For Family Home Evening on night in December, Julia asked everyone to draw a picture of the Nativity. We all complied except Ella, who is stubborn as all get out and colored something else. It was actually a very sweet experience. Julia enjoyed seeing her parents draw (poorly on my part, but sometimes your kids need to see you do something poorly), and I enjoyed seeing her depiction of the Savior's birth. She even wrote "Away in the Manger..." along the top of each piece.
A few weeks later, wanting to purge the house of all the piles of paper but not wanting to forget this experience, I took a picture of each person with their Nativity.
At this point it became apparent to Ella that she had not completed this assignment. Everyone else was having their picture taken, and she was left out. I didn't feel that bad for her, because I'm a jerk of a parent sometimes, and also because she was the one who wouldn't participate in FHE, she can deal with the consequences.
But then I did feel bad, so we grabbed a picture of her from school and snapped a shot of her holding that. She is pretty cute, you have to admit, even if she makes me want to pull my hair out sometimes.
Time to play a little catch up. Ok, a lot of catch up. Bear with me.
This winter was cold. Bitterly cold. We're talking windchills in the -30s and -40s. Also this winter, I signed up for a Feel Great in 8 challenge, which is an 8 week competition of eating right and exercising. My standard form of exercising is walking. So I decided to pull on the snow pants, bundle up my face, and turn my regular sissy walking into extreme walking.
Every day that Ella went to school (3 times a week), I would drop her off and then head down on the path by the river. It's a beautiful path in the summer and fall, and I discovered that it's also beautiful in the winter. The frozen river, the freshly fallen snow, the complete solitude. It was actually lovely.
Sure, I looked ridiculous with my giant scarf wrapped around my face, but no one was there to see it. I had the path to myself most days. Except for the 2 days I saw a coyote cross the trail. Other than that, I only saw tracks, no people. And I loved it. I loved my eyes freezing from the cold, my scarf covered in miniature icicles from my breath. I loved the extra work it was to walk through fresh snow, 4, 5, 6 inches deep. I missed the warm sun, but I found great beauty in the winter, even in the coldest of temperatures.
Plus, you know, bragging rights. I went for a stroll in -40 degree weather. Not many people are that extreme. (Or crazy.)
I also used my skis once or twice. We bought those skis when we moved to Michigan, thinking we'd use them all the time. This winter marked the 3rd time ever. Turns out The Great White North isn't so great with the white. But those 3 times I've used them have been wonderful! I think I must be some kind of winter fanatic. Which sounds insane, I know, but I'd much rather be snuggled up under a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa than sticky and sweating while eating a popsicle under the ceiling fan.
While I have no pictures of it, I was also privy to the miraculous unfolding of spring this year. Each week on my walks I'd discover sprouts and buds springing forth out of the barren winter landscape. When I'd miss a day or two, the changes were even more stark. We went from white and frozen and (as much as I love winter, let's face it) dead through the muddy thaw to green and growing and leafy. That walk is now full shade, and full of bikers and runners and dog walkers. Everything has come to life, and that in itself is a beautiful thing. This summer I'm going to miss my walks in the woods. But perhaps I can convince the girls to go with me, and then we can enjoy summer in the woods, sweat and ticks and all!