Something new I decided to create this year was a countdown advent calendar. Inside each of the numbered pockets is an index card that has ideas for us do each day. They include church activities (like the Cantata, Children's Pageant, and Christmas Eve service), acts of kindness (like paying for the meal of the person in a drive-thru behind us, giving hugs while we carol at a nursing home, or buying an Angel Tree gift), community events (like Christmasville, McAdenville Lights, Billy Graham Library), and just for fun events (like visiting Santa, getting a snowman donut from Krispy Kreme, decorating a gingerbread house, and having a dance party). It's been fun moving the little clip each morning and having Riley get excited about the special event for the day!
We went last weekend as well to Portrait Innovations and got some Christmas pictures taken of the kids. Maggie was extremely fussy that day and we're surprised we were able to get even one good shot. Riley is looking down, but at least they both have a smile on their face. Here are the Christmas cards and photos we sent out to Tabitha and Kristin and Lonnie.
Zippy, our Elf on the Shelf, arrived after naptime the day that we got our tree. He had a present on the front porch and somehow managed to ring the doorbell just as the kids were waking up for them to come to the door and find. Inside were 2 pairs of matching Christmas pajamas, a Josh Grogan Christmas CD for us to listen to on our drive to McAdenville one night, the Elf on the Shelf book, and some special candy. Zippy has been up to all kinds of crazy stuff these past few days (baking miniature pancakes, getting covered in stickers, taking marshmallow baths, and hanging upside down from the ceiling fan...just to name a few). Riley and Maggie both enjoy looking for this little guy each morning!
Maggie has also been talking up a storm lately! She now says the correct word for pacifier as "paci" not "pappy." She still calls a cracker a "dadu" though which we think is pretty cute! That used to be Riley's word for bubble. Speaking of bubbles, Maggie loves to take a bubble bath and even came up to me last night when I said it was time to go up for a bath and asked for it clear as day! She still gets VERY EXCITED about supper time and runs to her high chair just as fast as her little legs will carry her while shouting "eat eat time!" (except she leaves off the last letter of those three words). She just had her 18 month checkup yesterday and weighs 23 lbs. 8 oz. and is 31 inches tall. She's in the 30-35th percentile for both height and weight. She's been very affectionate lately and will now give unprompted kisses on the leg as I'm cooking in the kitchen and prompted kisses on the cheek! I love the little smacking sound she makes when she does it too!
We're looking forward to the next few weeks as we fill it with all kinds of fun activities and visits with family and friends. My prayer though is that I will help my children not lose sight of the real reason to celebrate--that we have a Savior who came to earth as a baby and lived in human "shoes" to bring a love and peace to us that can't be found anywhere else!