Saturday, January 11, 2014

We Got Sunshine Finally!

After illness and frigid temperatures we were finally able to get outside!!! Oh, the glory of sunshine and children burning energy!

I only stayed outside with the campers for about an hour. I'm not sure if it has been swimmers ear or an ear infection but for most of the week my ear hurt as though someone were hitting me on it with a baseball bat. However, the children all had a blast on Friday almost all day long!

Before lunch they spent two and a half hours outside, one of which I was out there with them. They made snow angels, snowmen, went sledding down a small hill of snow (made from the snow plow at the end of our street), and started to build a fort/igloo.

I didn't help with any of the building of the snowmen, they worked together as a team and built them all by themselves. And though I'm only putting one picture here where they'd built the first snowman if you come check out the blog on Monday I'll be showing off a whole family of snowmen they built on their own and some other fun things we did.

I gave a few instructions to the girls about how to use a sled and what the pink handles were for (neat hand brakes my sleds never had when I was a child by the way). Within moments I had two little girls using that sled as if they'd been doing it their whole lives! Their big brother let them use the sled by themselves for about half an hour or so before he just had to join in. By this point I'd gone in the house, attempting to protect my ear, and within moments I heard arguing.

So, I popped out the front door and spoke to them about taking turns and how the sled could just as easily be put away as it had been taken out. Things quickly began to settle down as you can imagine. Although, convincing a twelve year old boy to only sled down the "safe" side of the hill was a little harder than convincing a five year old girl to take turns.

Peanut was, of course, the first to come in out of the cold. I made her hot chocolate and got her lunch set out in front of her while the older two spent about fifteen more minutes outside working on their fort/igloo. I don't often feed my children prepackaged "junk" lunches but these were a special request and they did so well this week that I gave in. Once in a while it's OK to let the little things slide.

When the older two did come in they were chilled but happy, with that rosy color to their cheeks that only comes from having fun in the snow. Hot chocolates all around and their prepackaged "junk" lunches all passed out, I tossed every item that had been outside in the snow into the drier. Including what had been on the snowman. All three children wanted to go back outside and there's nothing better than dry and warm things to bundle into before heading out. While the things were drying we did a few other things inside for fun, one of which you'll get to hear all about and get a step by step how to on Monday.

Just as soon as the drier beeped I had three children whooping and hollering that it was time to go outside. So the bundling up process happened all over again and they were sent out the side door. I watched as they happily worked for over an hour as a team to build two more snowmen next to the first one. After which they spent another two hours racing up and down that hill, sledding, working on their fort/igloo, and burying themselves to the waist in snow while Daddy and I watched contentedly from the side door/window.

Of course when they did come inside, after much coaxing and being told dinner would be soon, there were rosy cheeks and red fingers (the cold and wet had seeped through the gloves!). Into the tub with two little girls. Into the drier with the winter things again. And a twelve year old who changed and curled up to read.

That made for 5.75 hours outside in one day right after the Arctic Vortex had swooped through depositing over two feet of snow in our area along with temperatures in the negative 30's (once wind chill was factored in). Friday was the first day warm enough to play outside and we weren't able to get outside on Saturday (today) due to rain and melting snow. Michigan weather ... go figure. Yesterday I had two feet of snow and today my yard is flooded with snow melt.

For those of you keeping track of our progress for the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge this makes our year to date total 152.50 hours out doors! I'll be happy when the weather stabilizes a bit and we're outside more often. For those of you wondering about how many hours ECJ has more than we do (due to shoveling and other yard work) he's got 7.5 hours more than we do at this point.

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