Monday, December 3, 2012

Slow down. Quiet. It's Advent ...

We got this poster Sunday at Church, and it's so perfect for this blog post:

That's because we've started celebrating the Advent season here at home. This year is the first year that Bea seems to "get" Christmas, and we're determined to make it count. As I mentioned before, we started our Ornament-A-Day Advent Calendar this weekend.

Saturday, Dec. 1, we started small (or big rather, depending on how you look at it), with our Moravian star ornament:

Casey and I have been putting that tiny star on our trees since we got married, and since it came from his grandmother, it seems fitting to start the Advent calendar with such a special ornament. Bea knew it was special and was excited to put it on the tree:

Of course, by "put it on the tree" I mean that she threw it near the top, so Casey had to um, redadjust:

And naturally, we all spent time looking at her amazing ornament placement abilities:
Look Mama! A Star! A Moravian Star!
It really is a special ornament to our family, even if our child treats it like a baseball:

And then we got busy with that day's Advent Task- Outside decoration placement. Naturally, Beatrice Kate was right in the thick of things, holding the ladder in place, while Casey attached lights to our roof in a way that would make Clark Griswold blush:

And she was really good at her job:

And very concerned with Daddy's safety:
She kept saying, "Don't fall down Daddy. You have to be careful, Daddy"

Until she found something more fun to do. Like knock dead leaves out of our neighbors' bushes:

And un-rake the leaf pile Casey made earlier that afternoon:


Eventually, after she went to sleep, we got most of the exterior lights up. Of course, we had the same "tactical equipment" and "light lubrication" that my father used:
Again, that ain't apple juice!
This is Casey giving me the, "Seriously, your only job was to make sure they all work, and I've found three strands so far that don't" look. Charming isn't it:
I had other things to do, like make this wreath. Which I did from the clippings we had left over from our Christmas tree. I was impressed with my effort:


Despite all our hard work on Saturday, we still had to finish up a few things on Sunday, which we did after church:
The dogs were no help, as usual:
But we managed to get everything up, including a few new wreath additions this year:


And the final result? Looks pretty great, if I do say so myself:
Speaking of church, Beatrice Kate was a straight-cold ham before church yesterday, and insisted I take a photo of her shoes as well as her outfit:

I was so happy that the hairbows I ordered from Very Jane a few weeks ago came in this weekend. They were just in time to be debuted with her Christmas Season Wardrobe:
Oh good, I was starting to worry she had forgotten about that face.

I swear, no matter how silly or grumpy this kid is, she is so freakin' beautiful that it takes my breath away sometimes. It's really hard to believe that Casey and I created her from scratch:

Anyway, back to church. The Advent Season is a really big deal to Moravians (like I'm sure it is to other denominations). As usual, Casey played in the band during the prelude before service:
Casey is in the dead middle of this picture.
And Bea and I hung out on the sidelines, listening in and (be warned, you're about to die of cuteness overload) holding hands:
The day she doesn't want to do this will utterly break. my. heart.
After service, we went out to eat a place that Casey and I used to come to when we were dating in college, Amedeo's:
Bea spent the better part of the meal practicing her wolf howl:
Once we got home and Bea had a nap, we talked about today's Advent ornament, the beeswax candle:
On Christmas Eve each year in the Moravian church, we light beeswax candles and sing a special hymn called "Morning Star". Casey and I have every candle we've received at the services since we started attending together. If you've never burned a beeswax candle, they have a really distinctive smell, which Bea soon found out:

So, we talked about the candle, about the start of Advent and it's significance and how Sunday's activity was to make our own Advent wreath. Then we put the (unlit) candle on our tree:
Bea really, really listened well to Casey who told her to "nestle into the tree":

After all that, we took a family walk to a neighbor's house who generously donated some of her boxwood for our Advent wreath. We sat out on the front porch when we got back (it was so nice outside!) and made the wreath together:
Bea was just determined to help Mama "clip the shrubs" into manageable sizes:
 
 
It was really fun to do together and shocker! I even let my photo be taken during the process. I'm telling you, the Advent season is magical like that:
Here's the finished product:
All that was left was to clip the wicks of our new candles:
And light them up:

Bea was so confused about lighting the candle. She wanted to light all of them. And then she wanted to sing Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus:
But I guess that's what this season is all about. Teaching our children the real meaning of Christmas, and not just a tale about a fat guy who breaks into your home to leave you stuff you don't need. Which by the way, is just fine with Bea...

Oh and PS, Bea took this photo (which is actually really good):
It makes me think of Casey's grandfather, Pop, who used to refuse to turn on his "Advent Star" until the beginning of Advent and left it up until the Epiphany, or Jan. 6. because he was a "real Moravian" and "real Moravians don't burn their star until Advent starts". Ah Pop. This photo is how I know he watches over us and how he's seeing his own little Moravian growing up in our traditions.

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