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Out the door they come! Looks like they're headed down the porch...

Dear Kids,  I broke the news to the Santas and the Snowmen today.  Told them–ever so gently–that you would not be coming home for Christmas this year.

You would never believe what happened next!  They jumped off their tic-tac-toe red and white Christmas board and marched toward the front door.  Every last one of them.  We stood shocked in disbelief!  What were the Santas and the Snowmen going to do? 

And they're trudging through the snow!

We know, don’t we, that these particular Santas and Snowmen have a history of unpredictability.  They are always doing something wild and crazy.  Ever since I won them in that Christmas raffle at Aura a few years back, they have been keeping us on our toes!  Odd things happen all the time, don’t they?

Remember the time when they all looked like they were going to commit suicide jumping off the table in the living room.  A few of them lay helter-skelter on the carpeted floor beneath their kamikaze jumping place.  Remember how we laughed?  How we laughed until we almost cried?  (Silly Santas and Snowmen!  What kind of holiday spirit was that?)

Then remember how every year the darn fellows appeared somewhere else?  One year they climbed near the ceiling and sat way up high near the plants.  Haven’t they been discovered in the bathtub, in the refrigerator, and a half-dozen other crazy places?  Maybe they’ve even been outside before.

But I wasn’t expecting their behavior this afternoon.  They simply all stood up and silently marched outside.

The reindeer are missing you guys already.

Down the porch steps they marched in single file.  Out into the snow.  Toward the cars!  Were they deserting us forever?  Just because you both aren’t coming home for Christmas?  The very first Christmas when BOTH of you won’t be with us?

Stocking hanging outside in spruce tree

I tried to get the leader to talk.  He was a Santa.  “Where are you going?” I begged, “Please come back!”  But on they marched.  “Next year maybe they’ll be home for Christmas!”  I hollered after them.  They refused to look back.

Off they go!

Perhaps they are walking to Manhattan and San Diego.  Perhaps they have booked airline tickets.  It’s hard to say what these Santas and Snowmen will do.  I just wanted you to be the first to know that you’re obviously going to be very much missed this year, you kids.

Even the Santas and Snowmen think so.

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Meet Ms. Snowman.  I mean, meet Ms. Snow-woman!

Meet Ms. Snowman. I mean, meet Ms. Snow-woman!

Isn’t she beautiful?  OK, don’t answer that one.  She’s unique, that’s what she is.  Especially with those rock-eyes, spruce cone mouth and dried fern hair.  I thought the red scarf added some dashing color to her white existence.  What do you think? 

Today’s theme is dedicated to Play.  Outdoor play.  What children do when they open the door and run outside.  They find one million and one ways to play, to have fun, to throw snowballs, to build snowmen, to engage with whatever presents itself in a joyous and playful manner.

So I made a snow-woman!  What a novel idea.  The snow was just at that melty-condensed-roll-’em-into-a-snowball stage.  So I patted together a small ball of snow and rolled it along the side lawn.  It gathered bulk really fast.  Then rolled the middle ball of snow just so, not too big and not too little.  Plopped it on top of the first ball, situating it levelly so it wouldn’t fall off in two seconds.  Then fashioned a tiny head.  I didn’t want to do anything ordinary like find a carrot for the nose, so I searched the melting land for possibilities.  The problem is that you can’t find two matching pebbles.  So the eyes turned out lopsided and looking strange.  But who cares when you can create wild flying hair out of dried ferns and a spruce cone mouth? 

If any one of you stopped by to visit, you could have made a snow-companion.  Or we could have had a snowball fight.  (Although I never did like those much as a child…my brothers gleefully enjoyed those much more.) 

This brought up all sorts of thoughts about favorite outdoor games as a child.  Please tell me your favorites!  I am truly interested.  When we were kids we used to play “Ally, ally over!” and throw a ball helter-skelter over the top of our house roof.  Unfortunately I don’t remember the rest of the rules.  There was a team on eachside of the house, and it was a variation on the old kick-the-can theme. Whoever caught the ball began running around the house to the other side.  It was great fun.

Jump rope

Jump rope

The girls played jump rope and Barbies and house.  The boys played in the sandbox and tossed balls every which way until they finally organized into games like baseball, kickball, basketball and football.  My dad taught us a strange poem from his childhood which went something like “I’m going downtown to smoke my pipe, and I won’t be back ’til broad daylight.  If any of you children misbehave I’ll beat you ’til your black and blue with my old rubber shoe.”  (I swear this is true.  Right Dad?)   I just googled this and, sure enough, a variation of this rhyme was played in country schoolhouses in Michigan in the 1930’s!  We somehow fashioned a game out of this politically-incorrect poem which involved our front porch and running after each other and capturing children and keeping them on the porch until they escaped.  Hmm…

Rackets in the snow

Rackets in the snow

Our kids, living out here in the middle of the woods, rarely had a large group of neighborhood children with which to play.  Instead, they were forced to create games to play with the two of them.  Fort-building was the #1 Favorite game.  In the summer-time it was woods-forts.  In the winter-time it was snow forts.  Let me see if we have a photo of the all-time winter fort winner!

Now THAT's a snow fort!  (viewed from our roof back in the early 90's)

Now THAT's a snow fort! (viewed from our roof back in the early 90's)

They also enjoyed a favorite personal game known as “Blind Dog”.  One of them wore a scarf over their eyes, while the other led them blind-folded through the woods.  It was an act of faith.  Kids, if you’d like to explain this game further to all of us, feel free to comment.

I am eagerly awaiting to read more favorite outdoor games.

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