Tuesday, December 10, 2013

iced-in & making the most of it

dallas was hit by a massive ice storm last week, which is both completely out-of-character for us (this time of year or ever) AND yet, not surprising. on wednesday, we were wearing short sleeves and running the air conditioning in the car on our way to afternoon activities, but on thursday, we needed mittens, scarves, ear-muffs, and our heaviest coats. the temperature dropped to freezing, and then it rained. the temperature kept dropping, and everything froze. we woke up friday morning to a winter wonderland, everything covered in a solid sheet of hard, slick ice. God is so creative with weather!

thankfully, our electricity did not go out. thankfully, i stocked up on groceries when i heard this storm was coming. the forecast showed ice and below freezing temps for the entire weekend. activities were cancelled, the roads too treacherous to get out. so, on friday morning, we turned on the fireplace, layered on clothes, and decided to make the most of being iced in together.

one of the trees in the neighbor's front yard cracked under the weight of the ice, and fell right on top of our mailbox. another neighbor's tree fell, so we had trees down on both sides of us, huge branches blocking the entrances of our street. the roads were so thick with ice, no one was going anywhere anyway.

even though area schools were cancelled and other kids were enjoying the "snow day," we had school as usual on friday. but with all that ice outside, we had to add a fun science project to the lesson plan! the kids brought in a bunch of icicles and we set them up in different elements (in water, with sugar, with salt, alone, and wrapped in tinfoil) and observed to see which would make the ice melt fastest. the ice in the salt and in the tinfoil melted first, within 30 minutes.

my husband took the kids "sledding" while i stayed home (where it's warm, because i am a wimp) and made hot apple cider and hot chocolate for their return. i only stepped outside to take a video and laugh and pray for their safety. we let the kids watch a movie each day of the weekend, which is a very special treat. we watched Muppets Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Polar Express.

we made a gingerbread house (graham crackers, actually, with leftover Halloween candy.) i helped "paint" and Daddy helped with the "mortar." it was a total blast. and definitely more sugar than i typically allow.

we did a lot of baking and cooking and eating and washing dishes. let this ice storm forever be remembered as the weekend the Pioneer Woman's Egg in a Hole became one of our favorite meals. and her Christmas cut-out cookies? simple and simply delicious. Big Girl and i got out our vintage mixer, donned matching Christmas aprons, and made a big mess but even bigger memories.

another fun thing that was new to us was this- ice graffiti. i filled two empty spray bottles with water and food coloring, sent them outside and let them have at it. they loved it! i gave Bubba the green water and i called it green ooze, and since he's all about TMNT these days he was thrilled to spray green ooze all over the ice. when the spray bottles were empty it was time to come inside for hot chocolate.

while the boys watched football on TV, Big Girl and i rearranged her bedroom. in doing so, we found this 160-piece Christmas puzzle that we'd never done. she set it up at the kitchen table and soon enough all four of us were working on it, fitting in tiny pieces to complete it.

the kids played with Legos, played games on their tablets, helped wrap Christmas presents, and had plenty to do as the time passed. i folded all the laundry, cleaned out my closet, and started organizing our craft supplies. we stayed in pajamas and napped randomly. church was cancelled, so on sunday morning, Big Girl and i wrapped up in a blanket, sat in front of the fireplace, and listened to a devotional on podcast. by sunday afternoon, the temperature went up to 33, we were out of milk, and the roads were clear enough to go to the grocery store, but not much further than that.

i'm happy to see the sun peeking out of the grey sky today, and the icicles are starting to melt. being iced-in was a really great excuse to be together and rest. everything was frozen, time moved a little bit slower, there was room to breathe and be still. we definitely made the most of it. the quote from Holley Gerth on today's calendar is perfect:

"What if God's invitation to rest is really an invitation to joy-life to the full?"

yeah. what if? if being iced-in was God's invitation to rest, and an invitation to joy-life to the full? it absolutely was, and i am thankful.