It’s snowing, it’s blowing

My neighbor’s grandson told her he’s been thinking a lot lately about when she would let him zoom matchbox cars through flour pretending it was snow. That’s certainly what driving around here has felt like a lot recently. I also thought that was a brilliant  entertainment idea!

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Snowstorm City! He even took my sifter and started making it snow on top of the vehicles

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With so much indoor time, Joe and I started a puzzle.

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Last week Charlie had another snow day, but the temperatures were great, so we entertained ourselves outside for nearly two hours.

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Charlie had a project going that I never did figure out, but he worked very hard on it. Henry mostly had his head in the sandbox. Literally

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They also helped me with the shoveling. Before:

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After!

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Joe surprised us all on Valentine’s Day with new books! He found a pirate activity book for Henry that has book in-the-book activities and suggestions for real pirate play. He dug all of it

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This weekend, my parents came to town for what they thought would be a quick weekend trip. We had a great walk to lunch/sledding on Saturday followed by a good long time of playing in the snow when we got home.

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Grandpa made a huge snow mountain that Henry and I tunneled a mine through. Charlie knocked down every icicle he could reach

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Diamond?

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Grandma realized the snow was actually packing, so we made this dude

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hehe!

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It was a weekend full of fun and sillies

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Unfortunately for them, Interstate 35 was closed on Sunday because of massive snow drifts. The National Guard had to go and rescue everyone on the highway and hotels were beyond packed. Luckily, they were stuck with us and not in Owatonna. The weather around here (besides low temperatures) was actually just fine.

Checking on the road status…again!

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They were able to leave this morning (Tuesday) and are currently on the road. So if you’re reading this on Tuesday, send safe and warm vibes their way!

 

 

Not gonna lie

I have been struggling. I’ve definitely hit an upswing, but the past few weeks have been really, really difficult. Because of very cold temperatures and excessive snow, my life has been either cooped up or trudging through heaps of snow with layers of scarf around my face. I am so grateful that a normal day for me does not require the use of a car, because the cars I see on the road seem to be struggling. The one day last week I needed to drive, I got stuck on ice and had to shamefully ask an elderly man to help me push my car off of the side of the road.

The boys have also had a LOT of cancelled school days. I love them, and I love spending time with them. But I’m used to a few hours a week to myself to go to yoga, do grocery shopping, or read without being asked for constant affirmations. “Yes, that Lego creation is really cool.” “Yes, Chernobyl was terrible.” “Yes, we are bears hiding in a cave.”

That combined with my inability to see friends (because of road conditions), my mental health suffered. In order to make it through, I took photos of some of the things that made me feel good.

Henry (in the blue jacket) playing with his friends at preschool on a day when he actually had school.

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A re-up on groceries! It feels good to know that at least you have the food supplies you need, especially when they are neatly jarred and labeled.

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Henry and I can walk to his school, meaning I do not need a car for routine life. Recently, either sledding or going on foot have been his options for transportation (he’s used to the stroller). He LOVES the sled. He fills it with snow to make a mold of his body underneath with a “snow blanket” on top of him.
This is his happy place.

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My Christmas poinsettia from Colleen is thriving! It brings a riot of colorful life to my daily setting. Henry brought the card home from school. I thought it might help me feel like we’re in celebration mode instead of survival mode. Sometimes it works!

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Charlie is in the middle of Jump Rope for Heart at school. Usually I kind of hate that time, but this year they included a log of daily activity. It means Charlie is motivated to use his physical body every day! It falls at a very convenient time, because shoveling is of the essence.

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The boys also have been utilizing the basement a lot. It’s the place they can jump, kick balls, and bounce all over the place. The other day, Charlie decided he wanted to try to fit into a box. Here’s what followed

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And when those super cold days, like ones where we’re getting warnings from WCCO that

“In such bitter cold, frostbite can set in on exposed skin in as quick as five minutes. As such, those who venture outside should be sure to bundle up and limit their time outside”

stack up day after day…sometimes what you need is to do the brave thing and venture outside anyway. We walked to Curran’s again this week for a delicious breakfast. It was wonderful.

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On a day that wasn’t “dangerously cold,” just like -10 degrees or so… we hit King Park for some sledding.

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Henry loved running behind Charlie, grabbing onto the sled and then “skiing” down behind him.

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Another hard thing for me has been Joe being unavailable for much of the past two weekends. This weekend he was ice-fishing with his sisters’ husbands and all of their dads. Luckily it was in town this year, and when Jim came to pick him up, he brought doughnuts!

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Sunday, for the first time in a long time, I finally got to see human beings I wasn’t related to (not counting preschool people). My friend, Em (she’s got a lovely blog at https://wordsbyemily.co/ ) taught a hand-lettering class inspired by the Valentinesy season of love. I got to gather with some wonderful people and make beautiful marks with all kinds of pens and markers. Here was my final product:

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The bus ride home over the Mississippi River was wonderful. It’s so great to have a transit system I can count on, especially on days that being in a car feels (to me) terrifying and not worth the risk.

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Snow. It’s the cause of such trouble, and it gets a bad rap, but it really does make things more beautiful. It’s natural glitter and it’s very pretty.

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My street. I do love my street.

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I love my life, and I know that I do. But, some times more than others, I need reminders of why.

 

Through

It was soooooooooooooo cold this week. When it’s negative-bajillion outside, sometimes the only thing to do is escape into your own little world and pretend you’re somewhere and someone else. Like a captain on a pirate ship.

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or a queen in her castle.

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Excellent though we are at being in our castle, after days of not leaving the house, braving -25 for a walk to a restaurant seems an acceptable alternative.

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Luckily, the people in our life seriously bring the warmth. Joe worked from home Wednesday so I could have some support and go do yoga. My neighbor, Donna, baked me this delicious cinnamon swirl bread.

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And on Thursday, while the delicious and warming soup Colleen made simmered on the stove, Jim let me sit as long as I wanted in the beautiful sauna he built in his backyard.

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Finally, Charlie and Henry made this week truly great. It could have been miserable to be cooped up at home for days and days with two small(ish) children. But they weren’t bothered by the weather at all, and just had a really fun time playing together. It was a joy and a pleasure to get to spend all week with them. (Plus most of last week. Whew!) So following that up with a weekend together while Joe’s away on a trip was not nearly so daunting as it could have been. Especially since today got up nearly to FORTY DEGREES!

The snow sculptures of the St Paul Winter Carnival seemed like a perfect start to our afternoon.

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Snow maze!

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I thought this one was wonderful! On one side it’s a little boy looking in the refrigerator for a snack, and on the other it’s over-grown foods being friends.

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Someone gave us their extra ticket to the giant snow slide (which was big and long, but not super photogenic), so we bought two more and waited in the long. long. long line. But the boys were totally champs waiting, and said it was  definitely worth it afterward.

We mosied around the fairgrounds for another good while and then hit Whole Foods. After shopping for our Barbadian dinner Charlie had planned, we weren’t quite ready for home. Macalester was mere blocks away, so I figured it for a perfect place to just wander around.

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Always is.

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Foucault’s pendulum is always a good reminder of how big the world is.

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They loved this rock where they could feel amethyst, hematite, quartz and marble

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Henry, of course, loved the dinosaurs the most

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We ended our wanderings, appropriately enough, on a big mountain of snow that they immediately decided was their castle. I’d left my boots in the car, and didn’t ascend, so I was sometimes the guard, sometimes the Castle Bunny, and sometimes the princess who was in charge of capturing approaching enemies.

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After cold, cold, cold, drinking out of a coconut feels like the most indulgent thing you could possibly do.

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Henry took the camera here, so the rest of these are a super-minimal sampling of what he captured.

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Dinner cooking

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Oh, hey!

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