The birdies. 12/52

Portraits of Wren and Phoebe each week, every week of the year.

As it turns out, I’m not very good at editing. A couple pics of each girl, plus a couple of them together.

Chris knew I didn’t quite get enough winter, so he got us out of the house today for a glorious return to the ice caves. The sun felt so great on our cheeks even though the thermometer didn’t get above twenty. Kind of strange when 20 feels warm enough to take your coat and mittens off… it was so quiet and still. No wind at all. We all needed some fresh air and had an unforgettable time playing around. We love you, winter! More pics later this week. Just a sneak peek now…

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Phoebe loved to sit and eat the fresh powder. Um, hello, this is a once-in-a-lifetime (um, now twice) experience!

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Wren was putting on an ice show for us. Bummed we didn’t bring her skates!

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Wren is peeking her head over the top. Gives it a good sense of scale…

And a couple more pics of our time on icy West Bay earlier in the week before the recent snowfall. Sisters:

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Don’t worry about the cracks, lovelies. The ice is at least 18 inches thick. Yes, it’s been that cold. We’re going to be swimming here in three months?!

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bye bye, winter

The thing is, lovelies, I really love winter. And this has been an epic one. This is the one we’ll be talking about for years. Well, we’re still talking about it because we’re still buried deep in snow and were blessed with a few fresh inches last night. Although I’ll be happy to see the snow pants, mittens and boots go away and the ease of life that flip-flop weather brings, I’m truly sad to see this winter go. It has been a real northern Michigan winter with its record-low temperatures, consistent snow cover, perfectly groomed ski trails, ice cover and quiet, beautiful blanket of white. And more than two weeks of total school days were missed to “snow days” for the school kids! Crazy.

As we welcome spring into our lives with its mud, muck and the hopeful planting of peas, I’ll share a few pics from our winter. The year we “survived the polar vortex!” The year we really did not see the ground between Thanksgiving and well, I’m guessing early April given how snowy it still is. You gave us one helluva good time, winter. Cheers!

A few highlights…

We ice skated with family.

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We visited the northern Michigan ice caves. Full account of our day here.

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Wren made the most of the Winter Fest by playing three rounds of frozen putt-putt golf.

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Phoebe ate her weight in snow. The kid loves to eat snow. It must be how she stays so slim.

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I skate skiied the 27K VASA race. Absolutely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

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Phoebe learned to play in the snow for more than three minutes at a time.

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Our nest got buried. And Chris kept on shoveling.

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And shoveling.

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Wren learned to downhill ski. She’s beginning to make some good turns.

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Our indoor snowman kept us happy because we still have yet to make a real outdoor snowman. It’s been too cold! The snow is tough to pack. Maybe this week!

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I ran a race with a fun group of ladies. This was a VERY cold day.

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A few snowballs were formed.

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Our snow bunny.

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I participated in SheSkis this year – a great group of female skiiers. I got 4th place in our paintball biathlon! The week before I got to try out a fat bike on the ski trails. So fun!

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The week after, Chris got to ride a fat bike out and around Power Island! He said it was like riding on the moon.

1920086_859729233675_1469025296_nDaily scene in our nest…

photo 2This snow bunny is ready for spring. I told her it was spring today and she made sure to wear her rain coat.

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I took the girls skating on West Bay this week. It was incredible!

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Although we didn’t go, we had fun watching the ice boats on West Bay last weekend. Incredible stuff.

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I’m getting a bit teary just reviewing these photos from our incredible winter. And I’m also left thinking, “we didn’t ski enough!” and “We didn’t sled enough!” and “We didn’t skate enough!” There’s always April.

Happy spring, lovelies.

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weekending

The “Polar Vortex” continues in northern Michigan and honestly, we are loving it. As Chris likes to exclaim, “now THIS is a REAL winter!” I just shoveled last night and we got another six (or more) inches last night. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? The cold has kept the snow light and fluffy and although it’s been windy today, the snow is still piled high on all the birdfeeders, branches and any other horizontal surface it can find. We’ve been trying to get out and enjoy it as much as we can: XC skiing, sledding, downhill skiing, kicking out the wheel wells, shoveling. Shoveling. Even driving is an adventure with the snow piled so high that it makes it hard to see at the intersections. Luckily everyone is inching out and taking it easy so we’re all in the same boat, err, sled.

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This guy loves this snow and cold. Winter is one shared love we’ve always had. I know many people who prefer to hibernate and while we like to do some of that, we prefer to be out in it. There’s nothing like skiing out in the woods, sweating and feeling your heart beat out of your chest from the exertion. And while it’s 7 degrees out, you’re sweating. It makes me feel ALIVE.

Speaking of hibernation, we’re doing quite a bit of that this weekend too. Simmering ribs and making macarons. Friends are coming over tonight! There will be wine and laughter and a feeling of “we’re all in this polar vortex together,” so let’s enjoy each other. We’re thankful to have great food, friends and warmth.

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And chocolate macarons. Yes, we are feeling ALIVE! Indeed. Cheers!

 

 

 

a family ski

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We fell in love with winter all over again this weekend when we awoke to fresh snow and February’s promised blue skies. We all headed out for a long cross country ski together at our favorite local spot and were greeted with a glorious afternoon.

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Wren usually skis for as long as she wants to then jumps in the Chariot with Phoebe for snacks and a tour of the north woods. Each time we go, her own ski time seems to get more enjoyable. She falls a lot, but she laughs a lot and can usually get back up on her own. Last winter there was a very high level of frustration and not a lot of fun for Wren on skis, but it’s encouraging to see her enjoying it more. Often she’ll take off ahead of us and play around on the first little hill before we catch up to her. It’s important to keep it fun and well, there’s always a promise of good snacks. Because why ski if you can’t have good snacks, right?

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It started out cloudy and bitter cold. But by the time we were climbing the hill past the river crossing, the sun came out and everything sparkled. Grins all around. We were warmed up from the climbing and full of awe. One of those days when I felt so grateful for our health and opportunity to enjoy our lives together outside.

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After our cocoa and (peanut butter and Nutella) sandwich break (hey, I said good snacks, right?) about three miles in, we got the girls bundled back up and kept on skiing. Eventually they both fell asleep and took good naps.

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We made it back to the parking lot with the girls still asleep so Chris and I were able to sit together and enjoy each other’s company and more snacks without any whining or interrupting. A rare mini-date! The skies opened up with a fresh dusting of snow and we started to get cold again. Time to call it a day. A great day.

P.S. We all slept so soundly that night and we attribute it to that rare, bright spot in the sky. Thank you, sun!