Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fall Love.

Around this blog it seems as if summer gets all the love.  It's no secret how much I adore the warm months.  The hot temperatures, the playing in the mountains, the long lazy days.  Love them.  However, I have really been enjoying this beautiful, albeit chilly, fall we've been having.  The leaves are spectacular and our city is full of reds, golds and oranges mixed in with the greens.  The background is the bright blue sky and I find it spectacular.  And, leaves are so much fun to play in...
Greg's face kills me on this one!


I thought it best to give a little love to fall because the love affair begins to fade quickly for me as we approach our long winter.  With fall has come many family traditions.  Things like baking and slow cooking soups.  Things that evoke warmth and coziness into our home.  And much to the girls happiness, the return of Friday night movie nights.  In the summer we would never imagine wasting a beautiful summer evening watching a movie inside.  Now, it's often too chilly to go outside after dinner so we whip up some popcorn and turn on some Netflix.  The girls gather blankets and stuffed animals and we all smash on the couch for some adventure in fairyland or talking animal world.  

Last weekend we partook in one of my favorite fall traditions.  The pumpkin patch.

Now, we had no real reason for going to a pumpkin patch seeing as we have twenty pumpkins decorating the house currently from our garden.  However most of those will be used for baking and for our Halloween party.   And the pumpkin patch is so much more than just picking pumpkins.  It's the whole experience.  We've gone since the girls were babies.  In fact I remember nursing Layla sitting on a hay bale there when she was tiny.  It's funny to see them change.
From little loves...

To such a big girls...

We did the usual at the farm on this lovely day.  
Played in the hay...

Checked out the animals...
Layla has an obsession with pigs so seeing them is always a highlight for her, but even she knows they stink... 

Took a hay ride...
Finger in the photo...oh well...it's hard to take a photo on a tractor.
 This year there were some new activities.  The best was the corn maze!!


The girls loved it.  They ran ahead while Matt and I strolled behind.  Layla was all about charging forward, but Ava insisted on waiting at the corners until we came into sight before running on.  The subtle difference between my children...one fearless, one cautious.  Both awesome.
There was a moment in the hay maze that I stopped to take it all in.  The mountain view, the crispness in the air, the smell of fall.  It made me very happy.

Also new was a scary swamp trail.  It's meant to scare kids in the evenings when it's dark but because nightmares are not something we encourage at this house we walked through it in the daylight.  This provided more giggles than screams.  As it should be.

Don't worry.  He came back.
It was a perfect fall day.  I embrace these traditions while the girls are still young enough to be totally into them.  I know our days will come when they will want to go through the creepy swamp on a Friday night with their friends, not a Saturday with their family.  Sometimes I feel sad thinking about that and how quickly it all goes, blah, blah, blah.  I've gotten really good at pushing those thoughts aside and embracing the now.  Embracing it fully without nagging thoughts of time slipping away.  If you keep those thoughts to close to the front you can't fully enjoy the present.  You feel panicked to cram it all in and make sure you are enjoying it because before you know it, it'll be gone.  That doesn't really lead to warm and fuzzy feelings.  I have gotten better about taking in the present without the panic.  Enjoy the now and know the future changes will be pretty darn great too.  I know this because having tiny babies was really amazing.  Their smell, their snuggles, their total dependence on you.  But each stage has been equally amazing as they've grown from babies to toddlers to school age kids.  I have to believe that each stage will continue to be amazing.  There are hard parts to each stage and I'm not naive to think sleepless nights with worry over a teenager will be similar to sleepless nights with a newborn.  You just gotta focus on the amazing parts, right?  Right.  

As I mentioned above, baking is on the list of things to love about fall.  I found a new recipe on Pinterest for a brown sugar bundt cake.  It looked delicious in the photo.  It took awhile to make and I patiently waited the 80 minute cooking time and 30 minute cooling time before taking it out of the bundt pan.  It didn't go so well.  Like about half my Pinterest attempts this was a baking disaster.
The silver lining was, it still tasted good.  We renamed it Ugly Cake and called it a day.

The best cooking this past week came from Matt on date night.  He made a Lebanese salad and falafel with a cucumber sauce.  Best dinner he's ever made for me.  
I have attempted falafal a couple times and it hasn't turned out well.  They always turn out similar to my ugly cake...nothing pretty to look like but taste pretty good.  His were perfect.  They stayed together, looked good and tasted fantastic.  Not really fair, but I guess he has the Lebanese blood so I suppose he has an advantage.  But, I've got spinach pies down like nobodies business.  

Happy Hump Day.  Or for us it's a Happy Friday...girls are off of school the next couple days, yay!

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