Days of Winter Before the Spring Solstice

A watched pot never boils. And I should know, I boil water for tea at least once a day this time of year. If I walk away from the pot, it’ll boil over in a second. If I stand and wait for the water to get hot, it takes ages. 

Summer is filled with activities that I look forward to all year long. It used to be the time of year when Tanner had off, back when he was a high school teacher. Long boat days, cooking out, going out for a waterfront dinner with wet hair and sunburnt skin. But if I sit around all year waiting for summer to get here, it will inevitably take a lifetime. It’s no wonder so many people fall victim to seasonal depression. Waiting for life to begin, coupled with fewer daylight hours, plus tax season – it’s a recipe for disaster.

Having rituals that I practice all winter long gives me a way to romanticize life, the journey to summer time. Instead of “living for the weekend,” I savor the getting-there moments, all the while creating rhythms and routines that my kids will (hopefully) remember forever. I’ve been reading the Sally Clarkson book, The Lifegiving Home, over the course of the last few weeks, pulling out little tidbits to use in our own home. It’s filled with stories of the seemingly mundane tasks that had the biggest impact on her kids’ upbringing. 

But it’s not just about creating routines for the kids. It’s about modeling healthy habits and routines as an adult that they will carry with them as they grow up. It’s just as much healthy for them as it is for us. 

1 Tea Time. When I’m decorating for winter holidays like Valentine’s Day, it’s less about kitschy decor and more about creating a feeling of coziness and warmth. And that feeling comes from TEA. Everyone knows this. I purge the mugs, clean up the coffee station, and stock our tea drawer (a new addition for winter) with lots of fun flavors and yummy honeys.

The cozy feeling it creates for me in the winter is essential, but it’s also an excuse to break out Annie’s tea set, one of her favorite toys. We sit at her table, I make a little bit of lukewarm, pre-sweetened tea, and we enjoy lunch on her fancy china. We call each other “ma’am,” practice our pleases and thank yous, and take our time. After all, where do we have to be this time of year anyway?

2 Themed Movie Nights. Getting caught on a scroll hole on Netflix is depressing no matter what time of year. With it getting dark so early (but only for 40 more days as of the time I’m writing this), movie nights make it a little more bearable. But instead of just scrolling to find something, I like to pick a theme and move through them night by night. For kids movies, Ice Age has a lot to work with.

Right now, Tanner and I are deep into three different murder docu-series. But if bone-chilling thrillers don’t get you through the chilly days, you could try other cold weather favorites like the Harry Potter movies, the A Football Life series on Amazon Prime to get you in the Super Bowl mood, or throwback romantic comedy binges. Think You’ve Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless In Seattle. 

3 Book and Toy Rotations. Spending more time in the house means that we get bored of our Christmas presents pretty quickly. I try to keep out as few books and toys at a time in their line of sight, then rotate them with the ones in storage frequently.

That also gives me the opportunity to do themed books pretty often, too. My Valentine’s Day lineup is our favorite. It’s filled with books about loving your mama and your mama loving you back. I read the books, Annie pays me for my time in hugs and kisses. Some of my favorites are Love Is A Tutu, Hug Machine, and Guess How Much I Love You.

4 Making A Bold Change. I always try to refresh things around our house each season, like adding new throw pillows, switching out the decor that sits on top of our furniture, or maybe swapping some chairs around. But winter is the time to make a big, bold change, even knowing that you’re not going to keep it.

I bought this living room rug for a couple reasons – our dog is getting very old and prone to accidents, which wasn’t ideal for our priceless, beautiful family heirloom rug that I was constantly having to scrub. I wanted something that I could wipe clean, and that was cheap enough that I didn’t care if it got ruined. And ultimately, I needed something to go in the playroom, which is currently Annie’s room. (I’m hoping that eventually, the girls will want to share a room like my sister and I loved doing growing up.)

This rug will stay in the living room for now, even though it’s a far cry from my normal style. It’s a big change for me, but we don’t have a ton of people over this time of year, and it’s fun!

5 Get creative about movement. My local fitness studio is incredible – they offer kids’ dance classes and adult fitness classes in an open air studio overlooking the water. It’s the best of everything. If I have the time, I’ll get there early to take the kids on a bundled walk on the water to soak in the vitamin D before ballet. And I’m also forcing myself to get WAY out of my box this season and try a variety of different classes.

So far I’ve done Pilates and Barre, plus I have Core Fusion and Yoga coming up. I’m not afraid to embarrass myself when it comes to fitness classes. They even have an adult ballet class, but I haven’t quite worked up the nerve yet. When the weather warms up, I’ll pick one type of class and stick to it. But forcing myself to try something new every week romanticizes the journey and pushes my body to the limit.

 

And speaking of making bold changes, the Valentine’s Day decor has made it’s arrival in our house, and just in time for the most bold change of all – our new rug! This rug is really for the girls’ playroom (which is currently Annie’s room, but that’s a story for another day.) Unfortunately, our dog is getting pretty old and… accidents happen. It’s a gorgeous family heirloom, and I’m not willing to do any further damage to it, so it’s headed to the cleaner’s as we speak. This bright, girly rug will be bringing a soft, feminine touch into the living room until further notice!

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