Every single year we’ve come home from visiting California during Christmas break, we’ve been greeted with snow, ice, freezing temps, or a combo of all the above. It’s as though we had way too grand a time reveling in the 80s and Virginia just wanted to make sure we remember what real winter is all about. Gross. Also, sickness-inducing.
I have never loved winter, even though I’ve lived in the mid-Atlantic my whole life, spent four miserable winters in the Ohio Valley, and one in the Alps of Austria. I will never get used to the dip in temperatures, scraping ice off car windshields, holding one’s breath in the frigid air, avoiding the moment of vacating your cocoon of warm covers in the morning, and layering to the point of impeding movement. However, I still love that the seasons change, pulling out my cozy winter clothes, making hearty soups, hot cocoa, etc… So there’s a love-hate relationship going on here.
This is winter, there is a whole new set of challenges and so I’ve come up with some survival techniques to rival those of Shackleton. Not really…but cabin fever can be lethal, let me tell you, especially if it involves high doses of a baby who HATES to nap.
1. Get out of the House
This is super important, especially for a stay-at-home mom of an extremely social baby, who crawls around after me crying, “Mamamamama…” when I so much as walk across the living room. However, as some of you may know, my beloved Civic was lost to us right before Tom went back to school. It had problems that prevented it from passing the emissions inspection, problems whose fix was more expensive than the car was worth, so we had to sell it. It was ok in the late summer and fall: I could walk quite a bit, get out of the house if just for an hour, and Lucy enjoyed the outings. Then November rolled around. Our cabin fever began to spike dangerously, and I fear I may have started to go certifiably insane by March 22nd. BUT, my sister, who is actually an angel in human form, has let me borrow the extra family car. She says she doesn’t really need it at college this semester, and thought it would be helpful for me. AHH! Never have I been more excited to drive something, which happens to be my first car in high school, and one I love. It’s super liberating to have this vehicle, and I’m forever grateful to dearest Anna.
This has been seriously life and sanity saving! My best friend lives 20 minutes away with one year old twin boys, my sister-in-law and two nephews are about an hour away, and my mom is 35 minutes. Before I had the car, they would come out to visit me at least once a month, and it was always so lovely. Lucy gets ridiculously excited whenever someone walks through our front door. A little company does a mama and baby worlds of good!
Ok, and then there are a few little luxuries…
3. Milk Frother!
We are the proud owners of a really sweet, fast, and silent milk frother. We received it from Tom’s parents for Christmas, and it totally takes the level of morning coffee from mundane to cafe-worthy.
4. Amazon Prime Streaming and Netflix
I mean, does this even need to be listed? There are many reasons why we chose not to own a TV (and don’t plan to), and this is a big one. We almost always veer towards the BBC mini-series, period pieces, and shows involving Maggie Smith, as well as quirky comedies like Arrested Development (not season 4!) and Parks and Rec (all the seasons, ever!), but we got really into the show Once Upon a Time this fall, and binged on it like crazy. Then watched the next season on ABC’s streaming site… so addicting! We highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys fairy tale adaptations, action/romance mixed up, and good old-fashioned good vs. evil plot lines. There’s a Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, too.
Other winter survival necessities include wool socks, good books, Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Sea Salt Almonds (oh wait, that’s year-round survival…), and plenty of food for a voracious baby to eat!