Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Much Needed Snow Day

It snowed today. It snowed and snowed and snowed until Look, Mommy, there's no more green! And the children watched mesmerized as fluffy layer and crunchy layer alternately blanketed the ground. At nearly 6 inches, it was the most snow they had ever seen in their lives. They were thrilled.

Even the ducks behind our house seemed to welcome the coat of snow on their backs as they lounged on the frozen pond.

Only the mommy stared dubiously out the window, facing the reality of no school, no regularly scheduled activities and especially sad, no date night tonight. I hadn't even thought to look up snow day activities on Pinterest. This was going to be a looooong day.

I leaned over to my husband and whispered, "Please don't go to work and leave me with these children."

And you know what? Today, on our snow day, he stayed home with us.

John has a demanding job and often works long hours. The kids look forward to his days off with the same anticipation usually reserved for holidays (ok, and Mommy does too), but even days off are usually cluttered with an appointment here, a birthday party there, or some other type of obligation. I honestly can't remember the last time we had a lazy day at home with absolutely nothing on the agenda.

I've decided we need to have lazy days more often.
Batman stopped by to make sure we were alright. We told him no worries, Daddy's home today!
Somehow, even with both parents gathering mittens and extra socks and boots, it still took approximately 52 hours to get everyone ready to go play in the snow. But today there was no Where are your shoes? I've told you 5 times to put them on!!! or No, we DO NOT have time to find the orange paci, we are already late!!! because we had all day. You don't have to make an appointment to play in the snow. 

One time I filled out a questionnaire that asked, "What is your favorite family activity?" I answered, "Watching my kids play with their dad." 

Today, on our snow day, my favorite family activity happened.

While John played with the kids I attempted to take some artsy, snowy nature photos...

...but I got distracted.

What icy tree can compare to these handsome guys??

Even Baby Elise has become a daddy's girl. Today, on our snow day, she raised her arms to her father and loudly announced her first word, "DA!!" 

(Good, I told her, that's exactly what you need to call out when you wake up at 2am)

Sometimes we get exactly what we need in the most unexpected ways. 

Tomorrow I will be ready for regularly scheduled life to resume, but not today. 

Today was a much needed snow day.

Date night, shmate night, we've got a snow day!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Snow Cream and a Snowy Checklist

There are certain requirements for snow days with small kids. They are as follows:

1) Spend 45 minutes getting everyone ready to play outside. Lose a mitten and your patience in the process.
2) Spend 20 minutes actually playing in the snow. Wonder how the kids can be complaining they're so cold while you are sweating profusely. Building a snowman is hard work.
3) Make snow cream.
4) Repeat numbers 1 and 2, only this time sweat as you are carrying the children and their sleds up the hill over and over and over and over...
5) Make hot chocolate.
6) Watch a movie.
7) Watch another movie.
8) Throw snowballs at Daddy...inside the house.

When you live in a state where you only have one decent snowfall every few years you have to make sure you do all the snowy things the day it snows, because the next day it will be 60 degrees and you will be sliding through the mush in your flip flops.

In an attempt to check all the snowy things off the list, I asked the kids if they wanted to make snow cream.

"What's that?"

"It's ice cream made out of snow."


Discovering a combination of two of your very most favorite things can be a delightful shock. (I think I had a similar reaction after I got a smartphone and realized I could check Facebook AND get a pedicure at the very same time.)

Needless to say, they devoured every bite and begged for more. I had to cut them off at one batch though. Obviously we needed the rest of the milk for hot chocolate!

Mix the milk, sugar and vanilla together. Then add the snow. Don't forget the sprinkles!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

So I Guess I Should Start Vacuuming in My Heels and Pearls

A while back we were visiting my family and my sister began discussing her new job. "You have a job?" my 4-year-old asked incredulously. "I didn't know that girls went to work too!

Whoops. I guess that somewhere along the line I forgot to teach my children that this unending cycle of dishes, diapers and dinner that I do all day, THIS is considered a job too. And yes, some mommies even leave the house to go to a job.

I work hard as a mother, but I do confess that there are times when I just don't feel quite up to certain tasks. Like the game of catch. I just don't get it. I throw the ball to you, you throw the ball to me, I throw the ball to you, you throw the ball to me. That's it. We don't even make up pretend names and exciting back stories. I've decided that Daddy is better suited to play catch than Mommy. Actually, there are quite a few tasks that I have delegated to Daddy since I've decided I just can't deal anymore. But since children obviously have selective memories, I wonder what kind of assumptions they will make based on these observations? 

As I thought about our day to day routines, I realized I just might be teaching my children that mommies aren't as clever as daddies. Whenever a broken toy needs a new battery (which is a lot of the time because it seems 98% of the toys we own require batteries), I'm all What's that? Your incredibly annoying screeching monkey toy ran out of batteries? Aww, too bad Mommy doesn't know how to change them. I guess we'll have to wait til Daddy gets home.

might be teaching my children that mommies aren't as strong as daddies. Whenever we go to the park I'm very sad that I am unable to help them across the monkey bars. I would really love to spend an hour hoisting their butts above my face while they go back and forth on the monkey bars again and again and again and again, but, sadly, I'm just not strong enough. I guess they'll have to wait until Daddy takes them to the park.
On second thought, maybe the monkey bars are a better option than playing in a giant storm drain.
might be teaching my children that mommies aren't as brave as daddies. When Mommy sees a nasty bug, she screams and hysterically runs to get a plastic cup, which is then placed over the bug and left until Daddy gets home to take care of it. 

Ideally, I hope to teach my children that men and women are equally clever, strong and brave in their own ways. I suppose I should be a bit embarrassed at the possibility that I am teaching my children that mommies are not as clever, strong or brave as daddies. I should be embarrassed, but I've discovered that sometimes it comes in handy. Like the last time it snowed and the boys wanted to go outside to make a snowman, but Mommy was a little tired and besides, do you know who is so clever and strong and makes the best snowmen? DADDY, that's who!

Mommy stayed warm and toasty inside and snapped photos from the doorway.

Clearly, Daddy makes the best snowmen.
To be fair though, John might be perpetuating some false ideas of his own. For example, the other night the boys brought me one of their favorite books and requested that I read it to them for the 876th time that week. I suggested that Daddy might like a turn reading it to them instead. "Mommy," Jack confided, "Daddy can't read very good. He goes too fast and he misses pages and sometimes he forgets to read cause he's watching TV."

Yeah, I see what you did there, Hubster. Fine. I'll do books if you take batteries.

And you know? I don't think our kids are going to grow up with a warped view on gender roles after all. Maybe they will grow up knowing that their parents make a good team. They'll see that we each have our own strengths and where one is lacking, the other can fill in. We're like pieces of a parenting puzzle and we fill each other's gaps. Yeah, that's what they'll think.

That, or the boys just might grow up to become illiterate exterminators.