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Posts Tagged ‘ice-skating’

After an over-extended family reunion, the local clouds parted ways and the bright blue sky reigned over a balmy day of twenty-five degrees above zero. In hopes of making the most of this atmospheric anomaly, Ava and I packed up our skates, gathered up our friends, and headed outside for our monthly dose of Vitamin D.

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Girls, haven’t you heard, it’s twenty-five degrees. You don’t need a car in this perfect walking weather.

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As you can see the Vitamin D has lots of opportunity for absorption. Sunscreen is severely overrated. Here, in the upper mid-west, we believe in layers. And we apply our layers generously. Come on Sun, do you worst. I just dare you to give me a tan.

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Ava and Lydia were basically born on the ice.

Unlike Ava’s desert-grown mama, who kept whining about being cold.

Seriously, it was twenty-five degrees ABOVE zero. Would someone please remind her that it was fifty below zero last week thanks to the deadly wind chill? And she should be singing hallelujah over the seventy-five degree increase.

Luckily, Ruthie was there to help guide the frozen princess around the ice.

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Thanks Ruthie, you’re a trooper. Next time feel free to loan her your snow pants or Smart Wool socks, I’m fairly certain they won’t fit, but they might curb her whining.

Ruthie was also a fearless leader in the critical ice game, Shuffle, Shuffle, Fall. It’s like Ring Around the Rosies, except you don’t hold hands or sing, and you fall down on ice. I’m fairly certain it will catch on.

Thanks to Kirsten, the girl’s mama and photographer extraordinaire (anyone brave enough to take a camera on ice is extraordinary in my book), we learned the fundamentals of falling on ice. I would not have known the importance of this as sand is always gracious to the clumsy. Not so with ice. You must put your cushiest part forward, that being your behind.

Ruthie, Lydia, and Ava chanted “Shuffle, shuffle” with each swish of their skate until someone yelled, “Fall” and they would all try to fall on their bums. Then they would get back up on their skates by themselves, (a feat I’m still impressed by) and do it again (also a feat I’m impressed by).

Ruthie and Lydia were more talented at the back-fall than the forwarding falling Ava as was evidenced by the six minor bruises that appeared this morning equally distributed between her knees.

There is, however, only so much falling on ice that two three-year-olds can endure. They went down for the last time,

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realized that the ice was in fact cold and hard,

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and crawled, “wee, wee, wee” all the way back to the snow bank, where they found an orange sled.

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Take it from these girls, Shuffle, Shuffle, Fall is much better when you land on a mound of white fluff.

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a tropical heat wave…

“It’s finally warm enough to go ice-skating!”

Growing up where the only ice was found in the freezer, I never thought I’d form such a sentence, let alone experience it.

Twenty-two degrees is hardly tropical, but never underestimate the power of relativity. It has been in the negatives (that means below zero, not below freezing, below zero), so this is nearly forty degrees warmer than it was two days ago. Today twenty-two degrees (ten degrees below freezing) feels quite balmy.

So our family of three decided to take advantage of this deliciously warm weather and went ice-skating. We laced up our skates in a warming house set a blaze by a roaring fire and laughing children scuttling across long wooden benches. Ava’s ankle wobbled as she stood in her skates for the first time and she grabbed her daddy’s hand as he showed her how to keep them straight.

We teetered out into the crisp night air and held onto a railing that led us down to a frozen stream. It meandered under walking bridges and glowing lamp posts. Evergreens lit up with white lights lined the ice-bound creek whose new current was shaped by shiny blades carving ripples and swirls on its surface.

Nate wrapped his hands under Ava’s shoulder and gave her her first push out on the ice. She giggled as her pair of double blades scratched their own marks into the ice.

We took turns crouching to our knees and holding out our arms, sending her to and fro as if she was a toddler charting her first steps. She kept her ankles straight up and arms straight out as she shuffled from one hug to the other.

Nate and I each took a fuchsia mitten in our own as we skated in a happy row of three. We glided together under one bridge, then another and another until we reached a large open pond. Ava shuffled over to the bank and made a seat in the snow as she watched her daddy race past me and attempt to show me how to skate in reverse. She ate mitten-made snow cones and practiced standing up on her skates, all the while enthralled by a skater making pirouette and petit jete’s across the pond.

When the rosiness in our cheeks spread to our noses, we took hands again and scraped out our goodbye to the little pond. We had only passed one bridge before Ava threw up her arms and declared her legs could take her no further. Three bridges away from the warming house, Ava had skated her last.

Nate lifted her up as I skated off in hopes of finding an abandoned sled.

I returned with a tall wooden sled with long black metal runners. Ava practiced pushing it, but her tired legs preferred being pushed on it. She made herself comfortable on the high wooden bench and leaned back to enjoy a daddy sleigh ride.

“Faster, Daddy, faster!” she cried from beneath two scarves. A flurry of ice and snow flew up behind Nate’s dark skates as he propelled her past the warming house and down the other side of the creek, leaving me with a picture of my two loves whizzing through a winter wonderland.

We passed on our sled to another little girl with tired legs, and climbed back up to the warming house. Ava and I took our place in front of the crackling logs and peeled off the layers of warmth as her daddy went in search of hot cocoa.

He returned with one and placed it in Ava’s happy hands. The moment I said, “Nate, why did you only get one,” Ava spilled it onto the slate floor and we had none. Her tears soon joined the steamy puddle sending her daddy off in search of a mop. A nearby father offered the weepy Ava a cup of cocoa from his family’s thermos and soon we had one again. Nate returned with paper towels, a custodian, and another cup of cocoa–now we had two!

After we had fully soaked in all the savory cocoa, the glowing fire, and the warm cheer from the families of mittens and hats, we stood to up to say good night. We stepped out of Currier and Ives and back into the parking ramp to find our ride home.

Come to think of it now, perhaps frozen water is balmier than a tropical heat wave.

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