It has so far been quite a mild winter here in upstate NY. However, the last week or so has been really cold and we finally got some snow yesterday and that’s nice too. It is winter after all and cold and snow are to be expected and it makes the kids happy when there is snow.
We moved up here from Brooklyn exactly two years ago and one of the things that Andy was most looking forward to was putting a skating rink in the back yard. Very close friends of his family owned the house before us and he grew up skating on their rink and was excited about carrying on the tradition. The children who used to live here have long since grown up and moved away, so it had been a very long time since the house looked out onto a skating rink. Last year Andy did lots of research and talked to a couple of the boys about how to go about it, and it turns out it is actually not as complicated as it seems. Though I’m not the one responsible for the assembly or the maintenance, so maybe I’m just clueless to how much work it really is. This year we increased the size by close to 70%, making the rink about 90′ by 30′.
Andy got most the wood free from Craigslist but had to buy new plastic this year. He also found 10 strings of those big bulb christmas lights on Craigslist for next to nothing so it is quite festive out there.
So, it is finally cold enough that the ice is frozen solid and the kids have been having tons of fun out there. Ishaan and Ulka are pretty good skaters already after skating all winter last year.
Ila was nervous and not that into it last year, but has been eager and excited this year. The first time she went out she pushed a little plastic chair around, but abandoned it quickly. Now, after a week she’s not bad at all. She’s not racing around with her hockey stick like Ishaan and Ulka, but maybe next year.
We even put little Kairav on skates, though at two he would rather be pushed around sitting in the chair.
Lots of friends come over to skate and the rink is open anytime to the neighborhood kids how would like to skate. Sometimes the mud and traffic through the kitchen and all the skate tying gets a bit frustrating, but it is a good way to build community and relationships in a place where we find that can be challenging.
I was a little skeptical about the whole idea at first. I wasn’t sure how much the kids would use it or how much work it would be, but it has been really great for our family. We spend a lot of time out there and it’s a great way to keep moving in the winter and have fun as a family. If you have the space and the inclination, I highly recommend it! If you need any encouragement or pointers, I am sure Andy would be happy to help.