10th Day: Fire & Ice

On the tenth day of our twenty-five days we celebrated the Winter Solstice.  The Winter Solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year; many cultures have held celebrations for the Solstice for thousands of years.  Past generations were dependent on hunting, gathering, and growing so the seasons and weather played a central role in their lives.  Many religious and cultural traditions also celebrated the Solstice as the rebirth of sunlight after this dark period.

Brad caught the same bug that I had last week so I took Marshall to the nature center solo.  Brad was disappointed that he had to miss out, as this was one of the days we were most looking forward to for the variety it offered.  I made sure Brad was comfortably sleeping and packed up Mads to head to George Owens Nature Park.

The event started at five and the sun was already retreating as we started out on the trail.  At the mouth of the trail we were greeted with pretty nice travel mugs filled with freshly brewed hot cocoa, it was a great little gift that is much appreciated.

Torch lit path


Marshall bundled up with his new cocoa mug

As we walked along the torch lit path we came upon different stations.  There was a live bald eagle, baby owl, and white owl that are currently being rehabilitated, on display.  Also: an edible bug and plant presentation display, ice sculptures, bonfire, telescope to check out the darkened sky, and more.  Marshall was scared of the eagle- to his credit, it was almost as tall as Mads is.  He was very excited for the ice sculptures and to watch the carving process.

2 1/2 foot tall bald eagle


Ice artist working hard on a wreath with a bow


Marshall’s icy ride

As I was trying to get Marshall to smile for the picture, because he was truly excited to get in the sleigh, a man came up behind me and decided he wanted to help me get Mads to smile.  This backfired as Marsh got scared about this stranger talking to him and being so close to his mama so Marshall stood up quickly . . . on ice.  Marshall’s feet instantly flew up and his he landed back first on the hard ice.  He only fussed a little but as soon as I scooped him up and put him back into his warm stroller with cocoa he was fine.

Once we finished the trail we went into the welcome center for some crafts.  ‘Marshall Angelo’ was excited to be the first child in the craft room and took full advantage of having all of Ms. Helen’s attention.  Ms. Helen loved Mads and kept telling me how uncanny his resemblance was to her adult son at that age.  She even asked, jokingly, if her son had a secret she didn’t know about, I’m sure Brad would have loved to hear that.

Ms. Helen had some simple but creative projects set up for Marshall to go to town on.  He started with making a ‘melted snowman’ using buttons, twigs, and paper cut outs on contact paper topped with grated soap for added effect.  Marshall had so much fun holding the grater and sticking the objects onto the contact paper.  Next, he used a roller with glue and white paint to make a snow flake on a cork coaster and topped that with glitter.  The coaster had an adhesive back so when we got home I took the protective cover off of the adhesive backing and stuck it on a free magnet that came in the mail.  Cut the magnet into a circle and voila- snowflake magnet!  Last, Marshall decorated a mitten cut out with some older boys and had fun with the stickers.

Marshall holding the grater for Ms. Helen
for his melted snowman craft


All finished with his melted snowman


Rolling paint/glue with Ms. Helen


Decorating paper mittens


The spoils of the Solstice.  Mitten, melted snowman,
snowflake magnet, and travel mugs.

Marshall had so much fun with everything (except for the eagle) and made such a friend in Ms. Helen that he was sad to get going back on the road.  Ms. Helen kept reminding me on our way out that we have to come back for all the activities coming up this summer as Mads pouted his lip out at her and waved bye-bye ever so slowly.  It was a nice ride home though, filled with Christmas carols going on the radio and Marshall pointing out sports billboards all the way home (dad would be so proud).

The tenth day was a beautiful day of fire & ice and continuing a tradition that spans many centuries, religions, and cultures.  We learned new things, saw rare new animals that were on the mend, had more new experiences, and take home knick-knacks.  Brad got a nice break and is mostly on the mend, so we are looking forward to getting back to celebrating as a family.  Fingers crossed!  Happy Winter Solstice everyone, rejoice as the sun is back on the way.


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