a peek inside the fishbowl

05 Dec, 2016

Thinking out loud about snow

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy

We woke up to a winter wonderland this morning. It snowed overnight; enough to cover everything in a blanket of white. Although I don’t love the cold, snow makes me happy. This, despite the fact it means extra work in terms of clearing snow off the car, shoveling the driveway, mopping wet floors in the mudroom, the need to pile on extra layers etc. Somehow I am able to overlook those things, or at least push them aside, while I dwell on the beauty of it.

A fresh snowfall – the smell of it, the crunch of snow – reminds me of being a kid. I remember getting zipped into a bulky snowsuit and playing outside with friends for hours, building forts and snowmen, and making snow angels. We lived on a dead end street, which was shaped like a key. Every once in awhile there’d be enough snow that city street cleaning crews would leave a massive pile in the middle of the street with just enough space for cars to drive around it. All the neighbourhood kids would descend on this hill of snow, which became ground zero for snowball fights and games of “let’s pretend we’re mountain climbers.” Caves were dug out and claimed, walls were fortified with ferocious hunks of carved ice and snow. It was wonderful, and when my feet and face were about to freeze off (or my mother called) I’d come inside for a snack and a cup of tea or hot chocolate, totally soaked and exhausted from it all. It was a very special time, one of the happiest of my childhood years. I’ll remember it for the rest of my days.

As I reflect back on that time I realize that parental involvement was limited here. Sure, my parents probably watched from the window and trusted that all of the kids looked out for one another to a reasonable degree, but I was essentially on my own in this snowy world, even at a very small age. I was making my own decisions and looking out for number one. The independence of it charged my internal batteries and in a way, made me feel like my own person.

I now know that this wasn’t just a lovely time, it was an important time. It was something we tried to do with our own kids too. I wonder whether we succeeded to the same degree.

2 Responses to "Thinking out loud about snow"

1 | jack frost

December 6th, 2016 at 9:57 am


First snow is joy.

2 | Claudette

December 6th, 2016 at 10:18 am


Every day my little girl child is glued to the weather network. They keep talking about snow, but we haven’t seen any! :)

comment form:


Have a great summer at Saunders Farm!

Mrs Tiggywinkle's - the best toy store in Ottawa

Click me!


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • andrea tomkins: I'm happy to have the one tent! This particular site wasn't big enough to accommodate two tents, even two smaller ones. The view at this site was love
  • Splake: One big tent or two small? Hm? 2 small is better, me thinks. Views?
  • a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Silent Lake 2018: last post! - a peek inside the fishbowl: […] been a busy week! The highlights: I got to fly on a vintage WWII bomber and Mark and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with a little
  • Bloodless: The park definitely is super-fun. I agree about the asphalt pathways - which is why we definitely wear our water shoes. The Vortex is an interesting
  • andrea tomkins: It was REALLY special. The more I think about it, the more grateful I am to have had this experience. re: the volume. Everyone was given headphones
  • Brien Marshall: Thanks for sharing that - what a way to get a visceral sense of how those airmen must have felt, minus the extra fear of not knowing if this would be
  • Ginger: And now I read part two and followed your link back to hiking with fly paper attached to your hat... Maybe camping in Canada isn't so different tha

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


E-book alert!

Shopping Embargo e-book promo

My right hand is actually a camera

Connect with me at these places too!

Piper is on Instagram

On the nightstand

All hail the mighty Twitter