“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” –Anne Frank
I went for a little run in the Minnesota snow today and I remembered something. I remembered telling you that I would check back in with you in February to let you know how we are surviving the Minnesota winter so here I am.
We are definitely surviving. For the most part, it’s been fun. Don’t get me wrong, Minnesota winter is NO JOKE. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. And by all accounts, it’s been a pretty mild one this year.
I’ll put it like this: winter started off super fun with the first snow and I believe it’s going to end fun with the first signs of spring but there were a couple of moments in between where it was… well… touch and go. There were 3 moments to be exact. I’ll give you the highlights.
- That First Time It Dropped Below Zero: I don’t know how many of you have experienced below zero weather but it’s brutal. It takes your breath away. It’s like a slap in the face. Seriously. When we first walked out into below zero weather, we were only going a few feet but it hit me like a ton of bricks. Even after we got inside, it took me like 30 minutes to recover from the stupor I was in. My husband Greg kept asking me if I was okay as if he were afraid I was gonna jump on the next plane to LA. Luckily, we’ve only had a few days where the temp has dropped so low so I think we’re gonna be okay.
- That Time My Car Slid Across 3 Traffic Lanes in the Snow: Okay here’s the thing, I probably should have asked someone how to drive in snow before I drove in snow. The snow was coming down so hard I could barely see the cars in front of me and everything was slippery. I was on my way to pick up the kids from school, Greg was out of town and sliding across the road threw me for a loop. It was at this moment that I decided I should call my neighbor and ask him how to drive in snow. Per his advice, I slowed down, left lots of space between me and the cars in front of me and I pumped the brakes when necessary. Now I’ve got it.
- That Time I Dropped My Daughter Off To School While She Sobbed Uncontrollably About How Heavy Her Backpack Was: The biggest thing about winter in Minnesota is the gear you need. There’s no easy way about it, you have to gear up before you head out. And for my little California kids, this has been an adjustment. They have to put on coats, gloves and hats while carrying their snow pants and snow boots in their backpack. If you throw some books and a lunchbox in there… we’re talking 20 pounds. So for a little girl who quite frequently wakes up late and on the wrong side of the bed, this can be overwhelming. That morning of crocodile tears taught me that she needs to wear her snow boots to school and buy a hot lunch. Again, live and learn.
All that being said, here’s the good news: we have added so many fun winter activities to our lives. We have been ice skating, snowmobiling, tubing, sledding and skiing. We have embraced the winter and in so doing, we have learned how to love it. And then there will always be those days where you just bundle up, make some hot chocolate and watch a movie, which is nice too.
As I was out in the cold weather this morning, I tried to connect with the beauty of it. As the quote above says, being out in nature is a lovely remedy for everything and I could feel my mood instantly lifting.
To sum it up, winter in the far north is not totally easy but there are ways to get your arms around it, roll with it and learn as you go.
And if all else fails, plan to spend your spring break in the Caribbean! Hey we’re not stupid!!!