Tuesday, February 5, 2013

us, outside

I love winter.  I've loved winter ever since I first moved to a place that had winter.  I had graduated from college, backpacked all summer, hummed and hawed about what-to-do-next, hung around long enough to take the GRE, then packed a set of skis, a stray cat, a few bags, and split to Wyoming.  I lived in my step-dad's rustic, remote cabin in the least populated county of the least populated state in the nation.  I learned to cross-country ski because the cabin was 5 miles from the nearest plowed road and the snowmobile was old and always broken.  I melted snow on a woodstove for dishes, showers and toilet flushes.  Sometimes, I'd pack a bag with nuts and dried fruit, a bivuac sack and a sleeping bag, slap on some snowshoes and return a couple of days later.  I loved winter.
I loved knitting beside a crackling fire, sipping whiskey-laced hot cocoa.  I loved reading with my feet propped fireside while blizzard winds rattled the windows.  I loved winter.  
And I've loved winter ever since, often judging a place by its snowpack.  Having Juniper changed things, but just a little.  A little less skiing, no overnights, very little ice-fishing.  But...I still loved winter.

Last year, though, oh my.  I tried to love winter, but I had this little 12 pound human strapped to my chest who hated sun, wind, snow, cold; plus a toddler who hated both her mittens and having cold hands--not to mention the struggle it was just to get a pair of pants on, let alone snow pants.  Last year, it was hard to see any green at the end of the tunnel.  Winter seemed like an impossible place for children.  Why are we doing this?  I'd bark at my husband, We should move to Hawaii.

One year later, things have changed.  The shift is huge.  Winter is this great, blank canvas.  Our yard, our neighborhood, our playgrounds, our lives, are transformed.  It's as though we live in two different places and we didn't even have to travel.  We have a house with a chimney!  We have mini-mountains in our backyard!  We have a bear den!  We have snow-girls!  We can make angels!  And ice-wreaths!  We have icicle lollipops!  Snowball fights!  We sled, we slide, we romp, we wallow!

And just like that, winter is this whole new thing I'm looking forward to sharing with my kids.  Skiing!  Snowshoeing!  Igloos!  Snow-caves!  Snow-angles!  Ice-candles!  Ice-carving!  Ice-skating!  "Painting" snow with food coloring in squirt bottles!  Oh my!  Playing outside today Juniper said, "We'd better go inside, it's getting too hot out here."  (Granted, for us it was hot--40 degrees.)  We just needed another year under our belts.  And while I *knew* that last year, I just couldn't see it.  Also, mittens that toddlers can't pull off themselves, don't fall off, and don't collect snow in the cuffs (I so remember that as a kid) really help.
These photos were taken over the last few weeks.  Some days, it was just below zero, other days, a balmy 30 degrees.  Us, outside:
^Juniper's "house" and getting ready to "slide down the chimney."^
^Making an ice-wreath.^
^A cold day.  Cold enough for bike tires to stick.^
^Post-ski sister love.  Lots of sister love going around these days.^
^Snow-girls get hugs too.^  
^Backyard campfires, roasting marshmallows in the snow.  Very popular.^


  1. oh I want to live where you live! I love winter too but in England we don't see much of the white stuff. When we do though its magical!

  2. It looks so gorgeously wintry there. I loved reading a bit about your life before kiddos. It's always so fun to get a glimpse of who someone was before becoming a parent. And the cold months definitely seem to be getting more fun now that the little ones are getting older. Their appreciation and love for a snow day is infectious. xo

  3. What a great, long sled run! We've got far too many trees here for that! We'll have to make one of those ice wreaths, what a great idea, thanks for sharing!

  4. Can we come visit? Winter isn't Winter here.

    You should do a blog post on your remote cabin living.

  5. That is the way winter is meant to be. The winters of my childhood. Where I live in Aus winters are wet, cold, and ummm, wet & cold. Miss that white stuff to play in. X


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