A Week From Now, It’ll be the Third Day of Advent

The holidays haven’t really started and I’m already looking at my calendar for the next six weeks or so and going “whoa…..”. A few things were my mind earlier today:

1) making sure we have the assorted “equipment” for the holidays. our Christmas boxes are at the very back of our P.O.D and BgK and I have voted not to unpack 12 feet worth of stuff to get to it.

2) making sure we have a day set aside for Jolly Days, Celebration Crossing, see the Nutcracker, drive around the Circle of  Lights, drive up to Reynolds, walk through Zoo Lights and a family trip to see Jingle Rails. Does your family make it to all of the big attractions in your area every year? Do hit the same ones over and over, or pick different ones to try? There are  so many events ,and they are all so much fun…..but doing it all won’t be fun, it will be exhausting a stressful. But how to pick?

3) making my shopping list and checking it twice. This year I’m using an Android App called Gift Pony on my loaner Samsung Fascinate. (Why do I have a loaner phone? Read about how I got the name “Princess Two Phones” over at Persephone) It tracks all the people and all the gifts (and where they are hidden, and what they cost, and if I have it in my possession, etc) and I’m hoping it will help keep the hunting and gathering under control.

4) making the whole thing meaningful for my family.

Enter the little booklet I bought today while at the local Catholic bookstore- Joy to the World: Advent Activities for Your Family read it, and enjoy the season of Advent. While it focuses on a few Catholic specifics, I *think* any religion which observes Advent will find some helpful tips and inspiration.

After reading through this booklet (while dinner was baking, it’s a quick read), I feel better about all of the above. In a later chapter, Basi suggests writing out all of the activities you’re planning for the month and making them part of daily slips on your Advent calendar. I have a plan for an Advent calendar (paper chain), and I think we are going to do some prep work tomorrow while we wait for the Uverse guy to install our order. I’m going to plug each day into a special color on the Google calendar BgK and I share, and with any luck, the priority activities (Jolly Days, Jingle Rails, making ornaments for our real tree, getting gifts to the St. Vincent DePaul Christmas Store, and baking cookies) will all happen at a manageable pace.

Manageable pace ,manageable pace…….I’m taking any and all tips on how to keep it all at a manageable pace…..

Also, MaM asked Santa for a PogoStick for Christmas. Feel free to weigh in on that as well….

Between a Roc and a Hard Place: A Fantasy Chapter Book

For the past five years or so, I’ve been collecting picture books with an adoption theme. With MaM getting older, it’s time to branch out and find some “chapter books” that weave an adoption story line, and it’s also time to find books that don’t just talk about babies being adopted. Enter the new book “Between a Roc and a Hard Place,” by Danny Birt.

ToyBox Books send me a copy of the book to review, and I am so glad that they did. “Between a Roc and a Hard Place” actually starts with a scene that reminded me of the PBS Kids show, “Dinosaur Train” — an egg lands in the nest of  a different, even a predatory, species. The Roc family is surprised that a dragon has hatched in their nest, but they name her and she becomes part of their family. It doesn’t take long for Tephra to realize that she is different from her siblings, but it’s their similarities which bond them together. As Tephra grows, her life takes her in a very unique direction, being the only dragon among birds. Ultimately, her integration has a very positive outcome for the entire kingdom.

Children who like fantasy books will love this book for the magical land that author Danny Birt has created. The process of giving animals their names will enchant, and the plots against humans will entertain. The book is written for children age nine and older, and has recently won the National Parenting Center’s 2010 Holiday Seal of Approval. The adoption theme, and some of the issues adoptive families work through are present, but I wouldn’t classify this as solely an adoption book. It’s available at Barnes and Noble and should delight many a young reader!

Disclosure: I was sent a free copy of the book to review, the opinions of the book are all mine.

One of Those (good) Days

This week as flown by — I can’t believe that a week from tonight it will already be Thanksgiving. Wow.

This week has been filled with good things, and there are a lot of good things on the horizon.

Some days just stick out for all the right reasons. Milestones, holidays, and sometimes just a random week day that goes perfectly. Tuesday  was one of those days. Junior and I snuck downtown during the school day (shh don’t tell MaM) and were able to enjoy the Jingle Rails display at the Eiteljorg Museum. He and I were both delighted in looking at the trains and all of the miniatures carved and created by artist Paul Busse. The scenes were all landmarks from our National Parks, as well as a replica of some downtown Indianapolis. We took in other parts of the museum as well, but we made three separate walks through the exhibit in the two hours we were there. He was fascinated by the miniature Old Faithful Geyser, which blew out steam every two minutes. “Geyser!” (which sounds oddly like dinosaur) &  “Hot water!” he chirped, each time it went off. He was excited to see the Downtown landscape, and was so excited to see all of the snow and evergreen trees. We’ll definitely be going back as a family before it leaves January 9th!

It’s was one of those days I’ll keep close to my heart for always.