The weather has been very cold for the past few days. Freezing, even! The crisp chill in the air smells the same all over the world at 32˚F. If you’re from anywhere that gets cold enough to snow regularly, you recognize the teasing scent of flakes well before they fall.

flutterby-wellies_print_wiWe awoke to a winter wonderland this morning. The white, dusty coat of snow surprised and snow_boots30delighted us. Just yesterday we went tromping through muddy fields in our Wellies and today we would have been better off with snow boots!

The milder weather inspires us to get out much more often than we did during our Michigan winters. It rains more than snows here and the temperature for the past month has typically hovered around 40˚F.

With an expansive forest just down the road from us, we’ve taken several Sundays to walk. The kids complain, whine and moan. They would rather stay home and play, but a reminder of the fun we had the last time gets them motivated. Me too. I have to admit that I’d rather stay warm and cozy cuddled up with a good book and a hot cup of coffee, but then I remember how our moods are boosted every time by an hour out in the fresh air and the stunning countryside.

photo-6So we go, mud and all. Last week Nature Girl lost her balance and fell right into it. It was thick and squishy and I had lots of laundry to do that afternoon (see The Boy’s left leg in the picture?). And very dirty shoes as I only got my own pair of Wellingtons yesterday.

But I don’t mind, because each time we go, amid the whining, there is joy. There is laughter and the wonder of spending time in nature. We are building memories of a wonderful childhood that will bond the three of them together forever.

I hear the whispers of their grown selves saying, “Remember how Mom and Papa would drag us out no matter how cold it was? Remember that time we had a picnic and it was so cold we had to eat with our gloves on? Remember when you fell in the mud?!”

Happy moments create happy memories and together they make happy children. As parents, we make so many mistakes, but hopefully most of them will be forgotten, nudged out of the shadows of our children’s minds by all the moments we get just right. All the love, laughter and joy that we share will take the biggest space in their hearts.

Go make memories – play in the snow, or the mud, or the rain with your children (or Grandchildren!). Just play. And love.