Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Let’s get the shock out of the way right up front: My part of California doesn’t get snow.


We get ice, we even get hail occasionally, but never, ever do we get fluffy white stuff that sticks to the ground. Even the hail tends to melt on impact with the soil.

I’ll give those of you currently living in sixteen feet of the stuff with no apparent end in sight a moment to recover.

You don’t have to go too far north, however, before the snowy bits start. About an hour and a half, and you’ll be wading hip deep in the stuff.

However…we don’t go there. Because we don’t ski, and have an aversion to the traffic caused by those who do. And also the fact that so many Californian SUV drivers apparently believe the commercials and think their Expedition can drive through the snow as if it were a clear, sunny day in August on a race track makes us very, verrrry nervous.

I once watched a guy in an SUV rear-end the truck in front of him three. times. Dude. Figure it out: Snow + Ice + Speed + Stopped Traffic = Cowboy Bob there is gonna rearrange your face in a second.

You. Can’t. Tailgate. In. Icy. Conditions.


But I digress.

A few weeks ago, we had planned a Snow Day. The Denizens haven’t ever been to the snow (not that they remember, anyway), and having been in extensive contact with a good friend who recently got a job with the forest service and moved with his son into a place near Twain Harte (where there is snow, and plenty of it) and having heard many tales from his son about skiing for PE at his school and other snow-themed fun things, they were really excited about going.

And then Mother Nature said, “HAHAHAHAHA!” and filled that weekend with a really spectacular snowy blast that closed roads and dumped feet and feet and feet of white stuff all over everything and we said, “Yeaaaaaah, no. Not a good weekend to travel through into the Sierras.”

Then Saturday, we suffered some kind of momentary insanity decided that we’d better get on with it if we were going to do it at all, and get up there.

The kids, upon hearing that we were going up to the snow, responded with tremendous energy. And ear-splitting shrieks. And a lot of running, and skidding, and sliding, and fetching of extra socks and other arctic gear.

Captain Adventure ran to put on not one, but two long-sleeved shirts. And then he ran back upstairs yelling, “Wait, mommy, I need-it swedder!” and produced from one of his drawers a sweater I’d knitted for Boo Bug a couple years ago.

This is going to be its last year among us, because it barely squeezed over his head.

Good sweater shot

Speaking of barely squeezing over his head…the next thing he did was holler, “WAIT! I need-it hat, mommy, where hat?!”

And then he produced that hat, which is also two years old, which I made for him with the matching sweater, which went off to a new home last year because it was way too small for him. Just like that hat is now. He got it on his head through sheer determination and the miracle of stretchy wool.

Now, where that boy learned of the need for sweaters and hats in snow, I have no idea. But by golly he knew what he needed even if he’d never been exposed to why, and he insisted on wearing them in the van all the way up.

It’s a wonder he didn’t sweat to death.

There was great excitement…and a slight touch of uncertainty at first.

if snow were waves

But pretty quick they were out there exploring.

arctic explorers

Aaaaaand it didn’t take long for them to figure out that snow could be thrown.

one pink, one blue

And made pretty good artistic material.

artist at work

Boo Bug’s snowman

You will note only three children in these pictures. Eldest spent very little time outside initially before declaring that snow is cold (I mean, who KNEW?!) and retreating inside to curl up next to the wood burning stove with a book. Sigh. By the time she emerged again, the grownups were sitting around grousing about the high costs of everything and drinking sodas, with the camera back in Daddy’s pocket. Not a single picture of her. {harrumph!}

Eventually, the day wound down. The children changed into dry clothes, we went out for pizza and hot cocoa, then piled them back into the minivan for the drive home.

They buzzed like a happy little hive of bees all the way. “Mommy, do you remember my snowman? Do you remember when I fell into the hole? Do you remember when Captain Adventure hit you with that big chunk of snow? The squirrel that ran across the road and then yelled at us? The dogs that barked, the tree that had fallen down, the tin can with the BB holes in it, the way the water was dripping off the house like rain because of the snow melting?”

Heh. Yeah, I remember, guys…it was only, what, twenty minutes ago?! My memory may be bad, but it’s not that bad!

One of the neat things about kids is that they can remind grumpy old grownups that life is so very, very beautiful. So full of new things to see and touch and smell and live. Even things that seem very, very simple to us are thrilling to a child experiencing it for the first time.

One of my favorite things about being their mother is being able to experience that kind of wonder again, through their eyes.

Makes for a pretty contented life, all things considered.

It surely does.


Anonymous said...

What fun! We got a few inches here in NC on Sunday/Monday which cancelled school (I know, I know, but they couldn't even get the sand trucks out for all the pouring rain on Saturday/Sunday). Our little one spent two hours out playing, waiting on his brother to Wake.Up. and then decided he was done. :)

Stephanie said...

I'm with Eldest. Snow is cold. And better enjoyed from inside next to a fire. :) Maybe it is a birth order thing.

PipneyJane said...

Awww... Captain Adventure is cute!

I love snow, but then I grew up in sunny Melbourne where it snowed about once a century. When it snows in London, I'm like a kid in a candy store.

- Pam

Anonymous said...

Aaawwwww, that's great! Captain Adventure looks adorable in his "swedder". The novelty of the white stuff has definitely worn off for us this year, but I'm sure that when the first snow falls next winter, we'll be just as enthralled as ever. Glad the kids had a good time.

Rena said...

hah! Queen Teen has the exact same reaction to snow. "It's cold." No thank you, I'll be inside.

It looks like a great day! Thanks for sharing.