Winter Fun

I grew up in western North Carolina. In the winter, ice storms were fairly frequent in our part of the foothills of the Appalachians. An inch of snow, though – for kids, that was like a dusting of pure gold.

Here in Northeastern Ohio, my kids have never known a winter without snow. FEET and FEET of snow. PILES of it. Crazy drifts and swirling clouds and frozen mountains of snow.

And they love it.

They were disappointed when we didn’t have a white Christmas, but now they are making up for it. My role is to help them locate snow gloves, scarves, hats, mittens, boots, earmuffs, snow pants (something I didn’t even know existed until I became a “northern parent”), and their giant poofy coats. Then I help put ON all of the aforementioned equipment. This activity does allow me frequent opportunity to use one of my favorite jokes:

“Mom, will you put on my coat?”
“Nope, sorry, it’s way too small for me.”
“Mo-ooooom!”

As you can imagine, all of this locating and snapping and zipping and shoving and pulling takes quite a while when multiplied by four kids. Most parents know about the maddening “inside-the-glove-search-for-finger-holes” so common with 3, 4, and 5-year-olds. It’s driven me nuts for years now. “Just stick your fingers in the holes! You have 5 fingers, there are 5 holes in there! I promise! Hold them straight! Stop bending! Arrrgh! This is why they created mittens!”

Once they’re trussed up like Ralphie’s brother Randy from A Christmas Story, (“I can’t put my arms down!”) they head out into the cold and (usually) gray day.

They slide around on the ice and stomp it with their boots, breaking it into thousands of glassy shards. They tromp back to the pond in our backyard and ice skate in their snow boots. The girls pull each other by the hand and sling-shot their their giggling little brother across the ice.

They hunt for deer and raccoon and rabbit tracks. They spy on squirrels and the birds that visit our church-shaped bird feeder. They hang up pinecone feeders that they made with stale cereal.

From the garage attic, they haul out their sleds. Since our yard is flat, they have to make do with the big pile of snow the plow left on the side of our driveway. They take turns climbing up the 5-foot pile of snow and zooming down it. Last week as I watched them, I eventually took pity. We packed up and headed over to the city’s Sledding Hill – I love the fact that our city has a designated hill JUST for sledding.

We were the only people there. They trudged up the giant hill, towing their sleds behind them. 10-year-old Sadie held her little brother’s hand and matched her steps to his while Josie (9) and Adelaide (6) raced each other to the top. 4-year-old Jed was super excited to test out the penguin sled he got for Christmas, even though he’d never been sledding (without a grownup on the sled) before.

I kept watch and yelled some safety reminders. The first time down, Sadie held her brother in front of her and they went down together. I love how she takes care of him and the look of determination and exhilaration on her little face. Josie went down next. She zoomed straight down, flipped over face down at the bottom, and jumped up and shouted “Woohoo!” Adelaide, not to be outdone, raced down the hill – a blur of purple in her one-piece zip-up snowsuit. She hit a bump and even got a little bit of air.

Then I saw Jed at the top of the slope, and before I knew it, he jumped on his penguin and started down all by himself. He zoomed down, arms straight out in front of him like Superman. He screamed a bloodcurdling scream the entire way down:

“AAAAAAAAaaaaaaahhhhhhh!” I expected him to burst into tears as soon as his sled stopped, so I took off running across the snow-covered field. Instead, he jumped up and hollered, “Hey, dat was so awesome!” then he grabbed his penguin and headed back up.

On the way home, I heard these post-sledding remarks from my wet, cold children:

Jed: “I am speed.”

Josie: “I love sledding and we are Americans and I love the USA!”

Sadie: “Mom, I refuse to wear a helmet. You’re the only mother in the world who would even think of that.”

Adelaide: “I think I have frostbite on my right foot. And you know that the right foot is the most popular foot.”

Yep, my kids love winter (well, except for that whole right foot thing).

This hill is a little better than the driveway.

This hill is a little better than the driveway.

And since in Ohio winter lasts for 6 months, I guess it’s a good thing they do.

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Funnies vs. The Never-ending Winter

To battle my “woe-is-me-ness” brought about by The Never-ending Winter, this week I’ve compiled some of the funny (and random) things my children have said recently. It’s a good thing they’re here to lighten my mood.

 

Sadie to her sister Josie, after watching her eat a burrito: “You disgust me.”

 

Josie at the pet store: “I think I want a chinchilla. Or one of those hot dogs.”

 

Jed: “If I had a baby goat, I would name him Weasel.”

 

Adelaide at the Mexican restaurant: “Oh, I’m not doing anything. Just puttin’ cheese dip upon my beans.”

 

Jed, after giving his dad a Rice Krispy treat: “Here Dad, I didn’t even lick it.”

 

Adelaide: “My legs are going to eat you. They are very hungry.”

 

Sadie, after seeing a Christmas tree still up in March: “Wow! Look at that! Those people must really love God!”

 

Sadie, smelling a stink while we were on the road: “Hey! No poopages allowed in this car!” Jed: “Oh yes there is! Adelaide and Josie!”

 

Jed: “I just not like potatoes very far.”

 

Adelaide on St. Patrick’s Day, after hearing something rummaging through our trash can: “Maybe it’s a leprecoon.”

 

Aunt Sharon, coughing: “I have something in my throat!” Jed: “Is it a bug?”

 

Adelaide: “Jed got a blue race car that goes by itself! It’s a commode control!”  

 

Sadie, confusing her love of jewelry with her love of Christmas songs: “Over the hills we go, laughing all the way… bells on cocktail rings…”

 

Adelaide: “I have a surprise for you!” Josie: “Maybe it’s another me!” Sadie: “That’s one thing I don’t want!” Jed, out of the blue: “Maybe it a penis!”

 

Jed: “Mommy, I grow up?” Me: “Yep, you’re a little boy but you will grow into a man, like Dad.

Do you want to be like Dad when you grow up? Or Papaw, or Grandpa, or Pop-Pop?” Jed: “Nope. I want to be like Jed.”

 

Me: “Sadie, what are you eating? Candy?” Sadie, dramatically: “It’s not just chocolate, Mother – it’s Turkish Delight!”

 

After singing the Oscar Meyer Weiner song, Adelaide ended with the refrain: “Everyone would be in love with me!” Jed: “No! Not wif you, Adelaide!”

 

Josie, after I told her I would pay her to rub my sore shoulder: “Well, it only costs a quarter. That’s a pretty good deal. Yeah, I used to sell hearts for a living, red ones that I cut out of paper. But that didn’t turn out so well. I sold one to you, one to Dad, one to Grandpa, and one to Aunt Lydia. I made a dollar, but you can’t live forever on a dollar. I guess I should probably move on to the next thing.” 

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Has anyone seen Spring?

We Have Seen It! It’s Coming!

Today it was over 40 degrees.

Now, 40 degrees really isn’t that warm, but when you compare it to the single digits we are used to having, it’s virtually a heat wave!

Like most of the country, we are suffering from a common ailment called “Sick Of Snow-itis.”

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What’s that I see?

My kids (minus Josie, who was busy at a Special Grammie Sleepover) and I were so excited to see the blue sky and the sun that we went outside with no coats and no hats and tried to drink in the Vitamin D through our bare arms and heads.

Then one of my children (I won’t name names) thought it would be a good idea to take off her boots and walk around on the sun-warmed pavement in her socks. I informed her that no, it was not a good idea.

Since no one in Northeast Ohio is ever really sure about the weather (Lake Erie turns Mother Nature into a highly unpredictable, crazed lunatic), you have to take advantage of the sun whenever you can. So we went to the park.

In the snow.

Well, some of it was melted.

What can I say? We were desperate.

We headed for the playground. It was wet and mushy, but we didn’t care. It wasn’t covered in two feet of snow, and that was a vast improvement. Adelaide scrambled up the top and yelled, “I am King of the Mountain! Well, actually, I am QUEEN of the PLAYGROUND!”

Jed stomped in snow. He stomped in puddles. He stomped in mud. He stomped in dog poop (my least favorite park-related hazard).  

Sadie spotted a turkey vulture in the sky (she’s been learning to identify birds by their airborne silhouettes) and she and Jed watched a falcon as it was hunting in the woods nearby. It was “BIG and PWETTY” according to Jed. He was very impressed.

Adelaide tracked a chipmunk to his little hidey-hole on the forest floor. She chased him down into his tunnel and we saw his “door” made out of bark.

We saw what appeared to be “wolf scratches” on a giant stump. We counted squirrels. We listened to the birds chirping from high up in the trees. We discovered some really cool leafy “ice fossils” that were formed when dead leaves sank down into the melting snow. Adelaide swung herself on the big swings (with no pushes from me!)

Yes, our little outing may have ended on a bad note involving a certain potty-trainee and some no-longer-usable Superman underwear, but we have seen the sun.

THE SUN.

It’s coming, people! And we just can’t wait.