embracing winter

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I've lived in the northeast all my life, so imaging a life that didn't include all four seasons feels like it would be missing something.  But that doesn't mean I don't whine and complain about all the crappy parts of winter; the cold, the slush, and the cold, slushy, wet little kid boots that track melted snow all through the house.  Mittens that fall off little hands, socks that slip down halfway off of little feet that lead to so much whining.  The wind!

I read a really great post that Ashley shared about the Norwegian's Secret to enjoying their long winters and I can't stop thinking about it.  It's not so much that I hate winter, but in cold places like we live, it's natural conversation for small talk to complain about all things cold.  And I can hear myself complaining about it within earshot of the kids and I've been wondering how that's rubbing off on them, especially after reading the article.

Like most kids, they love seeing the snow and sled-riding and eating snow by the handfuls, but is my short patience about winter raising them up to think that winter is something to endure instead of something to enjoy?  Deep inside, I know I don't want to live without all four seasons, and so I'm trying my very best to live and talk like that's how I feel.

Mostly due to one of my 100 Small Things goal this year of reaching 1000 hours outside, I have been adamant about taking the efforts to go outside if the temps are above 25 degrees, if only for a few minutes.  The weather has really been inconsistent this winter for us, so we've had freezing days that we had to stare longingly outside, to days that were in the low fifties (that we even pulled out the bikes and the kids got in some trampoline time!)

I loved that in the article in Norway they say, 'there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!' and I've been keeping that held close to my heart when I don't feel like bundling them up and getting outside when the fresh air and wide open spaces are the exact thing that will make us all feel better.

We are also trying to embrace the coziness of the winter by snuggling up and leaning into some chilly favorites like warm blankets, candles, and lots of hot cocoa.  We've been baking a weekly dessert (is the motivation winter or pregnancy, it's hard to tell) and it gives the kids a chance to get their little hands on measuring tools and cookie dough spoons to lick clean!   

Wintertime also means, it appears, earlier bedtime routines, the kids put on their jammies and we all head up to their bedrooms to read extra books and snuggle awhile, sometimes even taking homework up to finish on the bedroom floor with snacks before bed.  Surrounded by the coziness of their blankets and the little lamp, there's something incredibly cozy about this time when in great contrast in the winter, the kids are barely making it into their jammies until well after the sun goes down and with dirty barefeet from running through the yard until almost 10pm!  

One of my favorite ways that we try to embrace winter is by celebrating all the mini-holidays throughout the cold, winter months.  We try to hit up as many winter holidays as possible to bring some joy and bursts of excitement into the long months.  This year, we've celebrated Orthodox Christmas, Martin Luther King Jr.'s bday, Groundhog's day, Lunar New Year, Mardi Gras, President's day, Valentines day, and Gemma's fourth birthday.  We are now awaiting Violet's half birthday (March 25!) and St. Patrick's day (Greyson is already drawing up his leprechaun traps, ha).

We've even celebrated National Popcorn day, Thank-a-Mail-Delivery person day, and howling at the February Full Moon; aka the Snow Moon.  We have our Lenten countdown calendar posted for the kid's to color each morning and we slowly decorate for the next big holidays by creating little crafts (thanks pinterest) weekly.  Just little ways to bring surprise and newness to our winter days seems to bring a special kind of magic to the season.  Spring, summer, and fall somehow feel like a celebration in an of itself with all the opportunities for exploring and outdoor activities.  So winter gets its own kind of attention with all of our little parities.

Here in western Pennsylvania, no matter what the Groundhog has said, we still have at least a month or two of winter left to go.  I bought the kids' their Easter clothes yesterday while we were out and about (matching dresses for the girls, obviously!) and they've been stored away in my closet as a reminder that spring is on its inevitable way - both as a hopeful reminder and as a reminder to hold tight to winter while it's still here.  Hold tight to the coziness and closeness that naturally comes with winter.

Do you settle in and cozy up for the season?  What are some your favorite winter perks?

1 comment:

  1. I so enjoyed reading about a different perspective on winter in the article Ashley shared. And I can so sympathize with not wanting to gear the kids up. It was the same in rural Alaska. But you are so right, that even ten minutes outside can change everyone's attitudes! So good for you!!!

    Also, the pic of you in your glasses holding Violet is ADORABLE! Love you! muah!!!