The Great Blizzard of 2016. Snowzilla. Ragsnowrok. Whatever you called it, the D.C. area got several tons of snow this past weekend. (Chris estimated that he shoveled approximately two tons of snow alone.) Specifically, we received at least 2 and a half feet of snow, putting us at more than double of what Anchorage usually accumulates in the entire month of January.
Our biggest fear was losing power to the house. Both Chris and I are from upstate New York, so we’re used to getting a decent amount of snow. The first year I ever spent Christmas night at his parents’ house was because they invited my parents over for dinner and we physically couldn’t get the car out of the driveway. But we were also here for Snowmageddon in 2010, when we lost heat to our apartment for three days. Thankfully, we could drive up and stay with our friends in Baltimore who had heat. Between being much further from the highway and our friends no longer living there, we would have no such recourse this time around.
By Saturday morning, we were already past 20 inches according to our makeshift snow ruler.
Games, Baking and Other Distractions
We resorted to playing the first of many, many rounds of the Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game. Or as Sprout calls it, the “Neeky nacky quirrel game.” While it’s a cute game and I definitely appreciate that he likes his Christmas gift, any game that a two-year-old is capable of playing gets repetitive very quickly. One of the few saving graces is that he says, “Thank you neeky nacky quirrel” each time he gets an acorn, which is both astonishingly cute and polite. It also helps that he doesn’t actually get that losing is a bad thing yet.
We’re usually out-and-about on weekends, so I took advantage of being stuck inside to do one of the five zillion projects with Sprout that I have mentally bookmarked. I’m always encouraging Chris to cook with him, so I pulled out the recipe for Easy Cheesy Crackers I remembered seeing on 100 Days of Real Food. Because I wasn’t going for “easy snack” so much as “indoor activity a toddler will enjoy,” we used cookie cutters to cut the crackers into cute shapes. The angels looked more like gingerbread men and the bears just looked like lumps, but Sprout didn’t really seem to care.
In terms of taste, they came out okay. In retrospect, I would have used regular flour instead of whole wheat. I’m pretty sure the 100 Days of Real Food author uses whole wheat in the recipe because it’s healthier, but the finished product had an unpleasant graininess. Also, completely disregard the suggestion on her page that this recipe in any way resembles Goldfish crackers. These are closer to savory cheese cookies, not the crunchy, puffy, addictive crackers. They’re fine on their own terms – especially if we made them with regular flour – but there’s no way any child will mistake these for Goldfish.
I can’t say everything we did was highly educational. I showed Sprout the video of Tien Tien sliding in the snow. It immediately became a source of obsession and a lot of whining to watch it again (and again and again).
I was able to indulge in this suburban housewife-ness because Chris took on all of the shoveling. Hauling huge amounts of snow isn’t exactly recommended for women who are more than six months pregnant, especially when restrictions kept me from picking up my own son until a month ago. While I felt bad for him, I was not exactly sad about my restrictions for once.
Out and Not-So-About
But as the snow kept falling, I got more antsy than Sprout. There’s a very good reason I’m not the stay-at-home parent, and even if I was, we’d never be at home. I needed to get out of the house, even if there wasn’t an actual path off of our property. Despite Sprout’s lack of enthusiasm, I eventually talked him into letting me put on his snowpants and new boots.
Unfortunately, the moment we stepped on the front porch, the wind whipped in our faces, feeling exactly like the 12 degrees F the weather reported. Sprout refused to move a step beyond the front door. He squatted for a few minutes while I tried to squash snow together into something snowman-shaped. Hearing his plaintive whimpers, I pulled him inside after less than 10 minutes, leaving a not-very-big lump of snow on the porch.
The snow stopped that night, but the next day was just as isolating.
I wanted to get outside, but Sprout’s experience the day before had soured him on being outside. “Don’t you want to play in the snow?” I asked. “Naaah,” he replied.
With a sigh and a feeling that somehow this wasn’t my child, I snuck outside while Chris was taking a break from shoveling. Sprout’s been obsessed with the book The Snowman since he received it on Christmas Eve, so I made building one my mission even though the texture of the snow was completely wrong for it. Through the power of my own mitten-covered hands, I transformed the powdery substance into something moldable and eventually snowman-like.
Sprout acquiesced to venturing out in the afternoon, mainly because I promised him hot chocolate afterwards. Upon his request, I added my hat and a green scarf to the snowman to make him look even more like the book.
With some coaxing, we made our way down the street about a block, holding hands and dodging the bizarrely fast plow before turning around.
Job? What is this job you speak of?
The next two days were more of the same, except that I took a couple hours each day to do work for my job. (The federal government was closed, so I wasn’t required to do anything, but I had a lot to catch up on.) This morning, I faced the exquisite balance of talking to a co-worker on the phone while trying to entertain a two-year-old, which was a special kind of challenge. (Chris was still shoveling.)
I’ll be working all day tomorrow, albeit telework. I’m bringing the computer to Starbucks though – there’s no way I can spent another day in this house.