from the north country: made by rae

January 31st, 2011

I live in Michigan, and we’ve had a pretty cold winter this year. Entertaining my two small children indoors is starting to make me a little crazy. I just heard that we’re supposed to get a foot of snow in the next two days. I’m not sure how much more of this I can take. So I’m putting together a little list of reasons I love winter to help me keep the ol’ chin up. That way by the time my kids have worn ruts in the floors from running laps around my house, I can look at this and remind myself again why winter in the Midwest is awesome.

my daughter Clementine playing outside in the snow

1. More reasons to buy clothes: When you have four real seasons rather than hot and sorta warm, you need more clothes. And the winter wardrobe is great, soft sweaters, peacoats, corduroy pants, jeans, and a whole category of scarves/hats/gloves with which to accessorize. I even find that since I pack away my summer and winter clothes when the seasons change, I get to surprise myself all over again the next year when I take it out. (Me: “Oh my goodness! I forgot I even OWNED a mustard yellow peacoat!”). OK, so that maybe that reason is a little flaky, but it counts. Onward.

2. Winter-only activities: This may seem obvious, but some of my fondest winter memories from childhood are of sledding down giant snow hills in our driveway, cross country skiing, building snowpeople, and ice skating. It seems like so much work now to get my own kids bundled up to play in the snow, but I have to remind myself that someday they’ll remember it fondly too.

3. Stronger constitution: I’m pretty sure winter makes me a tougher person. There’s definitely an attitude of superiority among Midwesterners when it comes to the weather; we believe (know, actually) that we’ve been given more sturdy composition and mental perseverance for a reason, and we intend to prove it by showing winter it can’t get the best of us. We laugh about how many days it’s been since we’ve seen the sun. Winter makes us stronger, and we like that.

4. The occasional warm day: Normally there are one or two days where winter briefly relaxes it’s icy grip and throws us a bone, a day which seems crazy warm by comparison to those immediately before and after it. And the exuberance with which Midwesterners fling themselves outside in their tank tops as soon as the thermometer clears 50 is really quite admirable. I love those days. The air smells like thawed worms and earth. Yum. (Dear Winter: We haven’t had one of these yet this year. Maybe you could lay off a little?)

yes those are produce rubber bands holding her mittens on

5. I’ll always have you beat: when a friend who lives in a warmer climate complains about cool weather, I just laugh. (Me: “Forty degrees? That’s NOTHING! It was 40 degrees BELOW zero here yesterday. And don’t even get me started on the windchill!” Translation: “You wimp.”) And everyone has some variation of the story about a kid in their elementary school who got their tongue stuck to the tetherball pole during recess. It’s fantastic.

6. Winter is pretty: We’ve had snow on the ground since way before Christmas and I barely notice it’s there anymore, but it’s really quite lovely when I take the time to look at it. Some mornings all the trees have an inch of snow on all of their branches and it looks like everything has been covered with a layer or marshmallow creme. And occasionally all of the trees get coated with a layer of glistening ice that takes your breath away when the sun shines through it.

So, Winter: It’s true I do like you alot. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I love summer alot more. Don’t take it personally.

Rae Hoekstra blogs over at Made By Rae. You can find a (free tutorial) for the Snowblossom Hat shown in the pictures above right here.

28 Responses to from the north country: made by rae

  1. Anne says:

    I’ve always LOVED snow until I moved to MN. Yup, when it’s not a vacation anymore, it’s NOT fun. esp. if you have big ice dam to worry about.

  2. lucy says:

    ditto for those wonderful reasons for loving seasons!
    i used to be one of those… “count down the weeks’ folks… but now i relish it
    (tho’ i do remember the days of pushing the stroller through the snow and how horrid that was)
    let’s keep that glass half full!
    thanks for sharing ;o)

  3. molly says:

    oh, i so love all this winter love!!!

    i am new to winter country, and am deeply, madly adoring it. but feeling a little, um, alone in this. until now.

    best tip here, though, is hands-down the produce bands. will implement, asap.