Embracing Winter | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Embracing Winter

One of the hotels downtown has "Welcome to Winterland!" written on their marquee. Truer words were never written--if you live here, you just have to learn to love winter, or you're not going to be a happy camper.

And if you want to embrace the winter, there is no shortage of ways to do it. We have downhill skiing and cross-country skiing, we have ice hockey and ice skating, we have snowmobiling and sledding, we have snowshoeing, we have broomball (another post for another day), we have snowman building kits.

And we have Winter Carnival.

I admit, I haven't quite understood all of the hype behind Carnival in the weeks and days leading up to it, but I get it now. Carnival is basically a snow sculpture contest. There is a theme, and several different categories. One of the categories is the all-night contest, where groups make a sculpture from start to finish in one night (that took place last night, not far from my house, and the music was loud). The other categories allow the sculptures to be worked on for several weeks before Carnival, so they are more elaborate. They are then judged, and I honestly have no idea what the winners get besides the glory of winning, but I'm sure they get something cool.

Anyway, today I took the girls to campus to look at all the sculptures. We didn't get to see all of them, especially not some of the more elaborate ones (we have seen a lot of the fraternity houses' entries from the car), but the ones we saw up close and personal were pretty darn amazing.

I definitely get the hype behind Winter Carnival now.

And, I also took lots of pictures. And I do mean lots of pictures. Sorry. I'm just making up for the extreme lack of pictures on my blog lately.

This year's theme was Games.

Some people took that to mean board games.

We had Candyland.


We had Monopoly.


We had Yahtzee and Chess and Jenga.

 Yahtzee Jenga Chess

We had Hungry Hippos (this is just one of about five sculptures using this game, it was a popular one!).

 Hungy Hippo

We had The Game of Life.

The Game of Life

We had a Barrel of Monkeys.

Barrel of Monkeys

And we had Battleship.


And a bunch more that I didn't take pictures of. Most of them were done really well. I only saw a couple really pathetic attempts.

We had a couple that I'm not sure what they were, but they were cool anyway.

This snowman fortress kind of reminds me of Calvin and Hobbes, but I'm not sure what game it's depicting.

Snowman Fortress

And I thought the dumptruck was great, but it's not really a game necessarily. Unless I'm missing something.

Dump Truck

Then we had a few video games (these were both incredibly huge and elaborate sculptures done in front of fraternity houses):

Donkey Kong.

 Donkey Kong

 Donkey kong

 Donkey Kong

And Super Mario Brothers (this is this year's grand prize winner, and you can see why!).

 Super Mario

Super Mario

 Super Mario

 Super Mario

Super Mario

 Super Mario

There were also Zelda and PacMan, but I either didn't get out of the car for them or I didn't bother with pictures.

I still need to walk down and get pictures of the Jumanji game that is in front of a frat house. I really liked that one, but have only seen it from the car. I think it is my favorite of all, even though it's not necessarily the most detailed.

The kids had a lot of fun. We met up with some other friends from our branch and walked around campus with them.

They found remnants of sculpture materials, like these snow tubes and ice blocks. It took a bit of convincing that they wouldn't last in the car or in the house for them to finally leave them outside in the snow where they belong.

Snow finds

Sophia insisted on carrying this hunk of snow around most of the afternoon. She said it was her baby.

Snow Baby

They enjoyed listening to music from this snowpile.

Hanging out at Carnival

Even the music was somehow put into a sculpture. The round things in that mound are the speakers. I had wished I had a video camera right then, because all the kids were walking right in time to the music, almost in slow-motion. It was just like a scene out of a movie.

A very wintery movie.

Here we come...

Have a happy weekend!


  1. I wish we had something like that here! So "cool!"

  2. That is really awesome. I can't believe all the detail in those sculptures. Just amazing! Thanks for sharing all the photos.

  3. I can kind of see how the dump truck fits in. Little boys get toy dump trucks and play games with them?

  4. Mind...blown. Wow. I can't believe the kind of talent and skill that would take. I can barely roll a snowman together. No kidding that people there love their winters! I'd love my winters too if cool stuff like that was around!

  5. That really is amazing. It must be a tad depressing to watch them melt away in the spring.

  6. First that is A Lot of snow!!

    Second that is so amazing!

    Such a different way of life there in the winter time.

  7. That seriously might be the coolest thing ever... my father in law does ice sculptures. It amazes me how he can use a chainsaw like thing to make such precise cuts... I'm envious of your carnival. But not your snow. So if you have to one to get the other... I think I'll just enjoy it through your pictures!

  8. I loved the Hungry Hungry Hippos! Played that as a kid & then bought the game for my kids awhile back, I couldn't help myself.

    Glorious works of art, all of these, especially that castle!!

    What an event to attend! Thank you for sharing it with us all.

  9. Those pictures are awesome! My little boy has been looking at the hungry hippo picture forever!

  10. Good Morning!

    Thanks for a terrific blog! I've left an award over at mine for you. :0)

  11. yay!! I was hoping that you'd post carnival photos! We haven't been up for it in years - it always falls one weekend off from our winter break.

    btw - just a heads up but I heard January snowfall was a record low this year. LOL You still ain't seen nuthin' yet.

    And I'm planning to come up in April - but again, it's going to be a quick busy weekend. I do hope you're there when I come for my extended stay in the summer! :)

  12. When my boys saw the Tonka - they both immediately squealed. They play the Tonka game on the computer all the time - so maybe it's that?

  13. I just showed all those great pictures to my boys . . . they thought it was way cool. And today is the twins' birthday, so they thought you posted just for them. I didn't tell them differently . . . so thanks for the birthday present, from G-Dog and ConMan!

  14. Those are incredible. Nice pay off for living in so much snow. The snow men and fort thing makes me think of a snowball fight. Great game to play in the winter. Especially when you build a fort to defend.

  15. The snow really is beautiful. I wish I could look at it while riding around in my own Sunshine springtime carriage.

  16. Looks like you are all embracing it, very well. I can't believe the sculptures! How big was the grand prize winner? (Seems life-sized from the photo, but I can't really tell the scale for sure)

    We actually don't have any snow on the ground right now, after 3 crazy heavy snow winters in a row. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually miss it a little...

  17. What a wonderful way to spend the day! And all your children seem to have both boots and mittens that match! AMAZING! We could never appear in public like that, or if we did, we couldn't take pictures, because it seems to be an unwritten rule in this house that mitten and gloves will not last more then one or possibly two wearings as a matched pair and it is never possible for all of my children's to find their boots and have said boots actually fit at the moment they are needed. It's very sad. I believe we will have to move south!!

  18. I love the dice and chess pieces. Cool!

    And I learned awhile back that it is useless to fight against or whine about something unchangeable. And the weather definitely falls into that category!

  19. LARA! Those sculptures are amazing! It makes me think I actually have a chance of loving winter someday....and I adore the photos of your girls...they are so beautiful. So beautiful.

  20. Those are fantastic!!! I really like the barrel of monkeys, but they were all so good. I would say I wish they would do something like that around here, but that would require more snow and more winter ... ummm, no thanks - I'll just admire your town from afar!!!

    Thanks for sharing - it is really cool!

  21. WOW. Those are awesome. My kids would have loved it. I guess with that much snow you just better enjoy because it will be around for a while. Happy Winter.

  22. I hate the cold but seeing the sculptures would draw even me out to appreciate the show. I must say, I do like the hungry hippo one, lol! Your girls are darlings!

  23. Minnesota (St. Paul) used to have an amazing Winter Carnival, too, complete with an ice castle, but by the time I moved there, it was fairly lame (no $$, I guess), and now I don't think they even do it anymore. So I'm so glad your town does one still!

    Loved Mario, but I think Hungry Hungry Hippos was my favorite! Great photos, as always!

  24. that is gorgeous! oh lara, you have such a gift :) thanks for sharing this wonderful event and your talent. your kids are gorgeous, you are gorgeous.. this whole blog is gorgeous.. i could go on you know :)

    take care,


  25. This looks so fun! Houghton, MI is looking more and more like such a great place to live! What a way to embrace the season!

  26. These are INCREDIBLE! I wish I could see them in person. Thanks for the pics!

  27. Wow, those look amazing! What a fun winter activity. Just looking at them makes me COLD though :) We miss you down here!!

  28. The Super Mario Castle is so cool! My little one is obsessed with Mario right now!