Someone had a big celebration at school today and made a fun hat to commemorate the event. The little boy who was repeatedly dismissed from the church nursery as a toddler, and expelled from 3-year old preschool less than one week in, is now blossoming before our eyes.
In the 100 days since his elementary school education has begun, Henry's gone from receiving "Think Sheets" every week, to receiving almost daily stickers for excellent behavior. He is learning to read, count by 10's, and recognize US Presidents. I've been told by countless mothers that their daughters, Henry's peers, have big crushes on him because he is so sweet, and so kind, and his eyes. Oh, those big blue eyes!
He still has the propensity to drive us crazy at home, especially when he detonates after being in close proximity to Elizabeth (who seems to be honing her knack for pushing ALL the wrong buttons repeatedly), but we're heading in the right direction and for that we are so happy and so proud. AND SO GRATEFUL.
On Wednesday night, we went to sleep with a gentle snow falling outside. When we woke up on Thursday morning, there was 13-inches of beautiful snow on our stoop and the snow was still falling hard to the tune of more than 1-inch per hour. Schools were canceled, the Federal Government and airports were closed, and life came to a screeching halt while everyone worked to dig themselves out from Mother Nature's gift of winter magic. (Our planter lights continued to work despite the fact they were submerged under snow...)
By the time we went outside to sell Girl Scout cookies to all our neighbors who were trapped inside and had No Where To Run, No Where To Hide, we were trudging through nearly a foot and a half of snow. Here are some photos of our day:
Charlie, shoveling snow off our front steps and flipping it on to his unsuspecting daughter.
Carolyn, trudging through snow with me to sell Girl Scout cookies.
William trudging through snow with us.
Henry, who could trudge no more. It's exhausting to walk when you're six-years-old through heavy snow that nearly comes up to your hips.
Louie, bounding through the snow.
After running around most of the day Thursday, he's been asleep for three days.
A picture of our neighbor that Carolyn apparently shot with my camera while we were selling Girl Scout cookies (I know I certainly didn't take this picture!)
The plow that came down the street immediately after we returned home from walking a mile in knee-deep snow. Excellent timing since we were on the quest for a major cardio workout!
Building a snowman.
The snow was so deep, the children couldn't even sled on it without their sled sinking. So I grabbed a sled and laboriously made a course that I then carefully sloped and built up on either side with walls so it resembles the bobsled track of the Olympics. By Friday morning, this track was so slick it would carry the screaming rider all the way to the bank of the creek. I'm sure I burned more calories making that track, and hiking up and down the hill most of the day, than I burned when I ran a marathon in 2009.
The bank of the creek. I stood here for a long time, soaking in this view while the snow continued to gently fall and I thought about how perfectly awesome this moment in time is, and how I needed to sear it in to my memory to last forever.
Building an igloo.
Smiles upon hearing the news that school would be canceled on Friday, too. (Yes cousin Michael, the coat I'm wearing is the one you outgrew and sent to our children. But until they're big enough to wear it - it's been added to my wardrobe. Rock it, Spyder!)
Charlie, on Thursday night, when the snow started to fall again and we accumulated another two-inches before Friday morning. Notice he's now wearing long pants...
Although his shoes are missing. So too is part of his mind, says his easily chilled wife who was wearing snow pants, wool socks, and boots that were embedded with heat warmers.
I love the snow, though ... and so long as you have the correct gear and attitude, wish we could get another foot. Or four.
I'm supposed to be in Lake Tahoe this week, at the annual meeting for our business group.
Instead, I'm at home. I made the decision to miss this meeting on Sunday, when Henry, who has been dealing with an infection of the relatively benign, but very troublesome molluscum contagiosum for the past 18-months, developed some frightening complications from a secondary infection over the weekend. Ultimately, I decided that at this moment in time, my little one needed me more than my business group needed me. Even if my business group consists of some of my dearest friends, and they are meeting in one of the most beautiful places in the United States, and going on what will be an amazing snowshoeing expedition as part of a team building event. On Monday, I had Henry in to see a pediatric dermatologist and by this morning, he was feeling better.
(So, too, was my heart!)
I had no idea when I canceled my trip that a few days later, tonight, we'd be bracing for what is supposed to be the largest snowstorm since Snowmageddon in February of 2010. See, we didn't move to northern Virginia until July of 2010, so we completely missed the awesome snowstorms that pummeled the region earlier that year. As I've written about every winter since we've moved here - we feel like we are constantly robbed of the snowstorms that cruelly track north, south and just a gnat's eyelash to the west of us. This year has been different though. There have been some FANTASTIC snowstorms that have caused offices and schools to close, and our children to rejoice! in sledding and snowman making. Ah, but I've missed every one of those storms because of my frequent travel.
But not tonight! Tonight, I am here!
With four (relatively) healthy children, a refrigerator full of food, a woodpile stocked to the top, candles and matches, flashlights and batteries, games galore, schools that have been preempteively canceled, and enough arts and crafts projects to last us through Easter ... we are ready. (My southern California-blooded husband was just telling me that he is tired of wearing pants every day and misses wearing shorts. With temperatures in the 20's and 10-inches of snow expected, I suspect he might be missing them for a bit longer, yet.)