We didn't do too well this week with opening the Advent calendar in a timely manner, nor in completing the activities, but we did get some done...
Day fifteen, Sunday, December 14th
Lighting the third Advent candle:
Days sixteen and seventeen, Monday, December 15th, and Tuesday, December 16th
This week was rather busy, to put it mildly. I lost count of just how many Christmas parties there were, what with drama classes, Discoveries, Tots, Youth, birthdays, and Nativities. We just plain forgot to open the calendar on Monday, and on Tuesday, Marie confessed that she hadn't even made the clue for it yet, but that it went rather well with Tuesday's anyway, so she went off and made a clue to cover both days, which Jacob, in one of his rare appearances at home, opened:
Everyone figured this one out easily: go for a walk (Monday's) and eat ice cream (Tuesday's).
I had a lot of trouble trying to get photos on the way there, because I kept going ahead, but when I turned around, everyone came running towards me. Here's one I got of everyone except Elisabeth, even Louisa, down at the beach at Finikoudes. Those mounds are seaweed, which has been raked together and we only see in the winter. I don't know if that's because seaweed doesn't come up the rest of the year, or if the city disposes of it more promptly when there are more tourists.
All the children in one photo!!
Katie and Elisabeth used their ice cream as microphones on the outdoor stage:
Jacob is popular with the girls:
All eight of us together, and Louisa there too, we thought this might be a good opportunity to get a family photo. Our most recent decent one was taken in summer 2013, and is still our most recent decent one. Here are a couple of the least bad attempts at a new one:
I like this photo of Lukas and Jacob:
On the way home, we decided to have a look at the Christmas trees at the forestry department, since nobody was very happy with the branch we'd sort of planned to use. Everyone wanted a different tree:
There's not even a photo here of the TWO trees we eventually took! While everyone was standing around holding up a different tree, the man there came over to me carrying a tree and pointed to the one I was holding up and said that because it was so small, we could have another one, free. I would have been happier trying to negotiate the normal price of 8 Euros for one tree down to 4 Euros for such a little tree, but since the rest of the family stopped arguing and agreed to take two small trees, that's what we did. There's another photo later on...
The rest of the walk home was fun, too:
By the time the clue got hung up, it had gotten rather grubby, but at least that makes it more visible in the photo!
Day nineteen, Thursday, December 18th
Our names were all put in a hat and everyone drew one out, with the idea of secretly doing something nice for that person by the end of the day.
Day twenty, Friday, December 19th
A little branch with yarn on it was correctly interpreted as that we should decorate the Christmas tree:
However...we hadn't even figured out a way to stand up the Christmas tree (or trees), and didn't get around to doing that until the next day, and we haven't gotten around to decorating it, either. The fact that some of the paper chains have been falling down and somebody has stretched them over to the tree had me try to declare that the tree IS already decorated...
It looks fine to me, but I'm the only one who thinks so. Since the branches won't hold candles, I don't really care what we do with it.
Day twenty-one, Saturday, December 20th
Just for this one day, I'll list what we (or I, anyway), did, as an example of what the whole week was like.
First, I got back from my walk in time to have a COLD shower (I'd forgotten to turn on the hot water heater before I left, and only got home 20 minutes before I needed to leave again), then Marie and I went to the monthly ladies' breakfast, which I've gone to three or four times in the last couple of years.
It ran longer than usual, so I had Marie text Jörn to tell Lukas to walk to MTB Bible study (MTB stands for More Than Bacon, and is the Larnaka Community Church youth ministry, which was originally just breakfast, and now has various things), since I wasn't going to be home in time to pick him up. We left the breakfast early so I could drop Marie off at Bible study not TOO late. (As it turned out, the person with the keys was late, so half a dozen people or so, including Lukas, were waiting outside.)
Once I was home, we looked for library books and the three little girls and I went to the library, dropping Jörn off to pick up our other car, which we'd lent to someone on Friday.
After the library I did some laundry, then rode my bicycle to meet Lukas at a friend's house, where we took their two dogs for a half hour walk.
We got home just in time for lunch, then after lunch Marie whispered the Advent calendar clue to Helen, who announced it to the family: tell a round-robin story. There wasn't time then, though, as Marie and I left immediately to spend an hour and a half working on a project that will be revealed on the 25th.
Leaving there, I called Jörn to ask him to have Helen and Elisabeth get their shoes on and get in the car, so that I could just switch from one car to the other and leave immediately for The Polar Express. I took lots of photos of that, but here's my favorite one, from after it was actually over:
At dinner, we remembered that we were going to do a story, so we did do several of them, but without Marie there (she'd gone to a birthday party), it wasn't much fun. People (and chickens and halloumi and pretty much anything else at all that was mentioned) kept getting killed off and eaten, ending stories after a round or less. We then switched to Chinese whispers (or "grapevine" or "telephone" or "operator" or whatever the politically correct term should be...), which led to a lot of hilarity, which was okay, but when they started on "I Spy", I decided that it was an excellent time to do laundry.
And that concludes the third week of Advent in our house...