids get an ornament that represents something they are into at that age.  It's funny now for Phin to hang his Elmo ornament and for Ava to hang her Disney Princess heart.  I tell them they may laugh in five years at this years ornament.  They never believe me....Ava is geeking out to Dr. Who so she has a Tardis Ornament (It looks like a phone booth but I am told it is not...I don't ask too many questions- SCI-FI is she and Marc's thang;)  Phin chose a Thor bobble head looking thing, Christian chose Blank Panther.  Chloe chose a gittery pink bottle of nail polish.

Our tree is far too small, and crowded with ornaments.  Each ornament on our tree holds a memory- one for each trip we've taken since marriage, one for each year of each childs life, a few precious gifts...the tree a reminder that God is life and love and the abundance of ornaments a reminder of the abundance of blessings he bestows.

What has not changed, whether is has been recorded on a blog or not, is my love for playing with food.  What would Christmas Tree day be without a little food fun?;) 

Christmas Tree day is Chloe's favorite advent day.  She decked herself out in Christmas attire and she is always my sous chef in the kitchen.  Christmas tree waffles were the menu tonight and she helped every step of the way;)

We recieved  The Advent Book from our mentors 14 years ago when I was pregnant with Ava.  It is a nightly treasure to this day.