We've had so much snow! Have you? After Tuesday's blizzard (it snowed all day and into the next morning), we had another snowstorm all day and night Friday and another one Monday. I don't know how deep the snow is now--it's hard to tell what's snow and what's snowdrifts--but it's certainly up over my knees, or perhaps deeper. The snowbanks are head-high or more (there's one in the parking lot at work that looks like a small Everest. It's at least 12 or 15 feet high!).
The kids are beside themselves with the snow days--three last week, one plus a three-hour delay this week. They don't care that they'll be in school until the Fourth of July at this rate. Live in the now, is their motto. Unfortunately, I only got one snow day myself, and have to go out into it every day, negotiating up hills with the back end of my car going faster than the front, inching around elephantine snowbanks when emerging from parking lots. Everywhere there are cars off the road or stuck in snowdrifts, broken down in an intersection or fender-bendered on a corner. It would be better if the whole world shut down during this weather (except, I suppose, the hospitals, and maybe the grocery stores, and perhaps the library) and we all sat by the fire reading and knitting for the whole month of February.
But if that's not to be the case, I guess we'll just have to make do with weekends. It was a brilliant one, sunny though cold. Perfect for getting some things done around the house. On Saturday, I did a little Valentine's decorating. My heart-shaped rock collection is getting a little out of control. I guess I should start giving them away as gifts. I still make a little nature table on our bookshelves, even though the boys lost interest in such things long ago.
And I ordered my Valentine's cards. These are the cards from years past. It all started with the middle one (which is hard to see in the picture)--a heart-shaped hole melted in the snow that I found one spring day several years ago. I ran home, got my camera, took a picture and saved it until the following February and had cards made. I though that was that, until a few years later, I saw the even more perfect heart shape melted in the snow. Since then I've made it an annual tradition, with an ice bubble, rocks, and a branch. This year's card will be the first, however, that is the traditional Valentine's color. I'm very excited for it. I also ordered a photo puzzle for E, Z, and M to put together while C and I go out on a date on Valentine's Day--for the first time in something like seventeen years. I considered putting E and Z to work making Valentine's cards for their class, but thought better of it.
I also finished one knitting project (more on that soon) and cast on for another one. I've decided to try to knit one thing per month all year. I tried this a couple of years ago and managed to knit six things (that darn summer knitting lull). This year, I'll take my needles to baseball and the beach and the soccer field to make sure I get twelve done. I made a list of the first five things I want to knit--all from stash yarn, which is an added bonus.
And I caught up on my nature journal "cheats." I don't always have the time or opportunity to journal while we're out in the woods, or even after we get back, so I make these little photo collages and fill in the details, sometimes days after the fact.
Late Saturday afternoon, we all snowshoed to my father-in-law's house, which is about a mile away, over the river and through the woods (literally)
Most winters, he has a big bonfire party. This is the second time we snowshoed over (the first was about three years ago).
E and Z made a big drama out of wanting to go over in the car, but it was such a beautiful evening, with a technicolor sunset and a gibbous moon.
They found the energy for a two-hour king-of-the-mountain game on a giant pile of snow while the grownups stood around watching the fire burn and, after minimal whining, they made the trek home by moonlight.
Sunday, I helped Z make cinnamon rolls, which is something he has been begging to do for months now.
While the dough rose, I worked on cleaning the basement. I have major plans to de-clutter and organize our basement, to get it to the point where I can get to the things I need and use (my yarn, fabric, craft supplies, camping gear, holiday decorations) easily and also so we can get some help figuring out a layout, should we decide to put a bedroom or two down there. It could be an extremely overwhelming task, so I'm committing myself to only working on it an hour each weekend day. Saturday, the boys and I straightened out the Lego corner, which had fallen into major disarray since I last tidied it up. Sunday I tackled a pile of totally random crap--school projects, packing materials, broken objects, things that need to be recycled but I don't know how, pictures that don't fit on our walls, etc. It was a slow process, which led to other projects--repairing a tile wall hanging, replacing a chair cushion--that needed to be done and were contributing to the pile. But I'm pleased with the progress and feel like one hour each weekend day, or even each weekend, will get me where I want to be by the end of winter, without burning me out.
In the late afternoon, we strapped our snowshoes on again and headed to the river to look for tracks.
We were richly rewarded with this trough where two otters bounded by.
We followed the track downstream to this hole in the ice, where they went in (or came out? I'm not sure now).
And then we followed them upstream to another hole some ways up the river.
E, Z, and M were anxious to get home to their designated screen time hour, so they trekked on ahead of us while C and I crossed the river and retraced our steps from the night before in search of some more interesting tracks (we found deer, mystery animal, and little mouse or vole).
When we got home, it was time to start dinner and I realized that I had failed to do the one thing I really wanted to do this weekend--draft an essay for my critique group. I put together a soup and sat down on the couch with notebook and pen while the pot simmered, and within seconds, Z was at my side, reading over my shoulder and E was asking to play a game. After a weekend of pretty solid togetherness, I was ready for a few minutes alone with my thoughts. "Your dad is right there, why don't you bug him for once?" I said in not the nicest tone of voice and huffed up to the bedroom for a little peace and quiet.