Snow Day!

The university closed Tuesday due to the incredible snow fall and ice accumulation. I woke up at 5:30 due to my darling son who has decided that 5:30 am is his new time to rise. You can almost see him popping his tiny head up, rubbing his eyes, and opening his mighty mouth. Indeed, I am quite sure that is his routine before we hear our morning serenade of: “Maaaaaammmmmmeeeeee; Oh, Maaammmeeee.” I dragged myself out of my warm nest of a bed and told him to go back to sleep. “Rock, mommy?” I scooped him up and pushed his head onto my shoulder and firmly stated “five minutes, Mario, that is it.” Yeah, I might as well be saying “blah blah blah blah blah.” He had what he wanted and I knew he was sporting that devilish smile as we headed to the rocking chair.

After ten minutes of rocking and thinking to myself “this is the last night of this – tomorrow he is crying it out!”, I put him in his bed and trip back into my nest. Five minutes goes by before I hear “Maaaaammmmmmeeeee” again.  The irritation and anger I feel at that moment compares to how you may feel if you were getting your eyelashes pulled out or getting run over by a semi truck.  I get up, stomp to his room, and put him in bed with me. It was no use. He was wide awake.

By 6:30 am, we are all eating pancakes and eggs and watching Little Bear. Maria’s new favorite morning activity is to cook pancakes and eggs, and yes, she actually prepares everything to cook them. She gets the bowl out, the mix, the eggs, the milk, and the oil. She stirs it up as much as she can (she has counseled me on numerous occasions that I need to buy an electric mixer so that we do not have to do it by hand!). She prepares her plate and mine, and we all sit down together (Mario finds our pancakes absolutely repulsive – the first bite he takes immediately causes a cringe on his face and a regurgitation into my open hand). After breakfast, we get all bundled up in our snow gear and head outside.

The snow was too light to make a snowman but I found a plastic sled and the kids took turns getting pulled down the front yard hill. Mario popped up after one run and yelled “Mommy, go Stauf’s get ice water and muffin?” I thought Maria would poo-poo it because she likes to stay near home but she agreed (with a little cajoling involving hot cocoa and a muffin for her). I held Mario on my right hip and pulled Maria on the plastic sled. By the third block, I felt as if I had just been in a WWF wrestling match – my body ached completely! Maria could see the pain in my face and got out of the sled, pulled it behind her, and walked the remainder of the way. Why do I try to be Superwoman all the time? I ain’t 20 any more….!

Maria trying to help mom pull Mario (Mario wanting nothing of it!)

We got our ice water, hot cocoa, bran muffin and black russian bagel and plopped down at a table. I love that my kids love Stauf’s – it is a refuge for me and I enjoy that they find it to be the same for them. They will sit in their seats for a half hour eating their muffin and bagel, looking at the pictures on the walls, watching the people, and even talking to me! It is a piece of heaven. After Stauf’s, we walked back home (Maria walked the whole way home again!) and I decided it was time for a little day care. It was close to 11 am and I knew they would not nap with me. And, I wanted a little Mary time before the night came (I fought guilt all afternoon about this decision but that is a whole other blog entry). I dropped them off at school and headed back to Stauf’s to catch up on email and fund-raising for my boards.

Before I knew it, 3 pm hit, and I decided that I would try to take them sledding at a local park with a nice sized hill. I loaded up the sled, their snowsuits, and sped to the daycare. The entire way to daycare, I debated whether to actually take them or not because I knew the hill would be full of kids and I would have Maria and Mario and a sled and just little ol’ me. But, what the he–. Life is too short.

We headed over to the park, threw on our bundles of clothes while maneuvering and squirming around in the car, and trekked it to the hill. There were quite a number of people there already and Maria immediately withdrew. “Why are all these people here. I don’t want to sled here.” We tried a little side hill at her request but the snow was too thick and we barely moved. After that lame experience, she decided to work with the crowd. We headed over to the hill and began the climb up. I held Mario and the sled and she climbed up using the blue and white striped rope that the City must have installed to help with the climb. Maria impressed me with her climbing skills and determination. I had to help her up a few times, but she got close to the top each time and if it wasn’t for the ice, she would have done it alone. I told her her to chant “I know I can do it” each time she got down, and after telling her that, I heard her whispering it as she struggled up the hill.  My girl. 

Maria and Mario after a sled ride down Wyman Hill

The first ride down the hill was all of us on the “Flyer” – an old school wood sled that I think my dad gave us back when Jon and I were dating. We barely fit on the sled, and we flew down the hill after a push from a man who I am sure got a kick out of me trying to handle M&M, the sled, and the ice up the hill. But we hung on, and when we finally stopped, we were all smiles and laughs. Mario turned around and pleaded “Again, mommy?” I looked at Maria wondering if she would want to brave the hill for another run (Maria and exertion do not typically get along). But, to my amazement, Maria was already heading toward the hill. Again, my girl.

Maria found a girlfriend who asked her to go sledding with her and I got a glimpse of Maria playing with her girlfriends in a few years. Ahh, I had visions of me and my Cincy girls when we were 10 years old and taking advantage of our snow days. We did about 7 runs before we called it a night, and I must say, my winter blahs flew away for the remainder of the night. Of course, those winter blahs flew back with a vengeance the next morning when I stepped outside and slipped onto my rear while taking out the trash (the cuss words were spewing out so fluidly that I amazed even myself) but heck, with this weather, I will take an evening  of bliss anyday.

A place of refuge – the local grocery store

We had been in the house for nearly two straight days with frigid temperatures outside. The living room looked like a bull had been let loose; a tent, bowling pins, markers and drawing pads filled our dining room; the kids’ rooms provided absolutely no space to walk much less tiptoe around anything.  The kitchen remained immaculate because I need at least one room that reflects some semblance of order.

It was getting close to 5 pm and there was not much in the fridge that looked tempting to me (actually, by that time all I wanted was a large veggie pizza from Donatos with cheese garlic bread and chicken wings and apple pizza pie but I knew my stomach would give me a piece of its mind all night if I went that route) so I decided to suit the kids up and take a ride to the grocery.  I even broke down and allowed them to watch tv on the mile trip to the grocery store.  I actually dragged the trip out to five miles enjoying the ability to think without listening to two little munchos’ words bouncing off my brain every 1.1 seconds. 

We park, hop out of the car on the ice and snow, and dart into the grocery store with its heat and foods and space to run.  It was like an oasis for us all.  Maria and Mario jumped in the big car that shakes and rattles if you give it 50 cents. We spent $4.00 on it because I got intrigued with an old New York Times sitting next to it.  Money well spent to read a couple of articles not geared towards a four year-old mind. 

Next, we hit the flower shop and tried to name as many colors as we could find in the flowers.  We admired the Dora balloons and Thomas the Train and moved onto the fruit aisles.  Mario loved the oranges because he falls for anything shaped like a ball, and Maria became intrigued with the apples (“these will keep you from getting sick, mom” – if only she would eat them!).  

We continued down each aisle laughing at the cereal with funny pictures on it, admiring the dog treats and toys, ogling over the baby books, salivating over the pre-packaged donuts and nutter butters, opening all kinds of egg containers to search for the perfect dozen, and finding kids’ tv dinners to indulge on the last night of the weekend.  We stayed in that grocery store for close to an hour but alas, with managers and clerks giving us looks, we finally decided to check out.  Maria and Mario helped load the groceries on the belt, swipe my credit card through the machine, sign my name, and grab the receipt.  We were all giddy with excitement to just have been able to step out of that house for a while. 

We made the trek back out to the car, skidding on the ice and laughing, making up rhymes and talking about “poop” (Mario’s favorite word ever now).  I started up the movie again and stretched the ride home to 7 miles, enjoying the sanctity of the car, the snow-covered streets, and two kids belted in with nowhere to go.  Ahh, heaven.