How do you like winter?
I’m learning to appreciate it, I really am, but it’s hard. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. October to April is usually grey skies and rain, the temperature low and near freezing, rarely below it. We might have 4 or 5 days with snow. That’s about it.
I now live in Calgary, Alberta. The snow first fell in September the year we moved here, and the last snowfall of that winter would be May 29. Winter lasts a loooong time on the prairies, people. A loooong time.
So you have to learn to love it, embrace winter, and celebrate what the weather gives you. My Mommyfriend, Lori, lives in Los Angeles and her kids’ idea of what winter offers is not being able to go swimming.
“It’s too cold,” (65 degrees) she says.
Alright Lori (and the rest of y’all in the warm south), it’s time to be schooled on what winter really means and how we embrace it (or at least try to).
This Is Not Winter 1 of 37
This is Boo Boo and Boy Wonder, Mommyfriend's boys. They are shivering after a dip in the hot tub because the pool was only 65.
This is not winter, people. Click through to really see what winter is about.
Image via Mommyfriend
Visit Santa 2 of 37
We're closer to the North Pole up here, and with all the snow on the ground, it's pretty easy to convince the kids that we can drive there and say hi to the big guy in person.
Jingle Bell Lane 3 of 37
Christmas trees are just prettier in the snow. That's why we spray the fake canned snow on our trees inside. When you live in a winter wonderland, that walk through the trees is beautiful and authentic.
Spring Break 4 of 37
I took this photo last year during Spring Break. While many hit the beaches, we hit the front lawn with our beach toys. Snow and sand have remarkably the same properties, albeit with different wardrobes.
Snow Beer 5 of 37
Fill the fridge with food and don't worry about saving space for the sodas and beer - that's what the back deck is for. When the temperature drops, stuffing the beer in the snow is the best.
Image via Andrea Martem
Hiking 6 of 37
Hiking is hiking is hiking. Any reason to get out with the boys, even if I have to play reindeer and pull the sled, is all good with me.
Ice Falls 7 of 37
Because when you go for a hike in the winter, you get to see amazing things like this — frozen waterfalls.
Snowshoeing 8 of 37
Sometimes the hikes are a little tougher of a climb in fresh powder, so we break out the snowshoes.
Not A Dog Sled 9 of 37
I swear I heard my youngest yelling "Mush!" as they raced down the street.
Go To The Beach 10 of 37
When you go to the beach after a snowfall in the bitter cold, you leave the flip flops at home and bring a sled and mittens. But it's still the beach - right?
The Beach Looks Different 11 of 37
A beach is a beach is a beach. The call of the ocean is too strong - even in winter after a foot of snow.
A Foot Of Snow 12 of 37
This is what "trudging" is. We do a lot of trudging the day after a big dump.
Shovel The Driveway 13 of 37
In the summer we're lucky if we have to cut the grass once a week. In the winter, sometimes we have to shovel twice a day so it doesn't get too heavy. Having kids with limitless energy who want to help actually makes it fun.
Mow The Lawn 14 of 37
Yeah, well, whatcha gonna do? The yard toys get a work out year-round — even in the snow.
Get The Garden Ready 15 of 37
This picture was taken in mid-April. I had just turned the soil and was ready to plant. I should've known one more snowfall was going to happen.
The Biggest Hill In The World 16 of 37
According to my boys, this is the biggest tobogganing hill in the world. It's huge. I can only handle about 4 runs before I'm too tired from walking back up. This is where we start our training for the luge and the 2030 Winter Olympics, people. Mark it down.
Bobsleigh 17 of 37
This is the start of an Olympic Bobsleigh run. It is 5 blocks from my house. We take winter seriously in Canada, gang. Kids as young as age 8 are in junior sliding programs. Two more years til my boys join.
Toboggan Again 18 of 37
We can't get enough of "boganning" at our house. Best part is when they're old enough to pull their own sled back up to the top.
BBQ 19 of 37
What? Snow has stopped you from barbecuing? Not here. You may have to "scrape the winshield" as it were, and it might take a little longer to warm up, but I'll char meat 365 days a year.
Snow Baby 20 of 37
Is there anything better than a bundled up kid loving the snow?
Ride A Bike 21 of 37
It's not California, but after a little bit of a melt, you can break out the bike even in the winter.
Go Geocaching 22 of 37
Going geocaching in the snow can be easier, or harder. Easier because all the trees have lost their leaves and the brush is easier to navigate. Harder, well because snow. Still, on a sunny day it's a great excuse to get out for a walk.
Black Cat. White Snow. 23 of 37
This is Larry, our neighborhood cat. He loves the snow, and we love that he is easier to spot.
Learn To Ski 24 of 37
If the hockey or bobsleigh thing doesn't turn out, there's always skiing. Snow brings so many options for Olympic greatness up here. No wonder Canada dominated at Vancouver 2010!
Learn To Skate 25 of 37
It's cheap and easy to learn to skate when every body of water in the entire country freezes by mid-November. That's why Canadians are good at hockey, people.
Mountain Ice Hockey 26 of 37
It's not just ponds in the city. We'll head to the big huge Rocky Mountains and play hockey games on lakes the size of farms. First goal wins!
Mountain Skating 27 of 37
And even with a hockey game at one end, you can still skate freely at the other.
Tubing 28 of 37
You may tube on a lake behind a boat, or at a water slide. We tube down a ski hill.
Walking To School 29 of 37
It may be -10 (Celsius, people - don't freak out) but we still bundle up and walk to school. Holding Grandpapa's hand makes it cozy.
Go To The Playground 30 of 37
Look, it's mostly melted!
Swing 31 of 37
Swings are a year-round enjoyment. Seriously. Look how enjoyed my son is.
Snow Angels 32 of 37
Fresh snow needs a fresh snow angel. It's an urge that cannot be resisted.
Feed The Birds 33 of 37
Snow is for the birds, really, and some stick out the winter months. So we put out a bird feeder and watch them from the warmth of the kitchen window.
Sled and Skate 34 of 37
Sometimes when we go tobogganing we have to dodge skaters and hockey players. Snow and ice is everywhere.
Can’t Drive 35 of 37
You can't drive in this stuff, might as well run up and down the street.
Car Wash 36 of 37
It's not quite Rose Royce, but winter is messy in Canada. Many days and nights are spent waiting in line at the car wash to get the salt and melt washed off and crossing your fingers the locks don't freeze on the ride home.
Escape To Mexico 37 of 37
At the end of it all, however, winter is just too darn long. Sometime around the 2nd week of January we start to get antsy and inevitably bolt south.