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If you’ve been reading my blog or following me on social media, I’m sure you’ve come to the conclusion by now that I absolutely love cold weather. I’m always preferred to bundle up in warm cozy layers rather than lay out in the sun in a t-shirt and shorts. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some warm weather and cold beers on a beautiful pool deck, and I jump at the chance to wear a new pair of espadrilles…but when I feel that first cold wind of the year hit my face or detect the smell of fermenting apples on the ground…I know it’s here: Fall. Winter. Snow.
Here’s the downside: cold weather in the Pacific Northwest usually means lots of rain. Lots of rain means staying indoors. Staying indoors means my three year old, 17 month old and myself are cramped together in a two story 1,100 sf house and they are starting to drive me crazy.
So, a few days ago, even though we knew we only had about 45 minutes of daylight left (because it’s dark by 5:00pm) Gabe and I bundled our kids up and took them to a park on the water a few minutes away to run around and just get out of the house. We walked along the docks first and then headed to the play structure. I didn’t take any photos on the play structure because Eddie wanted me to push her on the swing and Sam kept trying to die by falling off the top of the structure, so Gabe and I were too busy keeping them happy/alive to take any photos. There were quite a few parents and little ones playing at the park as well. They obviously had the same idea that we did: a few minutes of outdoor time is better than nothing. It was too short of an outing, and we were pretty cold and hungry by the time we left, but it was worth it.
This will be our first winter in the house with two toddlers and I decided that I need to make more of an effort to get the kids out in the afternoons, even if that means dinner is a little later than usual or baths have to be skipped. I often find myself so concerned with keeping to our schedule that I fail to notice when a timeout from the schedule is most needed. Or, even more importantly, when it’s time to change the schedule to better accommodate the needs of the kids or myself. So, in a nutshell, that is my goal during this cold and rainy season. If it’s not raining, then we are playing outside, even if it’s just for a half hour. Or else Mama might go crazy.

hunkering down

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Today I was able to upload two photos instead of one. Yay!

We are expecting a big rainstorm with winds up to 45mph to hit sometime tonight so I am writing my Friday blog post on a Thursday afternoon while the kids nap, just in case I loose internet between now and then. (I moved Eddie’s nap time back an hour so now she and Sam sleep at the same time. It’s been glorious. I get so much knitting many chores done!)

I am ready for the storm to give us it’s best shot. The firewood is stacked under the porch, the generator is full and my yarn stash is overflowing. Bring it on, Mother Nature.

We are planning on purchasing a full cow from our neighbor in January and so I am working to clear our freezer out between now and then. A full cow feeds our family for about a year and our neighbor always gives us an amazing deal because he hays our fields during the summer and uses that hay to feed his herd all winter. We’re grateful for the cow and he’s grateful for the hay. Win-win. It’s one of the things l love about living outside the city. People are always doing favors for one another and making barters and trades that allow everyone to benefit and make improvements in their lives that wouldn’t always be possible based solely on personal income.

Anyway, long story short, we are getting a cow and I’m clearing out the deep freezer, which means we are eating a lot of the produce that I froze over the summer. Last night we had plum cobbler. I used up one bag of frozen plum pie filling. I have 11 more in the freezer. I’m not even going to bother counting my frozen apple pie mix. I’m scared.

We are going to be eating a lot of pies over the next few months.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends.

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I keep going back to the series of photos that show Sam and Eddie taking turns putting grass on each other’s heads. I laugh every time I look at them.

I stopped by a farmer’s market and purchased some carving pumpkins. Gabe was working a lot this week and I didn’t have the time or the inclination to visit a pumpkin patch with the kids all by myself. We decided to carve them up this weekend and we couldn’t have chosen a better day. It was sunny, but the air was crisp and it smelled like fall. The kids ran around the yarn, picking apples off the ground and playing in the grass. Occasionally Sam would try to help Gabe carve, but then something else would grab his attention and he would run off, leaving Gabe to take care of the majority of carving duties. I don’t think Eddie could have cared less what we were doing with the pumpkins. She had an apple in her hand and the entire family was outside. Her version of heaven.

Per usual, Gabe’s OCD took control of the situation, and after choosing three specific designs, he free hand drew them onto the pumpkins, referencing the design photos from his phone. Then he meticulously cut out each design using his drill, jigsaw, and a variety of kitchen knives. I made fun of him for turning a simple child’s activity into a full blown artistic endeavor, but I have to admit, the pumpkins look amazing. The pumpkin with the little holes drilled into it was supposed to have a disco ball effect, but we didn’t use a big enough drill bit, so the candle light doesn’t really show through the holes. Oddly enough, we did the exact same disco ball design last year, and made the same mistake; the holes were too small. We had to go back and re-drill, using a slightly larger bit. Apparently one of us needs to write down the bit size needed, lest we repeat the same mistake three years in a row.

It’s so much fun celebrating Halloween now that I have at least one kid who is old enough to understand what the holiday is all about: candy, costumes, spooky stories and of course, Jack-O-Lanterns! Sam talks about it every day and I think I’m almost as excited for trick-or-treating as he is.