Lately.

The fireflies are out. They make Asher catch his breath.

So, apparently, are the bears:

And because my obsession with wildlife signs seems to just be the recurring theme for the summer, I’ll tell you that I did look up the bear (for anyone that’s interested, I do all of this ‘looking up’ in a book called Medicine Cards, it’s similar to tarot cards. I don’t take any of this as a gospel, but do often find some food for thought in the various messages that are associated with the animals, so no harm, no foul. I’d rather read wildlife signs than my horoscope, keeps things spicy. And I do love a good sign.) Annnnnnyway, so I looked up the bear after this one lumbered through our yard yesterday and here’s the piece that I pulled out to think about this week: 

If we choose to believe that there are many questions to life, we must also believe that the answers to these questions reside within us…The Bear…indicates that you have to search within to fulfill your hopes and aspirations, or to find solutions to your problems. Bear is concerned with the reaching of goals. Just as a bear withdraws from the outside world when it hibernates, so should you withdraw from your entanglements and seek refuge within…

I’ve rattled on about pregnancy enough for a while, so I’ll keep this to a minimum, but I do think that being pregnant is a strange mix of being both a very public and profoundly private event. The growing belly is a siren to the world, announcing this intimate time and inviting strangers in, but there’s also the quiet relationship with the baby and the deep solitude that comes in that communion. For me, I like this bear’s reminder about using this internal time to seek resolution and relish turning within. There’s something comforting about remembering to think of this time as a kind of hibernation, isn’t there? I told you I love a good sign.

***

Company. My stepmother in particular has always referred to house guests as company, and I just love that. We kept good company last week with a visit from Drew’s mom and aunt (Jo Ellen–JoJo to the under 10 set–is on the left and Aunt Gail is on the right), enjoying just being together. The ladies took in all that Charlottesville and the surrounding area has to offer during the day and we would reconvene at night for the simple pleasure of just hanging out. Drew’s family is exceptionally good at telling childhood stories which are all uniquely funny, so even though I know a lot of them, it never gets old to laugh along. I think it’s their Louisiana heritage, but the Walton family did not shy away from finding a good time growing up, and we’re all the better for it.

***

I ate three watermelons last week. In theory, we shared them, but the truth is, I ate almost all of them. My conscience fares better if I just suck it up and announce these things publicly.

***

Asher had sixth disease last week which mainly meant a high-ish fever, an eventual rash, and some extra long snuggling time. It didn’t really affect his mood much, and he’s going to finally return to school tomorrow as it took a while to hit the 24-hours-with-no-fever mark. We’re so relieved that he’s on the mend and that it wasn’t anything more serious, and I have to cautiously admit that there’s a certain super mom feeling that accompanies a sick kiddo. We haven’t had to deal with it much in Asher’s three years, but being able to rock him with a cool washcloth and know that, for him, snuggling close to a parent is the best medicine is a sweet feeling in the midst of the concern. Mostly we’re glad to see him back in action though. I knew he was better when I woke up to him poking me in the ribs at 5:50 in the morning yesterday and whispering in my face, “Mama? Do dinosaurs have freckles?”

***

That’s the wrap up. We took in that wild super moon the other night, making a little more noise than needed in case that bear was still hanging around, and marveling at how clearly we could see each other in the darkness. The turtle is still hanging around in the flower bed, and Asher has given her the completely unexpected and totally unique name of Turtley. It’s summatime indeed.

More Peace Making Walks

We walked in the snow last weekend. It wasn’t sticking so it was kind of like walking through really fancy rain, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.

A note about Asher and train tracks:

Asher is the Safety Police in our family. He was very concerned, as he always is, about Drew and I walking on the train tracks. We have to stand at the side and look both ways about 10 times to determine that there is no train coming, and then he warns us repeatedly that a train might be coming. When it occurs to him, he is also this way about the street and we can generally (but not always) disuade him from doing things with the severe warning that It’s Not Safe or, You Might Bonk Your Head.

And now a note about my feelings about Asher and train tracks and other safety concerns:

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

That is all.

Crocus.

Our local NPR station, WMRA, ran a little segment yesterday asking people to send in crocus sightings.  This gave me a literal shiver, thinking about how thrilled I am at just even seeing the smallest spec of blooming color on our otherwise snow and mud laden landscape.  The pictures above are borrowed from Creative Commons; I hunted around our yard this morning for some of those handsome little blooms and sadly came up empty handed.  The day lilies are starting to press their shoots up, and I have seem some delicate crocus stalks tentatively easing into this soggy winter weather, but no blooms…yet.  You know how you’re not supposed to go to the grocery hungry?  I think if I even glanced at a nursery right now we’d be paying the debt down for many winters to come.  Sweet lady Spring, where art thou?

I like the idea of hunting for flowers, I’ll make sure to post when the first blooms show up!

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So…when do they call it a blizzard?

Would you believe me if I told you that we woke up to 18 inches of snow this morning and it’s continuing to fall at a rate of 2 inches an hour?  Well, that is the honest truth…we are blanketed in snow, and the news just said that the last time Charlottesville had anything close to this was in December was in 1969.  We’re doing well, Drew walked to the hospital this morning which he said took about 30 minutes and was really beautiful.  We are fortunate to live close enough for him to walk as most employees are being forced to stay at the hospital and Charlottesville has called up the National Guard to pick up those that are scheduled to work and unable to come in.  Drew is not on the schedule again until Wednesday, but he said that he may be forced to come back over the next couple of days to fill in on other floors of the hospital.  We’re just happy that he can come home and doesn’t have to stay at the hospital tonight!

Here at the house, Asher and I are cozy and wide eyed watching all of the snow come down.  It’s a virtual white-out outside of our window, and the only inconvenience that we’re feeling is on the part of our pets.  Mable (our cat) can’t go outside as the snow is over her head and Grace is up to her shoulders so…we’re feeling that one out.  The weather folks are saying that it will continue to snow until about 4pm today and then it will finally stop.  Most of the major interstates have portions of the road shut down with reports of abandoned cars all over the road and people getting rescued after spending many hours in their car.

My brother Drew and his wife Meg and their son Jack left Virginia yesterday morning after a really lovely Christmas visit in an effort to get ahead of the storm.  They made it almost to Asheville before getting stopped on the highway for three + hours and eventually getting turned away and having to sleep in a hotel.  They left Virginia at 10am and finally made it to the hotel around 11:30pm.  They were all troopers, it’s hard to imagine a 12 hour day with a dog, a 2 year old and a snow storm in a minivan, but thankfully they made it to a safe dry place and are now trying to make their way home again.

My first thought this morning was, thank goodness for this dry, warm house.  Shelter.

Last night when we were still under the 1 foot mark

Sinking up to my knee in the snow! This is the "step" on our front porch

Graces braves the snow this morning

Our maple tree is getting shorter and shorter as the day progresses