Today was WONDERFUL. Break was WONDERFUL and FUN and RELAXING and GOOD. But today was wonderful, too :) I am always shocked (no one else ever is, though.......) at how much I crave routine and schedule and, well, work. Fia was back to school today and Joe was in bed all day, still sick, and the younger kids and I were back to doing our thing. It was awesome. I got the house cleaned, laundry caught up, made some cheese and bread and all that other home stuff. Oh and I did play with the kids, too :) We made volcanoes - VERY cool activity! We made the dough and shaped it around empty water bottles and then decorated the pan around the volcano with plastic animals and trees and such. We added a coat of paint later in the day and tomorrow we can watch them EXPLODE! We went to the ECRC for play and science exploration, to the library to check out a BAJILLION books and movies and then to the grocery store. All this to say it was a busy day but one that reminded me how much I love the job I have.
So.........Christmas is over. All the advent activities and planning and decorating and baking and all that........done. Are you relieved or bereft? Are you taking a breath or ready to get up and running again? Over the years I have wondered why the HUGE push around Christmas and then nothing. It use to frustrate me that we would do all these cool things to remind ourselves of Jesus for the 25 days leading up to December 25th and then take everything down, put away all the awesome Christmas books and just be done. I wondered why we couldn't continue in the spirit of Christmas throughout the year - not the intensity and gift-giving and craziness but the Jesus focus that we seem to have all of December. We tend to be pretty laid back about a lot of things surrounding Christmas (we don't have to buy gifts for hardly anyone, I don't send out cards, I am not even going to tell you what we did this year instead of me actually baking the cookies we take to the hospitals.....I was SO SICK the day I was going to back.....like couldn't be more than 10 feet from a bathroom at any given time......and my husband has off 8 days around the holidays because he's a teacher). Some of it is because we try to be intentional about not getting caught up in the craziness and some of it is that we have pretty rockin' family members on both sides that keep it easy and simple (EVEN JOE'S MOM KEPT IT SIMPLE THIS YEAR.......this deserves a HUGE, HUGE round of applause :). So after Christmas I think.......ok can we keep celebrating? I mean each day is a celebration because of the gift we are given through Jesus, right?
Stay with me here..............and remember who I am...............I don't do ANYTHING that takes huge amounts of time, that is worthy of being on pinterest or costs any amount of money :) So here is a simple way of continuing the celebration without the stress.........if you want.........but please don't feel you have to.................. :)
We are starting to celebrate/get ready for Valentine's Day with the theme that "Love Came Down". Today we began (we can begin because as I think I mentioned at some point before......I am pretty weird about Christmas decorations.......they come down Christmas night after the kids go to bed. It doesn't take more than 2 hours, tops. Then we put away all their toys - this is made possible by me knowing what the kids are getting from everyone before Christmas and clearing out areas for me to put the toys the weeks BEFORE Christmas - and it's all ready for them to play the next day without the stress of it being TOTALLY TRASHED. The day after Christmas is one of my favorite days of the year :) to decorate the house. We painted our windows. This is a super easy and CLEAN activity - trust me. You outline the shapes you want the kids to paint on the window and then just use washable paint. Francesca did hearts, Fia did the words "God is Love" and Nico did a huge heart on the front window. On the big heart I painted a cross and wrote the words "Love Came Down" across the top.
Then each night during quiet time we are going to write one of the names of Jesus on a heart, decorate it and hang it from the curtain rod in the living room, over the big heart. We are using http://www.easyfunschool.com/article1679.html to do the names of Jesus. It is meant for Christmas but we are going to adapt it for Valentine's day. We are just going to use the names and MAYBE some of the activities but remember.......NO STRESS. FIVE MINUTES. FOCUS ON JESUS NOT PINTEREST WORTHY ACTIVITIES/DECORATIONS.
And, of course, each year we bake heart and cross cookies, plaster hearts all over the walls (sometimes we remember to write love bible verses, sometimes not.), bake heart pizzas, make valentines, etc. and we do it in remembrance of the Love we are shown, that we are given.
So go to town..............continue the celebration....................cover your walls, your windows, your hearts in Love. For Love came down and was with us and continues to be with us long past Christmas.