Adriana Zoder: Calendar items for a February column

Feb. 22, 2014 @ 11:58 PM

The sunshine landing on the table while we have breakfast seems strange after two weeks of cloudy skies which brought rain and snow. Do we know you, sunshine? Summer seems so long ago and spring is still not in sight.

The foot of snow we got in Gatlinburg has melted. Children can actually go out and ride their bikes in the yard in the afternoon sunshine. But I am not holding my breath about spring-type weather.

When the groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter, I decided not to be disappointed and to focus on my tasks, which are many. Why complain about the weather? I can't do anything about it anyway.

Politics, on the other hand, is a different story altogether. I can complain because I can do something about it: I vote. With Presidents Day, I have lots of ground to cover with the children. Washington, Lincoln, and the current resident of the White House, at the very least. The correct spelling for this holiday, too.

In another spot of the February calendar, another Valentine's Day has come and gone. From the traffic we witnessed on the Parkway that weekend, I can tell that lots of people decided to celebrate here in the Smokies. I wish I could say that I appreciate tourist traffic even while sitting in it, but no, I am not there yet.

Tourism keeps this community alive. Of course we are thankful for the traffic. But we would much rather not be caught in it.

So where would you go to celebrate Valentine's Day if you lived in Gatlinburg? That's a tough one. Until we can figure out a good answer to that question, we stay put.

Meanwhile, we took advantage of a program called “Date Night,” which our church offered to couples with children. On Saturday night, church teenagers and some of their parents kept our children in the church gym, offering the little ones a full program: games, crafts, a devotional with lots of music, snacks, and free play with great toys and safe friends.

We got to go out for three hours and enjoy our time with each other without children in tow. We went to a restaurant we have not visited in four years. Where has the time gone?

This restaurant moved locations two years ago to a bigger, better and newer building. That was news to us, and we were glad we found it. They still offer that same great, healthy food. We also got to visit a bookstore and purchase a few titles.

When we got back to pick up the kids, they did not want to go home. That's a good sign, right? They proudly showed us the owl crafts they made. Each craft, built strictly with heart shapes, declared, “Owl always love you.”

Back to the groundhog: I saw a funny picture on Facebook. It showed a wolf, surrounded by lots of snow, looking straight into the camera lens with expressionless eyes. The caption? “The groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter. So I ate him.”

Let's hang in there for the last four weeks of winter. Hopefully only four.

Adriana Zoder, a Gatlinburg resident, is a writer and homeschooling mom. She and her husband have two children. She maintains the award-winning blog www.homeschoolways.com. Her new Amazon Kindle book, "101 Tips for Preschool at Home," is available free through Feb. 23.