As annoyed as all the grownups might have been about all that white stuff left behind by Snowmageddon II, the Pipsqueak thought it was all pretty cool -- especially since Grandma and Grandpa had bought her a new sled.
As the weather improved and schools stayed closed, I got a lot of questions about if I thought all this snow was good for sledding that eventually culminated in, "Are you going to take me sledding, Uncle Brian?"
The hill on the side of the house is a lot steeper than the slope in the front yard, but being covered in virgin snow it struck me as a better choice of venue. Okay, so the sidewalk was clear of snow... and the hill would aim my niece directly at the street... and she was worried about going down too fast... C'mon, what's life without a few challenges?
She did a good job, because it took me a couple of minutes to pull the boot loose from the snow and put it back on her foot. Correction: TRY to put it back on her foot. She rolled back & forth laughing, shrieking loudly every time her stockinged foot touched the snow and generally wiggling around so much that I finally had to threaten to sit on her to hold her still enough to get foot back into boot. (Somehow each complaint about how cold & wet the snow was morphed into still more gales of laughter... which, to be perfectly honest, I didn't mind in the least.)
Both feet once again warm and (almost) dry, the Pipsqueak bargained for just a few more sled runs, and I surprised myself by actually convincing her to do them in the still-sunny front yard. I cleared my snow bridge off the sidewalk (gotta teach those citizenship lessons!), then smoothed out more of the big bumps in the front yard and spent the next 20-something minutes seeing how far Miri could slide before either coming to a stop and/or falling off the sled. Even she had to eventually admit it was getting too cold to really be fun but I had to promise we'd do it all again the next day before heading home.
In short, we both had a blast.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and after a while even my nuclear-powered niece's batteries began running down in the cold. (I had long before lost all feeling in several extremities but she was having such a good time, I didn't want to stop her. She's only going to be a six year old experiencing her first-ever good sledding weather for the first time once in her life, and I felt privileged to be part of it.) Once again, the hill became completely shaded as the sun sank toward the horizon and Miri wasn't entirely unhappy when I cleared off the sidewalk (again) and we headed 'round the house to the front yard.
 The pipsqueak has a big, multicolored plastic thing they call a "sled" these days. Somewhere in our folks' garage is my "Snow Hawk," a steel frame with wood slats and a big handle on the front to twist the frame for steering. It's a little beaten up (Who put that tree in my way?!?) but THAT is a "sled" (I'm old school) and I'm looking forward to when Miri's big enough to use it.
My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅-- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!