"By summer's end we droop like tired sunflowers. We are browned by the heat, and our heads are heavy with memories. Then, October. Everything feels fresh again. The marigolds and zinnias pass the baton of their colors on to the trees. The sky regains that clarity of blue we only ever see in fall." -Christie Purifoy, Roots & Sky
I remember when life used to slow down in October. When the kids were little and aside from the occasional football game in the Dome on Saturday afternoons, our nights consisted of bubble baths and 8:00 bedtimes, of board books read snuggled up on the couch as the sun dipped low and Sunday afternoons spent exploring a different park every weekend. I remember loving how cozy it all felt - playing house and needing nothing but their snuggles at the end of a long day at the office - while the colors outside put on a show the way they do. I remember the anticipation for the holiday season - the excitement I felt to see the Christmas lights twinkle in their little eyes and how our biggest commitment was how many different family Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings we could attend without completely overdoing it. Those days - when October and Fall was the time for home.
Things have changed quite a bit since those simple times, but my joy in this beloved season has not dissipated. Life is speeding up instead of slowing down, but it is filled with so many good things. A dream vacation in the midst of September. A flag football season that has been so good and also kept all four of us busy. A Homecoming weekend and another ride through a parade for our boys. That familiar and simple Sunday at the pumpkin patch and our favorite chocolate chip pumpkin bread in the oven. A Saturday morning spent perusing the shops downtown with some girlfriends and an impromptu afternoon coffee date and stroll through the UNI-Dome craft fair with Cassi. A few hours to myself on a Sunday afternoon while Cody took the boys on their first hunting adventure and an upcoming and much needed Friday night girl's night. A Christmas card photo shoot and watching our guy David Johnson light it up on Monday Night Football. A new favorite pair of boots for Mommy and Halloween costumes that the boys won't stop talking about. Fun text message exchanges throughout the day from girlfriends as we dish about what books we're reading and our favorite new fall shows. (Designated Survivor and This Is Us - I am hooked!) A fresh fall haircut and color and Halloween books before bed. Open windows throughout the house and the sound of rustling, falling leaves through the kitchen window as I work - with the smell of the simmering roast in the crock pot permeating the air around me. Cinnamon Roll coffee every day and so. many. pumpkins on both of our decks. (Brandon: "Mommy, we have too many pumpkins!!" Me: "Brandon - a very important life lesson. One can never have too many pumpkins.") The way everything looks gold when the sunlight hits the yellow and orange leaves in the morning and evening. Leaving football practice in the dark with the windows open and the boys tired but happy in the backseat. Planning for the future - both the big and the small. Christmas lists and bigger "lists" and plans for 2017. Last year I was certain that it all would work out just as I wanted, but He humbled me. This time around, I have no idea what to expect. Maybe that's better. It probably is. And last but not least... a recently opened door and invitation for Jaden to join an AAU basketball team. Our winter ahead will be filled with weekend basketball tournaments and watching our boy help to represent the Iowa Outlaws' first ever third grade team. We're pretty proud of our kiddo and excited about the families we get to join on this journey.
So much going on and so much to be thankful for as we enter the season of Thanksgiving. I just wish time would slow a little bit so I could savor this month a little longer. I'll never tire of all the images, traditions and big and small blessings this season brings each and every year, even as the seasons of life change, too.
***Just a few of the massive amounts of pictures that have been taken lately. The world is so photogenic in October.
//Cozy décor and neighbor boys (who randomly walk through our back door unannounced from time to time). ;)
//Afternoons filled with Lego building - and all those pumpkins. Pumpkins from the patch. Pumpkins from Grandpa Don and Grandma Alda. Pumpkins from a Target in Overland Park, Kansas. I'd grow my own, but that might be getting a little obsessive at that point.
//A happy cat in open window sills.
// A little brother that doesn't mind taking a backseat to all of Jaden's games and practices. And who even helps his mama carry the heavy equipment bag all over the place.
// Good and caring teachers and a first grader who does his homework on the computer. Watching him type full sentences is just the cutest thing.
//A game watch party in the Dome with friends and watching these kids run ragged.
//Warm bubble baths at 6:00 on one free Saturday night and reconnecting with old forgotten toys.
//Work mornings that look like this. With a canopy of yellow and gold above me.
//Favorite playgrounds by practice fields and how chatty this one always is with other parents and siblings at the park.
//New opportunities and chances to get better.
//His passion for creating and how he speaks his heart through his art.
//Deck dinners while Daddy works late - and while we still can.
//That sunset hour and how good it feels to curl up here at the end of a busy day.
//Doing this life with them.
// And... pumpkin pictures on deck steps. Every year.
Happy, happy Friday!