Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Parents' Wishlist

Here's what I wish my true love could give to me:

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Twelve hours' sleep,
Elevenses with coffee,
Ten trips to Tesco,
Nine presents wrapped up
Eight days in a week,
Seven carpets hoovered,
Six dinners cooked,
Four nappies changed,
Three washes done
Two sleeping children,
A biscuit and a cup of tea!

On the bright side, we did get a ginormous Christmas tree half price today because its top had fallen off. Can't wait to decorate it.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Christmas loading. Please wait...

Everything is ready to be done, but absolutely nothing is done, and it's driving me insane.

100 blank cards are sitting on my kitchen table, waiting for me to have enough time to do finger painting with Abi (who will likely manage three of them before she wants to get down and do something else).

A bag of Christmas cake ingredients is sitting in my baking cupboard, waiting for me to soak the fruit in brandy overnight.

A drawer full of wooden cotton reels and acrylic paint is waiting for me to decorate the reels as part of Abi's stocking present.

Bags full of presents that have been ordered from the internet are now sitting upstairs, still in their postage packaging, waiting to be unpacked, wrapped, labelled and re-sent.

See what I mean? Everything ready to be done, but nothing actually finished.

So what have I been doing instead?

Well, I've been ringing handbells at Victorian Christmas fairs. I've been telling Christmas stories to children at late night shopping events. Today, my right arm is sporting a beautiful ukulele bruise from playing "A Band Of Angels" five times, in five different schools, while wearing a tinsel halo.

Basically, I've been far too festive to actually achieve anything Christmas-related. Except this:

This is actually an unfinished project from last year, poor Thomas had to use it and then give it back to be finished! I'm rather proud of it now, although I have to wonder whether that snowman is really a snowman, or a clown juggling stars. He doesn't seem sure.

So, LAST Christmas is finally sorted. Now for this one!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Ah, the joys of pregnancy

TheRev: *sneaks up behind me and kisses me behind the ear*
Me: (taken by surprise) What?!
TheRev: Sorry. I was just trying to kiss you in a place that wouldn't make you vomit.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

On our Jesse tree yesterday - and today...

Yup, that's me, behind already. I had a feeling this wouldn't last long!

The rainbow was yesterday's: the verse from Romans is "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life". And today we have the funny little tent thing hanging in the background, with the verses Genesis 12:1-7, the call of Abram. So Noah and Abram: two men who were told to drop everything and do something completely absurd instead.

Speaking of which, today's puppet extravaganza went very well indeed, and I now have dreams of a children's puppet team that perform silly songs with random props at regular intervals.

Mary and Joseph made it across the gully between the windowsill and the chest of drawers, and are now regarding the hazardous passage across the top of the chest with trepidation: to their right, a steep tumble into The Rev's sock drawer, never to be heard of again.

In Abigail's crib, the animals have been arranged with pleasing symmetry so far by Abigail herself. I wonder what she'll do as it gets more crowded.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Snakes and sheep

Today on our Jesse tree:

That's a snake around an apple, for those unfamiliar with the complex art of making 25 different Biblical symbols out of bits of balsa wood, sequins and shiny sticky tape. The symbol obviously stands for the story of the Fall, found directly after the creation story in Genesis, but the verse (Isaiah 53:6) is the one about sheep which, due to a student Christian Union prone to 'memory verses' The Rev and I both immediately chorused to the tune of The Bare Necessities:

All we like (click) sheeep have gone astray
And turned each one to his own way
But the Lord has lai-aid o-on hiiiim
The iniquity
Of all humanity
Isaiah fifty-three, ve-erse six!

So, the world is made and people have already gone astray: the stage is set for God's rescue plan for humanity.

And speaking of stages being set, I spent a chunk of this afternoon behind a puppet stage with some of the 10:30 club kids, howling with laughter as we put together a puppet song/dance to "Micah No. 5" (Apologetix) for Sunday morning. The moment when one of them appears above the puppet screen inexplicably wearing flashing antlers with bells on is not to be missed.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

It all begins...

Happy new year, members of the Church! The liturgical year began last Sunday, Advent Sunday, and we of the 10:30 Club heralded it in by making miniature Advent wreaths out of plasticine and birthday cake candles.

Hopefully the 10:30 club children were looking forward to lighting a new candle every Sunday (and then quickly blowing it out again, as birthday cake candles aren't really meant for this kind of work!) and were able to take a new Advent tradition home to their families.

Hopefully they didn't already have as many Advent traditions as we do.

Six years ago, The Rev and I sat down and amalgamated two families' worth of seasonal tradition, creating a few of our own along the way. This year, with Abigail taking part as well, we have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Here is our Advent table:

We have an Advent Crib Calendar, given to Abigail by her Nanou as a baptism present. Each door reveals another figure to go into the nativity scene.
Then we have a beautiful cross-stitched pocket calendar, sent all the way from Greece by Aunty Lili for Abigail to enjoy this year. Today, the first pocket intriguingly revealed a wooden star with the letter H on it, and a little card telling us to read Deuteronomy 18, 15-19.

We have our Jesse tree, which I have been gradually making ever since our first Christmas as a married couple. This will be the first year when all 25 pieces are already made and ready to go - though some of the earlier ones are already in need of some TLC!

We have a Guess-the-Saint Advent calendar, another gift from a few years ago.

We also have a conventional cardboard calendar and an Advent candle. And how I resisted adding a chocolate calendar to all this, I shall never know. It was probably the sure and certain knowledge that I would have to share the chocolate with Abigail.

Also in use but not on the Advent table is our own Advent wreath, and our Christmas Crib which is set up empty in the sitting room; Mary, Joseph and the donkey will begin their journey at the left-hand side of our bedroom windowsill tonight. Hopefully I'll remember to move them before they start gathering dust, or disappear under the little piles of receipts that The Rev likes to deposit there.

I thought, as I sat after all the ceremonies for the day were complete and waited for the candle to burn its way down past number 1, that it would be a fun (!!) challenge for me to try and blog our Advent progress daily - even if it only means posting a photograph of what the calendar has revealed or what has been newly hung on the Jesse tree. Hopefully I might occasionally have a few moments to add some deeper thoughts or some news too!

So, on our Jesse tree today:

Genesis 1 verse 1: In the beginning, God made the heavens and the earth. And so it begins.