In our family, December 1st is a big day to celebrate. Not only is it my dad's birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE MOST AMAZING DAD IN THE WORLD!!!!!), but it also marks day one of our Countdown Calendar.
I'm pretty sure I've addressed the Countdown Calendar in my blog before, but it is a HUGE DEAL to my kiddos as each day represents some sort of fun surprise to be excited about. My mom began the tradition with us as kids, so it's been a big deal for me to continue it. I'm very blessed to have kids that share just as much enthusiasm about this time of the year as I do...perhaps even more (though that's hard for me to imagine!).
Because I felt rather convicted last year that the Countdown Calendar was becoming almost too indulgent for the kids - in terms of being all about "what they got - or got to do" - I added to it this year by putting Advent verses in each pocket, so before their "surprise" gets unveiled, we read and discuss the verse together recognizing the real reason for all this celebration. Today was a verse from Isaiah - so the key words today had to with prophecy, conceive, virgin, and Immanuel. Let's just say that I'm glad we've had "the talk" with both of the kids, otherwise today's discussion could have gotten a bit sticky! =) It's gratifying when they shared what we had discussed with Daddy tonight, and I feel like it hit home.
As for the fun part, today I went a little "above and beyond" (as it was the first day), by having them answer questions about the movie "Elf" (which we had watched on the way there and back getting the Christmas tree). With each answer they got correct (they worked together), they got a letter to eventually "unscramble" and reveal what big activity was coming up. A couple of observations: one, my kids work together really well when it comes to the Countdown Calendar, and two, my kids really know the movie "Elf"! They only missed one question......I was scarily impressed!
So, there you go - on Friday we are off to Lloyd Center with Michele and her kiddos to go ice skating. Sadly, the Whites and John won't be able to join us this year because of "days off" issues from work....we're still hoping maybe Michael can join us for part of it. Brayden has the day off from school anyway, and well, Mikayla is getting to skip another day. Bad mom, bad mom, bad mom. Actually, I have no regrets - in the big picture, it's activities like these that will be so more meaningful than what will happen on any given Friday for the five hours of school. At least I hope it will be!