Saturday, January 15, 2011

Embracing Winter

In 2006 when I moved to Vermont it was the tail end of summer. The temperatures were warm and my favorite season, autumn, was right around the corner. That fall we went for drives to see the leaves changing, I bought lots of pumpkins & scarecrows to decorate the house, and every weekend it seemed we were going to a new town to check out their Fall Festival. Maybe it was all the fresh apple cider or the newly discovered Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Pumpkin Spice...but I was enchanted with Vermont, so much so that somehow I blocked out of my mind the reality of what was to come. By early November I realized that I was going to have to learn to love winter & all of its glories. Or my picturesque view (and residence) of the green mountain state would have come to abrupt end.

You see, growing up in Delaware we would have about 12 inches of snow for the whole year and the temperatures were rarely below freezing. When it did snow life would stop and the entire state would shut down. The grocery store would be packed as people rushed in to buy milk and bread.

Needless to say my first winter in Vermont was quite the wake-up call. I didn't have the right clothes for staying outside for an extended period of time. I had a one year old that could barely walk and who hated his snowsuit and mittens with a passion. We had horrible shovels that made the task of clearing the driveway a nightmare. And I hadn't grown my 'winter skin' as someone recently explained. {Seriously -- look at the picture. My son is wearing unlined cotton mittens, soft leather booties, and fleece pants. Not to even mention the crappy shovel and ridicously long driveway!}

Luckily over the last four years I have learned to LOVE winter. Not just tolerate it while I wait for spring...but I really have embraced it. Buying the right clothes and learning to layer has made a world of a difference. A scoop shovel and some fun snow toys also helped, but my most influential factor in embracing winter is having kids.

This past fall at my son's preschool they made a chart of the kid's favorite season. By far the top pick was winter. What kid doesn't love snow, and snowballs, and snowmen, and snow shelters, and winter tracking, and sledding, and ice skating, and on & on. Spending time playing in the snow is magical. Gearing up and heading outside is not a dreaded's what they look forward to.

This winter my daughter is just a bit older than my son was that first winter we lived in Vermont. Whether it's her dispostion or my skill (or a bit of both) getting dressed and out the door is much less laborious. She eagerly gets her boots and mittens for me to put on her. Even her snowsuit goes on without much fuss. It's clear that she too is embracing winter~~ and it didn't take her nearly as long as it did for me!

So my advice for you? Buy good quality snow gear for all members of your family. (Even if snowy days don't come as frequently as they do for us.) Then feed off your child's enthusiasm and get outside to embrace winter yourself.

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