I share these pictures primarily for our benefit, who next year will look back on them with much fondness! I imagine Charlie will remember snow. Caroline, I'm sure, will not. It is ironic that we left Minnesota halfway through the winter, anticipating a drastic change when we moved 8 hours south, and what do you know, Kansas (and everyone else, I think) has the coldest winter in who knows how long? But the real irony is that I went to Minnesota thinking I would absolutely hate the winter, and that experiencing it would make me appreciate warm weather so much and therefore prepare me for Africa. But it backfired! I realized it isn't that bad, once you get used to it and have all the necessary gear. And the summers are downright refreshing. Now I'm seriously dreading the summer in KS. I wanted to turn on the air conditioning the other day. I think it was 60 outside. I guess the moral of the story is, it's a good thing I'm not the one choosing where I will live. There are nice things about warm places and nice things about cold places, and you can get used to anything.
We eventually had about a foot of snow on the ground, from two separate snowfalls, but some of the drifts were significantly higher. We went out to the family farm to play in the yard there, as they had what seemed like a lot more snow!
I recently put all our snow boots down in the basement. (Not to say I won't need to pull them out another once or twice before summer comes. You never know in Kansas.) And I definitely had mixed feelings. I mean, sure, it will be nice to wear another pair of shoes; but these walmart boots have kept me warm and dry nearly every day since november. (Except in Canada. They did not keep me warm this Christmas in Canada. But, in defense of my trusty boots, it was not their fault. It was like the bloody North Pole up there, this year.) I know they are just a pair of footwear, but I will definitely associate them with a specific time in my life. And this my last winter before moving to Africa. When will I wear my boots again? I don't know. Where else will my feet have walked before I put them on again? See? mixed feelings. Story of my life.
What can always raise your spirits if you're suffering from the winter blues? Valentine's Day. (Or perhaps the spring-ish thaw you can see, evidenced by the sight of actual ground behind my big-eyed son.)
Try as I might, I can think of no appropriate caption. Such a drama queen!
Don't get me wrong, I like romance just as much as the next girl, but my favourite part is not the flowers and cards. We use the celebration also to remind the kids that they are loved, and to help them show love to others in their life. They put together some small cards and cupcakes to take to some family members and friends,
and we had a special breakfast of whole wheat pancakes, homemade strawberry syrup, and fresh whipped cream. I completely forgot about the special plates and napkins we had for the occasion, and when I found them later, my first thought was, I will stick this with my seasonal items for next year. Then it occurred to me (as it will continue to do, I guess, until I get my mind wrapped around it) that this time next year, we'll be in Africa. I stood there in the kitchen holding those paper plates, not even sure what to think. Keep them for next year? Who would use up precious trunk space with something as superficial as Valentine's Day decorations? Me, I decided!
Next January, I'm pretty sure my good buddies at Hobby Lobby will have the pink and red stuff out before we take off (literally :-). And you can bet I will be there. And I will make room in my family's belongings for heart shaped paper plates. And next February 14, I will do my best to recreate the exact same breakfast. ( I mean its pancakes, how hard can it be? ;-) Because I imagine all 5 of us will be in the throes of culture shock, and a special breakfast shared together, around whatever table we have in whatever type of house in whatever type of neighborhood in a huge, sprawling, massive international city in a developing country might be just the thing to remind us who we are. No matter where we are, we are together as a family, and we are loved. And hopefully to remind us that we are there so we can love, because He first loved us.