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

Sledding

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.

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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.

Spitting

The flakes weren’t sticking.

Trying

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

Hoping

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

Wet

By Major’s bedtime, it finally showed up.

Bedtime

We woke up to this.

Magnolia

Thick

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

Sled

Jack's turn

I was a good mommy and let Major play too.

Sledding with Anthony

Sniff

It’s a beautiful day for staying home.

Street

Dog kisses

Waiting on the snow

The Weather Channel is indecisive. I think it’s nervous about being wrong. Instead of starting last night, and then early this morning, now it says the snow should arrive this afternoon. I bought provisions yesterday, so it matters little to me when it actually starts. Yet, while I sit in the house another full day drinking pots of flavored coffee and bags of peanut M&Ms, I’ll hold my fist to the sky and blame Old Man Winter for adding another layer to my winter fat.

Curses! 

Seriously, we are all ready for spring. We are ready to romp and play and be warm. I’m ready for green grass and gardening and keeping our windows open all day. I’m ready to toss children outside for hours and take the dog for long runs.

Even though this photo was taken in the fall, it captures the happiness our family feels when we’re outside:

Romp in the woodsIn other news, I posted my first short story yesterday. Once I get all the feedback and do a few edits, I’ll post it. Thanks for participating in the poll, Internet.

Riding the high of a snow day

Finally, we’ve had a good snow. You’d think snow was a regular winter thing at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains, but no. It’s rare, and when it happens, it’s like a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Yesterday, we got a big ‘ole heap of it. Since we homeschool and our usual Tuesday activities were cancelled, we didn’t have to leave the house. The same goes for today. I’m almost out of milk, but we have electricity, which means we have the Internet and a working coffee maker. The necessary provisions are stocked.

It’s not lost on me how fortunate we are. So many families were separated last night because roads and highways were clogged with wrecks or simply impassable. The stories out of Atlanta and Chattanooga are tragic. Kids were stranded at school, people had to sleep in their cars. Many abandoned their cars and walked home. Commutes that usually took 15 minutes were stretched to eight hours or longer. No, it’s not lost on me how fortunate we are.

We finished school as fast as we could yesterday and went outside to play. It was beauty-full.

LightpostMagnoliaWe don’t have a sled, but it didn’t matter. Heavy duty garbage bags work just fine.Snow dayDown the hillWipe outJack goes down the hillJeremy goes down the hillHappinessEven the beast liked the snow. Blue tickCute? Yes. Major loves the snowBut so naughty! (He steals gloves.) Cute but naughty

Phil’s a big fat hairy liar.

PhilIt’s so fabulous to have snow on our spring break.

Not.

The boys are playing Legos, which is great and all, but I’d rather they be outside in the fresh air, bright sun, and blooming daffodils. I’d rather they come in hours later sweaty and hungry for lunch, only to eat quickly and run right back outside. Then I want to have to call them in for dinner because they’ve been playing so hard outside that they’ve completely lost track of time. Then I want them to talk eagerly about all the things they’re going to do tomorrow outside because it’s spring break and they can’t get enough of that warm sun.

However, there is no warm sun. There’s only a frozen tundra for a front yard and a swampy, icy mess for a back yard. Hence, the Legos.

It isn’t all bad, though. For me, cold weather means a fireplace, a book, and another cup of coffee. When I finish Love Wins, I’ll begin the Resignation of Eve.

75? Bring it on.

Before trudging down the icy roads, I decided to check the weather. Doth mine eyes deceive me? 75 degrees by Tuesday?

Yes, yes, YES.

We will celebrate this winter warm-up by packing all weekend. It’s looking like we just might get to Knoxville by spring time.

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.