all photos in this post from Becerra Photography
Today is my 31st birthday. It’s also the fifth day in a row that we’ve been snowed in at home, and the eighth snow day of this school year. Here’s a little update on the state of things…
It started snowing hard on Thursday. By dark, the white stuff had really piled up, and I was in regular communication with Henry who was driving back from California. With some pretty questionable automotive maneuvers, he was able to make it up our hill and home that night, frazzled but safe after the long drive. I was really glad to know that even if we were snowed in, we were going to be in it together.
On Friday morning, we discovered that our big semi-gable greenhouse, the one with all the citrus trees in it, had collapsed. It was probably a preventable occurrence, but we didn’t act soon enough or motivated-ly enough. It was pretty terrible. We haven’t made any final decisions about whether to demolish, modify and rebuild, or rebuild with a few upgrades, but there’s a high probability that we will be selling a number of robust, Oregon-acclimated citrus trees in the near future. I’ll keep you posted.
Aside from grieving for our greenhouse, we’ve been having a pretty good time during our long days here at home. Henry and I have always been big believers in the boredom-breeds-creativity parenting method. (I have no idea if it is a known and defined parenting strategy or if it even counts as a “method”, but I’m going with it.) Our kids have a reasonable stock of supplies and resources (books, paper/crayons/random art supplies, Legos, stuffed animals, puzzles, play food, and more structured toys plus regular household stuff like rubber bands, sheets and blankets for making forts, toilet paper tubes, etc.) available to them nearly all the time. Sometimes Henry or I actively play with our kids, but more often, we’re just around, throwing out suggestions or merely supervising their own creative play. Although the last five days haven’t been entirely conflict- or whine-free, I will say that those kids did an incredible job of entertaining themselves for hours at a time. They did watch one movie yesterday, but other than that, they weren’t behind screens at all.
Levi’s been working on reading a lot at school, and now he seems to be moving forward at warp speed. For the first time, he read an entire (easy) book to Charlotte without any help or interference from us. It was one of my most heartwarming moments as a parent so far. (Sorry to be so sappy!) He also drew me a seven-page book for my birthday this morning about a monkey swinging through the jungle that jumps down on the neck of an unsuspecting giraffe.
We’re hoping to make it off the hill for the first time tomorrow, but really, we could be here unaided for a pretty long time if we needed to. Tragically, we ran out of pesto, capers, and frozen blueberries, but other than that, our larder is unnecessarily full, and we’re fine. My parents lost power at their house for over 48 hours, and my mom who always complains about our dim lights and outdoor shower kept calling me to whine about her situation and lust after our hot water and internet. Because the roads everywhere but our hill were to be more or less cleared by this afternoon, my mom drove out, parked, and hiked in two miles to see us and wish me happy birthday. It was nice to see her for sure, but she spent a fair bit of time making me read her the weather forecast, check the schedule of the local library, and google various things.
My mom is the one who usually makes me a birthday cake, but she couldn’t do it this year, so at my kids’ insistence, I barbecue baked one for myself. We picked out Molly Wizenburg‘s “Winning Hearts and Minds” nearly-flourless chocolate cake (from A Homemade Life), and it certainly won all of us over. I know I swore off chocolate as a new year’s resolution, but…um…I’m not doing so well on that one.
I ran 10 (slow) miles in a row last Wednesday, farther than I’ve ever run in my life, and I didn’t even feel like dying during or afterwards. I’ve been working up to it for a while, and honestly, I’m pretty proud of myself. I haven’t been able to run since all the snow started, but I did get my heart rate up for a few bursts during this stormy weather by jumping rope and doing jumping jacks in the house.
Last but not least, the photos in the post come courtesy of my friend Chris Becerra who came out to our place in the fall to shoot our first official family portraits. Chris is an amazing photographer and a stand-up dude. If you’re looking for a wedding or portrait photographer, check out his work.
So will 31 be the best year yet? I sure hope so!