Monday, February 8, 2016
Although February is the shortest calendar month of the year, it always seems to drag on the longest for me. Christmas and the magic of that first snowfall are long in the past and winter starts to feel a little old as the days grow longer and the temperatures don't follow suit. Ask any teacher and they will likely tell you February is among the hardest for students, and as a once-again weary student pursuing yet another degree, I can attest to that. The beginning of the semester energy has subsided and I'm left with nothing but chapters to read and chapters to write with no motivation to do so. Blah blah blah. Oh, and those new year's resolutions? What did I write again??
I'm not sure every Iowan would agree with me on this one, but last week's two-part blizzard that gave us a two-day reprieve from routine and any sort of productivity was exactly the fuel I needed to start this month. I love a good snow storm and the build up for this one was perhaps more exciting than the storm itself. With the Iowa Caucus set for Monday, the weather peeps started predicting this one more than a week away, and Iowa was front and center as Matt Lauer and Tom Brokaw made their way to Des Moines to start the week. As they were all scheduling planes to get them out of dodge as soon as the ballets were counted, Iowans were stocking up on all the essentials to stay put and hibernate. I got groceries early Monday to ensure there would be a loaf of bread and gallon of milk, made a trip to Hobby Lobby to gather all the right supplies for Valentine's crafts and cards, and readied the house for all things cozy - the kids' warmest pjs, new movies on Netflix, and the fixings for blueberry muffins for breakfast and hot cocoa breaks in the afternoon.
Before we snuggled in to await the big storm, Beau and I scored a little caucus date night on Monday. We caucused four years ago and really loved being part of this very community-centered activity - meeting new neighbors, appreciating new perspectives, and contributing a small voice in this very big responsibility of our state. We ate dinner at Peppers and had a couple of beers, then joined the masses to cast our vote for the next president of the United States. And while I'm not going to get political on here, I will say that Beau and I were quite pleased that our vote seemed to very much matter in our precinct, as there was only a one vote margin between our 1st and 2nd winners. By the time we arrived home, they had already announced that all local schools were cancelled, so we stayed up late to watch the results, on the screen and out the window.
I remember loving snow days when I was little and it turns out, not much as changed as I've aged. Life just feels so much cozier when the world is telling you to stay put. My slippers rarely left my feet, the fire ran for nearly 48 hours straight, and I burned through a brand new candle in the kitchen as I prepared blueberry muffins, a peach pork roast with sweet potatoes, and lasagna. We read books and took naps in Mom and Dad's bed, made heart-shaped sun catchers for the window, and got a good head start on sweet little Valentines to deliver next week. And we did leave our house for a little while, in our warmest gear to build a snowman and play with the neighbors. You know, all the good snow day things.
And while I'm finding it quite difficult to motivate myself back to productive to finish out this work week, I start the month with a big smile for this little gift within a usually long and hard month. Let's hope it's enough to get me through because I don't even want to think about an end-of-February snowstorm. :)
Our snow day(s), in pictures...