Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Advent Update: Week 3

We made it through the third and final week of Advent! I know that really there should be four weeks since Christmas falls on a Friday this year, but with pregnancy fatigue and work being crazy busy we're all lucky that we've made it this far. This really is the most wonderful time of the year and I'm so thankful to be able to provide fun opportunities for our girl, but some days we just aren't into it - and that's okay. Some nights we have a blast with our planned activity and other nights we eat hot dogs for dinner, skip bath time entirely, and the tot watches a Christmas movie on Netflix while I struggle to stay awake. There's a reason they call it the season of hustle and bustle!

So let's get to it. Last Sunday I was feeling energetic and the tot was in a glorious mood, so we busted out the Kitchen Aid and whipped up a batch of my favorite gingerbread cookies for Day 16. This recipe is super simple and kid friendly. Tay loved turning on and off the mixer (as you can tell by her facial expression below), eating the batter, and rolling the cookies into little balls. Her favorite part has been sampling the final product, which we have done every night after dinner!

Day 17's activity was one of my favorites - making Christmas shaped pizzas for dinner. I love activities like this because we are able to do a fun activity and cook dinner at the same time. I was lazy this year and opted for store bought crust rather than making homemade, mostly because I didn't want to spend the rest of the night on my hands and knees cleaning up flour like I did last year. No, thank you. Regardless of the dough, Taylor loved this activity. She's quick to help with any task that I'm doing but especially loves assisting in the kitchen, usually because it involves making a mess and eating.

Day 18 was also spent in the kitchen making chocolate covered pretzels, one of Taylor's all-time favorite treats! We were extra festive and used some red baking chocolate that was leftover from Valentine's Day and lots of green sprinkles. I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to put the tot on sprinkle duty, but I turned around for two seconds and she had dumped an entire bottle all over the floor. So much for avoiding a giant flour mess the night before! Tay obviously thought it was hilarious, because she couldn't stop laughing as she smeared her hands around in the chocolaty-sprinkle goo. Needless to say, we both headed straight to the tub after this activity!

By Day 19 I was spent, so we tossed our original plan out the window and practiced our Christmas carols in the bath tub instead (because everyone knows that bathrooms have the best acoustics). After coloring nearly every square inch of the tub and singing several renditions of "Frosty the Snowman," "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer," "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," and "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" (hey, it's winter-related), I was able to drag the tot out of the tub. This chick loves to sing and be the center of attention, so this activity was right up her ally. Plus, bubbles.

Day 20's activity was to build snowmen out of play dough. Like most kids, Taylor loves play dough and, thanks to Frozen and Frosty, she also loves snowmen. After rolling the dough into balls and assembling their bodies, Tay requested hats for each ("Just like Frosty!") and "hands" which we made out of pretzels. Once they were created, she picked them up and carried them straight to her room, giving them hugs and smooches and feeding each of them with her baby bottle. The only downfall to play dough snowmen is that their heads/arms/accessories fall off every time you touch them which means that every few minutes we would have to stop playing and reassemble them. In true Taylor fashion, she lined everything up neatly on the kitchen table before she began rebuilding them. Her little tendencies are hilarious.

Day 21 was Friday which meant movie night! The plan was to watch the original Frosty the Snowman (instead of the newer version on Netflix that the tot insists on watching every single day) and snack on festive marshmallows. This night's activity was a huge hit, and Tay has asked to have more "mallows" every day since. By the way, don't you love how she accessorized her jammies with that pink bracelet? Movie night calls for the fanciest of fancy, you know.

Day 22's activity was one of my favorite holiday traditions, a family visit to the Magic Tree. Taylor anxiously awaited this activity all day, asking about it at breakfast, before nap time, and every 5 minutes during our weekly Target run. Jake was off around 6:00, and by the time we got there the place was packed! The tot immediately squirmed out of my arms, darted in and out of groups of people, and ran right up to the tree to stare at the many strands of colorful lights. Unfortunately, Tay hadn't been feeling well that day so not long after we arrived the tears began to flow. She didn't want to stay but she didn't want to leave, her nose was a runny mess, and to top it all off she was hungry and exhausted. We took a horrible family selfie then headed to three different restaurants before finding one that didn't have a 45 minute wait (guess that's what we get for trying to eat out the Saturday night before Christmas). Our girl was miserable throughout dinner and refused to eat a thing, so we wrapped up our food and hurried home to put her to bed. Thankfully, some Tylenol and a lot of rest left her feeling much better the next day.


So there you have it, another year of Advent in the books! We plan on spending the rest of the week indulging in some serious family time now that Jake is no longer working himself to the bone. This rush was hard on us all, with Jake exhausted from working 16 hour days, the tot acting out because she missed her daddy, and me trying to keep my sanity while balancing a hectic work load during the day and trying to survive toddler town each night. I'm so thankful for our jobs and the opportunities they provide us, but I'm desperately looking forward to some time off so that we can regroup as a family and spend some much-needed time together.

We're expecting a visit from Santa at our house tonight, and then we'll be spending the remainder of the week celebrating Christmas with my side of the family. I can't wait for good food, good company, and lots of love and laughter over the coming days.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!