Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Snow Day

Today was a snow day. We had an ice storm last night that left everything covered with about a half inch of ice – so school was cancelled.

Once the kids go back to school after winter break I start working on my courses and getting ready for the spring semester. I’ve got a great neighbor who works part time and has two children who are close in age to my two youngest. I work full time – but since I teach some on-line courses, I work from home two or three days a week. We try to set up our work schedules so that we stagger the days we each go in to work so we can help each other out with snow days and the other days the kids don’t have school.

As soon as I heard school was cancelled this morning, I called my neighbor and told her to send her two kids down to my house since I’d be home.

Here’s how the day went.

The boys play computer games for 30 minutes while the girls play a board game. Then it’s the girls turn to play 30 minutes of computer games. Instead of playing a board game, the boys GET bored. I send them outside. Our driveway is on an incline – and slants down to the road. The boys are outside in sneakers having a blast sliding down the driveway. They are in a surfing (or snowboard) stance and just sliding right down to the road. We live at the end of a cul-de-sac so there is no traffic – but they also know to look out for cars too. Then they try to run back up the driveway. It’s a riot to watch them slipping and sliding in their sneakers as they try to run up the incline. After about 20 minutes I ask them to try and scrape off the ice for a path up the driveway and the walk. Once they finish ours I send them up the street to do my neighbors walk and driveway too. They were really good sports about it. Then they played outside with a couple of other boys who are home with a babysitter (they are not allowed in anyone’s house without a parent home – babysitters don’t count).

Meanwhile, I remember that I’ve got cookie dough that’s been chilling in the fridge since Christmas! I’ve got sugar cookie and gingerbread cookie dough. I’d like to break from the story here for a moment and point out that it is very much like me to make tons of cookie dough – put it in the fridge to chill – and then something prevents me from actually ever baking the cookies. My life can be very chaotic. The lesson here for my kids is this. It’s okay to bake Christmas cookies after Christmas. It’s okay to bake them after New Year’s. Actually, in my world you can bake Christmas cookies any time of the year. Likewise with Christmas cards.

Anyway, the dough still looks good so the girls and I start rolling out the sugar cookie dough, cutting out shapes – we choose Christmas dinosaurs, and baking them. Then we decided to try and make Christmas figurines with the gingerbread. We have this kit of cookie cutters where you can cut out shapes and fit them together to build a 3-D sculptures - a snowman, a Christmas Tree, Santa’s sleigh, and reindeer to pull the sleigh. We cut out enough shapes to make 4 sets of each – with two reindeer for each sled.

Then the boys came home and I fed everyone lunch.

Then the boys went off to play foosball in the basement. The girls then went outside to slide around the ice. I also ask the girls to try and see if they can scrape off any more of the ice from the side walk and driveway. They end up shoveling two other neighbors’ sidewalks.

Me? I finished baking the 300 cookies we cut out. Well, maybe it wasn’t 300. But it felt like 300 as I baked batch after batch.

Two hours later the girls came back home with another friend in tow. I started making icing. I made three colors – red, green, and blue. I gave each kid their own set of bowls – with each color of icing in a separate bowl - so no one would get anybody else’s cooties from licking icing off of fingers. Wouldn’t you know the gingerbread shapes kept breaking as we tried to put them together! I started using the icing as mortar to hold things together. I repaired crevices, cracks, and severed limbs by building up layers of frosting to try and hold things together. We were all covered in icing and we all had blue or red or green tongues.

Here are a few:

The phone rang at 5:00. 5:00? It was 5:00 already? Time for everyone to go home. I pulled out all kinds of plastic and Tupperware containers and gingerly placed all the reindeer, the snowmen, the trees, and the sleighs inside so they would at least hold together until each kid got home. They were so fragile that they won’t stay together once they are removed from the containers - but at least each kid’s mom and dad can see the finished sculptures!

So at 5:30 everyone has gone home. I look around my kitchen. Well – it was a disaster. Cookie dough, flour, powdered sugar, and frosting - everywhere. Dirty dishes. 28 dirty bowls (remember – each kid had to have his/her own bowls – with three colors of frosting each!).

Then I look at myself. I’m still in my pajamas.

I go and sink into the couch. My legs ache from standing all day. I put my feet up. I open my laptop. My husband walks in the door and there I am - lounging on the davenport in my jammies surfin’ the web. I swear - I say – I just sat down for the first time today.

Okay, I confess. I wrote this because I want credit for today. I’m sure the only thing the kids will remember is that I made them shovel.


  1. Okay - since last night I've eaten most of the cookies.

  2. You deserve to eat most of the cookies, lol! That was a fun post, Swingset. I love the whole concept of Christmas dinosaurs, and the 3d cookies are darling. I hope you get a chance to sit down today. :)

  3. Hey Jen! Welcome! Oh I so love cookies! I can't stay away from them when they are in the house. My kids know this about me and accept it.

    2 A.M.? Are you a night owl or is it insomnia?

  4. Oops - Ignore my question about 2 A.M. - I had the wrong time zone in my settings!