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Making the most of winter

Jan 17, 2013 - By Clair McFarland

We're doing it indoors, minus the cable TV

It's cold out. It's so cold, I'm considering calling George R.R. Martin and telling him that winter actually got here. (That's the literary father of "Game of Thrones," to you HBO nerds.)

In the midst of this frost, I, with my two small sons, pine for things to do. It's tempting to get into a rut of negativity in these winter months, since our town doesn't have a bowling alley or a Chuck E Cheese, etc., etc. Also, the child's play structure at an anonymous local food chain gives me the heebie-jeebies, and I'm not even a germophobe.

Because of these facts, and a slight lapse in creativity that settled upon me at about the time I finished off the one-pound Snickers bar that was in my Christmas stocking weeks ago, we are sometimes without entertainment.

You see, even a life led without limbs in the heart of Siberia is not enough to make me turn on cable TV, because I'm always afraid that if I do, Kim Kardashian will, like, jump out at me.

Plus, my husband says we only get sports channels on our TV anyway. Just kidding.

The children and I were, however, blessed with a stroke of adventure right around New Year's: we took advantage of the new snow by packing our toboggans to the Tonkin Stadium bowl, where the marks from our sled races and the wings of our snow angels still reside (as I write this, at least).

This was my first time sledding down hills since my husband first wooed me by taking me sledding six years ago, and it was really great. I'd recommend it to all of you, except that I'm possessive of the now-sparse snows of the Tonkin slopes. On second thought, it was horrible; don't go there!

Another thing we've done lately is contrive indoor entertainment. The boys and I learn karate from Tony Horton, dance around the kitchen to music, vacuum up the hot lava in the living room -- since I'm Lois Lane, and prone to hot lava encroachments. We tell each other legends of when Boysen Reservoir used to have a liquid surface, and we jet skied on it. They say the lake will achieve that mythical state again in the spring.

Just yesterday, we were engaged in building forts out of clean laundry on my bed. I'm fond of this pastime, as it was beloved by my siblings and me in our childhood home. What is interesting about fort-building is that, while it teaches the skills one needs for building a fabric stronghold and visual barrier against the zombies at the park, it also resulted -- presently -- in a fabric stronghold and visual barrier between the family and the cat.

This is why, when our cat ran across the bed so that she might leap onto my dresser (ahem, armoire) she didn't realize that my nine-month-old was in her way until the last inches of her trajectory. Because she's the most altruistic cat I know, she chose to dodge to the right rather than run over the baby, which caused her to fly from the bed awkwardly, and sail through the air like a soggy noodle, into the dresser's front, then land on the ground on all fours and skitter off in shame. Only her pride was hurt.

We later rewarded her heroism by scratching her chin and ears repeatedly, which, as everyone knows, ought to be the universal remedy for a bad experience. We only laughed over her bizarre stunt when she wasn't looking. Cats are sensitive, you see. Wouldn't want to give her a complex.

The entertaining episode brought to us live by our cat, entirely Kardashian-free, reminded me that, outdoors or indoors, out of diapers or in them, the members of this family will make the most of winter.

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