Falling Again

IMG_3506I’m ready to hibernate.

Our entire summer was a blur: sleepaway camps, day camps, Bible School, Volleyball Camp, Art Camp, fishing, swimming, the beach, the lake, trips to NC to visit family and the Outer Banks, Niagara Falls….

I don’t even remember everything that we did. Just that it was a LOT. As the mom, this involved a lot of sorting, cleaning, planning (not my strong suit), logistics (also not my strong suit), HOURS of driving (that either), and laundry (ah yes, there it is: laundry is my strong suit.)

But now the trips are done. The boogie boards are back in the attic where they belong. The car is vacuumed. The laundry is all done (not all put away, mind you, but it’s washed and dried, at least).

And now? Now I just want to stay home.

So we’ve finally traded in the beach bag and the flip-flops for hoodies and boots. We’ve tracked down some matching gloves and a couple of hats – just in case. The leaves and acorns are getting tracked into the kitchen, right on schedule. The mums look like they are lighting fires in yards all over the neighborhood.

I love the smell of a bonfire and the crunch of dry, crackly leaves. I love blazing oranges and reds and golden yellow with neon green edged leaves. I love watching the fat gray squirrels chuck acorns at us from high in our giant oak tree. I love the chill in the early morning and how, after the sun goes down, the breeze brings that little whispery message that winter is thinking about us and might just pay us a visit sometime soon. I love falling asleep to the sounds of football on TV. I love how the kids run in and out, trying to decide if they’re too hot or too cold – and sometimes capturing wooly-boogers (their term for those brown and black fuzzy caterpillars.)

We’ve done the Family Fun Fest, gone to a couple of pumpkin patches, attended a build-your-own-scarecrow party (there are now 4 big scarecrows holding a creepy vigil in my front yard), and guzzled down the mandatory 2 gallons or so of local apple cider. We went creek-stomping, explored the woods, and picked some apples.

My fall to-do list is just about done!
The only thing left is to hunker down, light a fire in the fireplace, and do absolutely nothing for the next few months.

Or maybe four.

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Fall is Here – I Love It!

My kids are busier gathering acorns than any squirrel I’ve ever seen.Image

Fall has always been my favorite time of year, and it’s even better now that I have kids. Several years ago, we borrowed the book Fall is Here from the library.

Each picture in the book is accompanied by the caption, “Fall is here – I love it!”

Josie decided that since she couldn’t read yet, that one sentence would be her part to “read” out loud. So Sadie read about the farmers, the squirrels, the apple orchards, the leaves and the scarecrows. But before every turn of the page, Josie would yell, “Fall is here – I love it!”

That line has become a family joke (even though it’s true.)

When the first leaves start falling, twirling down from their perches high up on the giant oak tree in our yard, the girls make a game out of chasing them down and snatching them out of mid-air. It’s harder than it looks; I’ve tried it.

Before many leaves have even fallen into our yard, they’ve dragged out all three of the leaf rakes (and one garden rake for their little brother) and raked up a meager pile so they can, as they say, “commence with the jumping.”

It’s not just the cooler weather that we like. It’s not just the crackling leaves or the crisp fall air or the bright colors or the brilliant blue skies. There’s something else about this time of year that seems almost magical.

We put away our flip-flops and swimsuits for another long winter and we unpack our jackets and hats.

If we were in the south, we’d head to The Brushy Mountain Apple Festival and take a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway along with all of the other “leaf-lookers.” But this year, we’ve stayed close to home.

We go the pumpkin patches, to the hayride at Farm Park, to the Fun Fest at Patterson’s Fruit Farm, to the activities at the library and to get apple cider and donuts.

We put out the scarecrows, the mums, the pumpkins and the gourds. We made a pumpkin piñata, hosted our annual Harvest Party, and picked apples at Eddy’s.

Sadie is honing her bonfire-building skills. Jedidiah went to his first-ever football game. Adelaide likes to snuggle under a blanket outside and throw sticks in the river to watch them float downstream. Josie has collected enough acorns to feed any hungry squirrels we may come across this winter.

Yep, fall is here.

I love it!