Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow Days

One of the great things about living in Western Washington is that it doesn't snow very often.  The weather is rainy, sure, but it is also blessedly mild.  You can practically wear the same clothes all year, just adding a jacket when it gets cooler and subtracting it when it gets warmer.

However, when it does snow, everything grinds to a halt.  Most cities do not have snowplows, you see.  It's probably hard to justify expensive equipment that you typically only need once a year at most.  Without snowplows, and with temperatures that are usually trampolining around freezing, it means that the snow on the roads melts during the day and then freezes at night.  The treacherous road conditions are compounded because so many drivers are inexperienced snow drivers.  Really, once it starts snowing, it is better to just stay home if you possibly can.  People try to keep enough groceries on hand so they won't need to go to the store.  After that, you kind of burrow in for a few days.  It kind of reminds me of Laura Ingalls Wilder's description of her childhood winters in Little House in the Big Woods.

Little House in the Big Woods Book and Charm (Charming Classics)

As a child growing up in the 19-80's, snow meant tuning into a special AM radio station where the announcer would read off all the school districts and whether they were cancelled or delayed.  Delayed meant school would start a few hours late--which was better than nothing.  But cancelled is what you really wanted. Cancelled school meant a surprise holiday with built-in entertainment in the form of playing in the snow.

In addition to school cancellations, most activities that are not essential just get cancelled when there has been any kind of snow accumulation.  So snow in Western Washington means you have an excuse to stay home and get cozy.  Sigh.  Staying home and getting cozy is my favorite thing to do no matter what the weather.  So what could be better?  

My parents live in a semi-rural area, so snow storms when I was growing up often meant power outages.  We heated our home with a wood stove, so we were still warm even if the power went out.  We could cook on the wood stove as well--we had one memorable Thanksgiving where had to cook our turkey we on the top of our wood stove (moistest ever, by the way).  It was both cozy and fun to feel like we really were Laura Ingalls Wilder, stuck at home because of the snow, cooking on a wood stove.  Although maybe my mom has different feelings about those power outages...

My family had a great day yesterday.  The kids who were old enough spent the day playing in the snow with friends, coming in to de-thaw, then going out again.  It's was like a party out there with all the neighborhood kids coming out to play in the snow.  Usually, the wet weather means everyone in the neighborhood digs into their houses like moles and we don't see each other until the Spring.  I enjoyed the luxury of not having to go anywhere for a change, and just plain puttered: helping the kids, doing laundry, making copycat Great Harvest bread, making homemade bread crumb mixture out of leftover pita bread, cleaning the kitchen, making granola and decorating a mirror frame for my living room.  I love puttering around my house, and snow days let me do it to my heart's content.  Here's a sneak peek of what I'm doing to my mirror frame:

We learned some important things yesterday.  For example, Nutella hot chocolate is delicious.  And Washington snow is much wetter than Utah snow.  Playing with friends is fun.  Taking some extra time to love my home and get caught up on chores makes me feel happy.

We lived in Utah for about 15 years.  There, snow is an expected and regular part of winter.  For the most part, life goes on as usual, and it just means inconvenience--only extreme weather gives you a break.  I'm grateful to live where I do and to have an excuse to slow down and enjoy my family and home once in a while.  Thank you, Mother Nature.

And today?

It's another snow day.  Oh yeah.   


  1. Good for you! I would be fine if this was day one or two of resting at home, but I have been here since Saturday and am going a little stir crazy!!! Guess that is what you get for buying a house in the "convergence zone!" Crazy the difference less than 15 miles makes from my house to yours. Enjoy your time!

  2. Oh, and I vividly remember the Thanksgiving with no power and alternative cooking methods. :-)

  3. Oh how I miss "Snow Days!@4c4d88685720cabaf39b48b29b52d2cd  Every time is snows here, I want it to be a day off and snuggle up with hot chocolate. We got your snow last night and it's suprisingly in the 40s right now so it 'feels' like Seattle. Man I miss those days, but am learning to love the routine of snow, too. Have fun and stay warm!

  4. Hi Kim,

    It is true that having an excuse to stay home is only nice if you have the option of going somewhere. My oldest said, "I usually like to to just hang around home, but now that I can't go anywhere I suddenly want to hang out with friends." I hope it starts to melt up your way first (it's only fair).

  5. I know!! It took years for me to realize that snow didn't mean a day off anymore. It is nice to be able to count on snow every winter like you can in Utah. It usually comes here when it is least convenient, and after a few days of playing pioneer, I want to go places (as in, I really need a haircut right now).

  6. Love it! Ironically, I wrote a similar post today. I love Snow Days too, and we've been having such a good time! 

    I also remember listening to the radio and praying for school to be cancelled, or one day watching the snow get heavier and heavier out the windows of Mr. Stout's class, and wishing to be sent home early (we were). Maybe I love the Snow Days because I have such fond memories of them as a kid, but I have to say it's great - like a holiday without holiday obligations. 
    Enjoy tomorrow!! 

  7. Hi Katrina!

    Snow days are the best. Although, I would be writing a different post if I was one of the people without power (or wishing I could write a different post, since I wouldn't have electricity or the internet :) ). You hit the nail right on the head--it is great to have a holiday with no obligations or expectations. I love how it makes people come out in the neighborhood, and all the kids play because for once, people don't have to run their kids all over the place.


  8. I've been thinking fo you, my lovely. How are you feeling?

    I'm so glad you're loving the snow - I wish we had some here in England but no sign yet!!

    And may I say that you look absolutely gorgeous in your profile photo. I had a good stare at it today for the first time - you're a stunner!


  9. Hi Sarah! I am doing well, thanks. My dad is improving a little--started eating a little solid food this week, which is great. Thanks for your sweet compliment. That made my day:). It's been a while since anyone outside my family called me a "stunner." Although I did get a haircut today and my daughter said "Wow, Mom--you look so much younger!"--which of course made me laugh but also try not to feel too paranoid about the other side of that comment (ie "you were looking old!").

  10. How is your mirror project going? I was very intrigued by that sneak peek!! I've been wondering about it ever since!!


  11. Never fear, gentle reader :). I just posted it tonight. And that is very sweet of you to ask, by the way! Hope you are feeling wonderful these days, you unnaturally lovely pregnant person, you :).

  12. I think snow days are an ultimate childhood memory. It is supposed to snow in SE England on Sunday - we will see - which could mean a snow day here. My kiddos have their fingers crossed.

    Is that a larch in your first photo? - you lucky girl. Gorgeous trees :) 

    Thank you for linking up to Post Of The Month Club! It is great to have you there. Have a great weekend!


Please feel free to comment. I love to read what other people think!