First we took a quick trip into the big metropolis of Marietta for the Life University Lights of Life. It was the best $5.00 we have spent and we'll do so again. Listening to your child ooh and aah in pure joy is such a precious gift. They had a little market area complete with funnel cakes and caramel apples (resisting them was a Christmas miracle in and of itself!) and animatronics. I had never seen these little displays but Ross and MK loved them! Watching these people I love find joy in lights and petting zoos and electronic puppets was so wonderful! We capped off the evening in my favorite way with a meal of terrible for you food. My husband knows my love language well! My inaugural visit to fuddruckers was awesome and might be a new favorite "kill your pretend diet place."
The weekend ended with a wonderful first Sunday of Advent and lighting the first purple candle representing hope. We read a little reflection (thank you to Fr. Tim's sister for the great Advent devotions!) and talked about it. Since then, we've lit the candle each night and while MK sits sweetly some nights, other nights she screams while we try to read three whole lines of Scripture. Again, hit or miss. I'd say A for effort on all our parts though (including MK's efforts to potty train herself as evidenced in the no-pants photo below.) Also realize there's a beer right there next to our advent wreath. Real life folks, real life.
Then last week I decided the birth of Christ is as good a time as any to step out of my comfort zone and learn something new. Like how to bake cut-out cookies. I've only (unsuccessfully) tried my hand at slice and bake but really wanted MK to have the real experience (as long as real means dough from a box). So I ran to target and grabbed myself a rolling pin and flour and other items I've never had in my kitchen. A sweet angel lady gave me some tips and I exchanged about 20 emails/calls with my baker-extraordinaire sister. In another Christmas miracle, we ended up with delicious sugar cookies for our family and our neighbors. MK's favorite cookie cutters were the star and heart so we talked about the star leading the wise men to Jesus in the manger and our hearts loving our friends and family and baby Jesus. It was a precious, precious day of using a fun activity to teach our girl about what this all means. There is not a bit of OCD in me (Ross wishes for a smidge) so I happily delivered messy, oddly shaped cookies covered in sprinkles and happily cleaned the tornado this little craft created. MK has already asked to bake cookies again and me-maw sent us a care package of more pre-made dough so we'll be back at it soon! I can honestly say it was one of my favorite days with my girl and I understand now why this is a part of so many families' holiday traditions!