Friday, November 30, 2012

7 Quick Takes: Monkeying with Advent

1.  As I mentioned last week, I am giddy for Advent.   I enjoy saving Christmas for the season beginning December 25th, and preparing our hearts and homes in the meantime.  There are crafts, activities and feast days to fill our four week wait in this domestic church; all of it builds my longing for Christ.  Our tree does not go up until Gaudete Sunday; Christmas music typically fills our speakers that day, and not so much beforehand.  In the meantime, I am such a geek that I've created an Advent-appropriate playlist on iTunes to get us merrily and mindfully through until then.  (The selected songs are akin to not singing "alleluia" in Lent.)

Before anyone slaps a gold star of liturgical orthodoxy on my forehead, I must publicly confess: I've failed to wait this time around.  My moment of weakness arrived last Friday;  our left over turkey was already in the freezer, and December 2nd was just too far out.  As my FB friends talked lights, shopping and Christmas carols, I'll admit it: I despaired.  I lost control.

I was jones-ing for my Advent hymns, and all things purple.

I plunged into Advent nearly two weeks early... even as I knew the Church Herself still observed Ordinary Time.  Mea culpa!

What guilty pleasure did I have to indulge in ahead of time?

Here it is: The Monkees' Riu Chiu. Play this now, or wait for Sunday... but be awed.

2.  I love this tune (totally an Advent hymn), this band (yes: band! I'm controversial like that) and this season so much, I may have to dedicate an entire blog post to this topic.  Consider this a preview.

3.  Speaking of preparing for Christmas: how do I untangle unbridled materialism from our celebration?  I am striving to impart more "Let's give," and "Let's do," and less "I want," but this doesn't seem to jive with how we've been doing things.  My girls already have lists of pined-for "My Little Pony" characters, and my son's wish list includes such reach-for-the-stars items as a battery-powered jeep to ride around in...  Ugh.   Even if I moderate their desires (and admittedly, my temptation to give them the world on a platter, too) I still end up spending more money on toys that get broken or not used in very short spans of time.  This does not promote stewardship of either finances or the environment.   It also takes the focus off the birth of Christ and puts it squarely on Toys R Us.

Perhaps Sunday will begin a moratorium on phrases beginning, "I want..."

4.  We need paring down.  I need paring down.  One blessing of the tiredness resulting from this pregnancy is that it has brought me to clearly see and admit what I'd been denying before:  this family has too many activities.  We have been sucked into the vortex of what now passes for American Family Life, namely: thrust each kid into an extracurricular activity, plus a club, plus another club, and then stretch yourselves so thin in the name of socialization (you know, that thing we homeschoolers lack so much of)  that you snap, and end up barking/braying/losing your composure with your brood every other hour, in the search for missing socks, unmatched gloves, hats, dance shoes, piano books and whatnot...

Yes.  We are out of the house at an activity nearly every afternoon of the week.  While that may sound great to some of you, in truth, it is a strain on me, and often on them.  Once I've finished the duty of imparting knowledge to three blossoming minds,  I am spent.  Emotionally, and now that I'm pregnant, physically spent.  Plus, with all of these organized activities, I find there is no time for the impromptu play date with friends.  Our house is always a shambles, because I constantly have to leave on a dime to get someplace on time, and there is no time (or energy!) to put it back together.   I need to stop the insanity.

My question to weigh is this: do I finish out the year, teaching the kids to honor their commitments, or do I pull us out now...  How would that impact the kids?  How will I feel if we "quit" midway through something, especially with non-refundable money laid out?  Am I quitting, or am I ceasing to act crazy?  These are thoughts to ponder.

5.  One of my husband's Amazon Prime picks this week was so incredible, I have to share it.  I was dimly aware that Robin Wright had starred in a new film about the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, but I'd been sketchy on the details.  If you can stomach a Civil War period piece with neither zombies nor vampires, The Conspirator may be the movie for you:

6.  Yes.  Robin Wright is Buttercup.  My husband saw the whole movie without making that connection, but any degree of The Princess Bride in anything can only enhance its artistic value.

7.  Sigh.  I have been at this computer too far into this school day morning.  I must tear myself away to attend to the booklearnin' that these young, eager minds await.  First, some coffee... and one more round of Riu Chiu.

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  1. Delighted to see you made time for yourself to finish this and also sharing in the thoughts about "I wants" and limiting clubs, activities... Enjoy Advent!

  2. I am also guilty as charged, started listening to Advent tunes yesterday evening!!!! (I did wait until after Christ the King, though) :) Slowly Advent is creeping in to our house...but I'm holding off on the Jesse Tree and Wreath until Sunday!I have been singing 'O come Divine Messiah all morning' though!

    I will pray that as Advent progresses and Christmas draws near you are able to make tiny steps towards less of the is a clash we seem to be having with family members near and far over this last week and I am not sure how to set limits as of right now.

    Happy Advent (almost)! Thanks for the thoughts and tunes!

  3. I am so sharing that Monkees video on Facebook (a bit later in Advent, though....)

  4. That's an awesome tune. Not one I've ever heard before. I don't know if it counts as Advent music but I love Bach's Tonet Ihr Pauken and have to make myself ONLY listen to it in December or I'd be Christmassy all year round.

    I heard of a really good Christmas present thing (not sure where from now - another blog anyways) where the family get their kids three presents each to represent the presents brought for Jesus. Gold is something fun, frankincense is something for the mind and myrrh is something for the body. And that's it, cos no-one gets more gifts than Baby Jesus. I might do that when I have children.

    And make sure YOU are ok - your children will get no good from you dragging yourself through stuff for their benefit if you're a wreck at the end of it. Look after yourself and they'll get more quality even if the quantity is less :)