February 18, 2015

Two Kids + An Epic Winter

It's no secret that Boston has been pummeled with storm after storm in the last few weeks, each armed with several feet of new snow. It's impossible to accurately describe how much snow we are working with;12 foot banks line our driveway and surround our house. Shoveling is a puzzle, with nowhere left to put all this snow. Pulling out of the driveway is quite literally a leap of faith, there is zero visibility. The entire neighborhood is completely transformed, and I actually have found myself lost on drives that are part of my daily routine, just because the landscape is suddenly and oddly unfamiliar. 

I know that everyone here is absolutely done with winter, but I have to quietly confess that I am still enjoying the season. It's a giant pain, but also exciting and beautiful. Call me crazy, but I'm just not yet suffering those winter blues. I am finding though, that with many days requiring lots of indoor time, entertaining two little ones is more work than ever. I'm not one for planning activities in advance, or scheduling any of our time, so most of my survival strategies shake out from my own interests around the house, and some minor resourcefulness. So far, we're hanging in there happily, but if these storms persist through to March, send help!

*build forts

build forts: This is one of those mandatory indoor day activities. I think every childhood should include many many blanket forts, filled with stuffed animals and books and annoying musical instruments... and ideally including a 'no adults' policy.

*surprise projects

surprise projects: As I mentioned, I am terrible at planning (or shopping) ahead for any activities, but we do have a stockpile of gifted puzzles and kits that make for an exciting surprise on a cranky afternoon. In a pinch, a few boxes or cups and some beans or rice can also be thrilling... though ultimately messy! In our house, the more suddenly these projects appear, the better. Any advance notice results in inflated expectations and whining, the surprise is half the enjoyment.

*sprout / grow

sprout / grow: Nothing brightens up the winter gloom like a little green. I love planting bulbs, like paperwhites, the kids can help with watering and see fast results. We will soon be planting some seeds, and we've been experimenting with several different types of sprouts. All you need is a mason jar, some cheesecloth (or a special sprouting lid, which makes things even easier), and some appropriate seeds. The kids love the rinsing  each day, and as a bonus they're tasty.

*bake / cook

bake / cook: We do a baking project at least once a week, and while for years I would beat the standard drum that 'help' from kids actually makes things twice as complicated, I now find 4 year old Little Smith legitimately helpful. He can measure cups of flour and stir, and Roo seems to follow his lead, even if her aim isn't always spot on. Sometimes they do go nuts and suddenly the room is covered in flour, but less often than you might imagine. 

*live dangerously

live dangerously: Every child has a different temperament, and every family has to work out appropriate boundaries, but we let our kids have a lot of autonomy around the house, and access to things that some might view as inappropriate or dangerous. The fireplace is a prime example, we've been lighting a fire every evening for the kids. They both quickly drag pillows and blankets to the floor and get cozy while snacking on pretzels. I haven't encountered anything else that keeps them both glued to their seats and quiet as effectively, and I often do leave them unattended and prepare dinner (one room over) while they fire gaze. They both understand the concept of 'hot', and I do think that their heightened attention has something to do with the awareness of potential danger. 

For safety, they have been instructed to head over to the lounge chair, on the other side of the room, if they want to roll around and wrestle... and we also do allow them to poke and shove each other until someone begs us to intervene... or until someone bites (I have no patience for that! We all have our limits).

*embrace the snow

embrace the snow: We love us some snow, and any day that isn't insanely cold is going to include some outside time. At this point, the snow is well over both of the kids' heads and we can't even get into many of the local parks. A simple trek to the yard is a big adventure, and Roo is easily frustrated and probably a little young to really push through such a substantial winter. Even when it's challenging, I find that forcing ourselves outside every day makes a huge difference in every one's spirits. We are contemplating snowshoes for Little Smith, this might just be the year!


With March nearing, I am already feeling the tingling of spring and it puts all this snow into perspective (although honestly, how will it ever all melt!?!) Here's hoping that we can finish out this winter feeling cozy, happy, and somewhat sane!

Oh and Lauren has compiled a fantastic list of projects for kids over the years. Here is one that I currently have my eye on, if only we had some marshmallows on hand.


  1. Aw, thanks for the shout-out, Lilly! The sheer amount of snow you guys are dealing with just blows my mind. What is going to happen when it all melts? Yikes!!! I am always so impressed by your attitude during winter. I think maybe because you grew up in a colder climate, but I have little tolerance for winter come February. We have lucked out until now— having short warm snaps in between the colder days. You guys are hearty folks :)

  2. I CANNOT believe how much snow you have gotten! We have had less than usual this year. But it's super cold, seemingly all the time. The dogs cannot even walk outside for more than a couple of minutes without lifting a paw. I admire your ability to enjoy winter. I just cannot. But spring is surely on the way. And I am planning summer activities already. Love your pictures! Jo

  3. Amazing snow Lilly, I just cannot imagine what it must be like! x

  4. And we thought we had a lot of snow with our little foot! Crazy winter-- so late (but I'm glad is here too and wouldn't mind it if it hangs around a little longer).

  5. Go, mama, go! I love seeing their relationship... and a mama who brings them along in daily doings. :)