Twelve Days of Christmas

The first day of Christmas was spent celebrating.  We went to mass.  We opened presents.  The kids played.  Family came together.

All of it very outward.

The remaining 11 days of Christmas are being spent with much inward reflection on my part.  I’m feeling much more connected to the Holiday this year than in years past.

There was more preparation, and I’m not just talking about decorating and planning.  I did do more planning, especially with the gifts,  and I think that enabled me to spend time reflecting and celebrating the true meaning of the Season.

I read The Light in the Lantern with the kids every evening during Advent.  The first week of Advent, the stories were focused on the elemental world.  The second week’s focus was on plants, the third on animals, and the fourth week brought in the human aspect of things.  The children really enjoyed the stories, especially Alex.  I’d like to add the Advent calendar to the story next year and forget about the one with the chocolates that was the source of many fights and tantrums.

We lit a candle during dinner every night on a makeshift Advent wreath.  I wanted a beautiful table wreath made of evergreen branches and taper candles, but when that didn’t happen, I simply found a plate and placed four tea candles on it.  It served the purpose well and reminded me to look for the Light and pray, and not just at dinner when it was lit.

Our small Nativity was set out in the living room.  I adore this three piece set that we bought our first Christmas, and the symbolism.  I hope to add a wooden, child-friend version of it next year to the nature table to be more interactive for the kids.

This Steiner lecture on the Thirteen Days of Christmas was posted on one of my groups and I found it to be quite interesting.  “The Christmas thought — if we understand the festival which commemorates man’s divine origin and the symbol before us on Christmas Day in the form of the Jesus Child — says to us ever and again that the powers which bring peace to the soul can be found within ourselves. True peace of soul is present only when that peace has sure foundations…” So what better way to spend the twelve days before the Epiphany than in quiet contemplation, giving myself that very foundation.

For the Holy Days, I’ve been following Inner Christmas for a focus each day.  I was a little apprehensive the first day, but I kept with it and I’m glad I did.  The third day hit me hard and is still speaking to me.  I’ve been reading the thought each evening before bed, sleeping on it, then re-reading it and reflecting on it in the silence of the morning.   I’m feeling a much deeper spiritual connection as a result and hope to continue this quiet meditative and prayer time into the NewYear.

I’ve heard Mary’s Little Donkey spans through the Twelve Days of Christmas as well as Advent, and would like to add that resource next year for the kids.  I’d like to do more with the kids to bring more meaning to this time between the big Christmas celebration and Epiphany, but for now, I’m focusing on myself.

May you find peace and Light during this Season and always!

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The Doll

I ordered the 14″ doll from Joy’s Waldorf during her retirement sale.  I’ve been ever so pleased with the kit and thoroughly enjoyed each step of crafting this doll.
I’ve learned many valuable lessons during the process:  sewing a knit fabric, stuffing with wool, shaping a doll head, hand sewing the doll together, crocheting…

I was really looking forward to ordering more supplies and making a few friends for this baby…

That is until I got to crocheting the wig.  I didn’t know how to crochet, so a very dear friend came over a week before Christmas to teach me.  I picked it up fairly easily with the worsted wool yarn and was pleased with my work.  I switched over to the mohair yarn to actually start making the wig.  Um, this yarn is AWFUL!  It looks like doll hair when neatly wound up in a ball, but crochet it (at least by a newbie) and it looks like a hairball that a dog coughed up – and you might know that my “thing that I just don’t cope well with” is hair – ewwww.  I was nauseous while beginning this wig.

I’m still working on it little by little, trying to overcome my feelings.  I’m not too sure how it will turn out.  I’m trying to have faith that it will turn into a lovely doll wig once finished and combed out, but thankfully, I knit up a hat that’s the perfect size for the doll by chance before baby Autumn came.  If all else fails, the various online Waldorf doll stores re-open with the new year and sell pre-made wigs.

Right Now

It is 7:40 a.m.  I am tailor sitting at my computer desk (the one that I picked out at 15, built, and stained – I love my desk) with a baby on a Boppy pillow nursing.  I’m sewing a leg on a doll, hoping to complete it before Izzy wakes up.  I’m looking at my favorite food blog and discovering a new addition.  Everyone else is asleep.  Peace!

Math Games

We were inspired by Our Little Nature Nest and created some numbered jewels and game boards for ourselves to review and practice place value and the four processes.  We used a Sharpie to write numbers 0-9 twice over for a total of 20 numbered jewels.  For our game on the four processes, I had Alex put a process symbol on each square.  We played with a 4-sided die.  Each turn, a gnome would move the rolled number of spaces, grab two numbered jewels, and do the practice problem.  The exception was the division spaces, in which we made division cards.  Each card had four division problems on it, for each number on the die – whatever number was rolled was the problem that he did.  The game worked just like Candyland.  A six-sided die could just as easily been used as long as the division cards had six problems on them instead of four.    We’ve had lots of fun playing this game!

Little Kids During Main Lesson Time

Not all days go so smoothly, but we had a really good day with lesson time:

Alex and I work at the kitchen table for his main lesson on most days.  Izzy almost always is sitting with us “doing her school work” with crayons.  This day, it was Jackson who came wondering in with his school work.  He brought in the wooden number pieces from a puzzle, traced them on a piece of paper with a colored pencil and then cut them out.  This project was 100% his idea start to finish and it was awesome!

And Izzy thought that cutting paper sounded like a great idea, so she did…

Into many, many small pieces all over the floor.

And let’s not forget the baby…

She slept on my lap during the entire lesson!

Handmade Christmas

All the supplies have been gathered.  All the projects are lined up and waiting for spared minutes here and there for me to work on them.  I’ve already had to prioritize certain projects just in case they don’t all get done.  Here’s what I’m working on:

  • Waldorf doll for Izzy
  • Diapers, clothes (my goal is to at least have a gown for the doll, clothes will come later,) and a sling for the doll
  • Pajama pants for Alex (for Christmas Eve – I bought Izzy’s on clearance over the summer and decided that Jack had too many PJs and will be getting flannel sheets for his bed instead)
  • Name buntings for each of the kids to hang over their bed
  • Quilted pillows for my MIL’s couch
  • Mittens for Izzy (the first one is almost done!)
  • Longies for Autumn
  • Mittens for Alex and Jackson if time permits
  • Another “elf warrior” hat for Autumn, who outgrew the other one already!

The pictures I ordered for the Christmas cards arrived yesterday, so I’ll be putting those together, as well.  And let us not forget all the Holiday baking.  I just started thinking about that, and it will be cut back this year to accommodate everything else we have going on.

What Holiday projects are you working on?

Before and After

Having little ones around means that we’re constantly putting stuff on top of any surface out of their reach.  Eventually, things start looking like this:

And we had been having problems with the toys on the floor in the same manner, so drastic action had to be taken and quick before mama lost her cool again.

I talked it over with the boys, who were quite logical, and agreed that we needed to reduce the amount of toys in play so they wouldn’t have to deal with the mess, and neither would mama.  So every chance that I’ve had these past few weeks, which haven’t been many, I’ve taken an armful of toys to the garage or stowed a few things away in the closet.  It’s made a big difference, but we still have a bit more work to do.

And I’ve been able to tackle some of those stuff-full surfaces:

(The platter and wine aren’t normally there, but it was the morning of Thanksgiving when this picture was taken.)