Matt and I recently came across a children's book called Where are all the Minnesotans? The back of the book reads, "In the Midwest, winter means freezing temperatures, shorter days, and piles of snow. For some, the logical response is to curl up under the blankets and hibernate until spring. But wait: where are all the Minnesotans? Outside of course!" And it's totally true. Everyone is equipped with a big jacket and trusty boots, so although the winter is long and we look forward to the spring, we certainly take advantage of the season.
This is our third winter here and it's been a right of passage. The first two were considered mild, and even we can admit that. So after three years, we can finally say with full certainty that we love it here without the caveat that we haven't had a real winter yet :) The funniest thing in my mind is that we've done more winter activities this year than we did either of the years before! Our first year here we went ice skating outside and fell in love with the idea of outdoor winter activities. Last year we got to participate in Bentleyville up North (meaning further north than here) on Lake Superior, and felt like that one activity had fully encompassed winter for Minnesotans. But this year, our coldest winter yet, we've hiked a frozen waterfall in single-digit weather, played in the abundant snow on multiple occasions, visited the Saint Paul Winter Carnival snow sculptures, and, most recently, meandered through an ice castle on a snowy day. And our Minnesota baby was with us for most of it- safely bundled and content as can be.
It has certainly been a bucket list winter for us this year, and the irony is that we could only enjoy these activities because of the cold- and it has taken a fair amount of determination. We went to the waterfall twice because the first time around the baby was too cold and my brother's phone died due to the frigid temperatures. We booked the ice castle several days in advance and ended up having to drive through falling snow to get there. But I don't really think about any of that when I think back on these adventures or look at these pictures- If anything, all of the extra effort shapes these endeavors into the beautiful memories that they are. Bundling up builds the anticipation, facing the cold adds a sense of purpose and excitement to every venture, and warming up afterwards creates a rewarding sense of accomplishment and contentedness. And that's why we love our winters in Minnesota.