January 20, 2011

What's your deal, Winter!?

For all of your who are not lucky enough to live in the Midwest, let me give you a little glimpse into what winter looks like here.

When I say winter... I also mean large chunks of fall and spring. Because winter in Minnesota starts in the fall and waits till spring has long since officially started to release its grips. We don't comply with anything as trivial as dates on the calendar! Especially this year. We were in full on winter mode before winter even hit!

We dug ourselves out, but these bikes were long since doomed!

Lets not get ahead of ourselves, though.

Fall starts of beautifully. The colors, the brisk air. Lack of mosquitoes. Everyone rushing to get the last use out of the grill, the boat, the cabin on the lake, etc. It's quite a wonderful time in the Land of 10,000 Lakes! The temp continues to drop and drop. It's time to break out the hats and gloves and start eying up that winter coat. The temp drops a bit more, and at this point I am sure I will die if it drops anymore! But then it does. And I persist.

It is now too cold outside to do anything fun outside. Everything looks dead and dirty. And anticipation builds for winter to finally hit. People will say things like, "I wish it could just get here already and stop teasing!" Sure enough, one day we'll wake up to our reward: the first snowfall!

Each and every year it happens and each and ever year it's magical! I wake up feeling like a kid again, shaking Brett awake and insisting that he run to the window THIS moment! IT SNOWED! It's like a rebirth of the world. The dead, brown world is now replaced with a glittery, pristine version!

A winter window on the porch with some morning sun.

With snow accumulation, we enter the winter wonderland stag of fun things to do and high spirits! Cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, winter hikes, ice skating on the lakes and ponds, expanding your freezer space to your porch or back steps*, nights spent under pounds of blankets, cuddling, sledding, chucking snowballs at the poor unsuspecting, helping your neighbor dig out their car, passing people on the sidewalk with only eyes and red noses showing and giving that nod that says, "Yes, I concur that it is f-ing cold! But I see you and feel better that we are in this together!"

Oh, we can't forget the holidays! Winter means Christmas and New Years and time off from work and parties and friends and family and treats and presents and lots of booze drinking and not caring that you've put on a few extra pounds because its hidden behind that cute new chunky sweater anyway! It is such a unique time of year that really can be described as magical.

Enjoying some cross country skiing out on a frozen lake.

That part of the year is past, though. Now, we cold weather folks have hit the hardest part of the year: the bitter months of January and February. Winter has settled in and the glitter of the season has faded. Now, all we are left with is this:

I'm pretty sure the entire state of Minnesota lets out a collective groan as we realize there are still two more months of this! Not two more months until spring. It's two more months until a glimmer of spring. Even though the stores are now switching their racks to "spring" merchandise, it's just to tease us. These next two months are all a mind game. Trying to still get outside and enjoy life, not letting the cold shut you in and dampen your spirits.

Some happy helmet heads, keeping winter spirits high!

2009 Polar Bear Plunge.  One more to put into the "life experience" category!

Oh, Minnesota! You are so crazy! Yet I love you still. I really do. The change of seasons, of activities, of scenery, of wardrobe, etc. is kinda fun. And even though I think I'm going to die every year when the first solid cold hits, I don't. Then, when the temperature starts to rise at the end of it, a mere 30 degrees seems balmy! We are all a chipper, cheery bunch as we run outside with long sleeve shirts on exclaiming that spring has arrived!

We made it!

Yes, just keep that in mind, self. Winter will subside. I will survive. And someday, my shorts will come out of hiding again!

For a few months at least... then we'll repeat it all over again. *sigh*

* and possibly having to thaw out your beer because you forgot it out there for too long! but being able to keep all those holiday leftover because "don't worry! we'll just put it out back!"


  1. ha ha ha I loove those pictures of you1 they are so fun! also, I KNEW I knew someone from MN! when I was watching the weather the other day they mentioned it being 45 BELOW zero there and I thought 'oh lord, how awful! hmmm... who do I know that lives there?'. I will try to restrain from complaining about New England weather to you...

  2. haha, yeah, it's been pretty crazy up here! but I do love going outside today when its 15 degrees and feeling so warm and comfortable! optimism! yay!