Friday, January 16, 2009

The joys of a Chicago winter

This morning as I write this, the actual air temperature outside is -22. With the wind chill, it feels like -38. My garage door froze up and I had to close it manually. They cancelled school yesterday and today because it is too dang cold. I'm supposed to take the trash out to the curb, but I find myself pondering if it's really worth it.

So, you know when it's 20 degrees outside, and it feels so cold and you debate whether or not you should let the kids play outside in the snow but they're driving you crazy so you think "30 minutes won't kill them" and you throw them out and they come back later with red cheeks and dripping noses and you make them hot chocolate because you feel a tiny bit guilty? IT'S FORTY DEGREES COLDER THAN THAT. They haven't been able to enjoy the lovely snow, except from our frozen windows that have ICE ON THE INSIDE! Everyone says this is unusually cold (it certainly wasn't this cold last winter), but that doesn't change the fact that I am freezing, and that I have been fondly remembering the brown inversion days in Logan.

On the plus side, since we haven't left the house for two days, I've been focusing on Kevin's potty training and he has made plenty of progress. Yay!

Here's a picture of a bridge near us:

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Art of Compromise

We hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year’s. We have been pretty low-key here. My sister left in mid-December to stay with my parents, and she did a lot of preparation before she left. She wrapped almost all the presents (I hate wrapping and I’m terrible at it—John makes fun of my ugly wrapping all the time, but really, the kids don’t care and it seems like a big waste of time to wrap up something nicely and then have them tear it open without looking at your wrapping job. . .but I digress). She also organized the gingerbread house decorating that is our Christmas tradition. Since she did all that before she left, we didn’t have a whole lot of work to do as we got closer to Christmas. We did our traditional Shepherd’s dinner on Christmas Eve and read from the Bible. We opened one special present on Christmas Eve. My sister who lives in South Dakota sent us a karaoke machine which the kids love, of course. They love the microphone, and I’m hoping that they will continue to love it while I put in the hymns and children’s music for them to sing along.

John gave me some shelves and storage things for my scrapbooking stuff. . .no doubt in the hopes that I would actually DO something in our scrapbook. I haven’t done anything since we moved here and it seemed an impossible task to conquer. But I did organize everything and ordered prints of digital pictures from the year of 2006. I know myself and once I get started, I will really be obsessed until I’m done. It’s one of my goals for the year to get caught up, and I don’t think it will be a problem.

Do you like flannel sheets? John does. He LOVES them. They make him feel warm and cozy. He loves getting into bed and being instantly enveloped in warmth. I don’t like them. In fact, I despise them. They are irritating, make me sweaty in the middle of the night, and impede my turning over (I feel like a flannel person stuck on a flannel board). In September, John starts getting antsy and tells me to put them on because it’s SOOO cold getting into bed at night. I resist for as long as I can, but eventually give in around Halloween. This has happened every year for 8 years, since we moved from John’s native Texas and he bought the flannel sheets. This year, in September after I told him there was NO WAY we were going to put on the flannel sheets yet, he said “You should just cut them in half and sew them together with a regular sheet.” I was so frustrated with him and his annoyances, I stormed out of the room. Later I started thinking, that’s not a bad idea. It would be a good Christmas present. I began searching garage sales for some flannel sheets. It took awhile, but I found some in October and with the help of a good friend who is much better at sewing than I am, I custom-made some sheets for our bed. Compromise has been reached, sleeping arrangements are ideal, and marital bliss has been restored. As I turn over during the night, I am thankful that I am not stuck on flannel, and thankful I have a husband who can see a solution where I only saw an impasse.