puddle splashing

Puddle splasher After a pretty dry spring, we've finally been getting some rain lately. Tonight, after reassuring Brooklynn that the tornado watch did not mean we should move all the toys from the playroom into the basement shower for safekeeping, I got the girls outside in some nice rain.

If small puddles on the sidewalk are good, then the deeper water in the gutter is better, and that makes the fast moving water on the hill the best. Not to worry, Maddi only brought about a half inch of water in the bottom of each of her boots inside with her.

the cold

Happy winter from all of us in North Dakota. Bundled Up Bundled Up

December has had more days with lows below zero than days with lows above zero. In Colorado, lows below zero were considered life threatening. Here, they are just a fact of life.

I'm not saying that we're looking to move again, but I'm less than pleased with the first winter that North Dakota has rolled out to welcome us back.

snow days

Rhiannon has yet to have a snow day teaching this year, and considering she has a week to go before state testing, she doesn't want one right now. However, that doesn't mean we haven't been waiting for a nice day with some snow on a weekend. This year in Denver, the snow has been pretty sparse, so getting a sunny day to get the kids out was too good to pass up.

This is Fun

On top of that, the snow was great for packing.

Snowman Building

Outside of the one mishap where the first attempt at a tall snowman fell over, it went pretty well.

Snowman Building

And just like so many other things right now, we are calling the snowman George.

Snowman Building

popsicle time

Brooklynn has a friend that lives next door, and last weekend[1. Before the 24 hours of rain that we so desperately needed came late Sunday.] she was invited over for a mini pool party in their backyard. It was in the 80s in early May, so even though the sun was out, it was still worth getting outside. One thing when Brooklynn and Dylan get together - there are snacks. Lots of snacks. Always with the snacks.

Early Summer Afternoon

heat wave

I know we haven't been quite as hot as some of our family that lives north of us, but we've been in the 80 degree range for the past few days. Since I grew up in North Dakota, people assume that I should be well acclimated to the cold, but summer is probably my favorite season. Long, warm[1. I like hot days too, with the caveat that I don't have a lot of outside work to do and it is still tolerable at night.] days. Plus, Maddison has plenty of warm weather clothes to wear, both new and hand-me-downs from her summer-born sister.

Over the bush

dog days of spring

The weather this past weekend was gorgeous - highs in the 80's, blooms on the trees, flowers in bloom. Yesterday, it was in the 30's with a couple inches of wet snow. Too much a good thing an all. We did make sure that we got out and enjoyed the weather while it was nice. It's amazing the things Brooklynn does on a playground compared to fall last year. She's zipping down slides, quickly climbing up ladders, and generally getting around a lot more than she used to. I can already tell we're going to have some injuries at some point as she tries out new things and pushes her boundaries.

The price of being a growing kid I guess. We'll do our best to prevent the bumps and bruises and just enjoy the ride.

Early Summer Swing

bracing for impact

Rhiannon and I have been getting our weather news through our phones, namely the built in weather application, which looks like this: Weather

It provides us a general snapshot of the forecasted trends and gives us an idea of what kind of outfit to get Brooklynn into for the day. If we really want to get granular, we do this[1. If we want to depress ourselves, we just look at the weather for Honolulu.]:

Hourly Weather

Hourly, up to the next 12 hours. So, we don't hear about the NEXT BIG STORM!!! that the news channel meteorologists love to get worked up about. We just get a calm forecast with chance of precipitation[1. Notice the 100% chance of snow peaking in there at 8pm tonight.]

We don't always know what the systems will bring more than a day or two out. Things are pretty fluid in weather, so I don't make plans more than a day ahead of time anyway.

It does seem that if something big is going to happen, we hear about from other people. This is kind of my default filter for news - if it's important enough, someone will tell me about it. So, I've been getting emails from work and our daycare and people in the office are talking about the NEXT BIG STORM!!!

The prediction[1. Yes, I did go and look at the news channel meteorologist forecast for this.] is 10-18 inches over the next 24 hours. Yesterday, it was 6-10. This morning, 7-12. Now, they think the metro will get over a foot. It hasn't actually started snowing yet, but maybe when it finally does, forecasts will be even higher[1. I will offer a 100% guaranteed prediction that in the next three days we will get between 0 and 4 feet of snow.].

That's a lot of snow for us. We missed the last big storm over Christmas, so part of me is kind of hoping we get it. Part of me is also hoping we don't, because if I'm at work during the storm, it means I get to shovel when I get home. We have a sloped driveway, and at 34 weeks pregnant, there is no way I'll agree to Rhiannon going outside to do any sort of snow removal.

If you don't hear from us, I guess it means the snow broker our internets.

That, or I'm just not posting anything new, like normal.

no like it

We have a winter storm warning in effect until tomorrow evening with 12 inches of snow possible. Yesterday it was a record high of 80 degrees out. On Rhiannon's drive home today, it was starting to cool off and rain. She mentioned to Brooklynn that by tomorrow, we might have snow.

Brooklynn responded: No snow! No like it! No thank you snow!

Regardless of what we tell her, how much we say Mommy and Daddy really like to play in the snow, she wants nothing to do with the white stuff. I think that's her way of telling us she wants to live farther south or closer to a coast.

If she doesn't like snow, I'd hate to see what she'd think of earthquakes and hurricanes.


I mentioned in the last monthly letter that Brooklynn had transitioned from her crib into a toddler bed, which is just the same crib without the side on it. And it went great. She was excited to show people her new bed and she was excited to get in all by herself. After her bedtime story at night she would walk over to her bed, climb up, settle in, and wait for her kisses goodnight. For naps, there were times she would go up and lay down on her own and there were times when she would get up once and we would have to put her back in bed, but that was the worst of the transition. For a week, she did great.

Then the thunder happened right at bedtime one night. Brooklynn is very concerned about thunder. It’s loud. Really, she’s very concerned about any loud noises. Loud trucks, loud dogs, loud planes. We hear about all of them. “Truck, loud!”

Yes, she typically places her adjectives after her nouns. Rhiannon and I think that she’s just ready to learn one of the romance languages without having to relearn word order. Yes, it’s probably going to hurt her grade in English class, but isn’t pre-emptive bilingualism worth it?

So, thunder at bedtime. She was asleep. Soundly. Thunder loud enough to physically shake the house will do that to a two year-old. She got out of bed, opened her door, saw me sitting at the computer, and closed it again. She knew wasn't supposed to be up, but "Thunder!" Rhiannon ended up laying down with her in our bed to get her back to sleep that evening. The next night, no thunder, but we went through the same thing. Up, see me, close door. Open door, close door. Cry. Get put back in bed. Open door, close door, cry. Get put back in bed. I would keep writing it over and over, but I don't think anyone would actually finish the post at that point.

Rhiannon finally sat on the ottoman in Brooklynn's room until she fell asleep, at which point, we figured it was just a hiccup from the storm the night before and we would soon be back to normal.

1 am, we had a toddler pounding on our door. 4am, she was finally asleep. The worst part was that it seemed like she wanted to play and run around the entire time. She was in our bed. She was in her own bed. She was sitting in a chair with me. She was back in her bed. Nothing mattered and nothing could get her to stay in bed. At about 3:30, we put the side of the crib back on and let her cry it out until she went to sleep.

The next afternoon, we took the side back off. Naptime came, and this was a small kid who had a severe lack of sleep the night before. She wouldn't stay in bed even though she was clearly tired. We were getting ready for her birthday party and so we eventually just put her in the room and went downstairs. She fell asleep on her own on the futon in our the loft upstairs.

That night, the crib side went back on and she's been sleeping great again. Maybe we'll try to go back to the toddler bed in a week or so. The parental sanity can only take so much crazy at one time.

not blown away

I know that some of our family up north has been dealing with snow, blizzards, closed roads, and other severe sorts of weather. Well, we've been really windy... Seriously, that's the best I can do. There are some grass fires that are pretty bad. I can see the smoke out my window at work and the dry, warm, and very windy conditions don't help the people fighting those at all. Sure, we could use some moisture, but considering Rhiannon and Brooklynn are home on spring break right now, it's nice they can go outside each day.

Brooklynn loves to be outside. More like LOVES. We have to spell works like W-A-L-K and speak in hushed whispers to discuss plans for the next day that might include a P-A-R-K. Say the word playground in our house, regardless of the time of day, and you will get a pair of shoes handed to you and toddler standing by the door, waiting to go. Cold, windy, middle of the night? Who cares, let's go!

So, Rhiannon and Brooklynn have been playgrounding all week long, even with the wind. Frankly, if we had snow on the ground for an entire winter, I'm not sure what we would do with the tiny person in our house. Maybe she would actually learn to like snow instead of it being that "weird white cold stuff that I do not like".

head first?

Ever since Brooklynn got a small slide that sits in our house for Christmas, she's been much more inclined to explore other slides at various parks she goes to. Like, say this one, at the park near daycare. (Thanks to Jamie for the picture.)

I do hope that she managed to sit down and go feet first before sliding down. I've seen her dismounts on the slide at home - it's a last drop of about 3 inches and she still ends up plopping on her butt more often than not.

This is for all of our family who lives to the north of us that wish they could stay consistently above freezing this time of year. And yes, I do realize that by posting this, I'm just asking to get about three feet of snow in March, which is traditionally the snowiest month of the year. To make up for it, maybe I won't post the picture I took yesterday of Rhiannon's tulips starting to peek through the mulch on the front of the house.

baby steps

I've mentioned before how much Brooklynn does not like snow. She does not like it on the cars. She does not like it on the ground. She does not like to touch it, even when the touching involves only the bottoms of her feet with the snowy ground. No snow, no thank you, not now or ever. Yesterday, it was 60 degrees outside. Brooklynn really likes to be outside when it is nice. But, there was still snow. At that point, the only thing left to do was build a snowman (or in this case, snow-woman).

Just Her Size

Notice how she's standing on the verycorner of the step without snow? That isn't an accident. Still, we consider this some serious progress.

winter made it

After going through the first half a winter with hardly more than a few flurries and a couple of overnight lows that could actually freeze water, winter finally found us. The rest of the country is saying welcome to our life. I think our entire household is starting to think moving farther south sounds like a really good idea. Get me out of here

Yes, we are all less than impressed with the snow.


School has been called off again tomorrow due to cold weather. It's too cold to snow and the roads are cold enough to be free of snow and dry for the most part. Not so much a snow day but a cold day. And yes, it really is cold. Negative 17 in the morning with wind chills predicted to be in the negative 30 range. Too cold for kids to be out waiting for buses or walking to school. Maybe the kids are enjoying the extra weekend in the middle of the week. Unfortunately, standardized tests don't get pushed back at all, so that means two less instruction days for Rhiannon in the classroom before testing. Things I never considered when I was a student myself. Of course, back in the ancient days, standardized test results weren't quite the deal they are now.

so this is winter

Rhiannon had a snow day on Monday. Yes, at noon, it was sunny outside. But at 7 am, it was snowing, cold, and windy. Mostly the kind of stuff that people in Denver haven't had to deal with all winter up to this point. Three days later, nothing has really started to melt yet. Residential roads are still snowpacked and slick in places. (And all our family who lives to the north of us just rolled their eyes. Snowpacked roads! For three days! Call the national guard!)

We didn't know if school would actually be canceled or delayed or have no impact at all. When I woke Rhiannon up in the morning to tell her she could sleep in, she assumed that I was going to tell her that school was running on time and she needed to get going early because traffic was going to be bad.

It took me a little extra time to get to work on Monday morning, but I did leave the house early enough to beat most of bad traffic. The difference between growing up in a small town in North Dakota and a bigger metropolitan area on a snowy morning isn't that the roads are better or worse in one place than the other. It isn't that the average person knows how to drive better on snow. It's that there are so many more people, you don't get the roads as much to yourself and the chances of that one stupid person being an idiot, causing an accident, and creating a traffic jam of hundreds of cars stretching for a few miles is a little higher in the metro area.

Ok, maybe people in North Dakota just know how to drive a little bit better too.

First real snow of the new year

still in holding

It sleeted yesterday, a wet, heavy, driving sort of precipitation that could have turned to a full blown blizzard if the temperature would have dropped just a few degrees. Except, of course, for the fact that the system came with a good deal of wind and blew itself through the neighborhood in less than a half hour. And then it snowed last night. One of these days, it's going to be enough to stick and make a snowman. Trust me.

Making Adjustments

And when it does, we're all going to be ready.

Lean Back

Ok, maybe we bought the clothes for snow a little on the big side. We just wanted to make sure they would last the whole season. I guess Brooklynn will just be rolling down hills instead of sledding.