One of the benefits of a foot injury is that I am forced to ruthlessly prioritize the time on my feet. It hurts to walk and I am not supposed to bear any weight on the damaged foot. Laundry and cooking. The general household management can be directed from a chair. The bigs have been sick and had finals, but next week they will be free to take on more of the work. Amazingly, every kid has offered to bake Christmas cookies! :)
We have accomplished more schooling than we usually do this time of year. (It's been enlightening for me to learn how distracted I usually am while teaching. I'm always worried about my next job and trying to multitask. School is much more productive with an attentive, focused mom.) We have also been able to enjoy all our little traditions for the feasts that occur during Advent with more thought and care than most years.
St. Nicholas day (December 6) was one my mother embraced and celebrated during my childhood. Being a convert and Dutch, she readily warmed to the Dutch traditions surrounding St. Nicholas. So that has always been a big one for us. We have a large collection of wooden shoes, thrifted by my mother that the children put out on the vigil of his feast. During the night the shoes are filled with foil wrapped chocolate coins and small gifts. Usually books or movies, though the teens were gifted with money this year since St. Nicholas had limited shopping abilities.
We read our favorite books and bake our gingerbread men shaped like the good bishop. This year Regina and Dominic did most of the rolling, cutting and baking. They did very well indeed! The cookies were delicious!
The December 8 Feast of Mary's Immaculate Conception is a most beautiful feast. We have never adopted many traditions surrounding this feast as it is the priority to attend Mass. You know what it's like getting everyone out the door in reasonable order. We do have our favorite book to read about the life of Mary.
December 12 is another Marion feast. It is an important one as Our Lady of Guadalupe is responsible for the conversion of thousands and she is the patroness of the Americas.
We read our book sipping Mexican hot cocoa (though I don't make it very spicy for the younger children) and do a rose craft or coloring page.
December 13 is the feast of St. Lucia. She was born in Italy but Sweden developed a widespread devotion to her and many of the traditions seem to come from them. I baked a large braided bread wreath for breakfast, lit candles, read our book, of course, and had Swedish meatballs for supper.
All these feast days lend themselves fabulously to some map work since so many countries are represented!
The schola concert has been sung, Kevin J. will arrive home tonight, St. Augustine's finals will be finished in a few hours and our preparation for Christmas will be in full swing this weekend. Advent has turned out to be a special time of preparation in spite of, or maybe because of, a torn tendon. Following the saints will always lead to Jesus, and that is where we want to be for Christmas.