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A Glimpse of Winter

It’s official: my kids are Texans. 

This week we’ve had a bunch of frozen rain and my kids are fascinated by the ice and frozen ground. Walking home from school on Monday took twice as long as usual (even though it was 28 degrees outside) because we had to keep stopping in awe at the wonders of winter. 

“The grass is CRUNCHING! It’s crunching because it’s frozen!”
“Guys! Look! There are ICICLES! We’ve never seen icicles!”
“I saw A SNOWFLAKE!”
“There was a mini-blizzard while we were in school!”

Yikes. These kind of proclamations don’t happen with kids used to real, actual, winters. As a winter-loving girl myself (I will take cold and gray over sunshine and warmth any day) I am both delighted by how much they are enjoying the small blast of winter we’re currently having and sad that this is what they consider a blizzard. Mostly because it didn’t actually snow at all. Though it’s nice to know that they enjoyed being outside in below-freezing temperatures- they’ve been asking us for months when we’re going to move to a place where it snows and if we can go on vacation in the winter instead of the summer so we can travel to somewhere with snow. They know just how to make this winter-loving-mother happy.

They obviously weren’t the only Texas-kids-that-have-clearly-never-seen-real-winter because of the confused and curious exclamations from other kids as they left school on Monday into the ice. Plus the number of people walking to and from school has dwindled to basically us and two other families. 

We’re getting more freezing rain as I type this, so hopefully their fascination holds strong. I love the weather and will be enjoying every second of it before it goes back to being in the 70s next week. (if you’re in Boston under 100 feet of snow, please don’t send me hate mail- let’s trade places instead)

Don't laugh at our sad attempts at winter!

Don’t laugh at our sad attempts at winter!

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Upsides

I’ve done a lot of bitching and moaning about our new post. It’s no secret that this post is not where I would have picked to live. I’m feeling pretty isolated and it affects the way I look at everything and how I talk about where we live. But we always tell our kids that “a good attitude makes a good day” and it’s high time I take that advice myself. 

Living here isn’t all downsides. In fact, my kids adore it here. They couldn’t be happier and that makes it easier for me. School is going really well and my fears about a rough transition from homeschool to public school turned out to be unfounded. Whew. 

The other great thing for them (and, by extension, for me) is our neighborhood. We waited a little longer for a house here on post because we wanted to live in this neighborhood and it was absolutely worth the extra time as a family of 6 in a hotel. We have a playground literally right outside our front door and the street is full of other elementary school kids. The boys are constantly outside playing with neighbors. They run around the playground, they wander from yard to yard. And I can see them from my front porch or front window the whole time. It’s fantastic. 

I grew up on a street sort of like this- we were just missing the playground. There were a pack of us that were all more-or-less the same age. We’d play outside for hours and hours- making up games, going from yard to yard, playing sports. I am still in touch with most of them (Facebook friends, at the very least) and one is still one of my best friends (Hi, Liz!). I consider it a gift from my parents. It was a sacrifice for them and I know that not everyone is lucky enough to live on a safe street in a safe neighborhood that’s full of other kids. But we were able to be both active and use our imaginations, all the time. Without anyone having to shuttle us to a class where a teacher taught us how to do it. 

We don’t get to pick where we live. I know I won’t be able to give my kids the same thing I had, living on the same street for over a decade and growing up with the same kids by my side for all that time. There’s a lot more upheaval and uncertainty for my kids because of my husband’s career in the Army. So while I wouldn’t have chosen this post and will probably be happy (for myself) whenever we get to leave it, I am thrilled that my kids get to have a little bit of my own childhood experiences neighborhood experiences… even if it’s just for a little while. I hope they’ll look back at this time in their lives with fondness, remembering being able to run free and play. It’s not that they’re on their own, but it feels like that to them. And that’s powerful for kids, allowing them to take ownership of their games and imaginations. I feel really lucky that we’re all getting to experience it together! 

And while we’re here, I’ll keep trying to remind myself to have a good attitude and to look at the bright side- like the boys running around playing with the neighborhood pack. 

The boys and our immediate neighbor keep organizing pickup soccer games.

The boys and our immediate neighbor keep organizing pickup soccer games.

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Most Random Christmas List Request Is…

The boys worked together to make some Christmas lists. For more than an hour, a week or so ago. I’m glad they spent so much time on it, because it really was quiet while they actually cooperated and refrained from fighting for MORE THAN AN HOUR. I used this time to catch up on some HGTV. Important stuff, clearly. 

They appeared to be working with some catalogs that we have received in the mail over the last few weeks (thank you, every company that makes anything you can give to a child as a gift, for filling our mailbox with suggestions) and were even kind enough to add up the total cost of their gift requests for “Santa” (aka, me and Sergeant Handsome). Their lists added up to 0ver 840 bucks worth of stuff. Each. 

Umm, “Santa” is one freelance PR copywriter/full-time volunteer and one soldier on a government salary. Ain’t nobody got 840 bucks to be spending, times FOUR, for Christmas gifts. I mean, they didn’t actually make a list for the 2-year old- being the baby of the family means you always get the shaft, sorry you haven’t been baptized yet either- but I’ll just extrapolate from their requests. 

Their lists were not just expensive, they were also weird. Like, where-did-you-guys-come-from-because-I’m-totally-normal-so-how-did-I-have-weirdo-kids random. They included things like “intergalactic play set, “box of jokes,” and “bubble gum making kit.” Although the 6-year old did say, “But we won’t get that one, right, Mommy? Since you and Santa say we shouldn’t chew gum because it’s bad for us.”

Also on a list, that of our oldest, the 8-year old?

“Charms and Trinkets”

What. In. The. Actual. Eff. 

First of all, huh? Second of all, how did you value said “charms and trinkets” in your final tally for cost to “Santa?”  Third, I’m pretty sure he’s asking for trash. Like the shiny buttons and stuff he finds on the playground and wants to keep forever. I don’t know what to do with this information. I swear this was really on the list. Check it out: 

Weird Christmas List Requests

He’s got horrible handwriting, it’s a LD-related thing, but yes. That is my 8-year old son requesting “charms and trinkets” for Christmas.

I hope he’s cool with the bicycle that he’s actually getting. I’ll keep you updated so you’ll know if he’s the only kid on the planet that comes downstairs to a brand-new bike and looks around to ask, “but what about those charms and trinkets I asked for?” with disappointment in his voice.

Hey, kid- this bike means you can take yourself to search for all the charms and trinkets you can find. Within view of the house, at least. Maybe if you’re good you can get a basket for the bike for your birthday and you can put all your trinkets in there.  

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