Comfort on Cold Days

This week we are recovering from yet another couple of illnesses and bracing ourselves for a long stretch of bitter cold and SNOW!  Right now the snow that my kids have been hoping for all winter, is falling.  I am originally from the deep south, and have a love-hate relationship with snow, though I appreciate it more every year.  During the winter, I sometimes feel a bit trapped by the walls of our house, and it’s easy to start dreading the moments rather than appreciating them.  Those are the times when I very much feel that saying that though the years fly by, the days can be long.  The second half of winter sure can make a big family in a small house feel awfully stir crazy!

In an effort to make our days feel more deliberate, and less chaotic (dirty boots, throwing up, runny noses, laundry out of control) I’ve been trying to figure out how to make this coming stretch of very cold, snowy weather less of something to dread, and maybe something that we will remember one day with, dare I say, fondness.

We’ve rearranged our living room, the only truly warm room in the house as it holds our woodstove.  If we lose power, it will be the only room that is bearable.  A friend recently gave us her small, round kitchen table, and it is now tucked in a corner for projects or school work.  I’ve actually packed away the few toys that were out, save for a small basket of wooden blocks and animals.  Sometimes less is more.  The couch is covered in wool blankets and we have plenty to read.

My hope is to spend lots of time under those blankets reading aloud.  If I’m lucky I’ll do a little bit of knitting.  I finished Simmer Dim over the weekend, and cast on another project.  I’ve been promising to cast on hat projects for both girls, so they will have something to keep their hands busy while I read.  Yesterday, I sat down and read a sweet little book cover to cover that I’ve been meaning to read to my kids for months.  That simple act made me feel so good.  I love that about being a mom.  That there are days when all you can do, and all you really need to do, is set most everything aside, and do the simplest thing:  snuggle up and read a good book to your kids, and everyone ends up feeling better.

p.s.

My kids are my biggest blog readers, and they come here to remember milestones and events, so I better make sure I record them:

-Last week we celebrated Keats’ twelfth birthday with his favorite foods for breakfast and dinner, lunch out with Jonny, and not a single gift to open.  His gift this year was a kayak, his only request (a big one at that).  The gift was found on Craigslist the week before and was pretty much impossible to hide.  This may be the year of the kayak in our family.  Everyone wants one.

-Job at 15 months has three words:  “Dada,” “Mama,” and “Nuh-nuh”  Nuh-nuh is used in reference to any food, and also to the “nuh-nuh” side when he’s nursing.  Night weaning efforts have improved things, but have not been a complete success due to illness and reality.

-Silas has been giving himself little haircuts here and there lately.  He brought me a long lock last week saying something like, “Here mommy.  I cut this for you.  It’s special.”  He knows I saved a lock from his first haircut.  He assumed that I would like more of his hair for my collection, I guess.  His hair has been such a disaster lately that I decided to basically shave it.  I think his change in appearance was initially traumatizing for the rest of the family, though I love the attention it brings to his face.  I LOVE his face and all his hilarious expressions.

Comments

  1. And, oh gosh, I forgot to say (and it’s what I originally intended to comment on!) how very precious that book The Mouse of Amherst is (and was in our household a good number of years ago). I must pull it off the shelf for youngest to read.

  2. Blogging with the intention for your children’s’ future–a way to look back on your homeschool life together– is just lovely. I struggled for a while with the blogging idea but seen in this light it frees one to make memories this way much like the paper and pen journal style but with camera in hand. So lovely the memories you are creating for your dear ones. I wish I had of thought of this earlier in life when mine were a bit younger, but all the same, it’s never too late either.

    And on a different note…I love that bed!

  3. The picture of the kids sitting on the couch with Trudy is very precious. I love moments like this with my children…..sitting side-by- side snuggling.

  4. Too funny about Silas! So sweet. I like to imagine my kids in 20-25 years reading through my blog…I think it would be quite fascinating to read something similar written by my own mother about my childhood, so I hope my children feel the same. Warm thoughts to you, Ginny.

  5. It’s lovely that your children read your blog. I remember reading book after book to my sons when they were younger. We loved it. I ended up knowing some of their favourite stories off by heart.

  6. We are backwards-I grew up in the north and live in the Deep South. 🙂 My favorite snow memory from childhood, though, was making “snowball cookies” (Russian teacakes/Mexican wedding cookies) each time the first snow arrived. And they’re perfect with tea or hot cocoa. 🙂

  7. You are hilarious, Ginny! “Due to illness and reality” made me laugh out loud, although I totally realize that working on night weaning isn’t funny at all. BTW, Silas looks *so* adorable with the short hair.

  8. 🙂 Can you tell me about your slippers?

  9. My three year old daughter had been on a hair-cutting kick since the summer. A couple weeks ago she gave herself angles over the course of a few days. It is somewhat infuriating, but as long as she doesn’t go after her bangs she does a pretty decent job of keeping things even and unnoticeable.

  10. We have the winter doldrums. We’ve had a snowy winter with over 5 feet on the ground and more on it’s way. Our 15 passenger van isn’t the best snow vehicle and sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be able to leave the house again

  11. We once hid a kayak in our hayloft for a week before Christmas. It wasn’t easy getting it up there, but sure worked as a great hiding place.

  12. A kayak is an awesome birthday present! I grew up near Chicago and always loved winter, but I’ll admit I’m struggling more with it here in the South with small children. 1) There’s not generally good snow for outdoor sports, just damp chilly weather day after day so the things I love best about winter are missing, and 2) Having a number of small children to diaper, bundle up, and undress for every outing is definitely a lot harder than throwing on your own gear and snowshoes and heading out the door! We do try to get out when we can, though, and like you read a lot of good books and try to set up a home environment that promotes coziness and interest vs. stir-craziness.

  13. Our snow fell Sunday night. Luckily it was snow, and not an ice storm. My children are thrilled. I love your cozy winter ideas. Reading, knitting, and snuggling sound like the best plans on days like these (in between the romps in the snow). I love Silas’ haircut behavior – I mean, I’m sorry he’s snipping his hair off, but that is too cute that he brings it to you to save! Hope everyone in your family is feeling better soon!

  14. I love this line ‘due to illness and reality’! It just so applies to life with kidlets….

  15. We are coming out of a cold stretch here with -40 nights. We are coming down with something too. Hoping you all feel better soon.

  16. It’s about this time of year when I think the only “safe” place to be is home. Every where people are sick — even at church. I think winter is why we all gain a few pounds a year — there’s nothing to do but cook and eat. 😉 Good thing for Lent. I would do more knitting and crafting if it weren’t for all the cooking and laundry. Stay warm. (That’s another reason to eat!)

    PS love that picture of the three on the sofa — and I love Silas’s hair cut!

  17. Katie Rinker says:

    Ginny, your photos are just so gorgeous. And you are RIGHT. I dread winter days as well, but this has made me stop and think – attitude is everything and if I am feeling claustrophobic and grumpy, so will the kids and we will all miss out on opportunities to be grateful and joyful. 🙂

  18. I definitely have fond memories of childhood winter because of the extra coziness. My parents probably remember the wet piles of snow gear and cabin fever, but I don’t! I’m in Canada at the moment for an unplanned quick trip and I’m disappointed the weather is more like spring 🙂

  19. At least you can shave him, while you couldn’t shave Beatrix! He’s taking after her with the scissors, isn’t he? 😀
    Try to enjoy the snow, Ginny, and be glad you’re not in Connecticut (or Mass.). There’s really no point in going outside. You can only walk on the roads, the yard is piled high; and it’s way too cold for comfort anyhow. Brrrr!

    A blessed Lent to you! 🙂

  20. I identified with so many things in this post! The stir crazy kids are here also! 🙂 We are currently reading that little book also! 🙂 Lovely, newsy post!

  21. Beautiful as always. We got a good icing here at the NC/SC border last night. Love to you all!

  22. The winter gloomies are hitting hard here, too. -35, several feet of snow… It seems like it might never end— but of course, Spring always does come. On that we can count. The photo of 3.5 kids on the couch + puppy made me smile. Maybe today is the day I buy a nice vase of flowers to brighten things up. 🙂

  23. I love the sound of your home! I wish I could do it over again and be at home with mine! I don’t want to be a downer but when they are all gone it will be these times that you look back on and treasure!!! I’ve always said the Lord knew just what He was doing when He created seasons. Winter is a season of rest, a time to be together after the fall harvest and before the spring planting! Enjoy!!!!!! {hugs} and I hope you are all feeling better soon!

  24. we had snow again here and it’s COLD!! 🙂 I like it esp. if it is sunny out. I think that this is good, to have just books, blankets and a wood stove. Many years to Keats! and God bless you all. Including the Bees that I see you are seeking to keep warm.

  25. The phrase “due to illness and reality” might be the best phrase used by a Mom I have ever read on a blog EVER. We are in Phoenix and it is basically our spring now, with temperatures in the 80s. I miss having regular seasons but even with our weather, we are doing much of the same in the evenings…reading aloud together.

  26. stay warm! we have been very cold here this past weekend and finally we will be in the mid twenties! I took a short walk yesterday because I had to get outside but it was quite chilly. love the hair cutting story, neither of mine did their own hair styles but my sister loved to cut her hair.

  27. Oh the winter blues. I understand. We here in the Maritimes of Canada are going through a slew of storms. It’s getting hard to find where to put the snow and some have snow half way up their front doors. Then it rains. Then it freezes. And those things due back at the library today? Well, they will just have to be late because there is no getting down our hill let along back up. And it’s -13C not including windchill.

    Suffice it to say there hasn’t been much outdoor time what with the back door blocked in with icy drifts and the gate to the back yard is frozen shut. So there has been Minecrafting, knitting, reading and dancing and cards games. And a bit of art.

    I love those slippers! I made a pair and they were the easiest and so so warm! Unfortunately, our old floors here have ways of grabbing at yarn and eating holes in soles within a week. I am in the process of sewing some felted sweater pieces to the bottom in hopes I can wear them again.

    Hope you all get back to health soon. I miss opening the windows for fresh air. It’s so good for the lungs and the soul. And those bees, may they stay warm and strong as well. 🙂

  28. Love the pictures of your knitting and your bedroom. I wish I had a bed like that. I’ll have to scour your projects and see if you talked about making it. We totally gutted an old farm house 11 years ago and saved all the interior doors. My kids, now 23, 27, and 30, decided at Christmas they each wanted one of the old doors to do something with it. They are now waiting in my garden shed for their “plans”.

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