First-Snow Madness

6 Dec

It’s snowing. For the first time this season. I love sitting and watching it come down; watching the white against the evergreens across the field; the way it powders the deck like confectioners’ sugar on gingerbread.

The first snow always means insanity. People forget how to drive and slide into the ditch. The kids dance around like it’s a blizzard. Lucy wants to make a snow angel. In 1 centimeter of snow. (We’re expecting 4 inches, but she can’t wait that long.)

My husband and kids are moving the woodpile into the garage, where the wood will be waiting for us on wicked-cold nights. We light the fire for fun, not for practicality, unlike when I grew up and had to haul in wood several times a week for the woodstove that heated our whole home. And when I say heated, I’m being generous. I could see my breath in the mornings when I woke up, at the far end of the house, though the living room was toasty!

Working together on a snowy day.

My 12 year old just came running in.

“Mom! You’ll never guess what we found in the wood pile!”

“Well, since I can’t guess, then just go ahead and tell me.”

“An Easter egg! And it’s filled with gross candy!”

This is not a huge surprise to me, as ever since we moved out here 6 years ago, it’s become family lore how many eggs are found after the fact. We found one, while hiding this year’s crop, that had been there for five years. How do we know? Because that was the only year some were filled with butterfly erasers.

Okay, Lucy is ready to go out now. Gonna take the camera. Back in a few…


Okay. Back now. Took some good shots. It’s nice when the family can work happily together. We spent the morning in town. Christmas program practice at church (more on that in a future post!) took up most of the time but then we went to do something we had never done before.

(You’re going to keel over when you read what this was. “You’ve never done that before?” You will ask. My simple answer is, “No.” Long story. Suffice it to say that, come the third child, parents mellow. Or, maybe, my husband just forgot that he said years ago that he didn’t want his child to do that and maybe if I’d just done it years before now my two oldest kids wouldn’t have been deprived.)

We took Lucy to see Santa.

The Santa moment.

We tried to go last night, but the line of hot, tired, nervous kids was more than we could take. So we went today instead. Thankfully, it was the same Santa (though in a different location) so Lucy wasn’t traumatized by his sudden change of appearance. He was at my favorite coffee shop today, snoozing in front of the fire. He woke up when he heard kid’s voices. He’s magic that way.

Lucy walked right up to him, her hair a wild mess (as her hair is doomed to be all winter what with the dryness and the stocking caps) and her white, lace collar partially covered in blood from the head-on collision she had with her best pal during program practice.

“Hello there,” Santa said.

Lucy, suddenly shy, said nothing.

Santa said something else at this juncture but I was getting my camera ready and didn’t catch it. He spoke in a low voice, friendly, non-threatening. This is, apparently, Santa’s 26th year of, well, being Santa. He told my friend he’s retiring after this season. “Let someone else have a chance,” he said.

He asked Lucy if she’d like to sit on his lap and she agreed. “You have some nice dimples, I see,” Santa said.

Lucy nodded.

He continued to ask her questions and she began to respond. They spoke for quite some time. At some point in the conversation she told him what she’d like for Christmas. Her answer came as quite a shock to me.

“A bus.”

“A bus?” I asked later. “Really?” My mind racing, I could not, for the life of me, figure out why this was what she asked Santa for.

“Yes,” Lucy said. “A bus. For my Barbies to ride in.”

“Ah. I see,” I said, nodding sagaciously. “Now I understand.”

The cat did not appreciate the snow.

When we got home from seeing Santa (four hot-chocolates poorer), Lucy was still telling Daddy all about her exciting morning, what with a bloody nose at church and Santa and all, when the mail lady drove up. There, on the front cover of the local newspaper, was Santa himself. The very Santa Lucy had just visited with.

“Look, Lucy!” I exclaimed, “It’s Santa!”

In an instant her little head tilted upwards, scanning the skies.

She spoke not a word, but her face said it all: “I believe!”


13 Responses to “First-Snow Madness”

  1. Betsy Patton December 6, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    Thanks, Gretchen, for this great blog. It made my day! The picture of Lucy with Santa is absolutely priceless!

    Auntie B.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell December 6, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

      Thanks, Aunt Betsy! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I took three pictures of Lucy with Santa, and two of them had a weird shadow – so I was so glad that this one turned out just right!! The look on her face…

  2. Andrea December 6, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    Nice! I love the first photo.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell December 6, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

      Thanks, Andrea. I always love the lights glowing through the snow.

  3. Minnesota Prairie Roots December 6, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    Ah, Gretchen, treasure these days of Christmas program practices and Santa visits and reclaimed Easter eggs and snow angels. Your post brought back many sweet memories of my children, now grown, only the 17-year-old still at home.

    Snow is falling here, too, in southeastern Minnesota this morning. Big, fluffy flakes, the kind where you want to stick out your tongue.

    P.S. I love Lucy’s curls, so like my second daughters. Beautiful. Just beautiful.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell December 6, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

      Thanks, Audrey – it’s nice to be writing about these moments to help me never forget them. If nothing else I’m keeping a good journal! And yes, Lucy’s curls are pretty fantastic. I’m hoping she keeps them as she grows, though I know they bring their own headaches. I can’t imagine her without them!

  4. Jenny December 6, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    I can’t believe we had snow before you this year! I agree with you on just wanting to look at it. I also have the nervousness about having to go out and drive in it, knowing that I might not be able to make it back up the driveway and will have to walk the rest of the way with the groceries doesn’t help either! If you can’t drive up it, you can’t walk up it very well either!
    Boy do I remember the coldness of our house! We might not get a lot of snow, but we can get cold and the humidity doesn’t help. I am grateful for a thermostat and a boiler that can run off the generator when the power goes off!
    So are you getting a bus for Lucy? Or should I say – Is Santa getting a bus for Lucy this year? Speaking of Santa, kids around here, when you say there’s Santa, look out at the water, because here Santa comes by boat!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell December 6, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

      I know – how weird is it that the snow came to you first?! Bizarre. I’m no expert at driving, that’s for sure. If it’s too nasty out I just stay home. 🙂 At least we don’t have a hill to drive up, though!

      Yes, the humidity in the PNW makes winter feel almost worse than out here…though the minus eight temps of last night are hard to beat!

      I suppose that Santa will at least attempt to get a bus…we’ll keep you posted! And as for that Santa Boat, I was thinking about that the other day – I guess I’ll have to wait until next year to write about it, though…or maybe post a few mid-week posts soon if I can’t wait that long!

      • Gretchen O'Donnell December 6, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

        Truly, on second thought, I’ll probably have to write about it now…so traumatic…

  5. Tami December 6, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    What a lovely day of memories. Brayden looked at the pictures with me. He was so jealous of the snow.

    Gone are the days for my children of believing in Santa, enjoy it with Lucy. When we told my oldest that Santa was mom and dad, he sat thoughtfully then said, “It kind of makes me wonder about the Easter Bunny.” Priceless.

    Thanks for sharing your snow with Oregon!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell December 6, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

      Thanks, Tami – and that quote from Brayden is awesome!! I wish I could send you our snow. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I thought about you today when working on a future post…so you must check back in early January to see what I was talking about!

  6. Just A Smidgen December 6, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    Lovely story today… Snow on your Christmas lights.. so pretty, Santa Claus photo.. so precious… and “I Believe”… priceless!!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell December 6, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

      Thanks so much! There’s so much to write about this time of year…and to bake, as you’re showing me! I think I need more Tuesdays. Perhaps a few extra posts will be necessary…

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