That was Anna's quote the moment she saw the first flakes in the air early yesterday afternoon - -
"Mom! I love winter!!"
What she really meant is "Mom, I love to eat snow," but more about that later.....
As far as winter goes, I admit that I feel pretty much the same way as Anna. I love very specific things about winter.....the beauty of the snow and the muffled quiet it brings and the inevitable hot chocolate making and coziness after coming in from outside. But despite all of that wonderful - - well, damn. I just really hate the cold. Hate it! I guess I take after my mom and my grandma. We're all genetically afflicted with "perma-cold-itis." Come November, perma-cold pretty much sets in and stays through March. Sometimes April. It doesn't matter whether I'm inside or outside. Doesn't matter how many layers I've managed to wiggle into....I'm just plain cold.
Why-oh-why do cold and winter have to go hand in hand? Couldn't there be another cosmic option? (well, besides Florida or Arizona, of course!)
Oh well. At least yesterday, "beautiful" came right along with the cold.
Around here, the first snow ranks among the top five of our most-exicting days of the year. Probably right after Christmas and birthdays. I'd say it's in a tie for third place, along with Halloween and the last day of school. Yup, it's just that good. You can almost feel the excitement right before the snow. A charge in the air, heavy with possibility. And suddenly everything is covered in a beautiful blanket of white. I think there is just something magic about all of it. And especially when I get to see it through the eyes of my little ones......
Yesterday, when there was just the slightest accumulation on the ground, Anna begged to go outside. "Mom, pleeeeaaassssse! I just want to take a closer look."
Um, yeah. Sure. A look.
I knew exactly what Anna wanted to do. Eat the snow. Ever since she was old enough to walk, this kid put away the snow like it was her favorite candy. Of course, yesterday, I was fully aware that with each mitten-full, Anna was ingesting as much October dirt, as she was getting new fallen snow. But, there was just no stopping her. She had waited months for that biting-cold taste of snow in her mouth, and by golly, she was going to get it. And, as soon as she had that first taste - - well, all bets were off.....
"Henry, get your boots. Right now."
The winter dam had burst and out came the hats and boots and snow pants and coats and scarves and mittens. Everywhere......
Once out in this first sticky snowfall, Anna quickly became a snow-encrusted four-year-old, as she alternated between shoveling snow into her mouth, and flopping down on her back to make snow angels.
Henry, on the other hand, was all about making snowballs. He and his friend Matthew were in pursuit of the perfect aero-dynamic form. And the snow was just right for that. But, they never ended up having a snowball fight after all. I think it was more about seeing how many they could make, rather than combat.
So, as Henry chased the perfect snowball, Anna ate the snow. And more snow. Below you'll find my little snow-fiend, getting her fix at any cost. Rosy frozen cheeks and all.....
This snowfall was also perfect for sledding. Just enough depth for a slick and fast ride down the hill. But, not too much snow to trudge through on the way back up again. So, they rode down and climbed back up. Over and over.
What I loved most of all, was how patient and kind Henry was to Anna as they played. Watching her get in and out of the sled, all roly-poly in her many, many layers - - well, it was a quite the challenge. But, Henry stuck with her. Offering leg-placement advice and a gentle boost here and there. Of course, Anna was determined too. That's my girl. Out to prove that she can hang with the big boys.
After nearly three hours, the kids finally ventured back inside. I think they made it up and down that hill at least two dozen times, before it was so dark that I could barely see them anymore from the window.
It really was a wonderful day. And,I am so grateful that they are finally old enough to be outside on their own. A fact which allows me to stay warm inside (not cold), watching all the fun (and beauty) from my kitchen window, and preparing the hot chocolate for the post-snow-warm-up.
See. I do love winter! Just on my terms. That's exactly why the first snowfall is in our family top five.
You know what else I love about the first snowfall? It (finally!) gives me permission to declare the following:
I love the holidays and I refuse to contain my excitement any longer. There. Said it.
I know these days, it is wildly unpopular to be all holiday-ish before Thanksgiving. But, I'm done waiting. I've been in the holiday-getting-ready-closet for weeks. Okay - for months. (I confess.) I love everything about the holiday season. The planning and list-making. The cooking and baking. The lights and decorating. The holiday surprises and the warm-fuzzy feelings. And of course, the music. (yes, the music!) These days, 24/7 holiday music is everywhere. And. I. Can't. Stop. Myself.
So -- "Let it snow, let it snow, let is snow...."
(My poor husband.....)
Henry keeps asking if we can start decorating the house right now. And honestly, I'd love to say yes, but I just can't. And for no reason other than we always, always start to decorate the day after Thanksgiving. It's tradition. Period. And for me, tradition always trumps temptation. For me, tradition is everything. Geez, that's what got me into this holiday-loving mess in the first place - - Yup. Mom and Grandma, again. They had a whole boat-load of holiday traditions that I just can't shake. And now (gratefully and happily) I get to pass it all along to my own kids.
So back in September (okay - August), I started planning for all the holiday hoopla, with my Hello Kitty notebook in tow. (don't ask me why Hello Kitty. It's the only notebook I could find when the urge struck!) It's all there: menus, recipes, gift lists, grocery lists, calendars, addresses, good ideas, and to-dos. And it goes with me everywhere.
Yup, I'm ready. And I'm loving every minutes of it!
From time to time, I must admit it feels a little crazy....starting to plan the holidays so early. But, I also know that all that pre-planning not only promises a fabulous holiday, filled with all the meaning and tradition and love that I had as a kid. But, it also provides all of us with an entire month of amazing. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Plays and parades and caroling and giving and cookie decorating and snuggles by the tree and light-filled night-time neighborhood walks. All of it. Together. We have the privilege of experiencing what the holidays are really meant to be.
I know the kids are only little once, and I refuse to miss a moment.
In the end, thanks to Hello Kitty, there will be no last minute holiday craziness. Just holiday magic.
And really, how could I resist a chance for more of this....