Let it Melt

Took a walk today to take in the snowy world outside and assess the odds of getting out of here and into the office tomorrow morning. 

This is how things looked at 2pm.  I'm thinking that I'll be working from home tomorrow. We are well and truly snowed in.


Let it Snow

It's a white, white world

We don't see mornings like this very often in north carolina.  It started last night as I drove home from work and all appearences indicate it did not let up while I slept.  We have drifts!  Drifts, I say! The little dog is fearless -- his legs are too short to walk in the stuff, so he leaps through it.  It adds an element of joy to his morning business.

I'm guessing we got 6 inches? 8 inches? My coop-mucking boots kept me dry but not warm.  Actually, from head to toe, I was sorely underdressed for the weather. But the chickies needed to be fed and watered! I'm wishing for some of those insulated Carhart bibbies my brother is so fond of.


Circle of Lights

Thursday night when the sun went down and the full moon rose, we all gathered on the little field at the bottom of the hill to listen to the kids of Montessori Children's House of Durham light up the night with their sweet little voices. The school buildings were dressed in twinkling white christmas lights and each child held a warm flickery candle. See if you can spot Isaac adding his voice to the chorus. Here's a hint -- look for the ever-present wide-brimmed thinking cap.

"If all people lived their lives
as if they were a song
for singing out the light
There will be music for the stars
to be dancing circles in the night"

The late night didn't slow Isaac down any the next morning. Just me (sigh). Here is his in his home-made Jedi speeder.

Take cover!


A good morning

I got up an hour and a half earlier than I usually do on a Saturday morning.  And what a beautiful morning it was to get up to.  The sunshine was worth it.


All is well

I am the child of the universe.
She puts her almighty protection around me.
I am free from accidents, death, sickness.
I am now shining with golden light from top to toe.
I am her chosen protected child, and she is my shield.
The winds shall aid my progress.
Water shall cleanse me from fear,
Fire will purify my doubts,
And the earth shall nourish me to health.
All is well, all is well, all is well.

(Zsuzsanna E. Budapest)


Morning Fur and Feathers

At last count, we were up to 14.  Pets that is.  When you take out the nine chickens, that still leaves three cats, one tiny dog, and a three-legged lizard.  Isaac suggested that I list them all here, in alphabetical order. (Isaac thinks all things are improved when placed in alphabetical order).  So, here they are: Atticus Finch, Batty, Black Beak, Cricket, GoldenHeadRedClaw, Goldilocks, Jane, Miss Mouse, Rainbow, Ralphie, Rosalind, Skye, Storm Cloud, Tinydog.  Whew!

Each critter has its own little personality, its own set of needs, and its own way of making Isaac and I smile.  For Isaac, they have allowed his empathic spirit to blossom and his patience to deepen.  I think it is a rare eight year old who successfully tames a skittish chicken over the course of several months.  Look at them now, sneaking in an early morning cuddle before we head out to school:

To me, the animals truly are a reason to wake up in the morning, especially for those three days a week when Isaac is with his Daddy.  On those days, my first smile of the morning is always for my Cricket cat.  She sleeps tucked next to my cheek on the pillow at night so that she can greet me with a gentle head bump first thing in the morning.  I love that little girl. 

It is such a simple thing reallly.  They need us, so we rise up and do what needs to be done.  We fill their bowls, let them out, and turn around to let them right back in again.  We build them safe places to roost and sew tiny felted fish for them to bat around and lose under the couch.  We rescue them from a life tied to a tree in someone's backyard and give them bad haircuts with dull scissors (just an aside -- dogs with standing up ears look terrible with mohawks).  It isn't complex, why they are so important.  But it is profound.  The make us do.  And for anyone like me who has felt the frozen-in-place all the time un-doing of depression, these sweet fur and feather babies are indispensible.


Dog is my co-pilot

TinyD, Isaac and I roadtripped to see our dear ones in Greenville this weekend.  As always, Tiny Dog rode shotgun.  It was a blustery Sunday so we had a spectacular view:

Here's something I learned while in Greenville.  Steve and Amanda get up butt early.  I mean, you can't even call it morning when they get up.  They wake up before even the baby does, which to me is so incomprehensible as to leave me stuttering and stupid.  The thing is, it's all part of their plan.  Those two excel at planning, and somehow, the painfully early start to their day makes it possible for them both to take classes, teach classes, and do the baby-care without having to put their wee one in daycare.  I bow low before them, reigning royalty of the pre-morn.

Isaac and I rose much later, when the baby was already awake and giggling.  We lay abed for quite a while, I snoozing and Isaac keeping me company nearby.  Isaac has learned over the years to take advantage of my drowsy confusion.  He knows how to time his more outlandish requests for that time when I am least likely to refuse.  He'll ask, "Mom, can I have a cupcake for breakfast?"  and I, in my morning haze say, "Sure...ummm...what?...wait!"  But all he hears is the "Sure."  He also knows how to beat a hasty retreat while simultaneously feigning deafness.  Here he is this morning, playing video games in bed, something I have no memory of giving permission for.  Also notice how we are setting a bad example for the baby cousin:

Here's another picture of those cute early bird cousins.  Isaac is teaching Julian to count to ten and Julian is teaching Isaac that babies don't care about counting:


Dear Haiti

My heart is with you this morning.

(a hatian sunrise)


Morning Ups and Downs

Definite UP -- French toast

Here's a DOWN (cold, cold morning) with a silver UP lining (pretty frost on my front door):

Waaaaaaaay Down -- middle of the night power outage slays my alarm clock:

Sweet little Cricket cat on the pillow making me smile - Up.

The UPs have it!!!



Have I mentioned how much I love my little nephew?  He's only 4 months old, but we're already pals.  Must be because we have so much in common.  First of all, we are both Blouins.  Second, we both enjoy dairy products.  Also, we have similar hobbies.  Here Julian and I are sharing one of our favorite activities -- napping.

Also, we both enjoy a good snorgle from time to time:

Have you smooched your nephew lately?


School Starts Early

Every morning on the way to school, Isaac asks, "Are we late today?"  Although seemingly a simple yes or no question, we've actually developed quite a few alternate response options.  Technically, Isaac is supposed to be dropped off between 8:10 and 8:20.  At least once a week, he is dropped off between 8:25 and 8:30 and I am forced to admit, "I'm sorry, but yes we are late."  Most of the time he arrives between 8:20 and 8:25, so I say, "Well, not really."  Occasionally we roll in at 8:20 on the dot and, quite justifiably, I insist, "Absolutely NOT late."  A time or two we have gotten there between 8:10 and 8:20, but this happens so rarely that I actually brand our arrival, "Early!"  As a consequence, I'm not really sure Isaac has any idea at all as to what being on time means.  Sigh. 

Here's Isaac on the morning ride:
Are we late today?

Here I am, considering my answer:


The good news is we always get there!


Isaac's Home!!

Yep, you heard it right -- Isaac's home! Seth took him on a 10-day trip to Minnesota to visit the grandparents, the greats, the aunts and the great aunts, uncles and great uncles, cousins and second cousins -- you get the picture.  I hear that fun was had by all of the cousins, but that it was rowdy fun and I probably wouldn't have liked it.  "And why not?" I protested, "I like fun!"  Isaac said, no, not this kind of fun -- wedgies and noogies and rug burns and headlocks.  Then I remembered that there isn't a single female cousin amongst all of those Minnesota offspring.  Not for generations and generations.  "Oh," I said, "you're probably right."  Some things really are best left to the Minnesotans.

When I asked Isaac what he wanted to do for the evening of his homecoming, he said "Eat macncheese and play battleship."  So, behold, macncheese and battleship:

You may have noticed that I haven't yet mentioned my morning.  This, after all, being a blog about getting up in the morning.  (By the way, I was informed today by a coworker that, due to the rather limited topic I have chosen to blog about, I do not technically have a blog, but rather a microblog.  I feel oddly insulted by that.  But I digress.)  Guys, it was sooooooo hard to get up this morning.  It's not really an issue of being tired anymore.  Hasn't been since Isaac grew out of his terrible twos (well, throw in the threes for good measure).  Not since I finished writing my last word of my last assignment in graduate school.  I've learned how to put myself to bed on time.  My problem is that the bed is such a comfy, safe, warm, welcoming (did I mention safe?) place to stay.  It is the coziest place to hide from all of the big things that scare me.  Big things like ANNUAL REVIEWS and FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT and MEAN PEOPLE and GROWING OLD ALONE.  I know, dramatic.  But that's how all things seem when you are ignoring them in bed. 

So, in today's round of Rachel vs. The Morning, The Morning tromped up one side and down the other of my puny self.  Luckily, we get to go another round tomorrow.  And I've got a feeling that I might kick up a fuss this time.  Kick a little Morning butt this time.


A cooped chicken is a naughty chicken -- another reason to rise early

This morning was the last morning of my end-of-the-year vacation from work, the last morning before heading back to the office, the last morning before Isaac is home again with all of his little boy energy that near launches him out of his bed as the sun rises each day.  (I wonder if I ever had the same kind of morning gusto?)

This morning I lingered in my little nest of fleece sheets upon my mattress-pad-bed-warmer.  On top of being my last vacation morning, the day is bitterly cold, at least by North Carolina standards.  The kind of day that makes you want to say in your cozy bed all day, not just until the morning is done.

What got me out of bed, eventually, was the chickies.  They needed to be let out of the coop to start their daily routine of foraging in the back yard.  And I kept thinking about how their water was probably iced over again.  They needed some attention and the thought wouldn't let me slug away the day any longer.  Here's what I found when I got out to the coop:


Somehow, during their morning confinement, the girls had managed to knock open the wide internal door of their henhouse, subsequently blocking the swing of the external door which opens inward (all the better to prevent chickens from leaving when you don't want them to).  They were trapped, and trapped good.  Couldn't open the door outward without breaking the hinges, couldn't push it inward due to the henhouse door in the way.  I located my longest, strongest flathead screwdriver, which has always reminded me more of a weapon than a tool, to tell you the truth.  I've never actually used it for its intended purpose.  Instead it has been applied as a lever, a chisel, and once (by Isaac) as a garden trowel.  Today it was used as a jailbreak.

Unfortunately for the chickens, even an open door can pose an insurmountable obstacle to freedom.  Sigh.  Check out these birdbrains, trying to figure out how to get THROUGH the door rather than AROUND the door:


Eventually, everyone was rescued and their captivity was soon but a dim memory.  I admired them, shooting pictures until my fingers turned blue from the cold.  Here are a couple of my favorite pictures.


Miss Mouse's very fuzzy bottom:

Jane and Batty admire my new coop-mucking boots:

Hope everyone enjoys their last day of vacation!


Crafting on a Cold Morning

A couple of months ago I treated myself to a beautiful little Sony Vaio.  Such a pretty little laptop.  The Best Buy Guy tried to sell me a laptop bag at the same time,but I couldn't stomach putting my new baby in any of the frumpy bags they had in stock.  So I made my own.  What do you think about this little beauty?

I could have finished this baby up last night, but decided instead to use it to entice myself out of bed this morning.  It worked!  I used a pattern from this book, which definitely delivers on the promised cuteness:

The outside fabric is a sweet Heather Ross puppy print and the inner fabric is a coordinating Amy Butler.  I purchased both from an Etsy supplier with fantasies of making a cute little outfit for my unborn niece.  When the niecy turned out to be a nephew, I knew I could still put this fabric to good use.  Here's a peek at the yummy inside of the bag:

My bait for tomorrow morning is this cute little octopus:

  I'll let you know if it is sufficient incentive to get me (the morning slug) out of bed.