the morning chaos

overnight steel cut oatmeal in jars | the merry gourmet

I wake suddenly from another bad dream, my heart racing. The bedroom is dark, and other than the sound of my husband’s rhythmic breathing beside me, there is silence. I turn my head to look at the clock. It’s 4:47 a.m. In three minutes, the alarm will go off, insisting that I start my day. I close my eyes again, exasperated. Those three extra minutes of sleep would have been nice.

I switch the alarm off and climb out of bed, disturbing the cat that had been sleeping on my feet. Another cat is already waiting for me in the bathroom. Maggie either has a keen sense of when I’ll be waking each morning, or she sleeps in the bathroom, ready and waiting for me to turn on the faucet so she can drink from it. I haven’t yet figured out which it is.

This morning is a gym morning. I change into my workout clothes, wash my face, and brush my teeth. I pull my hair back into a pink and purple headband I’ve stolen from my daughter. My eyes feel puffy with sleep. My cheek is embossed with sheet marks and the imprint of a hand. One of the best things about going to the gym at 5 in the morning is that everyone looks like crap. It’s expected.

our last days in yellowstone and grand teton

yellowstone national park | the merry gourmet

This is the fourth and last post in which I’m sharing our itinerary for our recent trip out to Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. The first three posts are here, here, and here – in case you missed them. 

Warning: Photo-heavy post ahead.

* * * * *

It’s been over a month since my last post about our summer trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and anxious this past week – which probably has something to do that tomorrow starts a 15 day stretch of work and 24/7 call. Today seemed like a good day to visit my photos from our trip and to share with you the last couple of days of that vacation. There were lots of powerful moments during those last two days, including spreading my father’s ashes at Lupine Meadows. I felt so connected to him in that place, and I can still feel the tug on my heart when I look back at these photos.

Days 7: Yellowstone National Park to Jackson, WY

We left our cabin and checked out of the Lake Lodge Hotel in Yellowstone on that Thursday morning. We had experienced such beautiful weather during the first days of the vacation, but these last two days would prove to be overcast and rainy.

After one more quick drive through the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone – but no hikes due to the rain – we headed to the Mud Volcano area to explore the geothermal features there. The area was filled with gurgling mud pits and steaming ground. And the stench of rotten eggs.

yellowstone national park | the merry gourmet

yellowstone national park | the merry gourmet

yellowstone national park | the merry gourmet

i’ll still make pie

morello cherry galette | the merry gourmet

The children are back in school now, their backpacks filled with new spiral-bound notebooks, pencil cases holding sharpened No.2s, crumpled notes from the teacher and the PTA, a fluorescent yellow safety patrol sash (in my daughter’s), and Magic Tree House book #16 (in my son’s). There is minimal homework, for now, so we are spared at least that evening battle. This will change over the next week or two, but I am relishing the homework-free evenings while they last.

The cat ran away on Tuesday, expressing his disdain at being forced to become an outdoor kitty on Sunday. He spent 48 hours exploring the neighborhood, crawling through sewers, murdering lizards and birds, or whatever else outdoor cats do. He showed up at 6 o’clock on Friday morning, demanding to be loved on, to be fed, and to be let inside. We rewarded him with the loving and the food, but he’s to remain an outdoor cat as long as he prefers our dining room floor over the litter box.

This morning, Louie was gone again, but the kids (and the grown ups) are much less freaked out this time around. He came back before, so we believe he’ll come back again. He does enjoy the loving. And the food.