Posted by: heartfull | December 17, 2007


St. Louis got real snow this weekend. And enough of it to have fun. The kind of snow fall I remember from my childhood. In celebrations of this, we went sledding at Art Hill.

I had to talk John into it. He seriously wanted to do laundry instead. Now that he is done with school, he is very concerned about the state of our laundry, which I have pretty much done for the past three years solo. He is under the mistaken impression that he can get it done if he just devotes a couple hours to it. I laugh at this, of course. While we used to do this, that was back when we had only two children who both wore small sizes. These days, it is just a continuous cycle that is never finished. In the end, I asked him if he would rather our kids look back on their youth and remember their dad folding underwear or barreling down a hill of snow, balanced on a few strips of wood with his legs wrapped around them while narrowly  avoiding other sledders as the hearts of his children raced with excitement.  He finally relented.

All I can says about how I spent the next 45 minutes of my life is, getting three kids ready to go sledding should be some sort of Olympic sport.

We had to stop at my parents to get sleds. These are not something we have invested in, as snowfall in this area is so erratic and usually very light. My parents had an old, rusty radio flyer-type sled, an old three-person tobaggon and a newer red plastic sled that was actually ours – but since our yard is flat, we keep it at my mom’s.

I was glad to see the city put straw bales at the bottom of Art Hill. While I’m not sure if anyone actually ever slid down the hill and into the lake, the possibility that it could happen was always thrilling as a child but not so much as a mother.

Chip shivered the whole time, but loved it. His first time down he wanted to go with Bird. They crashed and Chip got a scrape on the cheek and a very slightly bloody lip. It didn’t stop him though. I wiped away the tears and he was ready to go again (but with mom this time.) He sledded down at least 10 times with either mom or dad and was begging for more. After about an hour though, the shivering was too much and dad took him to the van to watch a movie.

Mare loved sledding down the hill and was such a trooper about walking back up. The fun thing about Art Hill is it is l-o-n-g, which makes for awesome sledding, but lots of climbing. Mare liked to go across the hill as opposed to straight down. I think this was to avoid going too fast. She only crashed into a couple people (that I saw) so I guess the trans-hill trajectory was ok. She lasted about a 1/2 hour longer than Chip, but was anxious to get into the van when she found out the heater was on and The Incredibles was playing.

Bird was a sledding fiend. She was up and down constantly and loved the red plastic sled because it was the fastest (and lightest.) I’m guessing she sledded for a full two hours and never stopped to take a rest. Finally, though, she was done as well. I let her sit on the tobaggon and pulled her back to the car.


After sledding, we headed home for a warm lunch (of grilled PB&Js – nothing fancy around here) and Chip and John took a nap while the girls and I assembled our Gingerbread house.

Between gluing the walls together with icing and decorating it with candy, we had to let it sit and harden, so Bird and Mare went over to the neighbors to play. I thought they would be inside, so I just threw their coats and boots on them so they could get across the street. About a 1/2 hour later, I heard Mare crying at the door and found her huddled against it, freezing. They had all decided to play outside – and my kids didn’t have hats, gloves or snowpants on. Ugh! Mare’s lower half was ice cold. I cuddled her in a blanket and tried to kiss away her tears. John came out during the middle of it, and I sent him over to get Bird. She came home soaking wet but with a huge smile on her face. I was upset that they were so silly as to do that, and yet I remember how much fun the snow is – how you can ignore the pain when you are a kid. So, I stripped her down and made her cuddle against me to get warm. But, she would have nothing to do with it – she wanted to get working on the gingerbread house. Sigh. I figured she couldn’t be too cold…

This was an awesome gingerbread house set (Wonka brand and only $10.) I usually buy the kits that come with the house parts baked and a variety of candies and this one just happened to be on sale. Our finished houses would never win a contest, but don’t tell the girls that. They think it is excellent, especially since they got very creative with the “Runts” candies and started making cars and snowdogs that incorporated the candy bananas and apples.


We ended this really, really long day by going to the Zoo’s Wild Lights display. It was the same as always, but the snow made everything prettier and the cold kept the crowds away. We barely saw anyone else there. Call me anti-social, but that was the best part.


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