Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Time to admit it.

It's winter out there.

If I could choose - I might have fall last forever...  of course then we'd miss out on beach days and spring rain and new flowers...  and... sledding...

I have to say that one thing I miss most about Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the place I consider my hometown, is the snow.

I loved that it snowed sometimes as early as October and there was often a blanket of white out the window all the way through March.  Snow forts and snow ball fights and sledding - these were at least weekly affairs.  The ground was covered.  Slush, snow, ice - huge winter coats, freezing at the bus stop, hot chocolate, serious mittens, and packing into a McDonalds booth with your high school friends for a twenty piece nugget - somehow all of that is associated with winter for me. Maryland...  snow is not so frequent a friend.  In fact, we are lucky if it snows more than once a year and actually sticks.  This makes winter sort of one long disappointment for me.  The ground is frozen.  The birdbath is a sheet of ice.  The trees, garden, flowers, grasses - all dead.  The sky is grey.  And yet...  the ground is empty.  Just a vast plain of dead grass and hard earth.

I hate to go out in it.

Winter in Maryland is just...


So today, as the temperature hung out in the low thirties, as it has many days this week, I figured the kids and I would continue just hanging around the house - watching TV and movies, playing games, baking, reading, making art, and well - I admit it, being generally slothful - especially me.

I tried to start the day off differently.  I cleaned up the living room, vacuumed, and put the toys in their appropriate locations.  I ran upstairs and downstairs, but eventually, the cleaning was completed and I had nothing to do.  I grew chilly.  I grew cranky.  I slumped onto the couch and asked Maeryn if she wanted to read some books.

The difference today was...  the kids had other ideas.

The TV was not turned on this morning.  Maeryn wanted to paint.  Jonah made a scavenger hunt.  And then...Jonah said...  "Can I go outside?"  and Maeryn chimed in, "Me too!  Me too!"

"It's cold!"  I said.

"It's not THAT cold.  I need to go outside."  Jonah said.

Maeryn donned her flip flops.

"Okay.  I guess you can go out.  Stay in front of the houses.  I'm staying in.  It's too cold."  (Biggest.  Party pooper.  Ever.)

"Okay."  Jonah grabbed a knit hat, pulled his hoodie over his head, clutched some paper and a pencil to his chest, and headed out the door.  Maeryn in flip flops, sweatshirt, and sweatpants was not far behind.

"Don't you guys want coats???"

"No, we're okay."

Ka-thunk.  The door closed behind them.

I stood for a moment in some kind of shock, and then ran to the door and opened it, just a crack so not too much cold air would sneak in...  "Well...come back in if you get too cold!"

"We will!  I'm busy studying how ice is formed!"

And that was that.

About five minutes later they asked if they could head to the back yard.  Jonah was writing sentences in his "field guide" about the purposes of hay in fields of grass and hadn't yet been able to observe any ice.  He knew the bird bath in the back was frozen over.

They looked cold!

I decided it was now or never.  I pulled on my own hat and ridiculous winter coat and some clogs, grabbed Maeryn's socks and shoes and scampered down the back stairs.

It ended up...  kind of fun  :-)

We checked out the ice floating in the bird bath and what happened when I poured steaming hot water over it.  We checked the status of the dinosaurs in the unfortunately opened sandbox and carried around dead plants with root systems displayed and dragging the ground.  We stepped in frost.  Maeryn eventually took a red hat to wear and did wear the shoes and socks and even asked for "socks for her hands" - she didn't mean gloves, she literally meant socks - but once we came in, we had truly had a good time.  Strike that.  A great time.

The rest of the day has been pretty darn great too.  We built some puzzles and snacked on pretzels (mine with chocolate and theirs with pepperonis), drank tea, played Wii, and went "fishing" (with Jonah's fishing pole - no hook) in the living room - which of course led to researching the different types of fish that are legal to catch around here and with Pap (in PA) and what they look like and another scavenger hunt for random objects and a checklist...  OH, and a BUNCH of games of Candy Land...

Jonah with his field guide - that's his pencil sticking out of his hat.

Maeryn with her "socks for [her] hands".


Doug & Lyndsey said...

This is why you guys need to move to Denver! 60 degrees today :-) and even when it's cold, it's sunny!!

Missy said...

There IS a big unschooling community around you guys.

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