Thursday, February 24, 2011

Things that get us through

Winter without snow is stupid.

Never did I realize before just how much easier it is to parent when there is snow on the ground.

Every snowflake is like another free toy fallen from the sky.

Snow fills up the landscape, like drawing a bath. You dress, or undress, your kids accordingly, plop them into it, and they are happy, self entertained, for hours.

They dig holes in it, they build houses out of it, they slide across it, they throw it, they eat it, they make angels in it, they simply lie down and loll in it. And, most importantly, they don't need mom or dad for anything other than the occasional snow down the neck removal. (Though they often find me digging, or sliding, right along side of them. )

So here we are, our second winter in France, with no snow. NO SNOW. Do you hear me?

How have we survived? Here are a few of the things that get us through:

Friends that wait for us at the school gate each morning

Favorite boots.

Going places

Wild boar hunts

Lunch at the Mosqueé in Paris

Random still-lifes

Learning to write in cursive

Monthly violin practice

Walking in the magic forest.

Spotting a possible fairy house


Curly-haired donkeys

Matching red hat and scarf

Best friends who come so far to visit

Sunlight on roof tiles


Unexpected color

Painted garden doors


Bold paint

Kitchen dancing

Pretty food

New restaurants

A dirty palate

Oil painting

Never bathing alone


Living Down Under (soon to be Up North Again!) said...

Beautiful photos Betsy.

Shhh snow. My kids haven't really experienced it yet. My first had two winters before we moved here and my second was born in April after the snow melted. We moved when she was two months old. We're headed back to the great white north this summer and while it'd be nice to be back near family, I'm not looking forward to winter. The description you gave of snow at the beginning of your post is exactly how I describe sand and the beach. In the midlle of winter, we can head down to the beach, grab a coffee and build sandcastles til the cows come home, or sand mountains to leap off of, or big holes to dive into... To be honest, you've given me a little hope. Though Toronto winters don't sound anything like Vermont winters...

Living Down Under said...

Sorry that was supposed to be Ahhh snow. I think I was auto-corrected...

MT said...

Similarly, our boys are having some adjustment going from the lack of winter snow in Suisse Romand to having lots of it here in Canada. We just moved back after 6 years (as I told you in a comment to your previous post, but then blogger ate my comment and I didn't have time to retype, suffice it to say NEVER move over the Christmas break). My 5 year old seems to like the cold white stuff. I think it reminds him of the special treat of going to a chalet in the Alps. The 7 year old is most definitely anti-cold play. Of course he was getting to be anti-outdoor play even in Geneva for some reason. Early puberty perhaps. I'm sure he will come around eventually. I guess it would help if I got out there and played too. Something to put on our to-do list this weekend.
Lovely pics, making me homesick. Take care!

Seamingly Sarah said...

Lovely photos. But I agree, how drab to live through a winter with no snow. Non white Christmases are the worst. I can't wait until next winter when I can ski again (sans baby in my belly) and really enjoy the snow for the purpose I have in mind!

Betsy said...

Living Down Under: I would take the beach, in a heartbeat. I feel the same way about the ocean, but have never actually lived there so it isn't embedded in my tissues quite so much. But boy have I noticed how natural an environment it is for children. The mountains or the ocean has been an ongoing question for me. Now I'm lost somewhere in between.

Anonymous said...


First of all, I just choked laughing at the first line of your post! It sounds exactly like my four year old! EVERYTHING is stupid!

It's funny because when I look at the pictures of some of the restaurants and stores in France I think tho myself, "Nope, to fancy for me!" It seems to me that I would feel and look out of place in those restaurants, especially with my rowdy gaggle of geese accompanying me. Not that I'm a slob, or without manners(Trust me, my mom was a stickler for manners. As are most North Easterners.), it's simply that it all seems so......posh, or something....I can't quite put my finger on it.

But back to the post! I live in an area of Arizona where there's no snow (There are actually places here that get snow, like Flagstaff and the Mogollon Rim. Unfortunately, we don't live in one of those places.). Once this year we got a smear of the beautiful white stuff. The kids were so excited and ran out to play in it. I wish that I could post pictures here, because they built a "snowman" that melted in two hours. You'd laugh if you saw it! I laughed and it was during the time that I had influenza, so you know it had to be funny, but in a sad way.

So, I'm going to go with my 4 year old son, Tiernan, on this one. Winters with no snow are stupid and poopy! Along with every other bodily function, things having to do with our rear ends, or anything gross and slimy, like eyeballs! WOW now I know why he does that! It feels kind of good!

I also have to mention the barn painting that Essie's doing. Tell her that it's truly stunning! It was like looking of a little piece of home for me. That means a lot to me since almost everything that I see here is stucco. So, you both made my day. You did for this great post that really hit home and for posting her beautiful picture, and she did for painting that exquisite barn.

Also, that bench/couch that Esther an Isla are sitting on with Skye is really interesting. It's the second time that you've posted that picture (Once on babycenter, too.) I was going to mention it then, but forgot. I've never seen anything like it. That shows how much I get out! Do they have that type of thing everywhere in France? I'd be afraid that my kids would stick things in between those roll/pillows!

O.k., I've taken up enough of your time! I do ramble, don't I?!

Anna said...

looks as if you're doing fine without snow! Beautiful pictures.

Mama Badger said...

I'll give you all of the snow in Ohio for just a day or two of that forest. Or the garden. Somewhere the boys can play that doesn't require the pulling on and pulling off of layers of clothes, the worry about the driving or if it's too cold for the baby to be outside. I guess the grass is always greener, huh?

Anonymous said...

I can't get over how much Ester has grown! She's looking like a near teenager. Are you still fighting with her like I recall from when she was younger? (Reading your past posts on Babycenter, before your move to France, your relationship with Easter sounded *exactly* like my relationship with my Mom when I was a kid/teenager!) You haven't written about a recent "episode" with the girls so I presume things are better/good. (I haven't been back to Babycenter in a *long* time because I don't have the time so maybe you're writing about it there :-).)

Isla's cursive looks *very* nice! Last I knew this was the girl that thought 1s belonged in with letters so I'm really surprised she's learning *cursive*!

I *love* your photography!! Thank you for sharing : )

: ) Adrianne

Emma said...

I think you summed it up, Betsy, in your reply to Living Down Under (where abouts are you in Oz?), things like snow and the beach are appreciated differently when they are part of your childhood and your frame of reference. I think I like the idea of snow, lol, but I couldn't take a whole winter of it. Sometimes though I wonder what it would be like to live somewhere you can really notice the change of seasons- my American friends think it's hysterical when i complain about being freezing when it's 14 degrees celcius.
The scenery around your village is just stunning! Thanks for the photos. I had a chuckle at the caption of Essie's 'monthly violin practice.'

Betsy said...

Kim: Yes, the barn is stunning. And very Vermont. She is a Vermont girl at heart. No surprise there. And that couch picture was taken in a very hip Thai restaurant we stumbled upon while playing tourist in the Franche Comte region. I ate the most delicious coconut soup I've ever had in my life there.

Betsy said...

MT: You are in Canada now? You sure get around.
Mama Badger: So true, the grass is always greener somewhere else. I have forgotten feeling cooped up with a baby when it is subzero outside. It's hard to even imagine subzero temps, after all this time.
Adrianne: funny you should ask. We had a killer of a spat today, and I recently wrote about us butting heads and my regrets in a post over at BabyCenter: