One of the things I most enjoyed during the month of December as a child was our Advent calendar. It was simple, made of fabric and felt, and had a little mouse that we moved every day. While I don't have the calendar (I think my sister actually does), I wanted to re-create that for Joey. We did a short 12 day devotional for Thanksgiving, and he really loved "doing numbers" each day. I found this calendar at Dillard's,
(Joey takes the ornaments out of the pockets, and points to where he wants them to hang on the tree)
and we read a short Bible passage each day.
For our Christmas card, we bought a Christmas outfit for our Harper bear at Build-a-Bear, and took her picture and Joey's picture, and tried to get one of them together. One of the decisions we had to make was how to sign the card. Do we sign everyone's name individually? If so, do we include Harper? I hate having to make these decisions. In the end, we signed it, "The Cottrell Family" and left it at that.
Harper bear in my childhood rocking chair.
How I wish this was him hugging his 4 month old sister, and not a bear.
My sister made ornaments for both kids, and I love them! My sweet friend also bought a special butterfly ornament for Harper.
I'm sure we will add more things as time goes on.
One of the other things I agonized over was decorations for the cemetery. I hate going to the cemetery. Before today, I had only been twice. Once to see her marker, and once to put decorations up. I was at Hobby Lobby earlier this week, and thought maybe I should try and find something for her. I spent way too long wandering around, but I found some flowers and a wreath and a bow. We went to put them out this morning, and am so glad I decided to do it. It is a beautiful, sunny day, and you can see her grave when you drive up. We were pleasantly surprised that all of her things from the summer were still there and looked great. We replaced the summer-y flowers and moved her angel and wind chimes to make room for the wreath. Joey ran right up to her grave. He knew exactly which one it was, which makes me both happy and sad.
Joey is playing with her wind chimes, and couldn't be bothered with looking up! The bow is actually purple, but looks kind of blue in the picture.
Christmas eve will be 6 months since her body and mine were separated. This Sunday will be 6 months since she went to heaven. We are planning to do a Happy Birthday Jesus and Harper cake on Christmas eve. I am glad that my parents will be here with us, but missing my sister and my nieces in New York terribly. It's just not the same without all of us together.