Thursday, November 12, 2015

Having Fun While Making Do!

I recently finished reading a thoroughly researched, interesting, and expectedly disheartening documentary about the Donner Party. I was struck by many things while reading, not the least of which was how deeply grateful I am for the health and well-being of my beloved family. As Thanksgiving approaches, I know lots of folks have gratitude on the mind. Me too. I think a large part of gratitude is being content with what we have. I tell my kids 
"you get what you get and you're grateful for it," 
which is a slightly elevated spiritual version of the more behaviorally-motivated "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit". Though to be honest, I'd settle for the lesser law most days and consider it a win! But I digress. My point is, I think if we are grateful for what we HAVE rather than dwelling on what we are lacking, we can truly be happy. 

A recent experience newly validated this idea for me.
We went out to visit Eric's family last week. Took a jaunt out to the family cabin...and woke to more weather than we were anticipating! 
The view off the deck in the morning. 
These big, huge, powdery flakes came down all morning and into the afternoon. 
A very small percentage never made it to the ground, finding a melting point on warm skin and hair and--- very occasionally--- inside a gaping mouth. 
The girls' warmest clothing was their footie pjs. 
PJ exploration during the snow.
 After dinner, Eric went out with Papa to see about filling our freezer with elk steaks. Unbelievably, they spotted a herd just a hillside away from the cabin. Eric says it was the longest shot he's ever made--- we heard it while getting dessert for the kids! The early sighting and close proximity to the cabin meant the boys could get home to the comfort of the cabin relatively early. They couldn't haul all the meat in one trip, though, so they hung what they couldn't carry in a tree and informed all of us their plan to retrieve it in the morning. 
 No snow pants. No snow shoes. No water-proof gloves. Gwen didn't even have a hat (she borrowed mine). But we were all eager to make do with what we had and hike out with the boys in the morning to witness their creative attempt at floating the elk meat across the river rather than hauling it around the long way. 
 We rode part of the way in the Rhino. 
Emmett got passed around a bit.

Then we hiked.

The girls thought they needed to poke their walking poles into every ice-crusted puddle. 

 Caroline's garbage bag gaiters billowed out around her when she sat down to make some snowballs.

This should have been a video! Eric high-stepped it across the icy cold river like a 'zephyr set free' (name that movie?), motivated by the fact that his pants were not INTENDED to be waterproof or warm when submerged in a mountain stream. 
 Repeat the action, with a little less agility, dragging a heavy elk quarter (sort of floating).

We laughed safely from the bank and had a great time watching the men struggle--- perhaps because we were glad it was them, not us?
 Emmett wouldn't keep his too-large mittens on. But he seemed happy to be outside as long as no one set him down in the cold stuff. :)
 Heading back. 
My awesome attire: trashbag gaiters, sweatshirt with no coat, and my infinity scarf serving as my hat since Gwen was wearing the real one. blue Babushka meets trash space ranger!
  Of course, reading about the Donner party gave me some pretty good perspective. Hard to complain when I had clothes, shoes, a warm cabin to head back to, and plenty of nutritious food to eat. Isn't it amazing how much we take for granted?
 It was a lovely jaunt with beauty all around us. 
  Everyone had a great time!
 There was also a makeshift sledding excursion. 
 Daddy Manpower was required. 
 Then we switched to Rhino power!
 Caroline was absolutely thrilled!... and then equally devastated when the cable tore through the plastic sled and the fun slid to a halt. 
 Snow angels instead?
 Of course, Gramma was prepared with some fun indoor activities when the girls wanted to thaw out and let their wet mittens dry by the fire. 

All in all, I'd say the few days we enjoyed up at the snowy cabin were unhampered by our lack of fancy gear or even simple gear (like a hat). In fact, I think perhaps the absence of stuff got us to be creative, think outside the box, and create really awesome memories along the way (who could forget the trash bag gaiters?!?)! Just reaffirms for me: 

You can have a GREAT time while "making do"!


  1. This was a ton of fun. Thanks for all the pics. I think you look so gorgeous in garbage bags!

  2. It was so much fun! Miss you all!