No, the baby has not arrived. But Chelsey is here, the stockings are stuffed and my sewing is nearly done. It can come any time, now!

Anyway, now that we are just days away from the close of Advent, I thought is high time to share what our Advent looks like this year. As much as I am missing California and are usual fun and reindeer games there, I have really enjoyed digging into the preparation for the Christ child this year. It certainly helps that we are in baby readying mode to begin with which makes everything deeper and richer. All of us are learning anew this season of Advent.

We of course have the tree. We went out the first Sunday and Jac had the honor of choosing this year. It was Griswald-esque in size and scale but the day and dusk we found ourselves in was so beautiful it didn’t matter that we had to trim 4 feet off the base in the woods to get it on the van and then shave another 4 feet to get to to stand in the house. She’s a beaut.

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We have been oh-so-slowly trimming the tree. Each night we read a part of salvation history and add a Jesse tree ornament. We also put up the hand stitched snoopy ornaments Nan Joyce made to have a part of her with us in this celebration. Then, as the days have come together and we have crafted our own ornaments, the kids have added those too. This year we have a brand new addition that causes so much excitement they can hardly stand it -lights! We will turn them on come Christmas Eve and the kids a giddy with anticipation. Me, too, if I must admit it. I’m also pretty giddy about the tree skirt that finally got sewn – purple, of course. I’m so proud that it is done!

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We are relishing the large candles Susan’s family generously gifted us. They have such a lovely glow and there has been much excitement to light them each evening to begin prayer. We are using the vocations office’s advent prayer once again and can’t say enough good things about it. Prayer has been peaceful and fruitful and lovely even on the wildest of nights. Something about turnin off all of the lights and watching the flare and flame of the match is calming. This year we have left the candles burning as we sing the kiddos off to bed with ‘O come, O come Emmanuel.’ I have to work not to get weepy each night.

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Once again we are filling a manger with straw for our sacrifices and good deeds. They’re really starting to get the gist of it and do things purposefully throughout the day. We replaced our paper strips and cardboard manger with curling ribbon and a lovely little feed trough Jac built and stained. I love it.

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We continued the tradition of wrapped books for each day and the morning the kids woke up and found them all lined up of the piano and a basket or advent packages they were sure it was magic. So awesome. We found some our favorites at the library and some nice new ones, too. Ellie particularly likes this tradition. Almost as well as the boys like the Lego calendar. But a Leo STAR WARS calendar? Too good to be true.

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Also too good is the giant calendar Jac mapped out on the blackboard. Genius, I say. Genius!

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For a while, my favorite Advent item was the garland I made for over the crèche. Such a good reminder for my heart.

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But then Trish sent the most amazing garland made from a Modesto and surrounding areas map. She wrote that since I couldn’t be there, she’d send a little piece of there to here. I LOVE it. I wanted to hang it between the dining room and living room but Jac insisted the tree NEEDED it. So on it went, with much love and care. When the kids woke up from their nap, it was as if the world had been transformed. “What are those little moons on the tree, Mama? They’re so pretty.” Tess asked. “Philip! Come look at the tree!” Max yelled. “Wow!” Philip breathed, “It’s going to be a real tree after all!” “I know! Now THAT’S a real tree!” Said Max and they both just stared in awe.

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That’s how I’m feeling about this whole season.