Indiana Round Two

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There’s nothing that keeps you coming back to a place as much as family does.

Indiana is not one of the places I think of when I’m daydreaming about trips I’d like to take and good places to have some fun. Although I rarely admit to this, it’s pretty much just like Ohio and I see a lot of Ohio. However, Indiana has something no other state currently holds for me: nephews! Along with their fantastic parents. They are more than enough to convince me to rattle through the 4.5 hour drive in my uneasily noisy car to spend several days wiping snotty noses and catching up with the only person I can call “older sister.” And it is absolutely worth it. When there is not adventure and excitement in a place, there is often adventure and excitement in people.

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Like this little guy with enough excitement to fill several people twice his size. One of his daily adventures is watching Daddy wait for the bus, standing on his special chair by the window.

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Not to mention the undeniable adventure of caring for a two month old baby. And the equally undeniable excitement from catching one of his grins.

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Well, I know I was excited for these fresh cinnamon rolls. Just me? Ok…

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And my sister. She’s a mommy now, she has two little boys that certainly are the cutest there ever were and every day she walks a road I’ve never set foot on.  But I’m grateful that on these long weekends I get to hear every detail and add some new stories to my own new adventure of being an aunt twice over.

Here’s to Indiana!

In the Bleak Midwinter

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Winter. Those dim, cold months of short days and long nights. We have kept inside so much from the snow and cold, building up our warm cocoon of blankets and frosty windows.
And we have been scheming.

Appalachian Trail 2015! Already two years in the making. It started with a handful of change Levi had collected from work. He jingled it into a giant empty pickle jar and plunked it on the counter.

“This is for the Appalachian Trail.”

And we’ve been doing it ever since. On slow shifts of serving when people leave piles of coins on the table there is the comforting knowledge that those noisy bits of change in my pocket get emptied into our jar of dreaming. It’s important having this plan, it’s something to talk about when we’re tired and feeling a little hopeless with life.

Or to write about when the thought of homework and another year and a half of school is frustrating and old. Which is also a good time for looking up the perfect lightweight backpack!

Granite Gear Crown VC 60

For a touch of technicality, but as quite an amateur, I like this pack because it looks to be a lovely blend of lightweight comfort and durability. I’m hoping to break it in with a wintery Spring Break hike in a few weeks.

What dreams keep you warm and hopeful through the short days of winter?

Starting Small

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Snowed in, sleeping in, and now on my fourth cup of tea for the morning!

I love a good winter when the piles of snow and negative temperatures keep us snug inside our cozy home or bundling up for blizzard’y adventures. Being called off work and school cancellations are an automatic pass for spending the whole day in pajamas and drinking as much cocoa as you can stand.

I’ve been thinking about adventures, the way that it’s easy to talk about all the things you want to do and so much harder to have the gumption or the funds to do them. This is the double advantage of starting small! After spending all of Saturday afternoon and evening on the couches watching snow fall Levi was feeling quite cabin feverish. Nothing to fix cabin fever like a glass of cold water and a barefoot scamper in a few feet of snow! So simple, short, and fun. We were laughing for a good five minutes after we came inside. A homemade sauna of warm house and freezing snow. It’s amazing how neat and adventurous it can make you feel just to do something unexpected.

We went skiing yesterday as well, a bigger kind of adventure and requiring a little more funding but still an easy path to wonder and delight. As I came bombing down the slope, the wind blowing tears out of my eyes and burning its rosiness onto my face I felt the unmistakeable excitement of being part of something bigger just a little bit out of control. Now this feeling is not necessarily the best one to have while skiing, but it is full of the addicting flavor of adventure.

I enjoy being reminded that it’s possible to find these small adventures. It keeps me content during the times of my life that are filled with school, homework, and responsibilities.

How do you keep your life interesting?

More fun Winter Weather Words

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All across Ohio schools are closing and people are rushing for their thermal socks in expectation of record breaking temperatures. This week is predicted to be the coldest in 20 years. It has been a little hard to believe as a nasty slush rain washed away most of what remained of our snow this evening. But the Polar Vortex is coming!

I didn’t know the term before today, but it is just fantastic. Wikipedia told me that polar vortices are the swirling, icy cyclones that sit on top of Earth’s poles (Not, in fact, a polar bear version of a Sharknado like my brother suggested). This particular year all the stars and weather systems have aligned for the Northern Polar Vortex to reach abnormally far south.  And so it is that in central Ohio we have reached the dangerous possibility of developing frostbite with as little as five minutes of exposure. Exciting!

So it will be another lazy week with pot after pot of tea and too much Netflix. We celebrated tonight by dying our pizza crust blue, because Polar things should be blue. And just to add some excitement to life.

I’ve learned this week that winter weather is much more sinister than the summer kind. Why else would they use ominous names like Hercules and Polar Vortex?

Hey there Hercules

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So apparently they’re naming winter storms now. I was introduced to this fact on my way home from a family trip to Indiana yesterday to visit our missing sister and brother in law and two outstandingly adorable nephews.

We set out from chilly Ohio soon after 8 am, cozily piled in a borrowed 12 passenger van. There’s not a whole lot of captivating scenery on the drive from one flat Midwestern state to another so we mostly slept and read and listened to music. Our warm breath turned to smokey frost on the cool van windows and we started so see a scattering of snow along the highway as we headed north.

We crawled from the van a few hours later for some joyous reunions. For me this “joyous reunion” involved a lot of snow in my shoes, bloody knees and a headlong sprawl across a muddy driveway. She had shouted for me to stop running before I slipped and broke my face. I didn’t listen. The others were a little less enthusiastic in their approach, but still overjoyed to be together and get to know the newest little munchkin of the family.

After a lazy afternoon of coffee that could probably slay a horse, treats, treasures and good company we set off for home, and were introduced to the newest member of our winter expedition: Hercules. He liked us so much he would not leave, and kept us company for the first 5 hours of our 4 and a half hour long trip. Oh Hercules. He did make the trip seem kind of peaceful though. We rumbled along through snow and slush in our warm cocoon of frosty windows and the whole world outside was white and misty and quiet.

We outran him by the time we got home but I guess he knew our address because I woke up this morning to the softest, nicest pillowy blanket of snow covering everything outside. Now that Hercules doesn’t run the risk of pushing us off the road into a bank he is a good friend again and I’m happy to have him stay as long as he likes.

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