Friday, February 21, 2014

Snow dazed

A little less than two weeks ago I started this blog post, about the fun snow day we had the week before.  It was an optimistic view of our winter, which was colder than average but up until that point hadn't been too snowy.  Here's how it read (feel free to imagine the soundtrack from "Frozen" in the background):

We in New England have been pretty lucky this year with our snow days.  The first two days off were immediately after the holiday break, and I suspect may have only been one day off had it not been for the break!  No one wants to come into school on just Friday when they've had the rest of the week off.  The third snow day was this past Wednesday (we made it a full month without a a snow/cold day, when the rest of the country seemed to have multiple awful-weather days in that same time period - quick, knock on wood!).  I was determined to make sure we wouldn't spend the whole day plopped in front of the TV or computer!  So we HAD FUN!!

First, I set up the shark tent:
 It was important to get as far into the shark tent as possible!

 Dashiell looks a little worried... he should be.

Then the kids started pulling out as many toys as they could.
Including the toy stethoscope that has never worked.
Which resulted in Dashiell and I taking the thing apart, getting it to work under very specific circumstances (the battery case had to be open about 1/4"), taking it apart again, asking a million questions, hoping that somehow taking it apart made it better, and being disappointed that it still didn't work, not even in the specific circumstances anymore.  Ah well.

Then, while Aurelia napped, Dashiell and I went outside to do a preliminary clean-up, even though it was still snowing.
 My car's new "high and tight".  This was the accumulation from 6 am to 1 pm.
 Dashiell helping to clean off my car.  
While it looks like he helped shovel, really the shovel is merely resting next to him.
Post-shoveling snow angel in the yard.  Snow angels are hard to photograph!

After we went inside and warmed up a little - and after Aurelia woke up from her nap - we made cookies!  Well, I made the dough earlier in the day, then refrigerated it for the requisite 4 hours, then we cut out the shapes and baked them, then we let them cool, then we decorated.  Cut out cookies are a huge production!  Anyway, we made heart-shapes to celebrate Valentine's Day.
 Rolling out the dough (Aurelia did help with some of it)
 Yay!  We can make shapes!
 Dashiell had to help Aurelia decorate...
 ...since mostly she wanted to eat the sprinkles.
The results of our handiwork!  Perfectly imperfect hearts!

After all of our fun (and what my Facebook posts from that day didn't mention) we did end up plopped in front of the TV watching 2 hours of Disney Junior.

We were all exhausted by 4 o'clock!

I was happy that evening, after the kiddos went to bed and I had to finish shoveling the rest of the snow, to see that our awesome neighbors cleared out the end of our driveway for me - which is hands down the worst part of shoveling.  Yay for awesome neighbors!

So, that was the first snow day this month.  In the two weeks since then we've had one more "school is cancelled" snow day, but only because this past week has been school vacation week in Massachusetts.  In reality, we have had no fewer than 4 snow storms/snow "events" in just over one week.  Ugh.  Here's a glimpse of the past 8 days:

We had another school snow day the day before Valentine's day, and even though I was supposed to work that day I stayed home to help Rick out.  He had a doctor's appointment in the morning that would have been fine to take one kid to, but not both of them.  Too disruptive!  So I stuck close to home and even though I wasn't as excited about the snow this day, we tried to make the best of it.

In the morning, I helped Dashiell make a "bone toss" game out of a big cardboard box that we hadn't recycled yet.  Dashiell drew a dog head on one side of the box, I cut out a hole for the mouth (smaller than I recommended, but it was Dashiell's game so I went with it), then we made a "bone" out of more cardboard.  It was a hit! 

The box itself was a lot of fun too, of course.

Then, we set up the doorway puppet theater that my mom had made for the kids, and puppet theater madness ensued!

Dashiell started a 20-minute long puppet show right before lunch and instead of including Aurelia in the show, he wanted her to sit and watch it.  What 2-year-old is going to be happy with that arrangement?  Not the one living in our house, that's for sure. 

So after I convinced him that it was time to take a lunch break ("But I don't know the ending of my story yet!"  Exactly why I had to stop it, D...) Aurelia decided to have her own puppet fun.  Note the dog sock puppet on her foot, and her socks on her hands.  Ha!

After lunch and while Aurelia napped, Dashiell and I made a chocolate cake since we were planning on having a day-early Valentine's day celebration.  When it was done the kids turned into Superheros ("supa-he-whoas" in Aurelia-speak)
  and posed with the delicious cake!

We paired it with the white chocolate covered strawberries Dashiell wanted to make the day before and it was a dessert worthy of Valentine's day for sure!

So, while our day-before-Valentine's day snow event does look like it was fun (and much of it was), by 1 pm I was already about to lose it.  And the worst of the snow hadn't even started yet!  But we got through it, and thanks to the power of chocolate we survived without anyone's feelings getting too hurt.

Two days later (Saturday the 15th), it snowed again.  We took no pictures.  Thankfully there was not a lot of accumulation with that storm, but it was particularly windy and howly.  Three days after that (Tues. the 18th), it snowed again.  A lot.  We got probably 10 inches at our house.  It should also be noted that in that 2 weeks since our first snow day the temperature stayed at about 20 degrees or below, so none - NONE - of the snow from any of the previous storms had melted yet. 

The following day the kids and I ventured out to try to play in the yard.  Dashiell was having a good time - we tried to build a snow bank hill to sled down, so that kept him busy for a bit.

Ms. Aurelia was not happy with this arrangement since it was difficult for her to get onto the "hill", even with my help.

Then she and I headed down the driveway to check out the rest of the snow.  Note the height of those snowbanks, and how little room there is on either side of my car to get out!

I managed to get a smile from her at the end of the driveway next to the much-taller-than-her snowbank:
Scroll back up to the picture of the end of our driveway that I took to illustrate how awesome our neighbors are.  Note how much taller this snowbank is now, a mere 2 weeks after the first snowstorm!

I was trying to get a good picture of the snow on top of our retaining wall, which is purely from-the-sky snow (not from a snowblower or shoveled snow), and Aurelia decided she had ENOUGH.  That was IT for her, and it was time to go back inside.  It's hard to have fun in the snow when it is so much taller than you!
Then, that afternoon as we were about to leave the house to see the Lego movie (awesome, BTW), IT STARTED SNOWING AGAIN!!!  All the weather stations and apps predicted rain or a wintery mix.  This was neither of those things.  This was a full-on blizzard.  A very short one, but we got seriously dumped on.  Like, 3 inches an hour dumped on, and the storm lasted for about 2 hours.  We left the house anyway, and braved the storm.  We had to.  Winter fatigue had hit us hard, and we needed to get out and do something fun.  Thankfully the theater was showing the movie on heavy rotation, since it took us 50 minutes to drive the normally 20 minute trip, making us late for the showing we wanted to go to.  But we were there in plenty of time for the next show!  I'm glad we got out of the house and had a good time at the movie!

Yesterday the melt started, thank heavens.  It was 45 degrees and sunny!  Of course we still had a weird wintery mix at the end of the day ("snain") which resulted in a slushy morning, but I'm sure it has all melted already.  We have even more warm days to come this week - bring it on!  Winter, we've had our fun, but now it's time for you to leave. 

I hope you've enjoyed my account of the crazy snow, complete with early-snowstorm retrospective!  Stay warm out there!

Friday, February 7, 2014


We signed Dashiell up for basketball at the YMCA this winter, and it's been a big hit!  He was very, very nervous starting this new venture, but felt much better when we convinced his friend Crispin to sign up too.

Rick and I knew he'd love it, and we were right!  Within minutes of playing in the gym, he was grinning ear-to-ear and having such a great time!

Coach Cam and the boys

The class is structured with free play for the first few minutes until all the kids get there, followed by warm-up exercises, then they learn a new skill (so far they've covered dribbling, defense, passes and shooting baskets), then the last 20 minutes or so they play a game.  The coach is so good with the kids - he really tries to make all of them feel included and always notices when one of them is having a hard time with something or someone.  And he's very clear in his instructions, and repeats them multiple times to make sure all the easily-distracted 4 - 6 years olds actually hear him!

First day, dribbling the ball.  It's a work in progress!

 First game.  Also a work in progress.

He's steadily getting better, and what he lacks in skill he makes up for in enthusiasm!  And that is what will make him a good teammate!

 Third class, still working on dribbling but now in a special YMCA t-shirt!

 He made the shot!

We've already asked Coach Cam when the next session starts, since Dashiell wants to keep playing.  Woo-hoo!  I'm excited that he's found an activity he loves, and can't wait until Spring so he can practice outside (instead of in the house - in hindsight buying him a new basketball in the winter maybe wasn't the greatest idea!).  Go Dash!

Aurelia's Birthday Party

Yes yes it's been a month since my girlie turned 2, and almost that long since we threw her a little birthday party!  But before I move on to other topics I wanted to share a few photos and comments.

Honestly, I didn't take great photos.  Or very many of them.  I keep hoping others who did take pictures will email or text them to me, but so far we've only received 2 additional photos.  Ah well.
We had a small party with just our extended family plus one set of friends (our non-blood-related family), however I swear it felt like a hundred people were crammed into our house (not that you can tell from these pictures, but believe me it was crowded)!  I never think of our house as small until we decide to throw a party.  But everyone seemed to have a good time, even in such close quarters.  Especially our little 2-year-old, who ran around in circles and showed off her shiny red shoes to anyone who would look!

We went with a Minnie Mouse theme, since Aurelia LOVES Mickey and Minnie.  I made Mickey and Minnie Oreo cookie pops:

Mouse-eared cupcakes:

and a polka-dot cake:

I was pleased at how they all turned out, and so was Aurelia!

She's at the age now where she finally "gets" opening presents, so it was fun to see her tearing into the gifts!

Momentary meltdown when she couldn't get the wrapping paper off...

She loved this striped dress that her Neena (great-grandma) gave her and walked around with it on her chest for a good few minutes!
It was a great party, and I'm so glad we got to celebrate our girl's big day with so many of the people we love!