I really love our advent activities each year. Sometimes it’s very hard to execute them at the end of a long day, but the kids really look forward to pulling the card out and being surprised each day. And, we make some really great memories.
This year we started a new tradition inspired by one my family did when I was a kid. On the first day of Advent we introduced the Giving Manger. The manger is empty of hay and it was our job, through acts of service, to make sure baby Jesus has a nice soft place to lay. After each act of service we got to put a piece of straw in the manger. The kids were eager to find ways to serve in our family and community. I was the recipient of a few cute notes, pieces of candy, and batches of laundry. They made each other’s beds, left treats to be found, and included each other in play. I am so happy to report that our manger was full by Christmas!
This is one of the pictures Blake made for Rusty:
The season started with one of my favorites: Decorating the Christmas Tree. This year Blake decided to put ALL his ornaments on one branch at the bottom of the tree 🙂
And, it was Josh’s year to put the star on the top of the tree. He told me about 3 times that I needed to be sure to include the pic on the blog so that next year we wouldn’t forget whose turn it is 😉
We had lots of fun decorating our Costco Gingerbread Men. They were fun to make, but GROSS to try and eat.
We had the missionaries over for dinner and a few Minute to Win it Games. This oreo one is always a favorite.
The kids made darling snow globes. They turned out so much better than I expected. They all love them and keep them near their beds.
I just love these women so much. Amy was in town for David’s father’s funeral. We were so sad for their loss, but it was so great to be able to catch up for a bit. I got to tend cute little 20 month old Nick so Amy, David and the boys could enjoy the funeral and not have to chase after a toddler.
We went to the Erie Parade of Lights for the first time ever! It was such a fun event. The kids got to listen to school choirs perform, roast smores over fire pits, get hot chocolate and funnel cake, and then enjoy the cute little parade. It was perfectly darling.
We had a Grinchy good time at the Ward Christmas Party. It was decked out like Whoville and had some of the most fantastic decor I’ve ever seen at a ward party. So much fun.
The next day we had the opportunity to volunteer at the Colfax Community Network Christmas Party. In the weeks leading up to the party we had collected gift donations. Then on the day of the party we got to help in the Wrapping Room wrapping donated presents that parents had picked for their kids. Over 900 homeless and low income people were able to come enjoy a yummy meal together, see Santa, and pick gifts for their loved ones. Many of our friends came down to help with us which made the day even more special. I’m proud of how hard the kids worked. Wrapping presents is definitely not their forte. But they did their best and didn’t complain (too much). Josh had a basketball game, so he didn’t get to come with us.
This is the Louisville Animalhouse Bear. We drive past him every Sunday on our way to church and we are always eager to see what costume he is wearing. We’ve been in love with him for years, and come to find out–this is a famous bear! He even has his own Facebook page
. Halle has been dying to get a pic with the bear and the Christmas season seemed like the perfect time.
We invited the Paces and the Wrights over for dinner and our annual game of Christmas Bingo. It was especially fun this year because the Target Dollar Spot had some pretty sweet prizes.
We rang the bell for the Salvation Army for the second year. We had a good time last year, but it was cold and long so I wasn’t sure if they’d want to do it again this year. But they begged to do it! And they look pretty adorable in their santa hats.
Blake refused to wear the hat or the apron.
SNOW DAY! This hardly ever happens to us so we took full advantage. Stayed in our jammies all day, sipped hot cocoa, watched Christmas movies and played Legos and Minecraft. Josh and Blake’s electric blankets were perfect for this cozy day. The kids were perfect angels and played together nicely all day long. Snow Day Miracle!
Every year the Golf Club has it’s annual holiday party. They always light fireworks and we all gather at our loft window to watch the display.
(photo courtesy of the Erie Facebook page)
After taking a break for a few years, Rice Krispie houses are back! Nick and Josh were the Guinea Pigs and their houses collapsed from the weight of the candy on the roof. So, we let the Rice Krispies dry out for a few more days, and when the Rowberry’s came over the were PERFECT.
It’s always a good day when we get to go to Ft. Collins to see the Bohns. This trip was for two special occasions. Lilah’s first birthday, and to see Berlynn perform in the Nutcracker. She was marvelous!
The kids weren’t about to leave the house when it was the snow day, so they were glad the snow stuck around for a few days so they could go build snowmen. Halle named hers Kate, and Blake’s was named Billy. Josh built a snow fort. He and Rusty had a fun snowball fight the next day.
Everyone loves Fondue night under the Christmas tree. We turn on Christmas carols, dim the lights and dip to our hearts content. The evening is made even more special with Sparkling Cider.
After eating dinner under the tree we all boarded the “Sequoia Express” and headed out to look at all the best lights around our town.
Each year I try to think of new things to add to our advent calendar in addition to our tried and true traditions. The Flagstaff Star has lit the city of Boulder for 60+ years. This year we decided to hike it. I thought it would be just a simple little walk, but it was pretty steep and slick. We were all crawling up the mountain and fell numerous times. The view of the city from the star was incredible. It was so beautiful with all the snow. We also had a great time watching crazy college kids slide down the entire slick mountainside on their bums at breakneck speeds. I’m pretty sure this will become a tried and true event!
Another Tried And True Tradition is Ornament Making at Discovery Days. This year was the cutest yet! They made snow measuring sticks, their own Elf on the Shelf, and cute little candy cane reindeer. The kids are getting so creative. It’s really fun to see what they come up with. After we were done with our ornaments we visited the robotics exhibit. The boys wanted to stay all day and play with the mechanical arms and dancing robots.
I’d say we had a pretty successful advent season!