Creativity Navitity, Christmas Cards, & Advent

Our Christmas prep and Advent celebration are in full swing!

Annelise set up our "creativity" (she calls our nativity a "creativity" - how can you correct THAT?! :-D)
Apparently, we're all supposed to hush... I get that - I didn't want anyone asking me questions when I was 9 months pg, either. ;-) Enjoy the peace, Mary...

Here's the 2nd night of Advent last night:
using our Advent calendar from Trader Joe's. 1) Trader Joe's is my favorite grocery of all time. 2) This sucker was 99¢. 3) I talked the kids into SHARING THIS ONE!!! :-D Why risk the chance of a brawl over a 1" square of chocolate when another would just be 99¢ more? I'm slightly nuts, and also, they really need practice with sharing and taking turns. This is a low-stakes piece of candy with big meaning; I know they can pull this off. ;-) They've already decided Will gets odd days, Sis gets even. [And yes, the left-out kid gets a piece of their Halloween candy instead. (So. Much. Left. Thank goodness we've got gingerbread houses coming up on Wednesday! That's my FAVE way to get rid of Halloween candy!)]

Finally, as of this morning, our Christmas cards are IN THE MAIL!!! I'm not going to post it here until closer to Christmas, but let me just offer two words: red chevron. (You could also use "dizzyingly busy" but I don't care. ;-)) Every year I stamp our Christmas cards with the Madonna & Child stamp, but this year, I made a change... *GASP!* ;-) Don't worry - I didn't go all cartoon Frosty the Snowman. :-P I went with the new Holy Family stamp:

I'm a week later than I wanted to be; I wanted to be the very first, b/c we have a new address, and I just think it makes it easier on people when you remind them of that early in the card season. We've actually had a new address every year since 2008. If I'm being honest, I hate that the standard joke is "new Christmas card for the Blakes, new address." We will have this same address next year, and then the year after that, hopefully we'll have another address close to this one that will be ours for at least a DECADE - at least through Annelise's high school! I kid you not - just the thought of that gives me uncontrollable butterflies of joy in my tummy. I *cannot wait* to invest in a monogrammed address 2014. :-D