Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Advent Update: Week 1

After a long and tiresome day at the office last Monday (returning from a 4 day weekend is never fun), I was more than happy to get home, put on some cozy jammies, and kick off the first night of our advent calendar. I instructed Taylor approximately fifteen times to pull the white piece of paper out of the first stocking, but she thought that meant rip the entire calendar off the wall. (Guess we need to work on that.)

Eventually, everything was back in order and I was able to give her the first treat - Minnie Mouse bubble bath, which she promptly pulled the head off of and stuck in her mouth. Awesome. Apparently instead of making Santa beards in the bath tub, Day 1 should have been: Call Poison Control. She ended up having a stellar time in the tub and only consumed a couple hand fulls of bubbles. This activity was so fun that we have proceeded to do it every night since. Who says an activity has to be limited to just one day?

Day 2's activity was supposed to be watch "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (classic cartoon version, of course) and paint our nails green, but as soon as I turned on the movie on Taylor wanted nothing to do with it. So, I quickly painted our nails then turned on Little Baby Bum and we had a dance party in the living room instead. For those of you who haven't discovered this YouTube channel, it's a lifesaver. I'm not sure what kind of child psychologist genius thought this up, but these videos will hold Taylor's attention longer than anything else we've tried. She dances, claps, and sings along to these videos as if they're the greatest thing on the planet. Credit totally goes to Jake for discovering these works of art. Kuddos, babe.

The activity for Day 3 was making mini Christmas pizzas for dinner. Our shapes of choice were Christmas trees and Santa heads (although the Santa heads are kind of hard to make out). As per usual, Tay screamed while I prepped the dough, but she had a blast dipping her fingers in the tomato sauce and eating pepperonis. Since this was her first time ever eating pizza (what?! I know...), I was excited to see her reaction. She took a bite, grinned from ear to ear, and proceeded to gobble up the entire plate. Overall, this was a quick and fun activity that could be recreated for any holiday. I must warn you that my kitchen was covered in flour and pizza toppings by the time we were finished, so create at your own risk.

Since December is a busy birthday month in our family (thanks to Valentine's Day, I'm sure), our activity for Day 4 was to make birthday cards for Granny, Aunt Stacey, and cousin Natalie. What I thought would be a super fun activity for a girl who colors every day at day care ended up being a tot covered in stickers with a mouth full of markers and my craft room a complete disaster. We managed to make it through 2 cards before deciding to throw in the towel. I finished the third card after I put Tay to bed. I'm guessing our babysitter is the true artist behind those pictures hanging on our fridge.

Day 5 was by far the best Advent Day to date! We got home Friday evening, had a quick dinner/bath, then snuggled up on the couch with a pouch of cotton candy and the best holiday movie ever - ELF! As soon as I opened the cotton candy, Tay grabbed a handful and shoved it in her mouth. She looked at me, grinning from ear to ear, and then clapped and squealed! Best. Reaction. Ever. She looked so grown  up sitting on the couch, eating her candy, and watching the movie (which held her attention for a solid 45 minutes). Huge success. This girl obviously has great taste in flicks.

Thankfully, the next day was Saturday which meant a lazy morning lounging in bed snacking on Cheerios and watching cartoons. That afternoon, we met Jake for lunch then headed over to Bass Pro for a visit with Santa Clause. Last year, Taylor was a mere 3 months old when she met the bearded man so her reaction this year was a bit different. She was perfectly fine as she walked up to him (and she loved the mechanical reindeer surrounding him), but she went ballistic as soon as he picked her up. Girlfriend twisted and contorted her body every which way until she was able to break free from his arms. She simply wasn't having it. And since I ended up having to hold her while standing next to Santa, I am not posting a copy of our actual photo. After our Santa adventure, we sent Jake back to work and headed off to do more shopping. Taylor had me rolling with these raccoon earmuffs that we found at Michael's. She refused to take them off and kept waving at everyone we passed in the store. She's so easily entertained.

That brings us to Day 7, the end of our first week of fun. While Sunday's activity was supposed to be Bake Christmas Cookies, it turned into a second lunch date with Daddy followed by more shopping (it turns out there were a few people on my Christmas list that I forgot to buy for). So, we made the most of it and decided to pick out a new ornament for Taylor's tree. Her tree has remained bare ever since she Hulk-smashed 2 of my ornaments on the kitchen floor, so we decided to go with something non-breakable and chose this stuffed fox. Here she is shoving hanging it on her tree. Five seconds later, she threw it down the hall. Glad we chose something tot-friendly.

Seven days down, 18 more to go. This week I've learned which activities work and which just...don't. Unfortunately, she's still too little for some things. But most importantly, we've had a lot of fun in the process, and our days without Daddy are rolling by! 

Now it's on to week 2...