Monday, January 9, 2017

Meanwhile, Up in Snowy Wisconsin...

Every December since moving to Texas six years ago (?!?!) we have traveled north for Christmas. We make the journey to visit and spend the holidays with our families and friends, but I admit that the opportunity to experience a true winter brings out the kid in me...and in the kids. (Tom, on the other hand, has decided he would prefer to live the rest of his life in temperatures at or above 65 degrees.)

On occasion, Mother Nature teases us with dustings of snow, cold rain/sleet/hail, or worst of all, no snow at all, but this year she came through with multiple inches prior to our arrival and then a couple of additional inches during our visit. Knowing we wouldn't see snow again for at least another year, we took full advantage of her gift.

My dad built a snow slide in my parents' backyard. The slide started off the top of the deck, cruised across the yard, and then slowed on the driveway. The kids rode their tubes down that slide for hours every day until a warming trend at the end of December caused it to start melting.

Tom and I went on a walk to the zoo (separate from our Zoo Lights trip), and enjoyed both having the zoo almost entirely to ourselves and watching the polar bears delight in the snow that had recently fallen.

We went sledding multiple times at increasingly larger and taller hills, buried each other in the snow, ate snow (though we forgot to make a batch of snow ice cream), and built countless snowmen and snow forts. Oh, and Tom, my mom, and I built an amazing snow Tyrannosaurus Rex for Carter.

And of course, last but not least, we made snow angels in our swimsuits.

Round one: Tom, Will, and me in the front yard. It seems my voice 
goes up a full octave when I run around in the snow in my swimsuit.

Round two: Tom, Will, Lily, and me in the backyard.  
Round three: Will and Lily went on their own and
I carried/quasi-carried nervous Carter and Hallie.
Round four: Tom took Hallie out just the two of them. That's him,
on his back in the snow, with her on his stomach as she thought about
whether or not she would go in the snow herself. He deserved a medal.
Round four continues: eventually Hallie stopped
crying and sat in the snow. We're calling that a victory.
This year was particularly painful, not because of the temperature outside (it was in the mid-20s, which for this kind of activity is considered fairly warm), but because the snow had melted slightly and then refrozen with a crusty layer on top. It hurt our feet horribly, and contributed to a few tears from our youngest participants. Note: I never have nor will I ever force our kids to participate in this activity. They are welcome to join me, but they have to make that choice for themselves.

If you'd like to read more about how this tradition began and why I keep it alive, click here for a link to last year's post and here for the background story.

Happy winter, Chasing Roots!

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