Friday, January 31, 2014

High Five for Friday (1.31.14)

1. "Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions." I must have repeated this phrase - in my head or quietly under my breath - 100 times this week. Doing so actually worked, at least more so than I expected, and helped me bring my stress level back down to a dull roar.

2. Remember the "snowman" (named Olaf, of course) Hallie built while on vacation in Nebraska?

She and I smiled when we saw this more-recent picture…proof that Hallie's Grandma and Grandpa have taken good care of Olaf in her absence.

3. I never tire of military reunion videos, especially those - like this one - that highlight a parent reuniting with a child. I can't imagine spending such a long period of time away from my children, and I extend my deepest thanks to those who leave their families behind to serve our country.

4. This boy makes me smile, even more so now that when he's happy, a gaping hole - where his front baby tooth used to live - smiles back at me.

5. And last but not least, this post, which provides readers with 23 perfectly accurate and perfectly hilarious examples of why women live longer than men, will surely provide you with a good laugh.

Happy Friday, friends!

Linking up with High Five for Friday here.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Currently: January 2014

Oops. It's been four months since I wrote a "Currently: A Month in the Life" post, so please bear with me as I ease back in...

To all things Sound of Music. I lit the match back in December when I let Hallie watch NBC's live presentation, and then I fueled the fire by adding the soundtrack to her Christmas list and the DVD to our movie library during an after-Christmas shopping trip. The CD now plays on repeat in my car, not so much because I adore the musical, but because both Will and Hallie have fallen head over heels for Maria, Friedrich, Marta, and the rest of the Von Trapp family. They especially love that the music includes parts written specifically for children, and have worked tirelessly (no really, they have - last Monday Will told me he planned to refrain from speaking for the remainder of the day because his jaw ached from singing "Do(e) a Deer" so many times) to learn these parts. As we drive along, I sing Maria's part, the kids sing the children's parts, and Tom puts his hands over his ears because we sound nothing like the Von Trapp Family Singers.

She only sings when the children sing and dances when the children dance. It's clear we have a little work to do if she's going to make it on Broadway, starting with clearing up her head cold and teaching her to correctly pronounce the letter "r".

Nothing of which I should be proud. It's a shame I didn't include "eat more bread and cheese" on my list of 2014 New Year's Resolutions, because if I had, I'd be knocking that resolution out of the park. I did resolve to eat cleaner, which I think I've done…if you overlook the Tillamook white cheddar and Texas Roadhouse rolls (damn you, Rock Prairie Elementary School fundraiser) that have regularly made their way onto my dinner plate.

Speaking of New Year's Resolutions, part of my commitment to eating cleaner involved baking my own bread. I bought a new-to-me bread machine at the beginning of the month and have used it three times - with positive results - thus far. Success, right? Nope. My bread may be cleaner, but I'm just eating more of it.

Less Blue Moon. While in Arkansas for Thanksgiving, my cousin and her boyfriend introduced Tom and me to Redd's Strawberry Ale. After helping them quickly finish off the six-pack they'd purchased earlier that day (and then apologizing and restocking their supply as soon as we ventured out of the dry county in which my grandma lives for a grocery store run), we added Redd's Strawberry and Apple Ales to our regular shopping list. I am and always will be a Blue Moon girl, but my taste buds have appreciated mixing things up a bit.

Super cute, right?
The most glorious camel-colored leather jacket, which I mentioned wanting in my "Currently: September" post. Now, thanks to my generous mom, I own one. The soft, supple leather and smooth liner feel luxurious, the color is gorgeous, and the cut is flattering, and I love that the jacket coordinates with nearly everything in my closet. And as it turns out, most of the time a leather jacket is all "winter weather" in Texas really calls for...

A little of this, a little of that. Settling back into our daily routine of school, work, extracurricular activities, and sports brought me a great deal of peace after our holiday travels. Then Tom's work schedule spun that peace on its head, because caring for the kids without even an occasional break leaves me mentally drained but emotionally charged. My heart hurts for two loved ones going through difficult times, but my spirit was lifted when another loved one's struggle all but resolved itself in the best possible way. It's the ups and down that make life worth living, right?

First half of the month: the best. The absolute best. After spending Christmas vacation "basking" in temperatures that made life more than 10 feet from the fireplace unbearable, returning home to a spring-like Texas January felt heavenly.

Second half of the month: the worst. And not because we tasted bitter cold (by Texas standards) and experienced a few rainy mornings. I won't go into it, but in a nutshell, I don't deal well with people who don't deal well with less-than-perfect weather. (I'm not trying to insult anyone here - I acknowledge that my issues are my issues.) I love rain and snow and clouds, but at this point I find myself wishing for sun just so I won't have to worry about whether or not my kids can go to school.

New sunglasses. I broke a pair on our Thanksgiving trip, and lost a pair - I expect they fell out of car door when we stopped at a rest area - on our Christmas trip, so I want to replenish my "stash" (and yes, I do keep a stash on hand - sunglasses are the only item I hoard). Will and I have the same size head though, so I suppose I could just borrow a pair of his…don't laugh if you see me sporting Batman sunglasses in the coming weeks.

Throw pillows. I also hoard throw pillows.

To get our broken window (into which Will threw a football) fixed, to combat the weeds taking over our grass and flower beds, and a date night with my husband. Tom and I tried to go out for three weekends in a row this month, but because of scheduling conflicts and babysitter unavailability we never made it beyond our living room couch. Then we tried to coordinate a lunch date, only to discover that the next day we both have free during the lunch hour falls in March. Dating is hard, y'all!

About how I can continue working at Starbucks but spend less money and consume fewer calories there. Ideas? Please share.

The return of new episodes of my favorite television shows, my used-but-new-to-me bread machine, and my new phone (which I happened to list under the "Needing" category back in September). Tom worked late A LOT in January, so I spent many evenings watching episodes of The Blacklist and Chicago Fire, munching on freshly baked applesauce bread, and familiarizing myself with the features of my newest technological device.

Whew! Making it through January's life summary feels like a pretty massive accomplishment, one I look forward to repeating throughout 2014!

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Baffling Bowl Season

Yes, I'm talking about football again. I have a sickness.

Despite his solid grasp of the regular season, Will found "bowl season" football extremely confusing. You see, during the regular season, Tom and I define ourselves nearly as much by who we root against as we do who we root for. Basically, it doesn't matter which team Ohio State University plays against, when the Buckeyes take the field/court, we cheer whole-heartedly for their opponent. (I realize this style of fandom won't earn me any sportsmanship awards, but after a lifetime of strongly disliking Ohio State - and the Yankees, the Vikings, and the Bears - I simply can't wrap my head around supporting these teams during the regular season.)

Until bowl season rolls around, that is, at which point the overall success of the Big 10 compared to the the other NCAA conferences matters more than individual teams and specific games. And so as much as it pains us to do so, we swallow our pride and cross our fingers that Ohio State ends up on the podium…because their success = greater respect for the Big 10 conference. This concept troubled Will, which really just means we're raising him right: rooting for Ohio State should cause inner turmoil in a true Hawkeye fan.

Will also struggled to stay on top of sheer number of games taking place during such a short period of time - there were simply too many games to prepare for and too many teams to support. At one point he and Hallie changed their football-team-related clothing four times in 20 hours. (And then I did laundry for three days straight.)

Texas A&M Aggies

Iowa Hawkeyes

Nebraska Huskers

In the chaos of the day (the Hawkeye, Husker, and Badger games overlapped) I accidentally missed taking photos of the kids in their Wisconsin Badger gear, and because we forgot to bring our Michigan sweatshirts with us to Nebraska, we just wore maize and blue on the day the Wolverines were annihilated.

Yes, bowl season can be confusing when you support (and root against) as many teams as we do, but when you support as many teams as we do you're bound to end up a winner at least once or twice a year. Congrats Aggies and Huskers on your bowl victories, and better luck next year, Hawkeyes, Badgers, and Wolverines. 

And Ohio State. Each year I ask of you just one thing...I ask that if you're going to dominate the conference and beat all of my teams and do so in a way that always seems just a little bit unfair, you also win your bowl game so that our conference appears stronger. Way to let me - and the entire Big 10 - down this year, Buckeyes. 

The little voice in my head chants, "I can make it, I can make it, I can make it" as the little boy in my living room runs in circles and yells, "I LOVE FOOTBALL, I LOVE FOOTBALL, I LOVE FOOTBALL". Only one bowl game left...

Friday, January 24, 2014

High Five for Friday (1.24.14)

To be perfectly honest, I haven't done much "high-fiving" this week. The over-worked, anxious, and exhausted husband, the sick kiddo, and the cursed tooth forcing us to subject the other kiddo to unpleasantries like oral surgery and orthodontia have weighed heavily on me throughout the last seven days. On top of that, a number of people I love are struggling - in ways I can't fix - right now. My heart aches for my husband, my kids, and these wonderful friends and extended family members.

I've learned from experience, however, that I always feel much better when I "force" myself to find - and then share, via pictures and videos here on Chasing Roots - the good. So here are a few of the stories, photos, and videos that made my world seem a bit brighter this week. They all gave me a reason to look up.

1. Speaking of looking up, I simply adore these Up-inspired photos.

2. Happy cows may come from California, but the best cheese in the United States - according to the World Cheese Awards - still comes from Wisconsin. What I wouldn't give for an authentic Wisconsin cheese curd right now…

3. Just as Will inherited his cold weather and snow-related craziness from me, I inherited my cold weather and snow-related craziness from my dad…here he is, last weekend, carrying on the swimsuit snow angel tradition.

4. Because my sister's kiddos are still relatively young - Lily just turned three and Carter will be one next month - and not quite ready for swimsuit snow angels, she's had to exercise a bit more creativity in how she passes on these family traditions. When the Polar Vortex brought snow (and negative 15 degree temperatures) to their area of Illinois, Lily in particular couldn't believe her parents wouldn't allow her to romp around in that "fluffy white stuff". Sara and Jeff came up with a pretty awesome solution though…

Yep, that's multiple shovel-fulls of snow in the bathtub. Clearly the idea went over well with both kids, who spent as long as a three-year-old and a one-year-old can stay focused on anything building snowmen (you can see Olaf in the second picture) and eating snow.

Perhaps my favorite part of all this is the fact that Lily is wearing snow pants and mittens…and no shirt. Now there's a Midwestern girl.

5. And lastly, whenever I need a little cheering up I watch Saturday Night Live cast members break character. These clips never fail to drag a laugh out of me.

Happy Friday, friends!

Linking up with High Five for Friday!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Kringle Kuties

The tradition began two years ago, when my sis-in-law Jenna, our friend Kelsey, and I headed out on Christmas Eve Eve to admire the Christmas lights on display in Lincoln, Nebraska. On that evening we found very few homes decorated in our taste, so when we returned home we created a friendly list of guidelines - a public service announcement of sorts - for decorating for and hanging Christmas lights during the holiday season and then I posted them here on the blog.

Jenna, Kelsey and I also decided that the next time the three of us ventured out on a Christmas light-seeing adventure, we'd do more than just critique Lincolnites' lighting skills…we decided we'd create awards and anonymously present them to the residents of the most beautifully decorated (according to our previously-established guidelines) homes throughout the city.

This Christmas brought the three of us back together (last year I didn't see Jenna and Kelsey during the holidays, so Tom and the kids helped me carry on the tradition here in College Station), and we followed through on our plan.

First, we created the awards. Hallie helped by sticking on the noses, mouths, and eyes, which is why some of the snowmen's faces are slightly askew. On the backs of the awards we wrote a cute little message about how much we enjoyed the home's Christmas lights, and then we signed each award from the "Kringle Kuties". Note to self: next year the Kringle Kuties should wear costumes.

Second, we drove through a number of neighborhoods throughout the city to establish a baseline and rule out neighborhoods to which there would be no need to return. This (the picture below), my friends, won't earn you an award from the Kringle Kuties. 

We never did figure out what that light configuration represented… 

Third, we returned to our favorite neighborhoods to select the award winners.

Lastly, we delivered the awards. In most cases, we simply drove up to the street-side mailbox and popped the award in with the recipient's mail. But in one older neighborhood, where the majority of the homes have front door mail slots rather than street-side mailboxes, Kelsey actually took the awards up to the houses and slid them through the mail slots. (The temperatures were in the single digits that night, which made getting out of the car over and over again lots of fun. I'm not sure how Kelsey earned that job…maybe she lost at Rock, Paper, Scissors?) On more than one occasion she could hear people on the other side of the door, people whom I'm sure were very surprised - hopefully pleasantly - to see a foam snowman congratulating them on their Christmas lights come shooting into their foyer.

I have always enjoyed the tradition of Christmas light-seeing, but doing so while spreading a little extra holiday cheer - in the form of a simple note to let people know how much we appreciated their efforts to spread Christmas spirit - made the experience even more enjoyable and memorable. I can't wait to let Will and Hallie in on the best part of all this next year.

Plus, if Will comes along I'll get of out having to run the awards to the front doors for the second year in a row...

Monday, January 20, 2014

To Dream, to Serve, and to Teach

50 years ago, while speaking to 250,000 Civil Rights supporters on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. made history.

"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged on the color of their skin but on the content of their character." 

I dream the same dream for my children. I hope and pray they will always be evaluated by their words and actions, and that they in turn will always use words and actions to form opinions of others.

But I will also teach my children that while judging others according to skin color, religion, or sexuality can only hurt, recognizing the ways in which we differ from one another can actually unify us. We are all unique individuals, capable of contributing - albeit in very different ways - to the betterment of society. We are all worthy and deserving of respect and kindness from our fellow human beings, and our differences should be celebrated instead of ignored, or worse, used to justify discrimination.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, my friends. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your unique and fascinating lives; your cultures, languages, religions, perspectives, lifestyles, and experiences have broadened my horizons and helped me become a more open-minded and compassionate person, and I hope to pass those characteristics along to my children.

MLK Jr. Day is considered a National Day of Service. If you have younger (preschool-aged) children, check out a few of the activities I compiled last year - word searches, coloring pages, and making paper peace doves and dream catchers - to help them begin to connect with this important service day.

MLK Jr. Day also marks the beginning of Youth Preparedness Week. If you have older (elementary- through high school-aged) children, visit the Red Cross blog for my suggestions on how youth and young adults can spend today - and the remainder of Youth Preparedness Week - serving and supporting their community's preparedness efforts.

Friday, January 17, 2014

High Five for Friday (1.17.14)

1. In 2014, turn your heart toward passion, your spirit toward growth. Be strong, be brave, and above all, stand up for what's right…just like these heroic women did in 2013.

2. According to Bustle, unless you live in one of these 20 cities you haven't earned "the right" to complain about the winter cold. I wear it as a badge of honor that my hometown (where Will and I made swimsuit snow angels last Christmas) and Tom's hometown (where Will and I played football in our swimsuits this Christmas) both made the list. Having said that, I'm not complaining about the sunny, 60-degree days we've experienced here in Texas this week…

3. Now I know that I said - just two days ago, as a matter of fact - that I needed a break from football, and that remains to be true. But when I saw how excited the "Statistical Legend of Johnny Football" made Will, I decided it needed to be shared. Like nearly everyone in Aggieland and many college football fans across the country, we hate to say goodbye to Johnny Manziel but we look forward to cheering for him in the NFL. Unless he goes to the Vikings or the Bears, and then all bets are off.

4. Last week I bought my very first bread machine, and I'd like to think I earned a bonus high five because I found it used and at a great price. I made a basic white bread first (I know, I know - not the healthiest choice), primarily because it had the simplest recipe and called for the fewest ingredients. I figured it best to start simple and work my way up to using different kinds of flours, adding fruit, etc.

That evening I used my homemade bread to make french toast for the kids for dinner. Both Will and Hallie were as unimpressed as if I'd served them Spam from a can, but Tom applauded my efforts and he and I enjoyed the kids' leftovers when they left the table.

Basic whole wheat is on the menu this week!

5. Last but not least, a video that will leave you (especially all you moms out there) crying happy tears. P&G is known for their simultaneously heart-warming and heart-wrenching commercials, and the one they created for the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympics is no exception. The overarching message of this commercial speaks to me more loudly than most, as I have always believed that letting them fall - and then helping them learn how to get back up again - is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Oh, for pete's sake…I'm crying just thinking about the video. Go get your tissues, friends.

Linking up with High Five for Friday!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Bathrobe Bowl

Tom and I love football. Most sports, really, but college football takes the top slot and Green Bay Packer football comes in a close second. Until recently, Will joined us in our fandom but did so primarily to maximize the amount of time he could spend watching television. (When a football is on in our house, everyone at home has two choices: 1) watch the game, or 2) leave the room. Will usually opted to watch, while Hallie always chose to leave the room.)

A switch flipped this fall, however, and in a matter of days Will transitioned from a casual fan to a Sports Center-watching, Sports Illustrated-reading, statistics-memorizing, rankings-obsessed, seven-year-old version of Lee Corso*.

In just a few weeks, Will learned all of the rules of the game, including the differences between the college rules and the professional rules. He memorized the names, numbers, and positions of nearly every Big 10 and SEC player. He tracked the weekly rankings, as well as the statistics for the top players at each position and the teams ranked in the top 25, and began making bowl and national championship predictions. And he played football every single day: at school with his friends, in the backyard with his sister, and with Tom and me at the park on the weekends.

He began to talk about football as though it were the only remaining subject on earth. Mom, do you think Teddy Bridgewater will be invited to the Heisman Trophy presentation this year? Mom, did you know that Johnny Manziel threw for more passing yards than Jameis Winston? Mom, did you know that Auburn has the best rushing offense in the country? Mom, what's the most exciting football game you've every seen in your life? Mom, who do you think will win the Chuck Bednarik award? Mom, how do you spell Darqueze Dennard? 


He downloaded some kind of NFL game - which now "checks in" with me, to ask why I'm not taking better care of my team, multiple times a day - on my phone and tablet. Mom, did you check out the football game today? Mom, do you want me to show you how to set up your team so that you can play while I'm at school? Would you rather be the Broncos or the Vikings? Oh, silly me…you hate the Vikings. And the Bears.

My boy knows me well.

But seriously, I am drowning in football. Drowning.

Just like his mama, Will needs a certain amount of daily physical activity to stay sane. Because the weather in our region of the country allows for outdoor exercise and play nearly every day, and because our fenced-in backyard provides the kids with the perfect place to safely let off steam, I rarely see the wild-eyed, hyperactive, short-tempered beast that Will becomes when he's forced to remain indoors or without access to an outlet for his always-building energy.

So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that, thanks to the frigid temperatures and biting winds in Nebraska, the only way for little Lee Corso to get his required amount of daily physical activity during our Christmas holiday was to run on the treadmill in the morning and play football in the afternoon. Oh good, more football.

Don't judge me, parents reading this blog post. Yes, at first I considered a treadmill too dangerous for a seven-year-old. But after 24 hours of watching Will wrestle his sister (who had no interest in wrestling), climb all over the furniture, and literally run circles through Grandma and Grandpa's living and family rooms, I'd had enough. I took Will downstairs, taught him how to use the treadmill (including how to attach the safety clip to whatever clothing he had on), and told him to run. "Run until you feel like you can't run anymore", I instructed. And he did. That morning he ran two miles at 5.0 MPH. In his pajamas. Barefoot.

From that point forward, whenever Will - or Hallie - started to twitch and wiggle, I pointed to the basement and said, "TREADMILL".

Some combination of adults and Will took to the field every afternoon. There was the fierce, two-on-two battle that pitted Will and his new friend, Alex (the grandson of a good friend of Grandma Susie's), against Tom and soon-to-be-Uncle Ferrell (who played college football and actually had an NFL contract before he injured himself).

There were many games of catch between Will and me, including an extra special - and extra cold - one for which we wore only our swimsuits, as well as many games of catch between Will and Tom, Will and Ferrell, and Will and Grandpa.

And then there was the Bathrobe Bowl.

Our extended Ferris family has a rule that on Christmas Day no one is allowed to officially change out of their pajamas. Everyone abided by this rule until around 1pm, when Will's pent-up energy started to fester and we decided to head outside for…gee, I don't know…a game of football. We stayed in as close to our pajamas and bathrobes as possible, which is how the newest Ferris family tradition earned its name.
Showing off his new gloves in the "ready position".
Diagraming plays.
Taking a few warm-up snaps.
The Bathrobe Bowl game lasted for close to an hour (though the little girl only joined us for the first 15 minutes) and ended up being considerably more fun than I'd expected, given my current exasperation with the sport. I imagine we would have played all afternoon had the game not suddenly ended when Will, frustrated by what he considered a foul, hit a player on the other team - his mother - and went immediately to timeout.

A few notes about our game (most of which you can see/hear in the video, but I always err on the side of over-explaining vs. under-explaining):
  • Will and Hallie wore exactly what they'd slept in the night before, but the adults changed clothes slightly - it's no fun to play football in flannel pajamas pants and a tank top in 38-degree weather. We put our pajamas back on as soon as the final whistle blew.
  • Hallie was considerably more interested in applying lip gloss than playing. (The first 30 seconds of the video revolve around her going back and forth from the huddle to Grandma, trying to decide whether or not to keep possession of or relinquish control of her lip gloss.)
  • Will complains about cheaters and fouls throughout any game, but you can see if the video that he himself tried to cheat by sneaking into the girls' huddle. We're still working on football "etiquette".
  • Speaking of football etiquette, Hallie can taunt with the best of them. If you don't feel like watching the entire 1:50 video, watch the last 10 seconds for her "butt, butt butt, butt" dance. 

As much fun as I had playing in the Bathrobe Bowl, I'm glad that we won't take the field again until the 2014 holiday season. Mama needs a break from football.

* Lee Corso does his research and knows the sport, but at the end of the day he just likes to kick back, relax, and watch the games play out while wearing a mascot head. Now I just need to teach Will Lee's catch phrase…"not so fast, my friend!"
Lee Corso wearing a frog mascot head.
Will Ferris wearing a frog mascot head.

Monday, January 13, 2014

They're Certainly Comfortable in Their Own Skin

First, this:

While playing in the gym childcare center, my girl and a little friend of hers made themselves up for the day. Be-ee-you-tee-ful, right? Of course the child herself is lovely, but you might find her make-up considerably less beautiful if you were her mother, and you found out that your husband picked her up from the gym childcare center and took her to school looking Just. Like. That. At least the make-up wasn't blue...

And second, this:

That's my boy dressed and ready for karate. When I asked him what he'd forgotten, he took inventory of the sparring gear covering much of his body and answered, "helmet, face shield, mouthguard, chest protector, gloves, and ankle protectors…nope, I'm not missing anything!"

"Um, what about pants?" I pondered aloud.

"Oh no, pants are way too restrictive for sparring", he replied.

When he started doing #2 front kicks through the kitchen I had to leave the room so my boy wouldn't see me cry tears of laughter.

He took it better than I'd expected when I broke it to him that his gym required students to wear uniforms under their sparring gear. "That's alright, Mama," he decided. "I can still spar in my underwear at home."

Friday, January 10, 2014


Throughout 10 years of marriage he and I rented two apartments and one house; purchased two homes; moved four times; lived in three states; expanded our family with the addition of two cats, two kids, and one fish (in that order); earned one Master's Degree and one PhD (both him, though anyone who's supported a spouse through the PhD process will understand what I mean when I say I feel like I've earned an honorary one as well); and worked eight jobs between us. We celebrated good times, but also weathered bad. We appreciated health, but also trudged through illness. We embraced opportunities for personal and professional growth, but worked hard along the way to remember where we came from and who we are, as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. We stumbled and fell and got back up again. And we held hands through it all.

I wrote last year that "he makes me laugh, listens graciously when I tell the same stories over and over again, unloads the dishwasher without being asked, and lets me sleep in on the weekend. He tolerates my need to constantly organize and declutter, the frequency with which I change out our throw pillows, and my obsessions with young adult novels and movies. He supports my professional endeavors and personal passions, works hard to provide for our family, and trusts me to steer our ship through the occasionally rough waters of our life together."

Today is our 10-year wedding anniversary, and even more so than it did a year ago, what I wrote on our ninth anniversary rings true. He may look like Clark Kent, but he'll always be my Superman.

Last year I posted lots of pictures of us through the years. Click here to see them.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Frozen Football

The Mueller family's annual tradition of playing in the snow while wearing as little clothing as possible began in 1984, when six-year-old Erin and four-year-old Sara donned their swimsuits and ventured across their snow-covered backyard - from the porch to the swing set and back - for absolutely no reason at all. Read the full story here.

I brought this tradition with me to my marriage, and proudly introduced it to my children last year. Read about Will's first swimsuit snow angel here.

One might expect such a tradition to become less important - to perhaps even disappear completely, the victim of a slow, painful death from hypothermia - once the children grow up and move out and change their last names, but not this tradition. Read about how my dad, Grandpa Paul, has kept the tradition alive here.

Will and I had every intention of making swimsuit snow angels while on vacation in Nebraska, but Lincoln had very little snow to show for its bitterly cold temperatures. A dusting of white had fallen a a few days prior, but that dusting didn't even come close to covering up autumn's decomposing leaves and fallen pine needles.

After a few days in Nebraska I made the difficult decision to skip the snow angels this year. Rolling around in snow is exhilarating, but rolling around in wet leaves, crispy pine needles, and half-frozen dirt mixed with snow sounded only painfully disgusting. As I mentioned last week, I have standards when it comes to these activities.

Will and I realized that our best option - really our only option, taking into account Will's enthusiasm for the sport and his unwillingness to do anything else while outside - this winter was a game of swimsuit football.

So on Monday, December 30th, at 10:37am, Will and I suited up. As we headed to the back door I documented the temperature outside.

Please excuse the poor quality of the pictures. At first our photographer (ahem, Tom) refused to even come outside, but after I called him a name or two he agreed to stand on the patio for 30 seconds. He was a little too cold to focus on photo composition.
Just a mom and her son, enjoying a game of catch.
My hands were too cold to throw a good spiral. Will
suggested I wear a pair of wide receiver gloves, like him.  
Will stayed out long after I reached my cold threshold, playing
catch with Grandpa Mike (who chose not to wear his swimsuit).
I acknowledge the ridiculousness of this tradition, but I just can't not carry it on. I love that it began when I was just a little girl, and that so many of our friends and family members have joined in the fun since those early days. I love that it spans three generations and has lasted for nearly 30 years, and that Will seems ready and able to carry the torch for years to come.