That’s Amore

This is not a post about love.

It’s actually about the first half of that lyric: “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie.” When the last Blue/Blood Supermoon rolled around we decided to observe it in style. We can’t see the moon rising from our house in the woods. By the time it reaches the open sky it isn’t impressively huge and our kids are usually asleep. So we like to go out to the road near a big open pasture if we want to moonwatch.

On this night we set up chairs on the side of the road and ate carry-out pizza and watched the Supermoon rise while we cuddled up under blankets. Although our moon picnic was brief (20 minutes in the cold was all the boys could handle) it was magical. It was the kind of memory I hope they keep.

(The pictures aren’t perfect, but the night was)

Ellis declared it was as cool as the total eclipse. It was about 100x less planning and driving than the eclipse. It was a good reminder for me that simple pleasures usually win out. We only needed 20 minutes, a good location and our version of a “treat dinner” to witness the perspective magic of the moon appearing super.

We had some additional perspective magic helping us out that night as well. We hadn’t had carryout pizza in almost a year. I usually make our pizzas, not to be fancy, just because it is cheaper. When Adam started job searching this time last year we stripped our budget back and eating out was the first thing to go. Once you get out of the habit of eating out you don’t miss it that much, so it is one of the things we have added back slowly and with less frequency now that Adam is employed again. Thanks to your advice City Mama, we have budgeted and tracked all of our spending for the past 4.5 years. I am positive that discipline was what allowed us to survive 7 months of unemployment without going into debt (and believe me I know what a privilege that is!).

I know for some a home cooked meal is the mark of luxury, but when you have been restricted to that for the better part of a year a carryout pizza can feel downright decadent. It’s all a trick of perspective. Being able to give ourselves and our children something extra-ordinary, however simple it may be, feels like the best gift of all. It was nice to conspire with the moon and a pizza pie to make that happen two weeks ago.

In the end maybe this post really is about love. Happy Valentine’s Day. Enjoy your gifts great and small.

Snow Day Books

This year I finally separated our snow day stuff from our Christmas stuff. It almost never snows by Christmas in North Carolina and we are all packed up by the time we get snow in January, February and sometimes even March.

I LOVE a snow day probably because I grew up in the snow. It feels like it is in my DNA. But because it snowed for 6 months a year in Colorado I only remember a handful of dedicated snow days. We rarely got snow days from school. Maybe once in all of high school (and I don’t even think that was official, I think I literally couldn’t drive through the snow that day so my parents let me stay home). Snow was a way of life. It wasn’t a big deal.

We only need a few flakes for a snow day in NC. We have had 6 already in January! So when we get a snow day we get a little festive. I hang up some snowflake lights (that’s for Adam. He wishes we had string lights out year round) and a couple of snow garlands. And out come the snow books.

Here’s a round up of our 6 favorites (one for each snow day we have had in 2018) with brief reviews.

1) The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
This classic got made into a postage stamp this year. We used it for our holiday cards and Calvin recognized “that boy from his snow book.” So there is some reading comprehension happening, but they are not as clear on the object permanent of the melting snowball yet, which is the key plot point of the story. I’m sure someday they will get it.

2) The Mitten the Alvin Tresselt version is my favorite, but Ellis insists on the Jan Brett version. The mitten is a fun animal classic. A tale of forgetting your gear and animal ingenuity, saved in the end by grandma’s knitting. What could be better than that?

3) Katy and the Big Snow by Virgina Lee Burton
Katy is a snow plow. I appreciate that the protagonist is female in this book about vehicles. We went through a big vehicle phase at this house so this is a throwback to that sweet time (that I’m glad we are past.)

4) The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
This book is magic. All illustrations with no words. We watch the animated movie of it each snowfall. I remember watching this movie as a child and it captures of the magic of snow.

5) Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost illustrated by Susan Jeffers
This is Ellis’ favorite. The illustrations are beautiful. It suggests that the narrator is Santa, but it isn’t overt enough to rule it out as a beautiful snow book. It is the book that Ellis always asks for first and as long as he requests a classic Frost poem I will oblige.

6) Snow by Uri Shulevitz
This is a Caldecott Honor Book, but I had never heard of it. This is my favorite snow book because it perfectly captures the hopefulness of snow for children. The boy and his dog believe it is going to snow, but everyone else in the book from the TV and radio to the man in the hat doubts. A child’s hope prevails. My kids love counting the snowflakes as they build up on the first few pages.

City Mama it looked like you got some snow on your visit home for the holidays. Do you have favorite snow books? I know you don’t get snow days in Cali, but do you have seasonal shifts that you mark with special books? Rain days perhaps?