Saturday, February 15, 2014

Snowmageddon~ Winter 2014

It has been one heck of a winter around here in the Hudson Valley! 

Living in New York, you expect snow in winter. It's a given... but oh my goodness, we have been getting hit with SO many snowstorms, and there's still another month+ left until spring officially starts! We've had about 10 storms to date, all ranging in different accumulations, mostly all the typical stuff we expect. Some on weekends, some not amounting to much, but again, typical winter.

At school, we have 3 snow days built into our calendar. We sometimes get more, but it depends on holiday breaks, how the calendar falls, and what our union votes on. We actually had the chance to have 5 this year, and it got voted down, so 3 it was. Blah! To date, we've used 7 snow days (6 for kids, 1 for staff only). It's safe to say spring break is no more... it's a distant memory of the past, I'm not sure when we last had a full spring break... Boo Hoo!

I am so not a winter person. Give me warm spring or fall days with sunshine and blue skies 3/4 of the year and I will be one happy person. I seriously think I have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) because I get the winter blues when it's cold, dark, and dreary outside. Take away my spring break and I am one major crankypants. I can't totally complain, though, because although 5 snow days got voted down, we got 3 AND a full week for winter break (this coming week, around Presidents' Day). So, a break is still a break, however I am stuck inside for those snow days when I'd rather be spending them outside on a nice day. Oh well, not in the cards.

So back to the snow... it's been insane lately. We made it all the way to mid-December before the first real storm around here, and we stupidly thought we'd be in good shape at school. It didn't snow at all over Christmas break (we actually had a day in the 50s!), and then January hit. We had a few in January and started to wipe through our snow days. Right when we returned from break, the first day back was an early dismissal, followed by a snow day. We got hit with more later in the month and had a few delays , early dismissals, and snow days. We didn't have one full week of school with a normal schedule/routine. We either had a holiday, a snow disruption, or a school-wide event that threw off our schedule. I also got sick, had some fertility appointments, and went to visit a neighboring school. Complete craziness. Maybe February has more promise?... haha!

The first week of February, we had a 2 systems of snow... we got 2 snow days (Monday and Wednesday) and about a foot of snow. Scott happened to be off the second day, so it was kind of a nice freebie day for us! :) Because of the 2 snow days, there went any chance of having a normal week at school. We were out, there, out, there... crazy! So much for trying to sustain routines with 5-year olds! We haven't had a "normal" and full week since maybe the beginning of December?? And that's a big maybe. The second week of February (this past week), was not any better. It was already a short week because kids had off Valentine's Day~ it was a staff development day. With valentine excitement, our annual spelling bee, and constant indoor recess because of the cold temps, the kids were getting VERY hyped early on in the week. We hoped we might just make it through Thursday, and a GIANT storm hit Thursday into Friday, bringing on 2 more snow days. We wiped through 4 snow days in a 2-week span. Not good.

The irony of it is that I got observed by the Superintendent this week (the day before the storm hit) and I chose to read The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats. When I met with him earlier in the week, he joked and asked if I chose the story on purpose with the probable snow day for Thursday. It was purely coincidence because I had chosen it the week before and wrote my lesson plans up well before the storm was even in the forecast. We joked about it, and although a snow day was very likely, I hadn't realized just how big the storm was going to be.

The lesson went well, the kids loved the story, and we talked about what they could do on the snowy day that was clearly coming full speed ahead. Sure enough, we got a snow day on Thursday as snow kept falling... and falling... and falling. I measured the new snow in our front walkway to be 16.5 inches when it had paused in the evening, before round 2 started. Round 2 brought another 7-8 inches, so our total was 24 inches of snow... on top of the foot we had out there last week! Snow drifts and mounds from snowblowers and plows are ridiculous, and our back deck has more snow than I have ever seen on it, since we moved in three and a half years ago. 

We were supposed to have a staff development day at school on Friday (yesterday), and we received an email from the Superintendent mid-day on Thursday with updates that we would probably have a delayed start, unless part 2 of the storm made it impossible. In the email, he referenced my class by saying, "This is my fault. I was reading A Snowy Day with some kindergarten students yesterday." HA!! Some coworkers and I thought the shoutout was hysterical, and then I kept thinking how funny it was that the book was coming true. By the time we heard forecasts for part 2 and that it was bringing up to another foot of snow in addition, we had a feeling school wouldn't be open, and sure enough, we closed yesterday, too. Although the snow had stopped, cleanup was impossible to keep up with, and every school in the area was closed. It was just too much. I looked through the book again yesterday, thinking how funny it was that I somewhat predicted it and brought on the storm with my read aloud choice, I began to think of a few more weird similarities with the book... In the story, it snows so much that the boy climbs a snow mountain and slides down (Yup, mounds are so high, even I could do that!). Also, it snows all day, then the boy dreams that it all melts that night, but he wakes up to see that it's snowing again (It snowed twice here too, part 2 overnight, so we had new snow yesterday morning)!! Planned? Of course not~ I do not have superpowers, despite the fact that some coworkers are now making sure they stay on my good side. It is kind of funny, and maybe I have some psychic abilities through the choosing of books I read about in school. If that's the case, I better start reading about spring ASAP!! :) 

Part 1 of the storm~ 2/13/14
Part 1~ add another foot to this, and huge plow mounds... Our mailbox is practically buried!

Thankfully, we have a snowblower, so our typical routine is that if Scott's at work, I shovel 2 tire tracks for him to get in, do the steps and walkway, and he does the rest. I help clean up a few tracks if needed, and after doing so for part 1 on Thursday, I took a break to make a quick snow angel. :) I can't tell you the last time I did this! I wanted to make a snowman the next morning, but he got called into work early, so it hasn't happened yet.

I'm such a kid at heart. <3
Then we went inside to relax, drink, and play some UNO. :) 

Part 2 dropped another 8 inches, and it wasn't light and fluffy like Thursday's snow was. It was much heavier, slushy, and crunchy... basically a pain!! But, the sun came out and the skies were blue, so it was like a beautiful calm after the storm. 

If it wasn't so cold or windy, I would've sat out there! 
In the middle of part 1 of the storm, I was shocked to see the mail truck arrive, and it was a fun mail day!! Actually, even Wednesday night, I had received another package, so it was 3 packages from my ttc sister-friends. I had sent out 4 packages last week~ 1 for a 30th birthday/good luck with pregnancy results, 1 blue-themed package for a mama expecting a boy, 1 pink-themed package for a mama expecting a girl any day now, and 1 neutral-themed package for another mama-to-be! I didn't want a thing in return, and just wanted to send some excitement for all their celebrations. When I saw the first on Wed, I assumed it was a pay-back and I felt bad bc it's not why I sent it. If anything, they can wait til it's our turn, but it isn't yet, so I didn't want a payback. When I opened it up Thursday, I realized I was wrong, and was happily surprised...

Allison, sent me a valentine card and this super cute card with the glue on the front. After reading her note inside, I realized that the entire package was not to say thank you, but to cheer me on for our upcoming IUI cycle. Once she knew we had the green light to proceed, she went out and bought everything to send some encouragement. I had beaten her to the punch, so when she got my baby package, she sent mine off. In reality, it had been a sweet coincidence. :) I don't know if you're familiar with Love You Forever, but it's a tear-jerker... and now it's Baby Ricci's first official book for his/her library! I cried so many happy tears with the realization that things are becoming a reality (hopefully) very soon! I was so touched by her kindness, and I am forever grateful for her friendship and support. This community I have found on IG is amazing~ remember, it's people I've never even met in person, but we just all have an instant bond and I've formed a lot of friendships with girls who I now text pretty regularly with. It's been a beautiful blessing in disguise.

The next day, in the snowstorm, this is what arrived from Vanessa &  Kristen. You two are amazing and I love you both so much!! Thank you!!! Both are pregnant and I know they will each be WONDERFUL mamas! What lucky babies!! :) :) xoxo

So, what does one do on a double snow day, that's attached to a week-long vacation? Normally, I am lazy and waste all my time doing nothing but laying on the couch. Lately, I've been more active, working out again, and eating a little better, so I've had a lot more energy this week. I've put off cleaning out and organizing the office and some of the upstairs rooms for a while, so I finally got to it. Here's my side of the office, aka my crafty zone, and I'm so excited to have it back in order!! I guess 2 extra snow days wasn't such a bad deal right now because it forced me to stay in and do something productive!

Having a clean and organized craft space means I can get creative!! Since I couldn't get to the store to get a Valentine's Day card for Scott, I made one instead!! :) Those are the best kind anyway! ;)

So, Snowmageddon proved not so bad after all... except now it's almost over my head in some spots, and our development looks ridiculous with narrow streets and driveways, but whatever. It is winter in NY after all. I don't know the last time we've had this much snow at once, or even built up, but it is a little pretty too. Did I mention it's snowing again right now? Expecting another 1-3 inches today, but in comparison that is a piece of cake!! I now have the next week off, and although we have to make up 4 days of school, I'm enjoying the calm right now. Scott took off the week with me, as of tomorrow, so we have some fun things planned. We're going to a wine & cupcake event tomorrow at one of our favorite local wineries, and then we are going to Boston for a few days for a mini getaway to just relax and have fun in a change of scenery before cycle 1 gets the best of me with hormone fluctuations and appointments. Here's to winter break & new beginnings as cycle 1 of IUI starts this week!!

XOXO~ Stace

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