Sunday, December 14, 2014

Advent 2014, week two

Day eight, Sunday, December 7th
Rather predictable, so predictable, in fact, that Marie didn't even make a note or clue for this one: light the second Advent candle. This isn't exactly the best photo we've ever had of Jörn, but the best taken that day...

Day nine, Monday, December 8th

Marie held Elisabeth up to get the note out:
...and we really liked the 3D clue for listening to Christmas music:

And here is our family listening to Christmas music (Jacob and Louisa not home, as usual)...

Day ten, Tuesday, December 9th

When I'd gotten out the Nativity scenes the week before, I'd taken the miniature stocking off of Jörn's stocking and slipped it to Marie, so she could put it in for the 9th, which was to hang up stockings.
 And here they are:
For Christmas 1981, after our house had burned down, a neighbor had given the four children (I was 10, my siblings were 8, 5, and 2) identical stockings, so my mother quickly made some little ones for us with our names. By the next year, she'd knitted new ones for us, so my little one is pinned to my name one, and those four identical ones became "guest stockings". When Jörn used one of those in 1993, my sister Ruth embroidered a miniature one for him to pin on, which is now pinned to his big stocking, which I made for him in 1995. In 1999, my Costa Rican brother, Eduardo, spent Christmas with us, so I made a "guest stocking" for him to use, putting his name on it with a piece of paper. That stocking has since been used for quite a few other people, and this year, is Louisa's. None of my children have needed to have a miniature one, because I did manage to make each of them a stocking in time for their respective first Christmases, although it was sometimes very, very close. At least two of them were finished on Christmas Eve, and one on Christmas morning.

Day eleven, Wednesday, December 10th

The note for this day, which has been lost, said something like, "I like it, but I don't, you've been asking for this for awhile." There was some puzzlement for all of maybe two or three minutes before people started shouting, "Make gingerbread houses!" The reference in the note was to the fact that Marie loves making them, but doesn't like gingerbread.

Lukas, Katie, Helen, and Elisabeth all drew plans for what they wanted and I made patterns for them, then cut them out of the dough. I also made a bunch of extra random squares, rectangles, and triangles, for anybody to use. Jörn made his house from those, Lukas used some of them, and some of them got eaten.

I helped a little bit with the initial "gluing together" of the houses, with melted chocolate:

Once Marie and Jacob had finally finished their patterns, they cut them out themselves:

Elisabeth, of course, was perfectly willing and able to do everything "all by herself."

Finished creations with proud creators:


And...I hadn't actually planned on making anything myself (making the dough and dealing with the chocolate and everything else kept me quite busy enough), but Marie and Jacob had left a small amount of dough in the bowl, so I used it up to make something unoriginal and corny:
We ate Helen's house the next day and Marie and Lukas took theirs to a Christmas party on Saturday. Katie and Elisabeth plan to take theirs to Christmas parties next week, Jörn and I are taking mine on our anniversary trip at the end of December, and I don't know what will happen with Jörn's and Jacob's.
Day twelve, Thursday, December 11th
Lukas was quite pleased to open the not-at-all-cryptic-but-very-cute clue of a paper chain:

He was also very pleased to be chief paper cutter:

Day thirteen, Friday, December 12th

This was the VERY first time that Louisa was home, and Jacob wasn't anyway, so she took his turn to open the calendar:

The idea had been to walk to the forestry department and choose a Christmas tree, as we did last year. However, most of us hadn't actually been happy with last year's tree, because with it's droopy branches and long needles, we could hardly hang any ornaments on it, and certainly no candles. In addition to that, the day before this, Lukas had brought home some branches from a cedar tree a neighbor was trimming, so...we sort of kind of decided that maybe this will be our tree this year. Louisa trimmed off a broken part, but the "tree" is still outside, awaiting a final decision, not to mention a way to keep it upright and watered. (With rain nearly all day yesterday, it at least stayed well-watered for one day...)

Day fourteen, Saturday, December 13th

It was pretty funny how everyone just stared for awhile when I read this out. It was finally Katie, my most literal child, who finally said, "Okay, Mommy, what are we doing?"
Now, since Marie and Jacob are both likely to read this blog, I can't say what I ORIGINALLY planned to do, because they'll likely be very annoyed with me that we didn't do it. (It was going to be complicated, messy, and basically pointless, and anyway, I couldn't find the necessary supplies, not that I actually looked very hard...) My plan B was to make cookies, but we already have SO much sweet stuff, I decided against that. And plan C was to go for a walk, but it rained and rained and rained most of the day yesterday, and as that is not something we are used to, we don't have much in the way of appropriate clothing. (Katie has a pair of boots, and some of us have rain coats, and I think we have two umbrellas...) So while they were all staring at me, I thought fast, and said that it was that we play games, that each of them could choose a game, and I would play it, and anyone who wanted to could join in.
Elisabeth had first choice and chose "hide and seek." After she'd found one or two people, though, it started pouring again, so they all went outside! My hiding place was getting uncomfortable, and Marie had been discovered by Helen in our room, not knowing that our room was off limits, so Marie and I both went and hid in the bathroom. We started having a loud conversation about the acoustics and ended up singing, waiting for Elisabeth to finally come back in and look for us. Elisabeth finally did, and told me off for changing hiding places, so I went back to my original hiding place, and Elisabeth marched right back out of the bathroom without even finding Marie at that point! Anyway, it was a lot of fun, the best parts being singing with Marie, and only having one round. :-)
Helen said she didn't want to choose anything, and Katie chose Monopoly:

Which took, as Monopoly does, FOREVER. Lukas was a good sport about being the first one out, and Helen, who had never played before, did great with counting money, but also quickly got bored. She auctioned all her property off to the rest of us and left, leaving us to roll for her and try to use up her 50,000 DM. She went to jail about 10 times and kept going right past all of our expensive properties, landed on Free Parking more than once, and kept GETTING money every time she landed on Community Chest or Chance. It was looking rather like she might win the game, with no property and without being there. However, she did finally land once on one of Marie's expensive ones, then landed on my Schloßallee (Boardwalk in the American version) with four houses, so I got the 10,000 or so DM she had left, only a quarter of what she owed me. I was in a much better position than Katie, but I was the one who eventually landed on Marie's green ones with hotels one too many times, and cheered loudly when it finally happened. I'd behaved myself very well up to that point, truly, I had. The first thing I said/did to indicate my total boredom was to hope that I got a 5, 7, or 8 just before I rolled, to which Jörn, not understanding my point, said in horror, "You want to PROLONG the game?!?" Happily, I got an 8, landing on Marie's most expensive green, so I handed over all of my cash, which wasn't more than about 2000 DM (that would be 100 dollars in the American version), and my five mortgaged properties, and left Marie to finish creaming Katie while I went shopping. Not something I love, but after two hours of Monopoly, I was much more inclined to such an activity than otherwise.
I still owe Helen a game of Enchanted Forest (or something else, if she changes her mind again), Lukas a game of Risk, Jacob a two-person game of Settlers of Catan, and Marie a two-person game of Risk.
And that concludes the documentation of the second week of Advent in our house this year...

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