being a toddler bed

I had plans for a blog post this evening, but instead spent 45 minutes holding a sleeping Lijah while Leah did real work. Such is the state of affairs around here lately: our almost-two-year-old can only sleep while touching another human. At least he's cuddly!

sometimes Lijah loves snow

It snowed some more today, and this time the snow came with cold cold air and cruel gusty winds, so after we made it home from an early-morning doctors appointment downtown we didn't venture out again. But the boys are looking forward to experiencing some snow fun tomorrow; and looking through my phone photos this afternoon I realized I neglected to include in our weekly retrospective a vital piece of documentary evidence showing that Lijah, too, is dedicated to enjoying the wonders of the season.

Lijah walking in the snow in a short sleeve shirt and Zion's sneakers

fully experiencing the storm

The picture is from Friday morning at the beginning of the storm. Thursday night it was above freezing all night, and even as the snow started it wasn't that cold out—so when Lijah expressed a desire for "ow-siye?" I thought it wouldn't hurt to humor him. Even when he declined his coat and put Zion's sneakers on his feet. Hey, I figured he'd put his nose out the door, get cold, and come right back in! Not a bit.

at the bottom of the porch steps

there he goes...

I like cold and snow more than most, but my enjoyment is predicated on proper attire, and following him I was cold and wet in my long-sleeve shirt—and before very long I removed his freedom of choice and hauled him back inside (for the record, he didn't protest much).

So take this as evidence of something. Maybe it's that, never mind other evidence to the contrary, being cold and wet doesn't bother our third child. Or maybe just that he's the most determined being you may ever meet.

(As a point of comparison, I repost below the photo of Harvey from a few hours later in the same day. Admittedly, it was colder then too. But still!)

Harvey in his snow gear, including a muffler totally covering his face

he swears he can see

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moments from the week

our snowcovered house and yard in the early morning light

winter wonderland, eventually

Scenes and moments from the past week. We do more things than we have time to write about; photos help us remember it all!

Harvey on his bike with his pant legs rolled up

back in the saddle in late January

Lijah sitting on a bench at the top of Arlington Heights

breezy at the top of the Heights

Zion zipping towards the camera on his scooter

Zion zoom

Harvey and Zion, in short sleeves, playing soccer in the snow-free yard

winter soccer

the three boys standing around under the half-pipe ramp at the skate park

why aren't you kids in school?!

Harvey and Zion climbing on some rocky outcropping in the woods

exploring a new woods

Harvey in his snow gear, including a muffler totally covering his face

he swears he can see

the boys posing with their snowman

do you wanna build a snowman?

Zion in midair, jumping off the trash can into the snow

jumping for joy

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snowy day

Harvey, Zion, and a friend posing in the snow

snow-day gang

I got my snow!

snow falling in the yard

everything pretty again

What a difference from a couple days ago; even last night, as I worked in the yard to get things ready for the snow, it was warm enough that I was comfortable in my shirt sleeves. Today we were comfortable in snow suits.

the boys playing in the heavily-falling snow

rough and tumble

It wasn't that cold, but it was snowy and wet, and the boys spent several delightful hours outside. They would have stayed longer yet, but all their friends had to go in.

Harvey and Zion just inside the front door, still geared up and covered with snow

that's after I made them shake off outside

The snow stopped just before sunset, and the clouds parted to let a ray of sun through to illuminate the snow-covered trees. A perfect end to a beautiful snowy day!

the tips of the snow-covered trees lit up by a break in the clouds at sunset

everybody else posted this picture on facebook

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hippy picture book suggestion

In a world full of kindergarten stories and princess-dress stories and robot-boy stories, I take note when I come across a picture book that I think shows off good counterculture values. Take mental note, that is... unfortunately, when I don't actually write down any of the titles that particularly catch my attention, I can't remember them later when anyone asks. If anyone were ever to ask. That changes now!

In Building Our House, Jonathan Bean describes, from his older sister's perspective, how his parents and their friends built a timber-frame house for themselves. The watercolor illustrations beautifully portray the passage of the seasons as the work goes slowly forward—though significantly faster in the book than in real life, as an author's note at the end explains! The narration is wonderfully matter-of-fact, just as you'd expect from a child of parents who could ever conceive of such a thing. Wiring and insulating mid-winter "while the drifts pile up"? Sure, isn't that just what you do?

Bean and his family aren't all-out back-to-the-landers: the first step they took towards developing their property was to hook up to municipal electricity, and an electric range is pictured (along with a cookstove at the center of the house). So they aren't as hard-core as some people we know. But they sure aren't taking the typical route to home-ownership!

Harvey and Zion love the book, which we got from the library, and we've already read it six or seven times. It might be worth buying, though I may prefer to save my Jonathan Bean dollar for another book of his that I learned about while searching for an image to include with this post. Called This Is My Home, This Is My School, it features the house whose construction we just lived through serving both those roles.

In the Author's Note that ends Building Our House, Bean closes:

Of course, a homestead would not be complete without a large garden, fruit trees, pets, woodland, and a stream flowing through a mysterious marshland. Add to that the wise love of two parents, the companionship of three sisters, and a practically lived faith, and it's hard for me to think of a better place to have grown up.

Sounds good to me!

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