We've been busy around here for Advent. Rob had three musical numbers at church. Maddie had a ballroom concert and two choir concerts. We had ward friends over for soup and cookie decorating. We attended the Adventsingen of the German department (held this year in the DeJong concert hall in the absence of the Provo Tabernacle). Maddie and Rob dressed up in their TrachtenMode again for the ward Christmas breakfast and Maddie found to her dismay that her dirndl was not even close to fitting. I did a quick and dirty alteration (my mother is never allowed to see it), but in the end she wore a very pretty one borrowed from the Isaaks. Sebastian had a Christmas program too, and they sang all of those chinese classics like We Wish You A Merry Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and
Fa-ra-ra-ra-rah I mean Silent Night.
In addition, just before Thanksgiving Grandpa was hired up in Salt Lake by one of his favorite clients. This has meant that we're all getting spoiled by him at restaurants near and far (and exotic grocery trips full of junque food). He has also donated his time and talents to fixing things around our house, and there are a lot of them. He decluttered my hard drive so that it quit giving me dire warnings, fixed this shower door, a toilet seat and two doorknobs and gave us sage advice on varied and sundry car issues. Invaluable.
St. Niklaus came on December 6th with peppermint lotion and Ritter Sport chocolate and hats. I know there are more winsome and twinkling pictures of Niklaus celebrations elsewhere, but around here we are just happy that no one has any foot fungus in their shoes.
We ate traditional Leyden cookies which were packed up specially for Utah. It has to take hundreds of hours to make these. Each tin has dozens of cookies of different kinds, and each cookie is very work intensive -- I've tried to recreate two and they take time!
Grandma taught Maddie how to bead the traditional Shumway family stockings and she was great at it! She finished the a large portion of the bow on that candy cane.
I got Grandpa to help me assemble a new toy kitchen for the nursery at church. It was well-crafted but time consuming to put together. This picture shows one of Grandpa's tips: he uses a muffin tin to keep track of all the little nuts, bolts, screws and thingamagidgets that come with a job like this.
The grandparents also stayed with the boys on Sunday morning so that we could go to the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas concert with Nathan Gunn and Jane Seymour with Maddie. Will was going to come too, but he was sick in the night. So just the three of us went and had a good time and actually smooth going for once. Nathan Gunn's voice was magnificent and Maddie fell in love with Jane Seymour.
Tuesday night Rob and I went back up to SLC with the Buskirks to attend the carol service at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. I've fallen completely for this event. The choir is accomplished [and cute!] the music is beautiful and it is so Christmasy with the congregation standing and joining in. After all of this, I was still wishing it was one more week until Christmas, but we were all ready. Then on the 22nd, our friends came from out of town and we all [all!] stayed up until midnight. It was so good to see them! I think I should get credit for New Years though, and I'll go to bed at 9:30pm on the 31st.