First Snow of 2018

Parts of Tennessee got its first snow of the year last week, but we weren’t that lucky. Yesterday, however, we scored a few inches (yay!) and it’s cold enough today that the accumulation lingered.

Northerners will look at these piddly flakes and roll their eyes, but Southerners have a different experience with winter. Snow is rare and, therefore, magical. It has the power to shut down entire cities with one threat.

This morning it was still spitting, so I grabbed my camera and went for a short walk to visit our neighbors.

I love when they see me coming. My voice and figure are recognizable to them now, so once I’ve called their names, they come to the fence line to greet me and to see if I’ve brought them treats.

He smells apples!

We still do school work on snow days, which is the only way to stay on track. It isn’t without complaint and struggle, but we are always glad to reach the end of the school year and not have to extend our calendar. We can be done when it’s time to be done.

For now, the boys have finished their work (and gnashing of teeth), so they are outside sledding and expelling their energy. The temperatures will be in the 40s by Friday and the upper-50s by the weekend, so this first wash of snow will be short-lived.

By the look of the blog of late, it seems as though all I’ve done in 2018 is read. [That is partly true.] I am swimming in freelance work, so I’ve had to save my words for other things. Co-op classes are back in session, so that’s also taking a bit of my time. Fortunately, I’m keeping the promise I made to myself last year – saying yes to what I want to do and saying no to what I don’t. That is a freedom I dreamt about in my 20s and early 30s. As I approach 40, it’s old hat. It’s the norm. I love it.

Trudging along in winter, Lent, and this awful, no-good political season

Friends, we’ve been busy. It’s hard to tend to a blog when I’m writing for freelance work, writing the novel, and teaching Jeremy how to find the circumference of a circle with decimals and fractions. Thank goodness Jackson has picked up double-digit division with such ease. My brain can handle only so much math at one time.

Bouts of snow

We’ve had bouts of snow here and there, icy conditions that closed area schools or delayed them, but nothing substantial that provided any solid sledding in the front yard. It’s fair to say that we’re all sick of winter and looking forward to warmer days. The boys are tired of being stuck inside and both Major and I need to run off our winter fat.

Even the traditional Ash Wednesday service at our church was cancelled on account of weather. Fortunately, our pastors offered the imposition of ashes at a local coffee shop, so we were still able to officially observe the start of Lent.

Speaking of Lent, I’m really enjoying Thomas Merton’s book right now:

Happiness isn't a grabbag

He’s a thorough storyteller, and even though I’m not far into The Seven Storey Mountain, I’m settled in for the long road that maps out his life. As long as the frigid temperatures continue, I’m happy to lay in bed with a mug of coffee and read.

Random plug: I don’t enjoy politics anymore and really struggle to watch current debates. I’ve yet to find a candidate that represents me, so when I look at who’s running for office I feel utterly lost. However, we recently discovered The Circus on Showtime, a documentary-style series about the campaign trail. It’s an interesting peek into what candidates are like on the road. It’s not scripted, which I appreciate, and I’ll tell you something – even though I disagree fundamentally with everything Bernie Sanders believes about the role of government, he’s a likable guy. He seems authentic, and for a politician, that’s rare.

Ice, then snow, then cabin fever

What a week. Lost power, restored power, ice, ice, more ice. No internet, a quickie blizzard, serious cabin fever.

It’s been mostly fun for the boys since they could gather with the neighborhood kids and enjoy all the hills and slippery surfaces. The neighborhood kids were out of school all week but I was the mean mom who made her kids do school four out of the five days. It wasn’t without major pouting and arguing, which resulted in a day’s worth of grounding and restriction and more sulking. Homeschooled kids can do school in their PJs and sleep in and take a lot of breaks, but they don’t get snow days. This is not new information, so when I reminded them that they would at least do math and vocabulary, they lost their minds.

Did I mention cabin fever?

The ground is still frozen at single-digit degrees and there are solid sheets of ice where the afternoon sun doesn’t reach. We are eternally grateful that our power loss was short-lived and we didn’t lose the two weeks worth of groceries that I’d just purchased. We are also grateful for the gas fireplace that kept us warm in the dark.

Since our internet has been restored, we’ve felt a wave of rejuvenation and feel like no winter weather can keep us down. God bless the creator of WiFi.

Frozen grass

Ice storm 2015

Up the hill


Jack on the sled

Tractor pull

Tractor pull2

Skating in the driveway

Quick blizzard

Major in the snow

When there’s no WiFi

We have power but no internet, which the boys find most confusing. Doesn’t WiFi just exist, you know, in the atmosphere?

This winter weather has turned us all upside down. We were already a family that spends a lot of time together, but… We’d be okay with a little space. And WiFi. We’d also like WiFi.


Throwback Thursday: First Snow in Amarillo

Our Amarillo friends are posting Facebook photos of the big snow they got last night. When we moved to Amarillo I had no idea that our weather would be less like Texas and more like Colorado, and sure enough it snowed during our first few weeks. The boys, age five and two and a half at the time, were thrilled. Little did they know that this dusting in 2009 was nothing compared to the blizzards they would experience in the two years we lived there.

TBT First Snow in Amarillo

A Second Snow

Yesterday afternoon, it didn’t look promising.


The flakes weren’t sticking.


There was a lot of wishing and hoping that better snow would fall.


There was even late-night playing in mush, just in case that was all that happened.


By Major’s bedtime, it finally showed up.


We woke up to this.



Thank goodness our neighbor was up for sledding at 8 a.m. He’s got a great driveway for it.


Jack's turn

I was a good mommy and let Major play too.

Sledding with Anthony


It’s a beautiful day for staying home.


Dog kisses

The One-Day Blizzard

Our friends in Amarillo are “enjoying” a snow day right now, which can be relaxing and pretty for about an hour, until you need to get somewhere and then it’s very inconvenient. Folks have been posting pictures and videos on Facebook all morning and I’m reminded so vividly of how unprepared we were for Texas Panhandle weather. When we moved to Amarillo in December 2008, we had no idea what to expect weather-wise. Our realtor gave us a heads-up about things like wind and potentially scary hail storms, but we had no idea about the fast and furious, but short-lived, snowstorms.

Two months after moving there, we got to experience our first one-day blizzard. Sure enough, it swept in quickly, dumped several feet of snow on everybody, and was gone the next morning. Coming from east Tennessee, where blizzards happen once every 20 years or so, we were super excited. Chuck and Jeremy wasted no time.

First Amarillo Blizzard

There was enough snow by  mid-morning to build an igloo in the front yard.the first igloo

Jack happened to be sick, so he and I watched the action from inside a warm house.

Then weather was back to 50 degrees and clear. Much of the snow melted by lunch time. If you’re going to have a blizzard, how nice it is to have it gone and out of the way by the next day!

MeltedBe safe and stay warm, Amarillo! Your resilience endures!

Winter, You’re On Notice

It’s not a ton of snow, but it’s enough to close schools and, in turn, leave thousands of happy, hyper children running laps around their living rooms. The boys slept in until 9 a.m., and when I finally went into their bedroom to announce the snow day, their screams immediately gave me a raging headache. Only creativity and patience will save me now.

This poor attitude isn’t helpful, I realize, but my complaints are valid and honest. We have endured a long trial and testing of wills. When I say I’m tired, I’m not talking about sleep. I feel exhausted in my bones.

With that, I’m really done with winter, which is not normally something you’d hear from me. I love snow and all of the excitement that comes with it, but in our current state of limbo, I’m tired of it all. I need peace, calm and drivable roads. So Winter, you’re now officially On Notice.

Spring, I’m laying out the red carpet to hasten your arrival.

In Pictures

It snowed over the weekend, and from what I understand it’s supposed to snow tonight…

Yeah, Salem and I are ready for spring. Can I get an amen? This was Saturday.

By Sunday morning, all of that beautiful sunshine turned gray, so I threw the boys outside to play.

When they couldn’t play outside, they were doing the usual.

This color sorting is Jackson’s habit of putting like things together. This way, everyone has a buddy!

This is my favorite photo from last week (when Jackson wore his camouflage toboggan cap all day everyday). We’ve finally reached the point where Jeremy can read Jackson a simple book.

The Snow is Fitting

For several reasons, the light snow that fell overnight and blanketed Amarillo today was most fitting. Today marks the beginning of winter break for the boys and it was my last day of employment at the Globe-News. Also, Chuck was delayed here for a second day in row. That means the snow has ushered in our Christmas spirit, brought joy to me on a sad day, and allowed the boys extra time to wrestle with their dad. On a day when I could crawl into bed and cry, it is wonderful to have reasons to be awake and thankful.

It wasn’t much snow, but it was just enough. I snapped this on my way to the newsroom to say goodbye to Danh:

Michele and I had a quick lunch before I left to pick up the boys early from school. Saying goodbye to her was brief because that’s how it needed to be. I’m still going to see her and the other friends I’ve made here, but it’s going to be hard not to work with them everyday, see them everyday, laugh with them and share in the stress of working in the publishing world. I already miss it.

Fortunately, as I type this, my inbox is filling up with new messages from Jim (the book’s author), which means there is much more freelance work to be done. And when I think of the extra time I will have with the boys, I’m doubly reminded that there are still good things to come.

The One Day Blizzard

I’ll make this brief because I’m tired and have no business blogging at 10:30 at night. Honestly, I should be fighting my insomnia by now.

Anyway, I’ll start the Blizzard post with a picture of Jackson on Friday. He had a fever and didn’t part with Uniqua for about 36 hours. (She is the pink blob underneath his bottom in the picture.)

fever jack
This was taken when the blizzard first got going. Keep in mind that it was 65 degrees the day before.

Jeremy and Chuck in the blizzard
Since Chuck was deprived of igloo-building as a child, he fulfilled a lifelong fantasy and built one on Friday.

working on the igloo

beginning of the igloo

almost done with the igloo

Jake the Roomie helped because it wouldn’t be fitting for any adult male to not take part in building an igloo. This kind of endeavor takes man-skills (and a Rubbermaid lid).

the older boys finish the igloo

The igloo building continued after the little boys went to bed. (Perfection takes time.)

igloo into the night

He was happy. Covered in snow, but happy.
finished igloo
Jeremy was happy, too, to wake up Saturday morning and see the finished igloo in the front yard. Since the temperature rose to nearly 45 degrees that day, playing outside was more enjoyable.

jeremy in the igloo

side of the house

By Sunday, the temperature was back in the 60s and there was little snow to play with. All the neighborhood kids were out enjoying every last bit, including Chuck and Jake, who impaled the small children with snowballs.

snowball fight

boy in shorts

And finally, here is Jeremy in his father’s old Superman pajamas. We were nice and let him wear the cape to bed.


Now I’m going to bed.