Last weekend was Labor Day weekend, and all the signs proved that it was time to put away summer and dig out the fall decor. I had an extra day of weekend, the weather begged for the windows open, and I was ready for scents of cinnamon and shades of burnt orange. And this year, as I unpacked pumpkins and fluffed garland, I had a little 'helper' beside me. A little helper who used my Rubbermaid container as a walker and pushed it all over the house.
Last year, I crawled on top of the kitchen counters with an extra twenty pound baby bump. And although it wasn't easy climbing to and from that kitchen chair, I savored my afternoon of decorating, knowing that next year would look a lot different. At the time, I couldn't quite envision my life with an almost one-year-old. I was nervous, anxious, and so excited to meet our little Baby J.
It's hard to believe that this year, just one year later, I have to rethink where I place my glass votives and gourd jack-o-lantern for fear that my almost one-year-old will see them as new toys. I take breaks to fill sippy cups, and attempt to occupy my off-task helper with three different sizes of pumpkins. Thanks to my husband, an over-sized bean bag, and some Ritz Crackers, I was able to fill my house with my favorite time of year.
There is nothing better than opening up the Rubbermaid and inhaling the smells of fall. That, mixed with the crisp temperatures on Sunday and Monday were enough to make me pull out the hooded sweatshirts and crave a pan of warm apple crisp. I love this time of year, and love taking part in the simple pleasures that a new season brings.
Last year, I was looking forward to wrapping up a tiny baby in never-used blankets, rocking him to sleep with the windows open, spending Sunday afternoons eating chili and watching the Bears play. My 'fall list' last year consisted of easy, but special favorites that defined comfort. It was obvious I was nine months pregnant, as my list also consisted of a lot of food! And while there will always be a place for wild rice soup, Pepsi roast, and a-corn squash on my fall list, this year's looks slightly different. This year, my list is written with another perspective in mind, an almost one-year-old who's ready to pick out his very own pumpkin and sink slowly into a pile of crunchy tree leaves.
1. I want to make this. Pasta with whiskey, wine, and mushrooms just sounds like Fall, doesn't it?
2. Finish our cave in the basement. And when it's done, I want to have to a sleepover on our new futon. All four of us, Jade included.
3. Breakfast for supper. Lemon blueberry pancakes with homemade maple syrup.
4. Take Cruz to a pumpkin patch. Let him crawl around the pumpkin fields like Charlie Brown himself and find the perfect one.
5. Go on a dinner and movie date with Beau. Preferably a rainy Friday night when sweatshirts and ponytails would suffice.
6. Have a bonfire.
7. An afternoon of baking my favorites. A pan of homemade apple crisp and banana crumb muffins, gooey chocolate chip cookies and caramel turtle corn.
8. Explore the beauty of our own backyard. Hike through Hartman Reserve and find leaves so perfect that they beg to be flattened in books and kept forever.
9. Take Cruz to a UNI football game. Unlike last weekend, the weather at the UNI-Dome is guaranteed!
10. Start a new TV series. Some of the previews for the new ones look good, but I'm also a fan of Netflix. I miss the days of The Sopranos or 24, where we would spend entire nights binging on cheap wine, homemade ziti, and mafia warfare. We need a new TV show simply because I'm tired of Pawn Stars, Hoarders, and Dirty Jobs! Any suggestions?!
11. Start reading bedtime stories to Cruz. Up until lately, reading books with Cruz is a challenge, as he's more interested in flipping the pages and closing the cover than the sights and sounds that fill the pages. He's slowly starting to show some interest, however, and I'm hoping for cozy nights at home snuggled up on the recliner with a blankie and stack of books.
12. Watch a scary movie with Beau on or around Halloween night!
13. Go on a stay-cation. A quickly planned, spontaneous weekend away from it all. Again, taking suggestions!
14. Get crafty. I gave up on crocheting a long time ago, but would like to try a couple of new projects. Stay tuned to see what I come up with.
15. Buy a tea kettle.
16. Make fall inspired sugar cookie cutouts and decorate them with food coloring frosting.
17. Tea lights in mason jars.
18. Nothing says fall like a Wallflower special at Bath and Body. Autumn Leaves and Harvest here I come :)
19. Buy a new fall scarf. And maybe a coat. And perhaps a new pair of boots while we're at it.
20. A road trip through the leaves. Apple orchards, hamburger joints, and maybe a picnic or two.
Would love to know what's on your fall wish list! How do you welcome the changing seasons at your house?