Winter Wonderland

Now that, is a snow drift!  On Saturday we finally had a warm (read: above 0 degrees) day and after Trav got home from ice-fishing with some friends, he asked Ava and Carter if they wanted to go sledding in our backyard.  
 He's such a great Daddy, always up for taking them out as long as it's not dangerously cold.  This time it was even warm enough for me to grab my camera and follow them down so I could get a few shots.
 We are really blessed with a big yard and a pretty nice hill that spills right onto a little pond.  This year has been SO cold that the pond is frozen over with some thick ice and we have plenty of snow to sled in.
 Our neighbors have a little guy close to Carter's age and they let us know that they had made a little sledding path if we wanted to join them.  The kids had a blast together a few weeks ago but the latest cold snap kept us from going out again until this weekend. 
 Another addition for my list of things to be thankful for in this condo?  A great backyard; neighbors with little kids; a perfectly sized pond to play on; and lots of property to explore! 
 I told Carter I wanted to take a picture of him and he said, "I can't Mom.  I'm golfin right now!" 
 Minnesota hockey might just get in his blood after all...
 Ava and Trav were sporting their hats from Peru that Trav brought back 3 years ago.  
 He's headed there again this summer, this time we'll have to make sure he picks one up for Carter too!
 I love these next few pics...
 ...down they go!!
 Look at that face!!  Do you think she loved it??
 My little snow angels!
 Ava was all about me watching her sled, again and again, each time squealing and giggling!
 Carter was all about doing his own thing!  He didn't really want to stop "golfin" or let anyone else help him sled down the hill.  He lugged his sled all by himself, up and down that hill for an hour! 
 We love snow!
 I thought maybe the baby should make a winter appearance too!  18 weeks and counting here...I am very thankful that at this point, I can still zip up my winter coat.  I know those days are fleeting, but so far, so good! 
 We had some shoveling to do before any hockey could happen...
 ...but as the sun began to drop, I decided I was a little too cold to stick it out and I headed back inside. 
 The snow was SO deep!  Before I discovered the little path leading to the hill, I took one step in the snow and it was up to my shins.  Trav said the kids were almost waist deep in it!
 When it's not arctic outside, winter really is so beautiful.  
 But the warmth of inside was calling my name !
 As I was waiting for the 3 amigos to make their way back, one of our sweet neighbors came to knock on our door and told me I had to come over and watch the kids!  She has a perfect view of the backyard and the pond and she was getting such a kick out of watching them play.  I was so grateful she asked and I grabbed my camera to get some shots from her balcony.  We can't see the back at all, so I had no idea what they were up to, I was so happy to see that our neighbors had come out to join them too! 
She and I watched them for a long time, laughing at the kids and marveling at how sweet it was to see two Daddies playing with their kids...something not very common in her generation of parenting.  Our kids had so much fun with their little playmate, Jonah and I think they would have stayed out there in the dark if we'd let them!  

Such a fun way to end our Saturday and so great to have wonderful neighbors!  We are so hoping to make a move in the future but this reminded me again not to miss the gifts of grace that God has for us right here, right now in hopes of something better.  We have much to be thankful for and on this day, all that snow really was such a gift!  One of the rules for surviving winter in Minnesota is to embrace winter and if you can't beat it, then find a way to enjoy it!  Ask me how I feel about that in March, I'm sure I'll have a different story, but for now it was the perfect way to wrap up the month of January! 

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