Did you ever read the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, The Long Winter? In reality, this winter has had little in common with that title, as we haven’t had blizzard after blizzard for month one end, and our whole town isn’t in danger of starving to death (or freezing to death), because the trains haven’t been able to get through. But compared to other winters we’ve had here, it has been a very long winter.
I know it doesn’t look like much in the picture (certainly nothing compared to the foot and a half of snow we had in that one January storm), but we have snow on top of sleet on top of ice right now, to go with our bitterly cold wind chills. That’s a pretty good metaphor for what the whole winter has been, and to be frank, I’m tired of it! Come July, however, I’ll probably have forgotten that I ever felt this way…such is life in the Midwest!
Who else is tired of hearing the words “polar vortex?”
Me, too, but like most of the country, we were affected by that huge winter weather system. We got hit with almost a foot and a half of snow, and had nighttime lows of close to -20, and wind chills in the minus 30s! Now, I know what you’re thinking…that’s the beauty of homeschooling, right? No matter what the weather does, or what decisions the public school makes, a homeschool can keep chugging along.
And that was my plan. Actually, I was pretty freaked out about getting back to work this week, especially after our last week of school before Christmas vacation fell apart due to illness. I knew Sunday night that Moose wouldn’t have school on Monday, obviously, but I had already planned for us to have a four day week, so we could enjoy Ryan’s last day of vacation with him on Monday. But on Monday night, we got word that his school was cancelled again on Tuesday.
That’s when I began to panic. We had already missed one day of school, and I was scheduled to be in court on Thursday (long story), so I had to figure out what to do about Tuesday with Moose home again. Remember, I was wanting to get back into the full swing of things as soon as possible. So I started panicking about what I was going to do.
And then…I just stopped. Stopped worrying, stopped trying to figure out what we were going to get accomplished, and how we were going to accomplish it. I decided that we just wouldn’t do school this week. At all. And I let go of everything else…all of my plans, and expectations, and worries.
It ended up being a good decision, because Moose’s two snow days turned into five (although I ended up not needing to go to court). Instead of school, we played games, and watched movies, and read books, and built a lot of Lego creations. Tons of Lego creations, actually! We just had fun. There were a lot of jammies days, even for me, since I didn’t have to worry about dropping Moose off in the morning. After how hectic Christmas was, I really think this week was a gift from God, forcing me to slow down a bit. It wasn’t a full vacation for me…there was still plenty of cooking and cleaning and laundry. But I didn’t have to worry about school or schedules, and that a much needed relief!
And that’s the other beauty of homeschooling. We’re not anchored to a schedule. We’ll make up the time we missed, maybe on a few Saturdays, or in the early summer, or whenever. Because we can. And for this week, I got to relax, without worrying about Christmas plans or lesson plans, or anything other than planning dinner!
The official report says that we received 14 inches of snow in our town. I’m sure I can’t figure out how they know that…some parts of our yard have drifts over 2 1/2 feet high, and other parts are almost swept clean from the wind!
The snow is still blowing quite a bit, and it’s very cold. The wind chill was below -30 when I got up this morning! That’s a lot of cold and snow for just about anywhere in the midwest, but almost unheard of for St. Louis! I think this is about the worst winter storm we’ve seen in the 12 1/2 years we’ve lived here…the only other storm that comes close, in terms of how much of the city shut down, is the big ice storm of 2006, the first year we lived in this house. That was a very different kind of winter storm, though!
I’ve long though that Palm Sunday has an Advent kind of feeling to it. The hymn “Prepare the Royal Highway” is a perfect example of this–an Advent hymn that works for Palm Sunday. Today’s Palm Sunday has an even more Advent-y feeling, though, due to the snowstorm we’re getting. It especially seems appropriate as today is the Eve of the Annunciation of Our Lord. Somehow, the snow seems fitting, even if it is Palm Sunday and the end of March. The white of the snow serves as a good reminder not only of Christ’s sinlessness, but also of both Christ’s incarnation and the atonement He accomplished.
Yesterday morning, after failing to see his shadow, Punxsutawney Phil supposedly predicted that we’d be having an early spring.
This morning, we woke up to see this:
Personally, I think this false sense of hope Phil gave us yesterday was his revenge. Revenge for years of being woken early in the morning, getting pulled out of his nice, warm burrow, and being paraded in front of a bunch of men in funny hats, just to “predict” the weather, when everybody already knows when the first day of spring is.
I’ve said it before–it just doesn’t pay to trust a groundhog!