Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Birthday Blizzard

Devon's birthday is the day after Valentine's Day. It would have been on Valentine's Day if my mom hadn't waited to cut my brother's hair before she took Noni to the hospital. Don't even get Noni started on that. Trust me, you don't want to hear it!

But years ago we started the charming and special family tradition of holding birthdays on whatever day happens to be the most convenient nearest to the actual birthday. It adds such a spice to the whole affair. How sorry other children must be whose birthday is on the exact same boring day every single year.

So it was that Devon's birthday was celebrated this year on the 17th, not the 15th. Sunday began as a nice enough morning, but we were expecting an Alberta clipper to arrive later that afternoon. An Alberta clipper is a fast moving low pressure area which generally affects the central provinces of Canada and parts of the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions of the United States. Most clippers occur between December and February, but can also occur occasionally in the month of November. Alberta clippers take their name from Alberta, Canada, the province from which they appear to descend, and from clipper ships of the 19th century, one of the fastest ships of that time.

Doesn't Wikipedia make me look smart?

Because of the approaching storm, we decided not to go to Plentywood for ice skating on their outdoor rink, so we planned a sledding party in the afternoon before the storm hit. It would be perfect, since I had gotten Devon snow gear and a new sled for his birthday.  Alas, our happy plans failed to factor in a birthday cake that took forever to finish baking

I made a delicious chocolate cake from scratch, but due to a series of difficulties I see no reason to go into detail about here, it was a little slow in baking. As soon as I decently could, I wrapped it in a towel and drove furiously into town. The first snowflakes were already beginning to fall, but the temperature was still a mild 28 degrees.

I made a quick stop at the hardware store to muster the troops, dropped the border collie back home (sledding is right by a road and thus bad for border collies), and went to pick up our guests. By that time, the snowflakes were driving in earnest.

Hurry! Hurry! Dash! Rush!

We drove south of town to the beautiful sloping hill I "discovered" one day. It's the perfect sledding hill---not too tall, but tall enough for a good run, ends in a field with no dangerous obstacles, and as mentioned before, right by a road so we don't have to haul our sleds too far.

I dropped my camera in the muddy snow taking this picture, then spent the next couple of minutes frantically trying to clean out the grit and muck. Stupid snow...

Party time!
The snow was heavy and wet. It felt like we were being pelted by snowballs, but the party must go on!

The sleds made good windbreaks when you were hiking up the hill directly into the storm.

 Tiggy and AvonlyRose did some tandem snowboarding.

Noni and Damon arrived a few minutes late. Noni was dressed very inadequately for snow play and mainly stood around rubbing her hands together to keep warm. Damon was wearing her snow boots because Devon was wearing his---and that left Noni with nothing but old tennis shoes. The things we mothers do for our kids. I'm sure she had a great time watching us play!

Damon dashing through the snow.

Shayla was a super trooper, dragging her sled up the steep hill over and over again while the wind tried to blow her away. A true Montana lass.

We had a great time, but even our sturdy spirits couldn't stay out there for too long. We made one more glorious run then climbed back up the hill to the cars.

Until next time, Sledding Hill. Until next time.

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