Now this is Winter

Maria and Mario with "Frosty"

Frosty with armsWe woke up Saturday morning to at least eight inches of snow blanketing our front and back yard in addition to the double jogging stroller I accidentally left outside – ugh.   Also woke up to Jon moaning and groaning due to my virus deciding to move into him after attacking Maria.  Mario has been the only survivor in this house.  I think the dog even has a touch of it (or he is just moping around because we all are!). 

When I heard Jon moaning, I immediately felt a touch of anxiety move across me knowing that I had an entire weekend with the kids and with no ability to go anywhere due to the snow (I exaggerate only a little – they predicted temperatures in the low 20s, which is not conducive for outside play for the little ones).   Yes, it was my personal nightmare.  However, after a little self-pity and a few bowls of Honey Bunches of Oats, I reversed my mindset to one of excitement for having a full weekend to enjoy in our home, which I have not done in months (I would say that we spend nearly every weekend on the road visiting grandmas and grandpas, cousins or aunts). 

We started the morning with almost an hour of tv (I needed some initial “me” time with the newspaper and some couch vegging) but then we were off to the races.  We played school (Maria teaches Mario and me about “choices” (different games we can decide to play based on her daycare set-up), then how to do a puzzle, and then how to be quiet when she talks (which was most important by far, seeing that I tried to say something to Mario while she was speaking and she screamed right in my face “Mary, Be Quiet, I am the teacher and I only talk!”).  Which takes me on a quick tangent… 

If this daughter of mine does not become a corporate executive, I will be amazed.  The other day I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up and she promptly responded “the Boss.”  No question about it.  No ifs ands or butts.  And my dad had a hilarious moment with her the other weekend when we celebrated my grandma’s 90th birthday.  He was kind enough to entertain her for a while, and asked her if she wanted to go to a side room to “have a meeting.”  Dad started it up by setting forth some initiatives he wanted to enact and asking if she agreed.  Soon after this charade began, she asked him when she was going to be the boss.  He kindly allowed her to take over, and boy, did she give him a run for his money!  She spewed on and on about things and he finally raised his hand and asked if he could add something.  “No! I am the boss!” she replied sharply surely putting anyone else in their place (grandpa was not deterred!).  He then responded with “You are not too nice of a boss” to which she quickly shot back “that is not a nice thing to say to your boss.”  Beautiful.  Then, if it could not get any better, dad told her that they needed to close up the meeting and he told her the question to figure out was whether they should buy a new car or not.  Maria looked at him intently, thought about the question, and replied “Weather, weather is what is in the air….”  Dad almost fell out of his chair.  She is the quintessential corporate executive – demanding respect, abrasive, ignoring questions she does not want to answer, and finding a way to answer them in some backwards upside down fashion – actually, a career as a politician may be up her alley, too….  Ok, long side note.  Back to our winter fest. 

After playing school, we moved onto storekeeper.  Maria got out the cash register and found some money to put in the drawer, and was all set to be the storekeeper.  However, that pesky little brother noticed that she had gotten it all together and decided that he wanted to take over the show.  He scooted in next to her, pinched her arm, and shouted “I’m storekeeper!”  Now, this is a fairly regular occurence with Mario and I attempt to stop him in his tracks when I am close by and hear it happening.  But there are  a few times when I am not, and in those cases, Maria graciously gives it up for her brother.  No whining, no crying, no stomping around.  She allows him to enjoy it and then takes her turn.  Amazing.  Thank the heavens that she came first.  Maria and I choose something to buy and Mario tells us everything costs 5 dollars.  We give him one dollar and we are off to our tent that is acting as a car.  We drive off with Mario the storekeeper saying “Be careful, don’t let spiders get you” (his latest wish goodbye to everyone he meets).  Then it is Maria’s turn to act as storekeeper and Mario and I engage in the same scenario. 

Next, Maria paints some valentines’ cards and Mario plays with play-doh (“playing with play-doh” is essentially throwing bits of it across the room and laughing hysterically).  After this activity, it is close to 11:30 am, and I think it is finally warm enough to go outside and build our snowman.  We run upstairs to layer ourselves up, and trudge back downstairs almost a half of an hour later with layers upon layers of clothes on our bodies.  Then, as if we could barely move at that point, the kids donned their snowsuits and boots, hats and gloves, and we were off for the great adventure of the front yard.  Our snowman came alive in no time.  We even got sticks for its arms. 

By that time, we all agreed that Stauf’s hot chocolate and muffins were in order so we trekked up to our old coffeehouse for some treats.  I loved every second of that trip.  The hike up there through the high piles of snow (and Maria finally walking the entire trip by herself!).  The warmth of the coffeehouse and the smell of the coffee beans roasting.   Sitting at the wooden table with Maria and Mario, eating our muffins and bagel, drinking hot chocolate, talking about what to name the Snowman (Mario looked at me quizzically and said “Frosty, mommy!” Duh!), what disney characters we liked best, what we were going to do during the week after we got home from school, how we cannot wait for summer so we can swim….  God, it was great.  We packed on all of our winter gear and took off after almost an hour at Stauf’s and with both getting sleepy.  Maria cried that she could not walk home due to a massive belly ache so I carried her on my back while carrying Mario in my arms on my front (yes, the neighborhood regulars do think I am insane).  We had to stop and situate ourselves every half block.  I tried to educate Maria that we would get home a lot faster if she would just walk, but her belly hurt and there was no rationalization on her part. 

We finally got home, tore off our winter wear, laid on the couch, watched a Max and Ruby, climbed the stairs to Maria’s room, turned on the lullabies, and rocked to sleep.  We were all shut-eye within 20 minutes.  What a well-spent day, and one that I would not have experienced if it wasn’t for Jon’s sickness, the piles of snow, and my ability to slip out of that “woe is me” victim mindset and replace it with that “get on with it” attitude.  Indeed, all the powers came together making it a most fabulous, memorable day.

4 thoughts on “Now this is Winter

  1. Laura says:

    Your kids are so adorable! I really enjoyed reading your posts–your writing style is great! I’m also very jealous of your neighborhood coffee shop that is within walking distance. My closest java place is a Starbucks and walking there with two kids would take at least 45 minutes one way in perfect weather. Definitely not conducive to getting hot cocoa after snowman building. Thank goodness for Swiss Miss. 🙂

    • marymenkedick says:

      Thanks for the shout back. We are contemplating a move farther out to the burbs in order to give us more space (right now we are in a 1100 square foot home with two kids and a dog!) but I don’t think we will ever make the move because I am addicted to the local coffeehouse and the grocery and the restaurants and the library within one mile of the house. I guess we can be cramped for a little longer…! Stay warm!

  2. Terrie says:

    What a wonderful blog!! Thanks for sharing with your old aunt. It takes me back to when the boys were young. The only difference isyou need one more child!!!!!!!

    Love you, Mary.


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