I'm actually happy that I'm dead wrong; what it is is John being non-plussed that his children are slightly more mature than he is (as well as having the sense to come in out of the cold).
Panel 1: As a strangely non-barnaclized Lizzie watches, Lawrence and Michael build up a pile of snow.
Panel 2: As Lawrence brings over a toy shovel, Mike starts to dig out one side of the pile.
Panel 3: Lawrence and Mike start to dig out some more as Lizzie eats what I hope isn't yellow snow. This attracts the attention of an enthusiastic John who has a snow shovel.
Panel 4: The kids stand back and cheer him on as he makes the dug-out deeper...
Panel 5: ....and builds up the roof to avoid collapse.
Panel 6: He then smooths out the entrance and gets in.
Panel 7: Seconds later, he notices that the children aren't in the yard any more.
Panel 8: He's mildly offput when he sees them in the living room, sitting on the couch eating popcorn as they watch TV.
Summary: I like this; no emotional bullying, no yelling, no acting as if kids are space monsters and, above all, NO ELLY!!