posts tagged with 'snow day'

snow day

Today we saw our first real snow of the winter. It started overnight and there was easily three inches on the ground by first light, but the boys didn't even realize it right away. We're so used to just getting a dusting at a time. At breakfast they noticed that it was piling up on the outside table—maybe four inches by then—and somebody said, "wait, it's really snowing!" Yes indeed. Leah, who had already been out with the dogs, could have told them that! We had a little work to do before they could go out and play in it but when a neighbor friend rang the bell at around 9, there was no holding them back. They spent the next three hours roaming the snowy streets, shoving snow in each others' faces (and each others' faces in the snow), and, in Elijah's case, working hard to make a snow fort.

Elijah sitting in a tiny snow fort in the falling snow

snow is to dig

I made them a hot lunch in acknowledgement of all their hard playing, and then after lunch we spent some time in that other great snow-day occupation: board gaming. By the time we finished the game (Harvey won, as usual) the snow had stopped falling despite some people's gear being quite wet we pulled the sleds out from the basement, got dressed again, and headed out to go sledding. Despite the kind of late start and the distance we drove to be able to sled with friends on the slopes of the golf course conveniently located across the street from the their house, we made the most of the remains of the day and got a great many runs in before it was too dark to see where the bumps were. It feels like we've waited quite a while for a real snowy day, and when we got it we were ready to enjoy it to the fullest. Plus it gave us five more hours to add to our total!

the boys and friends pausing at the top of a sledding hill at dusk

snow day is done


no day

After the blizzard before Christmas we've barely had any snow for over a month, so a storm forecast for Monday was big news. Details were uncertain, since apparently it was hard to tell where the rain-snow line would end up; so hour by hour the projected totals swung wildly. But it looked bad enough Sunday evening for the NWS to issue a winter storm warning beginning at 7:00 Monday morning, and the schools to call an early-release day. We were doing school too, at our house, and I thought early release would work for us too: we didn't even have to set an end time, since everybody's ride would be sticking around the whole time. But it's hard to hold firm when the forecasters are so excited, and at around 8:00 we decided to cancel for the day. It wasn't snowing yet, but we understood that it would start soon.

Well, it wasn't snowing at 10:00 either, when we were meant to have begun our day; nor at 11:00 when the boys and I biked over to Chip-In to pick up some emergency supplies (eggs, milk, and candy). A few flakes tickled our noses on the way home (and one hit Zion in the eye) but by the time we were done with lunch they were gone. At 2:00, when our school time officially ends, there was maybe a little snow mist in the air. At 3:00 it was snowing well, but barely accumulating. Not til 5:00 was there enough that you could start to shovel if you wanted.

It was a weird day, with all that waiting. I hadn't planned to do anything but school, cleaning, and cooking... and without school I just did the other two. The boys felt like it was a snow day, so they didn't want to buckle down to anything; but through the morning there wasn't much else to do. After lunch things did pick up a little bit with friends getting out of school, and then in the afternoon they managed to find enough snow that they came home pretty wet (and were rewarded with hot chocolate!).

At suppertime the snow started falling in earnest, and when we woke up this morning to well over a foot on the ground I had to concede that the forecasters knew what they were talking about when it came to the magnitude of the storm. The timing, though, they maybe didn't nail. Oh well. We can see our friends on Friday! Oh wait, there's rain and snow coming Friday?


that's more like it, winter

snow on the trees and everything else in the yard

sticky snow

The groundhog was right! Over the last week it finally started looking like winter around here, and we've been enjoying it to the fullest—or at least, as full as we can manage in between bouts of illness.

It started last Tuesday with a brief but intense fall of wet snow that caught us as we biked home from a mid-morning outing (to pick up some hot bar bacon from Whole Foods, if you must know). By the time we finished our lunch of bacon sandwiches the snow had changed to light rain—light enough that we didn't think twice about heading out to play in it. Even Lijah! The snow was amazingly sticky, and it was no work at all to put together a good-size snowman. He came out looking pretty cheerful despite the damp.

our snowman smiling

our genial snowman

I told the boys about a snow chair I made last time I'd experienced such great packing snow—long before any of them were born. Of course then we had to make one for ourselves. Because Lijah was getting tired of eating snow cakes we limited ourselves to a Zion-sized model.

zion sitting in a snow chair

cool and comfortable

As I put Lijah down for his nap the other boys spent some time using the snowman as a swordfighting dummy. I was pretty grumpy with them when I noticed—that was my snowman too!—so when they took their rest I rebuilt him out in the front yard. Those balls were so big I couldn't get them on straight, and when the temperature shot up the next day I was sure he wasn't long for this world. But he managed to hold on, and it turns out his lean was just the thing to prepare him for Thursday's blizzard.

our snowman through the blizzard

leaning against the blast

Folks talk about how summer is the best time for getting to know your neighbors, but I find snow storms are fine too. Tuesday evening Harvey helped the neighbors with their snowman, and on Thursday, with everyone home for the storm, parents and kids alike enjoyed playing together in the bitter blast. We shoveled with the neighbors on one side (then tossed a football around for longer than you'd expect given the conditions) then took a lovely adventurous walk with the family on the other. In a blizzard construction sites become magical wonderlands.

Harvey and friends climbing up a giant snow-covered pile of dirt

Harvey leading the pitch

On our way back from that walk we stopped in at another neighbor's house to say hello—they were surprised and charmed to see us, and it was just too bad we were too wet and exhausted for a proper visit. Too bad too that Zion and Lijah were to sick to venture outside at all... though on the other hand, snow days are also great for cuddling on the couch and watching shows!

The next day was Friday, and all the school kids had to go back to school; so it was a perfect day for us to go sledding. The wind was whipping the fine snow all over the hill and the trails were far from broken, so we were glad of our new-to-us giant snow tube, which glided wonderfully over all the powder. It was also a great place for Zion to rest when his post-illness tiredness caught up to him.

Zion relaxing in our giant snowtube

taking it easy

His fatigue and the biting wind meant we didn't stay too long out on the big hill, but on the way back to Grandma's house we found that the path in the woods offered some promising terrain for the toboggan, so we spent half and hour or so there. Harvey worked hard to get the plastic sled down, but it was our five-foot wooden toboggan that was best for the job: we managed a couple runs with all three of us of a hundred feet or so, around two big sweeping turns. It was great!

Harvey sledding down a path in the woods

where you have to steer

Saturday Harvey and Zion got to play with the neighbor we visited Thursday—a small investment in relationship building pays off big! They had a great time until Zion bumped his head and had to be brought home, then he and Harvey had a great time. Harvey was gone from 10:00 until 4:00—now that's a playdate!

With more snow in the forecast for Sunday we were a little nervous about getting to church—and more importantly getting home. The snow in Cambridge was wet and not really accumulating so we thought we were fine when we started towards home at 2:00, but as soon as we headed up the hill away from Cambridge things took on a more dramatic aspect.

snowy conditions on Rt 128

not so bad I couldn't take a picture...

It was pretty scary, and we were glad to get home and cuddle up for the rest of the day. Monday was another snow day, but the sun was out by mid morning so despite the whipping wind we could have had yet more snow fun... but there's only so much of that you can do in a row! Instead we visited a library.

The last couple days have been warmer again. I meant to write all this Monday, but Harvey finally came down with the stomach bug that got us all in sequence: Lijah and Zion Thursday, Leah Friday and Saturday, me Sunday night, and Harvey Monday night. So now we've all had it, and it's done. Quick, let me have some time to write before the next sickness strikes us! Zion had a fever at bedtime so we might not have long to wait...


snow on snow on snow

our house in the afternoon of the storm

after the second shoveling of the day. or was it the third?

It snowed again. The forecast was originally for 10-12 inches, but they changed it to 15-18 in the afternoon. I have no idea how much actually fell—and continues to fall—since it's all mixed up with blowing snow from the last storm, but it's a lot. After we played quietly and happily inside for much of the day, the boys and I ventured outside, where I thought to try and clear the back steps and back door. I hadn't shoveled out that way after last week's storm, and without access to the bin the compost situation in the kitchen was becoming intolerable. I pitched it to the boys as an expedition.

Harvey and Zion trying to make their way up the back steps, which are covered in three feet of snow

a towering peak

Unfortunately, we were turned back; Zion by cold and discomfort, Harvey by the impossibility of finding a footing in the three feet of snow on the steps, and me by Harvey's refusal to let me use a shovel. He thought it would spoil the expeditional nature of the enterprise. Not that he wanted to give up: he whined bitterly when I turned back with Zion to look for easier footing in the front yard. But when Zion decided he actually wanted to go inside, Harvey was mollified by a "hike" across the street.

Harvey following my trail through deep snow

a hard slog

We probably went less than 100 yards, but it was over two plow piles and through deep snow all the way, so it wasn't easy. At one point I sunk in up to my waist and had some trouble getting out, so I understood how hard Harvey must have been working, up to his waist about half the time. But he loves it!

Harvey wide-eyed in all his snow gear

he loves it

Since we were out we stopped by our next-door neighbors and invited the kids over to play. One taker was enough to provide a late-afternoon/early-evening of imaginative play, costumes, and dance, so all in all we made it through the day in fine form. Another day off tomorrow as the people in charge figure out where to put all the snow, but the forecast is for sun, so look for us to get out even more: maybe even further than a quarter mile from our house!


the snow day of all snow days

Harvey, Zion, and Rascal out in the yard in deep snow, with lots more falling

braving the blizzard

On Saturday we dived into experiencing the first snow storm of the season like it might be the last. It turns out it wasn't. Heralded by increasingly alarming warnings starting Sunday morning, a genuine blizzard started last night and is still going strong, with, oh, a couple feet of snow on the ground already.

Obviously the world has been pretty much brought to a standstill; no work for anybody today, and I already know I'll be working from home tomorrow as well. That didn't stop us from going outside, though! I needed to give the chickens food and water, but the boys just wanted to experience the wildness. It's very cold. Zion lasted about 15 minutes, and we loved watching Rascal leap and bound in fluffy snow up to his shoulders. After Zion went in Harvey and I did some shoveling; when we made it out to the street we found about 8 inches of snow on it, and 3 or 4 on the main road. Walking into the wind was very unpleasant, but we're tough.

Harvey in snowsuit hood and muffler in heavy snow


Besides braving the elements we're also keeping busy inside: there's bread rising, squash in the oven, and lots of tea in our bellies. The boys, at peace for the moment, are building a zoo for their stuffed animals. We may survive this storm yet!

Update at half-past four:

It keeps snowing. When I walked Rascal late morning the undrifted snow was well above his belly; when I tried to get him to go into the woods he said, "the snow is too deep here: let's go somewhere else!" Alas, he wasn't able to find a anywhere with less than six inches of snow—besides the middle of the main roads, and I was really nervous walking there because the visibility was very poor indeed. Not that there was much—any—traffic, but I didn't want to get knocked out by a snowplow!

After our leftover pizza lunch there was a bit of a lull and Harvey and I went out to play and shovel. Even after our first small effort this morning the piles beside the front walk were tall enough to demand snow-fort making, and they quickly got a lot taller, but even piled up the snow was much too soft to bore out. We did make a tiny tunnel in the edge of the plow debris, and Harvey made it through once before it collapsed.

Harvey emerging from a low snow tunnel

low bridge

Zion came out for about five minutes, and did his part.

Zion shoveling in the driveway with the snow-covered car behind him

looking helpful

Just afterwards they tried to climb the snow collected in the lee of the car, which turned out to be very soft—so soft that instead of supporting Harvey, who was first, it collapsed and sent him plunging face-first into the pile, kind of like an ostrich. We went in after that, and I made us all hot chocolate. Mama did the second round of shoveling while we did some school; now the boys are playing with the big legos while Lijah naps (and are being very considerately quiet!).

Harvey and Zion playing with legos in their room

apres snow lego

Is it bedtime yet?

Further update at nine o'clock:

As Leah wrote elsewhere, "It looks like we made it to supper time! Though in all fairness, that's what I tell myself every day at this time, not just the days when snow is falling." I actually didn't think it was that bad, but I was doing the easy part. But regardless, nobody got hurt, the kitchen ended the day cleaner than it started it, and the rest of the house might be clean again someday! It was a long time to be inside: Lijah never left the house all day, Zion was out for a total of 20 minutes, and Harvey maybe 40. Leah and I each got to take a walk and do some shoveling, which may have been lifesaving (the kids' lives, not our own).

It's hard to see how much snow there really is in the pictures above. Just wait until I take some more tomorrow! While we've certainly had more snow on the ground before, I don't know that I've ever seen as much fall in one day. The piles on each side of the front walk are over Harvey's head, never mind the ones around the driveway. I can't imagine where people who own parking lots are putting all the snow, and maybe they can't either: pretty much everything is cancelled again tomorrow as they figure it out. Hopefully we can spend a little more of the day outside!


snapshots from the latest blizzard

our street sign nearly buried in snow

yes, it's a regular-height sign pole.

We didn't get nearly as much snow as was forecast, but on top of what we already had it was plenty.

Harvey on the sidewalk between two walls of snow

he's not a regular-height person, but still...

Unlike yesterday, though, Harvey was able to get out of the house a little. He's starting to get this walking on snow business. Good thing, because I hear there might be more coming on Saturday!


this is getting silly

Harvey between giant snow piles on the front walk

higher and higher grow the piles!

It snowed again, and we got another day off. We knew all that by 5:30, but it was only once it got light out that we started to realize the full magnitude of the snowfall. Not that it was really that big of a storm—only another foot or so—but on top of all that we already have the situation is starting to become ridiculous. For example, look what we were greeted with when we opened our bedroom shades this morning:

snow piling up alarmingly against our bedroom window


And we're on the second floor! (yes, the porch roof). We had to laugh, at the absurdity of that much snow and at the precise resemblance the snowdrift bears to the ones keeping the farmer in his house in that Shaun the Sheep episode (sorry for no youtube link: the BBC is brutal with their takedown notices).

I kept laughing when I went outside, perhaps because having to throw snow onto a pile higher than your head while shoveling the front walk is naturally amusing. The cars looked especially silly after I cleared the snow off of them; before I did they almost in proportion to the mountains on either side of the driveway, but shorn of their covering they huddled dwarfed beneath the piles. It was hard, though, to get anyone to come outside to share my mirth, because Harvey is kind of over winter. It's understandable: with all his gear on he can barely walk anyways, and three plus feet of snow on the ground doesn't help any. He's kind of given up.

Rascal, on the other hand, continues to try his best. He loves the snow on general principles, but even he is having a little trouble with the magnitude of what we're now dealing with. The upside is that, while he still exhibits his traditional snow-day rambunctiousness in the woods, it's pretty much physically impossible for him to run away. At the beginning of the walk he took a few stabs at romping away in one direction or another, but with the snow up to his shoulders in front it was pretty hard for him to make much forward progress. Even the path, with eight or ten inches of new snow in it, was tough going. I felt so bad for him by the end that I tried to get him to go behind me so I could break trail for him with my snowshoes, but he was having none of it. Exhausted though he may have been, he knew that his job was to scout. (As a side note, it's a good thing we know he's getting a lot of exercise: a vet visit today revealed he's now almost 80 pounds! While most of that is probably due to Harvey's unwanted food, some of it has got to be added muscle mass.)

My last chore of the evening was taking out the compost, which involved a great deal of shoveling and also snowshoeing. So much work, and it was all in vain when I discovered that everything in the bucket was frozen solid and could not be induced to come out by any efforts I could muster. And it was a really warm day too, as evidenced by Harvey's wardrobe in that picture up above. Still, making paths around the yard in order to accomplish household tasks made me feel like I real hardy northern farmer. I could get used to all this snow, I think.


blizzard day

harvey snowsuited against the blizzard

warm and dry amidst winter's blasts

It never snows but it pours around here: except for a few stray flakes the only snow we've seen this winter has been in blizzard form. This one was even bigger than the last one; over twice as big, in fact, if you go by depth of snow on the front walk.

our house with even more snow than last time

those piles don't look so big to me...

It's hard to tell from the photo, but the snow is pretty high on either side of the walk. I have hopes of constructing a multi-room snow house under the pile to the right and a toboggan run down the one to the left. (Harvey and I actually started the latter project this evening; he was understandably very reluctant to leave it to come inside to bed.) High enough that the neighborhood kids could perch happily up on it for a photo, and not one of them could get up there by themselves. The three-year-old (pictured center) was happy to give the little ones a push to help them get down, though!

the neighborhood boys on a snowbank

taking a break from shovelling


no day

Dear administrators of Boston-area schools,

While I do thank you for your kindness in providing your employees with a mid-week day off, I would like to offer some suggestions for future snow-based panics. First, if you are planning to lose your heads based solely on the forecast, you might consider beginning earlier. That way you could let people know before they went to bed that they wouldn't have to get up and go to work; at the same time, you yourselves would be saved from having to anxiously refresh every five minutes between the hours of 3:00 and 5:00 am (though it could be that you like that sort of thing). Also, in future I suggest remaining open to the possibility of early dismissal, rather than outright cancellation, for storms that are predicted to begin mid-morning at the earliest. That way, we hourly workers get paid for a full day, and nobody has to spend another pointless day in school in June!

footprints in a quarter-inch of snow

school was canceled for this?!

You have to admit, it's a little embarrassing for all of us when we've spent the day at home and there's barely any snow on the ground at 5:00 pm. Better luck next time!

Your employees

(Hey, maybe it'll snow all night and we'll need another snow day tomorrow!)


lion effect

A snowy nor'easter is just the thing to bring in March in the proper style. Sure, we were enjoying seeing the grass for the first time in months the last couple days, but you can't expect too much of that when it's still properly winter. School was also called off today, and I have to say that this time I entirely agreed with the powers-that-be that the cancellation was necessary (and not only because I hadn't done any lesson planning!).

Now bring on the lambs!