In looking back at the week, I realized I hadn't taken any photos or documented any of our little projects. I decided to plug in the camera memory card to see if there were any pictures I had forgotten on there. The answer to that would be, no, there were no pictures I had forgotten and left on there. However, my husband and daughter apparently had a jam session while I was away.
We do give her a lot of lee-way in choosing her outfits. If it's cold, your arms and legs should be covered (although she has "hot feet" and will fight you on the socks, as you can see from the pictures). If it's church, the clothes must be nice (which doesn't prevent them from being layered strangely, just no play clothes allowed). There are parameters, and Little Bean tends to find the strangest of looks within those parameters. I will admit, if we're going somewhere I'm not up to taking her fashion-forward appearance, I do pick out the clothes....but for the most part, she's at liberty to "create an outfit" as she says.
Most people get a kick out of her outfits, and I've gotten so used to her choices that I don't cringe anymore when I leave the house with her. Although, when she wore the Halloween cape outside her winter coat to go into my work to go shopping, I did shake my head a little :)
The weird clothing all comes down to a fundamental principle of our parenting. There should be limits and guidelines to help make decisions (weather requirements, church requirements for clothing), but within those parameters, Little Bean needs to start making choices and decisions. She needs to build up her ability to operate creatively and successfully inside guidelines, and to make choices and see their consequences directly (ie, I am the only one wearing a cape to the department store). She's not embarrassed by her choices and likes her outfits, so I think it's also teaching her about individuality and reasonable self-expression. She injures no one, follows the guidelines and finds a place where she can be uniquely herself. All good lessons to learn. That being said, if you see a red ponytail sticking out a baseball cap and a crazily dressed child, I might be somewhere with Little Bean :)
Our Advent is going well. In some ways I feel like we're keeping on pace and focusing on the true meaning of Christmas, but in others I feel like I'm dropping the ball a bit. For example I CANNOT find the tea light holders that we painted pink and purple last year as our Advent wreath. However, Little Bean and I are getting some quality Christmas/Advent lessons in. We've started a lesson each day for Advent. For those of you that haven't started, there's a great website called Holy Heroes - if you haven't found something to do with the kids yet for Advent, I highly recommend checking out this site. Little Bean loves the daily videos, especially the Jesse Tree story one, since the kids act some scenes out in costume! We're also working on ornaments, using the ideas from Catholic Culture. (This guide mostly lines up with the Holy Heroes daily emails/videos, except Holy Heroes takes Sundays off, so you have to do an extra ornament sometime during the week.) It's my goal for the week to get a green fleece tree cut out of the extra fabric in the attic so we can hang all the ornaments we've gotten done.....finishing by the 24th counts, right? :)
Through it all though, we're keeping it pretty low key. I'm not going to tear the attic to pieces looking for the Advent wreath (although I will do a better job Spring cleaning and organizing so it isn't lost next year!). I'm not going to shop every spare minute I have (nearly every present we plan to purchase is already purchased and about half are already wrapped and under the tree! - Santa still has a bit of wrapping, but nothing too serious). I will spend time talking about the meaning of Christmas and the season of Advent with Little Bean and I will enjoy the beautiful tree we decorated as a family and placing the baby Jesus in our stunning Bethlehem wood nativity scene on Christmas morning. I will make heartfelt gifts to show my appreciation for others, but not so many that I'm a wreck the week before Christmas. Finally, I will enjoy seeing Christmas through my daughter's eyes. Waking up on the Feast of St. Nicholas to her shouts of "St. Nicholas CAME!!!!" was worth the few minutes it took to line up shoes and fill them with goodies. This is going to be a wonderful Christmas because even with working through the holidays, I will make the small things count and focus on the big picture.
Praying that you all have a blessed and peaceful Advent :)