It was all going so well, then Juju got sick. A bad cough may not sound like much but when it means hourly wake ups through the night for over a week it starts to take it’s toll…..especially on those on night duty (i.e. me). We went into a xmas version of survival mode which meant making sure everyone got fed, got as much sleep as they could and got, as cheerfully as possible, to all the parties we had lined up. I think this past 10 days I have had more dress-up party nights than the rest of the year and, though snotty and sleep deprived, it’s hard to pass up the oppurtunity to slap on a few extra layers of mascara and wobble about on some sparkly stilettos for a few hours.
So, what about the blessings? Well, we had to cut some and move swiftly on to blessing each other. On quite a few days this looked like setting up the kids with a xmas movie and being blessed with peace and quiet. We also asked the kids to think about how they could bless someone in school who they didn’t get on with. After 3 days of trying, Caleb came home and told us how he had let M, a kid who is sometimes mean to him, go into the queue in front of him. M jumped at the offer and then swiftly turned round and kicked Caleb. Never too early to learn that blessing isn’t always reciprocated. Elijah, when asked what he had done to bless an annoying friend said, ‘I ignored him’.
Over dinner one night we decided to go round the family and for each person, you had to say what really blesses you about them. This was very sweet but the boys felt they each need to add to theirs some things they were great at that others missed out. No self-esteem problems here….
We all got back to health and happiness and sleep about 2 days ago, just in time for our annual xmas trip to W5. Every year we go on the 23rd because we always have the place completely to ourselves. Except someone let our secret out, because we had to QUEUE when got there. I huffed and gave dirty looks for about 10 minutes until I realised there was still only about 50 people in the whole building. Much fun was had, we went on the Santa train and got to meet the great man himself, at which point Juju predictably started screaming.
So that’s us caught up til today when we have making up for lost time with Santa letters and gingerbread houses. A few tense moments when writing to Santa when Caleb and Elijah both started asking Santa for things that had NOT been on any previous list. Not good, but they were skillfully manouevered into writing down a fair approximation of what was waiting for them 2 floors up in the attic. Phew. Juju, when asked what she wanted from Santa this year, said, with pout, ‘I want my PRESENTS!’. Alrighty then.
While meandering round Ikea, (Ikea childcare: another little blessing for tired parents), we found a wee flatpacked gingerbread house kit and this was how we spent our morning. More was eaten than ended up on the house, as is traditional, and JM did a sterling job of the actual barn-raising bit.
New jammies/hot chocolate and xmas stories will be this evenings advent activity. When they are all tucked up, pretending to sleep and listening for reindeer hooves JM and I will be starting a new tradition. It really just involves a bottle of Cava and all our favourite nibbles from this year, a 2011 smorgasbord if you will.
So that’s Advent 2011. Not quite what we had planned, but full of hope and expectation ,even if at times it was just for a full night’s sleep. And though we didn’t quite get to bless all the people we had planned, we had fun trying and blessing each other in the process.Wherever you are, whoever you are sharing the festive season with, God bless your home and hearth this night.
Don’t be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David, a Saviour has been born.
He is Christ, the Lord.