Joe Bliven

Fuck This Winter!

April 16th, 2023

I post this as we are hopefully getting our last snowfall of the season, and I can finally lay this winter to rest in my memory. Weatherwise, this winter can eat shit. Otherwise this winter was pretty nice.

Here is a gallery of photographic evidence that this winter was actually pretty good overall.

I last updated the blog as we narrowly escaped a horrible snowstorm to spend Christmas in Santa Fe, NM. We were meeting my parents who had rented a house down there. We picked up Evalyn on the way down so she could join us for the holiday. We decorated the van and listened to Christmas music while opening a few gifts on the road. We drove all the way in one shot and it was terrible. Almost the entire drive was below zero wind chills and a lot of it was 20-30 below zero wind chills. The wind was blowing like crazy and stopping to refuel and take bathroom brakes was an exercise in tundra survival.

This is what the highway looked like as we passed through the northwest corner of Iowa. Once we got through through Iowa the roads were much better, but the temps weren't!

Our holly jolly van!

Santa left a Kanoodle puzzle in the van to keep Elena entertained on the trip

We arrived in Santa Fe to hardly any wind, and temperatures that were nearly above freezing! The following week at my parents' airbnb was a wonderfully relaxing time. Maya got to play with her grandparents a lot, we ate lots of good food, cracked a ton of Christmas crackers, and visited some cool attractions. Amelia got caught up on her reading and I got caught up on Pokemon Violet.

We wore a lot of paper crowns!

Maya coloring on the floor while Grandpa cooks dinner

On Christmas Eve, my dad made us a great dinner before we headed over to the farolito walk in downtown Santa Fe. It was a neat street festival, with a wonderful atmosphere. Santa must have gotten the memo that we were in Santa Fe, because the next morning there were plenty of presents in front of the kiva. After a nap we went to a playground with Maya and then had a fire in the backyard. It must have been the warmest Christmas of my life.

Opening presents is so exciting!

Christmas on the playground

The next day we visited Meow Wolf, which is one of the coolest collections of art installations I've ever seen. If you're ever in the Santa Fe area be sure to check it out. I really hope to see more of their installations some day.

The next day we visited Albuquerque, which is a nice city. I was convinced to take a tram four thousand feet up a mountain, and while I don't regret going, it was way too scary for me. We went to most of the libraries in Santa Fe, and they're pretty good but a little underwhelming considering the population. Maya still enjoyed their storytimes and play areas. We also visited the children's museums in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The Albuquerque children's museum is both bigger and more educational than Santa Fe's, it's what I think our science museum should be like. They had lots of interactive and genuinely engaging installations that were really effective at demonstrating scientific principles. The museum is called Explora, definitely check it out if you're in the area with kids. We visited the museum on New Years Eve. It was super busy because they were doing a balloon drop of 2,023 balloons. Elena and Evalyn got interviewed by a local news station but didn't make it to air.

Cleaning up after making a paper hat at storytime

Playing at the library

The children's museum in Santa Fe had a Maya sized door!

We went back to Santa Fe where we celebrated the New Year. We watched the ball drop in New York, loaded up the van and headed back to Minnesota. The drive home was much more comfortable.

Happy New Year!

Upon our return to the Twin Cities we didn't have too much going on. Beyond a lot of cold and snow. We got back into a routine. Amelia and Elena are still in their respective choir groups. Maya is busy with classes 4 days a week, and usually attends at least one library storytime per week. We braved the inclement conditions to attend a few parties and get-togethers. we got creative with ways to play indoors. We've been working our way through a big backlog of jigsaw puzzles. Elena had a few get-togethers with friends at Nickelodeon Universe.

The snow this year was exhausting, and the freeze-thaw cycle was out of control! That last 8.5 inch snowfall on March 31st pushed this winter into the third snowiest in Twin Cities history. Take that winter of 1950-51!

There's an Elena shoveling somewhere in all that snow!

I sent this picture to my parents while they were still living warm in Santa Fe.

Amelia and I managed to take a weekend trip to Chicago without the kids. We went to see Cory Wong with Victor Wooten at the Riviera theater and stayed with our friends Owen and Becca. The trip was too short but definitely a highlight of the year so far. We didn't get any pictures, so you know we were really having fun! All together it's been a nice winter. Our relaxed schedule has almost made up for the exhausting weather.