I have a lot of love for skiers. I've always admired how they go all in when it comes to their sport. Skiers I've encountered tend to be a loyal and enthusiastic population who are ready to invest and sacrifice their time, energy, and knees to their passion. I've known people who make major moves in order to gain proximity to snow and mountains, and to have access to longer ski seasons and winters in general. And that's great for them... but not for me. I have less than no interest in living somewhere that's covered in snow for most of the year. That said, I don't think I would want to live somewhere that never had snow either. Call me demanding, but I really feel like I need to be able to experience all four seasons. And even though we all move through the same calendar year, the ways in which we experience the 12 months can look radically different.
My current home, Spokane, Washington, is the first place I've been with four distinct seasons. Most people think of Washington and the Pacific Northwest as a watery, gray landscape with weather more repetitive than a boyband playlist. And it's true — much of our region is like that. However, this isn't true for all of it, and it especially isn't true for Spokane. The Inland Northwest has very defined seasons, each with their own vibe, and their own pros and cons. And, after nearly five years here, I've grown to appreciate it. Despite the ups and downs, I stand by the choice my partner and I made to raise a family here, and here's a few reasons why:
Access To Leaves, Snow, Flowers, And Sun
Variety is the spice of life, right? I love exposing my son to the changes in our city when the seasons turn. He loves hanging out by our front window where we can spot the red and orange leaves on our neighbor's trees, assess the accumulation of snow in our yard, and point out the new sprouts in another neighbor's garden. When summer rolls around, we forgo the window completely and sit just outside on our front porch, people-watching as neighbors and joggers pass by on their way to a nearby park. As quaint as this might sound, I find myself glad that I've got the seasons in my arsenal of toddler entertainment.
Also, he loves picking up fallen leaves, so there's that, too. And that's adorable. Autumn FTW.
You Get To Indulge In All Seasonal Treats Without Feeling Like A Phony
The first fall I spent in Spokane after four years in Southern California was mind-blowingly awesome. I no longer felt like a fraud ordering PSLs in 80-degree weather, or silly for wearing boots even though they made my legs hot. And not sexy-hot, I mean gross-hot (leather + bare skin + sunshine... not a great combination). Once I was in a place that saw real, honest-to-god frost on the ground, I could actually embrace my instincts to cozy up. And the same excitement also translates to other seasons too: the first day of the year when my favorite restaurant opens up their patio, or when the neighbors start putting up Christmas lights. I love getting to introduce my son to these kinds of seasonal traditions, and I'm thankful for a backdrop that matches it.
You Don't Have To Say Things Like "No, Really, This Was Taken In December!" When People Look At Your Christmas Photos Of You Wearing A Tank Top
When you have kids, you tend to take a lot of pictures. It's just the way the world works now; we have cameras on our phones so there's really no getting around this. The ridiculous photo collection I have is only enhanced by the seasonal props and settings available to us: pumpkins, crunchy leaves, snow, an adorably oversized coat that makes him look like Boo from Monsters Inc, baby sunglasses, floppy sunhats... We basically have enough themed pictures for multiple calendars.
Your Kids Learn Seasonal Skills, Like Driving In The Snow Or Applying Sunscreen
...and "chocolate and snow," which everyone knows is the kid-friendly version of "Netflix and chill." I grew up in Tacoma, which rarely sees snow and when it does, pretty much the entire city shuts down. As a result, now that I live in a snowy climate I'm not a confident snow driver. Hopefully, we've saved our son from this fate by raising him somewhere that gets a regular blanket of white stuff every winter. Same goes for selecting a perfect pumpkin off the vine, and successful barbecuing. These are important life skills that I'm already planning for.
You Have A Lot Of Excuses To Try New Things
I'm pretty sure that perpetual gray sky I grew up under has something to do with my homebody tendencies (I'm not hating. I love rain, you guys. I love it like a koala loves leaves.) I love my sweats, I love my big coffee mugs, and I love the way that glossy, flimsy magazine pages feel on my fingers as I flip through them on lazy afternoons (which has happened approximately twice since my son came, but still, a girl can dream). That said, when the sun comes out after a cold front, I am ready to get out and do something. Same goes for when the leaves start to change after a long hot summer, and my desire to hunker down and make comfort food becomes all-consuming. When these urges hit now that I live in a place with proper seasons, "getting out and doing something" often means doing some new activity that wouldn't have been seasonally viable just a month or two before. I'm looking forward to channeling this process toward experiences and activities for my little (and if he wants to ski, I'm all for it as long as he wears one of those tiny, adorable helmets).
Images: Annie Spratt/Unsplash; Giphy(5)