Today I’d like to welcome an old friend as guest blogger I’ve known Janet since grammar school & haven’t seen her since HS. Thank you Facebook for the connect! Complaining about the COLD weather we North Easterners have been experiencing this season, I thought it’d be interesting to hear what a TRUE cold state resident has to say on the topic. Well, an eye opener is what I received! I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did Thank you Janet!! xoxo…
Greetings from Michigan—the land of ice and snow! Though, that can be just about anywhere this winter! Thinking back to my days growing up in West New York, winter really wasn’t as much of a challenge. Yes, we would get big storms that would close everything down for a day, but nothing like what you all have been getting this year. I can remember walking to high school, braving the cold wind coming up the cliffs from the river. On those cold winter mornings I remember stopping into a little store across the street from MHS to get some of that yummy, warm Cuban bread, buttery and warm, and a hot chocolate before homeroom started. I miss Cuban food! All those years ago, never did I imagine that I would someday live in Michigan– where snow and ice are the norm and temperatures in the single digits, or below, are what to be expected come January and February. This transplanted “Gringa” from West New York, NJ, has now been here 9 years! In these years, I have learned to adapt and deal with the weather. I have also managed to keep myself and my family active, despite the cold and snow. Barbara has asked me to share some advice about staying active in the cold weather, especially for all you back east who are not used to having winter be so extreme.
One thing I learned early on was that all this cold and snow doesn’t keep people inside! My kids are supposed to bring snow pants and boots to school with them, even my preschooler! Boot trays line the hallways at the elementary school and kids are always outside at recess unless the temperature or wind chill falls below zero!!! Yes, Zero! They build snow forts, snowmen and even can throw snowballs at a target that is set up just for that purpose. The philosophy seems to be, “there is no such thing as bad weather; just bad clothing.” I can attest that I have finally adapted. After walking my son down to the bus stop early in the frigid morning, I go for my walk up and down our street. It is just about a mile, which is just enough to get the blood moving. When it is really cold, I get frost in my hair from the condensation of my breath! I wear snow pants, a warm coat, a hat, gloves and most importantly, a great pair of boots. I got these really cute North Face ones on clearance a couple of winters ago. They are waterproof, sturdy, and super warm! They have good grips on the bottom and are perfect for walking in the snow. If you want to stay active outdoors in winter, you must have proper footwear! Toasty, dry feet go a long way. My husband has also adapted to the cold…smart wool socks, under armor and a thermal hat, keep his running on track. He runs a couple times of week with colleagues and has been doing so all through the winter. He recently braved the snow and ran the Polar Bear 5K, an annual event run by our local parks and recreation program. Kudos to him! Winter activity is strongly encouraged here…The wooded parks in the area offer ski and snowshoe rentals and there is a monster sledding hill nearby that is a local favorite. We have our own mini hill in our backyard which we enjoy.
Sometimes it is way too cold to be outside! That is why we belong to our local YMCA. The kids do swimming and other activities. I swim laps and sit in a sauna afterwards as a reward to myself! My husband and I use the gym when the kids are doing their activities. I also teach yoga at a local studio, and practice as much as I can. There is nothing like a hot yoga room on a 6 degree evening!
It is easy to get lazy and just stay inside when it is cold and blustery! But when the cold weather is going to stick around for awhile, why not go out and play? You’ll burn calories, feel energized and it will make your home more comforting. Top it all off with a nice nourishing meal and you will be all set! I just wish I knew how to cook all those yummy and delicious Cuban dishes that I ate at all my friends’ houses growing up in West New York. There isn’t even a Cuban restaurant around here!
Janet Warnock MacFarlane grew up in West New York, NJ and now lives in Michigan with her husband and three children. She is a Power Yoga instructor and specializes in Prenatal and Postnatal yoga. You can find Janet’s blog about prenatal yoga at http://www.mahamamas.com