It's our tradition to count down the days to Christmas with a Jesse tree. We've used these readings and symbols for nearly a decade.
The first couple of years we cut out symbols and taped them to Christmas ornaments. The problem with using your Christmas tree as a Jesse tree is that you either decorate very late or your Jesse tree symbols get lost in among all your other decorations. Other people often use a second tree or twigs. This year we decided that it would be fun to convert our fridge into a giant Jesse tree. Auntie Janice and Elizabeth had way too much fun colouring making the tree out of packing paper that we taped to the fridge.
I used magnet paper to print out our symbols. Elizabeth loves putting a new magnet on the fridge every day, and likes to tell people about the different stories. According to Elizabeth, the apple is about the lady who was very naughty, Noah's ark "rained and rained and washed the spider out", and Joseph has a "pitty dress".
Her favourite so far is probably "Dadda sheep". That's the ram that Abraham sacrified instead of Isaac. I don't think she understood the story very well (her Children's Bible left it out altogether so there were no pictures) but she tells us about the picture at least once a day.
Can you believe that Elizabeth and Teddy almost don't fit side by side on the chair anymore???
Pretty soon we'll be starting to count age in years instead of months!
Elizabeth has started to string words together into sentences. When you ask her about her day, she'll tell you a story all about it. Mom and Dad can usually even figure out what she's talking about (no more "five minute memory", as Auntie Janice would say). She follows instructions pretty well - even if you give her more than one at a time. She still loves to copy the grownups, so if you want her to do something that she isn't excited about, it helps if you do it first.
She loves making telephone calls and frequently asks to call various loved ones, especially Grandma and Grandpa. She'll badger Mom for half an hour, but once we get someone on the phone she doesn't always talk. She'll sit holding the phone giggling quietly to herself. Inevitably she'll start talking as soon as we hang up!
She sings a lot, but stops right away if she feels pressure to perform. We've taken a LOT of video footage of her staring accusingly at the camera and Mommy saying "Busted".
Naptime is shorter and less frequent so we practice "sitting time" to give Mom and Dad a chance to go over work together. She's getting quite good at sitting and amusing herself. If she has a blanket to play with she'll play peek-a-boo with her dolls.
Auntie Janice thinks Elizabeth is "abnormally self-restrained" and while I don't know about that it is true that she usually shows a great deal of self control. Our Christmas tree is up with presents wrapped and waiting. Elizabeth knows she isn't allowed to touch it, and so far she hasn't. She's much less well-behaved about Mommy and Daddy's computer keyboards though...
Like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead, when she decides to be naughty, she can be very naughty. Scratching and digging her fingers into people are particular challenges at the moment. I guess we're approaching two!
She is becoming more and more independant. She likes to do things "self". Walking down the stairs, dressing and undressing, stamping her "passport" at the museum. She's also getting the hang of using the toilet like a big girl (and all by herself!) We still mostly use diapers but she does have a pair of cloth "training panties" which we use too. She gets a 'ticker if she poos in the toilet. She loves stickers, so this has been a very successful incentive.
She knows when she's hungry "nack pees" (snack please) and when she's tired. She's obviously her father's child since she requests her nap. When Mommy is around this is sometimes amended to "nap and nurse please". She only has a single nap these days, usually about 1:30 or 2 in the afternoon. Bedtime is about 7:30pm. Then she sleeps until 8:30 in the morning. She's a restless sleeper and quite often ends up on the floor, but quickly goes back to sleep when placed back on the mattress. (She has a thermarest in our office across the hall from the bedroom). We usually take her to the washroom or change her diaper when we go to bed, and again around 5:30 am. Then we nurse and co-sleep until it's time to get up, mostly because Mom gets more sleep that way.
Daddy was fast asleep in this morning so Elizabeth came with us to Come Sing Messiah rehearsal. She sat very nicely during most of it - apparently our "sitting practice" is starting to pay off as she will sit and play by herself for nearly half an hour at a stretch. The only problem is that she doesn't always play quietly! I should have brought a snack along because she got hungry, but a short nursing session and a cookie at the break were enough to placate her at least for a little while. Looking at animal pictures on my iPhone kept her busy for a very long time too.
After rehearsal, Uncle Dave and Auntie Karen came for roast beast (chicken). I put Elizabeth down for a nap and then Auntie Janice, Auntie Karen and I headed out into the chill for a girls-only adventure downtown. We'd originally hoped to drag Auntie Yukiko along with us but she's a pretty busy girl these days and had a choir rehearsal of her own that she couldn't miss. Next time...
Auntie Janice had nixed the idea of girly time at the spa but all were interested in my suggestion that we try an urban quest. An urban quest gives you a series of clues that you have to solve in order to locate your destination. We did the Coffee Quest, which ends up at a coffee shop. Our quest had a time limit of two hours, and we had no trouble completing the quest in that time even though some of the clues required us to clamber around a number of "danger - do not walk" signs. There was some ice chipping required too. Janice pointed out that this was not strictly necessary since the second clue gave us enough information to completely bypass the first clue, but I insisted that we follow the directions and she admitted that the ice chipping was pretty fun. We even contemplated going to McDonald's for some hot water but decided that would be overkill!
The clues were very straightforward and we only got stuck once, trying to find out when the Rideau Canal was built. We thought about "cheating" by asking Google but after a bit of running around we eventually located the correct commemorative plaque. Of course we had walked right past it. Twice!
A few math problems later we found our location and got to relax over peppermint hot chocolates.
Maria has had a bad case of hives (as a result of something she ate?) for about a week, so Auntie Yukiko took her to the doctor and was directed to CHEO.
I was feeling a bit better and Elizabeth was starting to climb walls, so we had just decided it would be a good idea to get out of the house when we heard this. Sitting at home waiting for your sister to come back from the hospital is never fun, so we asked Erika if she would like to come to the museum with us. "I would be delighted to", she replied.
So we picked up Erika and Grandpa and headed to the Science and Tech museum, only to be reminded that it is closed on Mondays during the winter. Oops! Luckily we knew the Aviation museum was open so we went there instead. The girls were thrilled to see Auntie Janice, who obligingly opened a number of different planes for the girls to "drive". Janice explained how jet engines worked by squeezing Erika "too tight" until she wanted to get away really fast :)