5 December

{Some people have wondered why I didn't finish out November this year. I guess the answer comes down to quantity vs. quality. I know that in blogging, quantity seems to be the holy grail ... the way you get and keep readers, etc. How often you post. But when I'm posting throw-away posts, just to have something up, that doesn't make me happy, it doesn't make me enjoy being here, it doesn't make me feel like I'm accomplishing something worth doing. I'd rather a two-week absence and fewer daily hits than throw-away posts. I've had fun doing the everyday posting thing before and maybe I will again, but this year, it came down to quantity vs. quality.}

Advent is here, and I'm feeling kind of sad that it's a short one this year. I think this year I could use a bit more time to prepare my soul for Christmas. 


But things are underway and they are good. They are beautiful. We're doing a Jesse Tree for the first time and the kids love it. Really, I think it's the thing they've been looking forward to the most each day. I really wanted to make our Jesse Tree ornaments in the vein of Alicia's Christmas ornaments -- large, 3D-ish, stuffed, embellished -- but for three years, I pondered this and finally realized that while I have the ability to construct those, I don't have the ability to do the original drawings. Drawing is not one of my talents. So after spending a lot of time trying to find other drawings that I could adapt into my Alicia-esque Jesse Tree ornaments, and not finding anything suitable, I decided to compromise with myself. Actually doing the Jesse Tree was more important than the ornaments, and late this summer, I found this pattern on Etsy. I like the patterns, and they have even been a good jumping off point for me creatively (I've decided to blend the list with the one in The Catholic Home, so I'm creating a couple of my own designs!) I also decided, in order to get a bit of that 3D look that I like, to put the symbols onto background circles, which I'm lightly stuffing. They are coming out beautifully and I'm really excited about them.

jesse tree (with first ornament, a few days ago)

first ornament of the jesse tree


Last weekend, I made our front door wreath with my friend Kim. I love how it turned out, although the hawthorn boughs we used started shedding their needles within an hour of completing the wreath, so there are some bare branches on it. Still, it's beautiful and I don't really mind the look of the bare branches.



We haven't done very much decorating yet, besides the nativity, the advent stockings, the wreath, and the Jesse Tree. We'll gradually add decorations throughout the coming weeks. We've been so busy, so many things going on on weekends, so we'll get to it when we can. It's been so warm (today in the high 60's!) that I honestly haven't felt that Christmassy. I think we may get a dusting of snow this Sunday and I have a feeling more of the Christmas boxes will come out then. For now, sparse and bare is just about right for the season -- lots to anticipate!

Tonight, our shoes will go out before our front door, and for the first time in this house, St. Nicholas will pay us a visit. The simplicity and predictability of our traditions, no matter what the other details of life are at the moment (slow or busy, enthusiastic or a bit uninspired, warm or snowy!), ground us and carry us. I'm so grateful to be able to celebrate in our own special, small ways, with this little family of mine.