We’ve had an incredible amount of snow this year. By noon, a week ago Friday, we had 24 inches in the front yard and it was still coming down! During Christmas week it seemed every time I glanced out the window, a flurry of white filled the air. Snow on Christmas Eve, snow Christmas morning, snow the days following. It was beautiful, quiet, and calming. If we’re going to live at 4,465 feet elevation, along the foothills of the Rockies, I say let it snow!
Snow was still falling as we bundled everyone up to go outside.
My parents have the perfect sledding hill in their back yard. Steep enough to get going fast, but not too long. Just right for little kids.
The best part of Christmas break was having this guy home. He took two weeks off, cooked meals, played with the kids, ran errands, and tackled the broken toy pile (items that have needed gluing, nailing, and fixing for months). Work demands so much of him the rest of the year; we really look forward to this time.
Gus. With pink cheeks starting to glow.
This is my brother Dave, about to show us how a real sledder takes on the hill. If you know him, you can hear him saying, “Okay guys. Let me show you how it’s done.” His tactic? The running belly-flop.
We’re amazed. Can you tell? Truthfully, it was rather anticlimactic. Two feet further he slid to a halt.
Ali, however, mastered the belly-flop. Apparently, chewing on a piece of hair helps.
This sweet girl has been such a help to me lately. Last week her job was to assist with dinner each night and I loved having her by my side as we prepared meals.
Give Sami another five years and she’ll be your favorite baby-sitter. She’s always looking out for the littles. If she’s playing with the boys, I don’t need to worry. I know they’ll be happy. She tucked Michael into her sled, and held on tight so he wouldn’t tip out.
Spencer and Gordon had fun brandishing icicle swords. “By the power of Grayskull! I… have… the power!” (Am I the only one old enough to remember that cartoon?)
Shirlee wowed us with her impromptu snow-clothes design. New from the Braithwaite line and available in your very own pantry. That is one, count it one, gigantic garbage sack! Brilliant, I thought.
Rachel and Dan headed up the igloo-making team.
Their youngest members abandoned ship part-way through, but we gave them an A+ for effort!
All the grandchildren love these two like second parents. They’re pretty adorable.
My sister Becca stayed in town with her boys while her husband went back to Vegas for work.
And this is one reason I love my parents so much. They never miss out on the fun. When my Dad walked outside wearing his infamous moose hat, the kids teased him, laughed, then followed him around like the Pied Piper. He’s notorious for wearing odd hats and loud ties. My Mom helped grandkids carry their sleds back up the hill again and again and again.
After an hour or so the sun came out and everyone began to shed hats and coats. I love Ty’s red cheeks in this photo, and his sweaty hairline.
My Dad had high hopes for a snow dragon. So we conceded and got to work.
Love the icicle spikes at the end of the tail.
Keddingtons are known for spontaneously breaking into song or dance. Here’s Sarah showing off the finished dragon spine.
Spencer was happy most of the time…
The guys decided to roll an impossibly big snow ball. I think so they could feel manly. And so the little boys would have something to kick.
Here’s half our crew with the great snow beast.
What good is a dragon if you can’t ride it?
By the time we were slowing down and heading inside, I noticed someone had flipped Mr. Snowman’s mouth around and given him a Parisian look. Je l’adore! It was a memorable Snow Day.
Last night, we gathered again to celebrate birthdays. As we sang and blew out flames, I looked at Ali, surrounded by her cousins, and thought how wonderful it is that she feels a part of them, that she belongs. All these people are creating a place of safety for her – a steady, and reliable network that, in part, will define who she is.
We are wild and crazy, but we love each other fiercely. We speak our minds when we’re together, comfortably. We have deep discussions. We laugh hysterically. We pray for each other. We would do anything to help each other. I am convinced that having a family and working to keep our relationships strong is one of life’s most important efforts.
I know some of you did not grow up with this kind of extended support. Which makes it all the more amazing when I see you building what you didn’t have, and doing it so beautifully.
A family ought to be an emotional refueling station that empowers our children to venture into the world with more confidence, more security, more love to pass on.
I am grateful for ours. And encouraged during those moments when my kids want to scratch each other’s eyeballs out, that some day, they will have this too. That all that wretched squabbling will melt into happy, indissoluble bonds.
Voici à la famille!