Monday, January 12, 2015

On boredom and progress

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Did you hear that? That was my big sigh of relief. The holiday decorations are down, we survived winter break, and here we are, back to regular programming in our house. On the first week back, I had the house to myself for the first time last Tuesday since December 19 - approximately 19 days and a few hours ago, but who’s counting really? - and I have to say, it was like the first rain after a season’s drought. When you’re home with young children at every minute, every hour of the day, girls who are constantly making needing and needling, giggling and struggling sounds, the quiet is a welcome respite for this introvert.

On my first day alone, I was energized by the new year and felt tempted to make grand plans - so many things to see, do, explore, conquer. But first, I breathed in and out. Let’s enjoy the here and now. I used to think that if we aren’t constantly moving and going somewhere, we’re missing out on so many things. I’d pack our social calendar with play dates and museum outings, and if we’re just sitting around the house without a plan, I’d feign enthusiasm and announce, “let’s go do something!” probably afraid that my family would be drowned by stasis if we didn’t keep moving.

But over the winter break, after weeks of holiday baking and cooking and planning for one social gathering after another, I found myself looking forward to doing absolutely nothing. I had intended to explore more of Austin over the break, taking my girls to different parts of the city to make sure they were exposed to culture, that they were learning something, or at the very least, not bored at home.

Except, thanks to the holidays, I was already drained before the break, and much of my ambition dissolved at the thought of having to deal with all that’s required to get the girls out the door. Because leaving the house in the morning, no matter where we went, often involved this same old tiring script, “eat your breakfast!” “stop dawdling” “brush your teeth” “where’s your sock?” “where’s your other sock?” “do you have a sweater?” “no you can’t wear pajamas to the place” “you need a jacket; it’s cold” “no, not this jacket” “find your sister” “where’s your water bottle?” “pick a snack” “no, you can’t eat that now” “get in the car” “where are your shoes?” “no not those shoes” “help your sister”...  

I’m exhausted just thinking about it. Therefore, despite my best intentions, we mostly ended up lounging around the house, which my girls gleefully exclaimed as “Yay! Pajama day!” If the sun was out, we would attempt biking outside the house or a jaunt to the park, but the ambitious Explore Austin adventures - except for a trip to the children’s museum and another to the Texas History museum -  were tucked between my big girl and me as we sat together under the blanket, reading our respective books. The world to which our books took us was about as exciting as it got.


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no prizes for guessing what this place is

 

And we were okay with that. I read an article recently about allowing ourselves to be bored to stimulate our own creativity, and when I saw what my girls did during their down time, it made perfect sense to me. They’d wake in the morning and often make a beeline for their favorite nook in the house, the craft corner, and there, they would spend many hours (yup, not minutes, hours!) coloring, drawing, cutting, gluing, and shaping something.

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Their creations didn’t always make sense, but who needed a masterpiece when I had two little girls who found joy and even harmony in creating something with their hands? They’d sit together and compare their creations, “See this Little Miss?” “Oooh...that’s beautiful. I really like it!” Sometimes, my three-year-old’s piece would warrant a query, “What is it, Pickle?”

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And she’d answer, a horse or a flower or a snowman or something that looks nothing like what she’s making, but who cares? She’s proud of it, and we’re thrilled that the girls have their own nook that doesn’t involve elbowing our sides for space. Everyone was (mostly) peacefully engaged in their task at hand, sometimes singing to the radio, sometimes humming to fill the silence. And I could either relax myself (Whoa! I know, right?) or work on my tasks around the house without someone vying for my attention.

It was a wonderful thing.

Apparently, we didn’t need to be running from one scheduled activity to another just to pass the time. Huh. Who knew?

That’s not to say we did nothing at all during the break.

We celebrated My Guy’s birthday with his favorite cake that the girls insisted we make at 7:30 in the morning while their daddy slept in, and because it was a chilly rainy day, a movie, “Big Hero Six”, which we’d watched and loved on opening day last year.

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this didn’t last very long…


We had friends who visited from Chicago one weekend so we did leave our house to do some sightseeing ourselves. (Because who doesn’t love a sunset view?)


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On New Year’s Eve we drove to Houston to satisfy my craving for Malaysian food. Yes, the Chinese in me didn’t think twice about traveling three hours each way just to eat, but luckily we also had friends there with whom we could meet, making the day trip seem a little less crazy. They were college friends from Malaysia I haven’t seen in 20 years, but when our kids met one another for the first time, they got along so well together that you’d think it was their reunion.

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Little Miss finished book one of the Harry Potter series.

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Thanks to My Guy, she also learned to ride a bike.

 

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Pickle started to be more conscious of pronouncing her “r” sounds; instead of “wunning”, she’s remembering to say “running” except she clenches her teeth and makes so much effort to produce the proper “r” that it sounds like she’s growling the word instead. Now, her attempts to correct herself are met with giggles, but this sweet girl of ours just laughs along with us.

Speaking of running, thanks to the highly engaging Serial podcast, I managed several longer distance sessions around my neighborhood myself (eight, nine, ten miles), which felt like an accomplishment since I’d been struggling with the hills in the area for a long time. I guess when we’re immersed in a different reality in our head, we don’t really think about the incline. That also means we don’t get to psych ourselves out of it either, which, I’m certain, is the ticket. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy.


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Like how I’d convinced myself for years that I’d fall out of my headstand and break a bone during yoga (when in fact I could do that simply by walking down the stairs with my two-year-old). Inspired by my hill running, I finally let go of the wall to get into my headstand, and voila, I didn’t fall!

I struggled to let go of my need for safety for years, never really trusting myself to hold myself up. I needed the teacher next to me or the wall before I’d get into the pose. I’m clearly not the risk taker in the family. Maybe it’s the energy of the new year plus the thrill of not feeling like dying as I slowly climb uphill, but I found the courage to let go of my inhibitions and kicked up slowly without any help or safety net at last.

And there I stood, on my head, exhilarated.

 

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Oddly, it makes me excited for 2015. Learning to recognize and honor our need to unwind and consequently making space for our imagination, as well as achieving small goals with incremental progress - sometimes the little things do add up don’t they? At least I hope they do.

 

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Monday, January 5, 2015

The things I learned from a Taylor Swift song (I can’t believe I’m admitting to this!)

Maybe it’s because I’ve been home with my girls all winter break - every minute of every hour of every day. And maybe because it’s also the rainy season here, and we’ve been stuck at home more times than I like. And maybe all that, plus the sugar overload from the holidays, is causing me to lose it a little. Or a lot.

Because these days, at any and every chance, I dance to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”. I can’t help it; I’m totally, completely, hopelessly hooked. We were in the car when the song came on the Disney radio station one day and Little Miss insisted that we kept it on even though any time Taylor Swift or Katy Perry came on, My Guy or I would switch stations.

We don’t do pop music. In fact, he’s a little bit of a music snob, having cultivated what he thinks is an acceptable taste, and over the years, I’ve learned to fine tune mine, and we both somehow decided that we’re just not going to roll the welcome mat out for pop music.

But then I had to ruin that by giving birth to not one but two girls, who destroyed our peaceful existence with “Let it Go” on repeat 55 times a day. And now we’re finding bits and pieces of Taylor Swift or Katy Perry infiltrating our house through the Pandora music app, even though we had carefully picked the “Kids Radio” station. How’s this kids’ music?! I need to have a word with the Pandora people.

I admit, once I actually really listened to the lyrics of “Shake it Off”, I was surprised at how quickly I warmed up to it. I think it’s because I remember being that girl in the song. Unlike the title, however, “Shake it Off”, is the the last thing I can do with it once it gets in my head. It’s on my mind constantly, and while I’d like to say it’s driving me up the wall, it isn’t. It makes me want to tap my fingers when I drive; it makes me want to shake my booty while I do the dishes; it makes me want to stop what I’m doing and just dance.

And sometimes I do.

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And when the girls are around, we get down to it together.

 

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And here I am dedicating an entire blog post to it. What is happening to me?!!!

I think I know. I think there’s a lesson or three to be learned here, now that I’m finally not just opening my ears to the song, but also my mind. So here it is, a short list of what I learned from a Taylor Swift song:

1. Dancing feels wonderful - I bet you didn’t know that the bouncer/bartender at the bar that I used to frequent in college nicknamed me “the dance machine”. That’s because instead of drinking or flirting, I spent most of my time on the dance floor. I didn’t care for partners; I’d just be grooving by myself - not in a “I’m sad and lonely” type of way, but more like “I don’t need a man by my side to have fun.” It was how I decompressed, how I felt alive, and it felt fantastic.

I’ve not hit the dance floor in...I don’t know the last time I actually went dancing, really. And I miss it. As Swift sings, “I'm dancing on my own; I make the moves as I go” and it brought it all back for me. I was that girl! Sometimes it feels amazing to just let yourself go (“Let it Go!” Argh!). Because I wanted my girls to know that part of me, one day, after my yoga class, when I couldn’t shake “Shake it Off” from my head, I decided to videotape (and perhaps preserve?) “the dance machine” that was still in me. I captured the stills of that video for this blog because I’ve not gone entirely off my rocker yet - not quite crazy enough to share my moment of madness here. Perhaps they’ll see it one day and roll their eyes at the spectacle - OHMYGOD MOM! - or perhaps they’ll see themselves in those moves – Hey, now I know where I get that from!

Yes, girls, you definitely didn’t get it from your daddy, I can assure you that.

2. Why not just have some fun?  - My Guy has a nickname in our house. He’s the “mushroom”, the ”fungi” because well, he is the “fun guy”. He gets the girls riled up with tickle fights and upside-downs and whirly-spins and fright fests, and they’re always hanging on to him, begging, “more, more, more daddy!” and I’m usually the “don’t forget to brush your teeth,” “please don’t screech in my ear,” “please chew with your mouth closed,” and “no more screen time for today” parent. I am the more serious, structure-following, plan-making parent and My Guy is the goofy, roll with the punches one. But when Pandora surprises us with “Shake it Off”, I drop whatever I’m doing and lose myself in “getting down to this sick beat” as the song blares. And it’s contagious because the girls immediately do the same, and we all have an impromptu dance party. Suddenly I’m a fun mommy - dancing unexpectedly, much to the girls’ surprise and absolute delight. Why not right? Who doesn’t love a boogie break every now and then? The kids certainly do.

3. Don’t be a snob - I remember crooning to Debbie Gibson and New Kids on the Block when I was growing up. It’s awful, terrible, what-the-hell-was-I-thinking music, but hey, I can now safely admit that it’s also a rite of passage. We’re so hell-bent on making sure our girls develop better taste in music than we did as kids that we forget that they have to figure this shit out on their own. That’s how we did it!

I loved the sappiest, crappiest songs (Tommy Page, hello?) but as I grew and changed, so did my taste in music. it didn’t happen until I started college, when I became more open to alternative rock - Smashing Pumpkins, Live, Weezer - and that too evolved over time. Now I love Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, Postal Service, Lorde, Banks, and National, and they sound nothing like the boy bands I used to idolize. Besides, even if the girls end up loving pop songs all their life, so what? How can I teach them to be open and accommodating when I’m not, and to not be prejudiced, when I am myself?

Now, instead of a blanket “No Katy Perry” in the house, I listen to it myself and make sure that they’re appropriately exposed to it. It’s a “Know thy enemy” tactic, except I was surprised to learn that they’re not as bad as my own prejudice made them out to be. In fact, there were positive messages that I was happy to hear in their songs, and that snob in me started to hang her head in shame.

I also know firsthand what “No” does to children. It makes that which is forbidden even more attractive to them, and if I’m trying to raise kids who can make up their own minds judiciously, I can’t make up their minds for them. Hence, I “Roar” alongside Katy Perry and my girls to let them know it’s cool. And suddenly, that roar doesn’t have quite that power it used to have when it’s just another song that comes on the radio.

And this is how I arrived at Taylor Swift as my very first blog post for 2015. Interesting how and what you learn about yourself in the most uncanny ways...

In case you have NO FREAKIN’ CLUE what this entire post is about because you’ve never heard this song before, here’s the video of it. I’m warning you, if My Guy, who’s dead against pop songs, was caught humming the tune one day, you’ll most likely catch this “sick beat” too.

Also? You’re welcome.


Friday, December 26, 2014

In the wee hours before Christmas

ChristmasTreeGirls ‘Twas the night before Christmas

 

 

4:40AM

“Mommy,” I heard Little Miss standing beside my bed, and I forced my eyes open. It was still dark.
“Will you help me with my buttons?” she was referring to her new Christmas long-johns - the one present that the girls got to open on the eve. As I fumbled to help, she whispered excitedly, “Santa came, mama! He came! I saw bikes!”
“Oh yeah? That’s wonderful!” I managed, and looked at the time: 4:40AM.
*Groan*
“It’s four in the morning, Little Miss, please go back to bed, and we’ll open the presents in the morning.”
“Okay mama” And off she went.
Whew!

5:30AM

“Mommy, I need to go potty!” the little one ran into my room, holding her crotch and doing her usual pee-pee dance. Mind you, she had to pass her own bathroom to come tell me this.
“Then go.”
“I need help with the buttons.”
Dammit! No more freakin’ long-john’s! What the hell was I thinking?!
Once Pickle was done with her business, thankfully, it’s back to bed again.

7:00AM

This time I felt a presence before I heard it: “Moooommmy….”

It was Pickle. “Is it goodmorning time yet?” Never just morning, always “goodmorning time”, like it’s one word, no pause in between.

I looked outside my window and the sky had the soft orange-pink glow of a promising sunrise peeking between the trees. With only sheers covering the window, I loved watching the daybreak from my bed.

“Yes,” I reached over and carried her to the spot between My Guy and me, fully expecting to cuddle. “Yes, it’s goodmorning time. Where’s your sister?”
“She’s still asleep.”
“Okay, let’s not wake her.” I wrapped her little body with my arms and proceeded with Operation Cuddle A Lot.

“Did Santa come?” My Guy asked her groggily.
“Yeah.”
“How do you know he was here?”
“You told me he was coming!” responded my sweet, trusting, sometimes clueless three-year-old. Like, duh, daddy.
My Guy and I laughed. “Did you go look for the presents under the tree?”
She paused. “No…” I could feel the wheels churning and heard something click in her brain before she bolted out of bed as quickly as her short legs could carry her and made a bee line for her sister, with whom she loved experiencing everything.

“Wait. Don’t wake her!” I called feebly, knowing fully it was too late.

Christmas had begun.


* * *


Not that I minded. Because there were just the four of us this year, it was a completely stress-free and casual day. In fact, we didn’t get out of our pajamas at all, much to the delight of the girls who live for pajama day at home. So laidback in fact that I only served Chinese leftovers for lunch and cooked Christmas dinner (a rib eye roast, garlic and bacon Brussels sprouts, and maple sweet potatoes, plus our usual butterscotch bundt cake) when I felt like it. And yes, we had all three meals in our PJ’s. But hey, we did break out the stemware and tablecloth. We’re classy like that.

Here’s how the day went in a few snapshots:



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Open presents.

 

 

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Take requisite “thank you for our gift” pictures for grandparents (in their new “Frozen”-themed nightgown and fuzzy slippers from Santa).

 

 

 

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Play.



 

ChristmasCraft Craft.




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Play some more.
(Although it’s really the deep blue sky I was admiring here. 60’s and sunny on Christmas day. Hello, Texas!)

 

Plus sugary, buttery, bacon-y, chocolate-y treats galore. Because, you know, we need sustenance for all that lounging and playing. 

In short, it was a pretty damned good Christmas.

Hope you had a wonderful day yourself.

MerryChristmasGirls

Monday, December 22, 2014

More about magic

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I’m not sure how I’ve gone a month without posting anything. I blinked, and here I am. But I guess that’s what happens during the holidays. It’s a black hole of kids’ activities and holiday parties, bright-colored cookies and cinnamon-dusted cocktails.

Since this is our first holiday season in our new city, I suppose everything we’ve done so far is a momentous occasion. First tree in Austin. First holiday party in Austin. It’s like reading a fortune cookie and adding “in bed” after every fortune we read, only it’s less funny. The “in Austin” post script, however, does add a shiny new sheen to all of our old traditions.

 

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The Christmas banner we made as a family in Chicago, now decorates our living room in Austin.

 

I have to admit, I’ve been running myself ragged trying to recreate some of the old holiday magic here in our new house, hoping that our girls would not, during a season where we’re most susceptible to nostalgia, miss their Chicago life because they find the celebrations here different. I’ve even gone as far as taking the girls to a faraway outdoor mall that trucked a ton of snow into the plaza on a 50ish-degree day just so the girls can experience one of their favorite elements of the holiday season in Chicago.

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Naturally, their selective memory only retains the romanticized notions of snow: the snowmen, the snowballs - just the fun parts, really. And that’s what we were there for. Because looking for parking in a snow-covered city and then shoveling our car out of its five-inch tomb? Not so romantic.

Those were the things we didn’t have to deal with, apparently, having moved 1,100 miles south. Instead, we get our fill at a mall and go home to the occasional tank-top weather. I can deal with this. It does get chilly here, however. What I still haven’t gotten used to is the huge temperature changes throughout the day. We’d start the day at 38, peak at 70, and the moment the sun sets, it rapidly drops back down to 60, then 50 and 40. This means whatever I was wearing in the afternoon to enjoy the gloriously warm December, would be completely and utterly inadequate by 7PM, if we were still outdoors doing whatever it was we’re doing. I know, poor us, but we’ll figure this out.

Having gone over four weeks without blogging means I’m backlogged with the details in this memory-keeping business. Perhaps I’ll spend some time on some of the more important occasions in the future, like Little Miss’s 6th birthday party, our wonderful Thanksgiving with new friends at our house, and a pretty incredible Christmas season so far. But for now, I’d like to carve out some time to acknowledge the things that would fall through the cracks - things that are equally meaningful and even momentous, but that would otherwise get lost in the holiday shuffle.

Like, after six long years of waiting, finally being able to start reading Harry Potter with my daughter. One of my favorite kids’ book series, I’ve been dreaming about this day since Little Miss was born, and now that she’s a proficient reader herself, I suppose I could just hand her the book and say, here, enjoy. Except I couldn’t possibly do that. I had to relive every page with her, and now that we’re on winter break, we’ve spent Pickle’s naptime reading about magic and muggles.

 

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Here, she’s reading it to me as I was getting ready for another one of our explore Austin adventures. So far, judging from her exasperation in not being able to continue reading on her own because she couldn’t wait for me to get to the next chapter, she’s loving it. Squeeeeee…!

And here’s something else that happened: Little Miss’ lost her first tooth. On December 19, right after brushing her teeth before bed, My Guy jiggled her already very loose tooth to see if it’s close only to dislodge it from its spot. She’s had that loose tooth for over two weeks, and she was ecstatic that it was finally out because she couldn’t wait to see what the Tooth Fairy would bring her.

You’d think that, with over two weeks of warning, we’d be ready for this night. Us? Are you kidding me? Nope. Not even close. Hey, in my defense, I’d spent the previous week cooking four casseroles and four different types of cookies for our holiday party, while getting the house ready and solo-parenting both girls while My Guy was in Chicago for work the entire week. I had nothing left in me after the party. Not even a measly thought for the inaugural Tooth Fairy visit. Rather, especially so, since it was another task on an already busy season.

My Guy didn’t understand what the big deal was: Why not just leave her money? We don’t have to do anything crazy. Not everything has to be magical.

Err…wrong!

I had to disagree with him. Sure, I wasn’t exactly prepared, but I also wasn’t willing to just leave money - tooth fairy was not a thing in my childhood in Malaysia, but I knew I didn’t want it to be just about the money. There’s a “fairy” in this myth we’re recreating for our kids, for cryin’ out loud. OF COURSE there has to be magic.

There’s an elf on some shelf somewhere in the house, and my girls have reindeer food ready for when Santa gets here on Christmas eve. Why the hell would we stop at the Tooth Fairy?

They believe, and because they believe, there’s a certain magic that captivates even us, the cynical grownups who know better. It would certainly be easier if it’s just about presents and who got what. But then again, they have a lifetime of cynicism and materialism ahead of them, I’m not willing to jumpstart that very unromantic part of life for them. A childhood of magic and mystery is so fleeting after all. There’s an innocence so pure and joyous in their beliefs that even I feel swept away by them. Why not prolong it as much as we can, to preserve that innocence that we know will all too soon disappear altogether eventually?

That’s when I scoured the internet for ideas at 8PM on a Friday night. I was already in my pajamas so you can imagine I wasn’t already feeling particularly ambitious. Pinterest, as usual, made me feel like the worst mother in the world when I saw just how elaborate some ideas were. For the sake of self preservation, I stopped visiting that torturous site and finally settled for a little note, printed in 5-pt font, from the fairy. Thank goodness for glitter glue, which most mothers of young girls seem to have at their disposal, I was able to create a fairy dust effect on the note and the money. There. Magic. Done.

In the morning, she rushed to find us with the money and the note, thrilled that the Tooth Fairy came, grinning proudly to show off the novel gap in her teeth. It wasn’t much, but apparently, it was enough. She believes, and that’s all that matters.

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I know I’m among so many parents who do what we can to preserve the childhood innocence in our kids. As adults, our views are dulled by the constant barrage of news of violence and cruelty, and it’s in this season that we have to work especially hard to add that magic back into our lives. To make sure that it’s not just about the presents or cookies.

It’s about family time, it’s about sharing and giving, it’s about creating magic in a world that is sometimes rampant with ugly realities. As I listen to NPR’s report about the evil execution of over 100 children in Pakistan, about Ebola taking yet another life, and the unrest in New York and Ferguson from police brutality, I see flour strewn everywhere on my once clean kitchen floor because of a certain three-year old who’s helping me with the cookies for the first time this year, and I just suck it up and resign myself to an afternoon of more cleaning when she’s napping.

To hold on to this magic, even if it feels like grasping desperately at the most delicate, most breakable straw, it’s the very least I could do.

 

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Glorious

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I suppose I should write about Halloween and the girls’ costumes this year. That Little Miss was surprisingly not Queen Elsa from “Frozen” - she chose to be Wonder Woman instead - and Pickle was very surprisingly (and very oddly) a pink fairy princess, per her request. That My Guy and I were both confounded because of all the kids we know, she’s the least pink fairy princess of them all.



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But really, what I want to write about is the weather. I know, how boring, but for an ex-long-time Chicago resident living in Austin, the weather is the most exciting thing to me. And since we’re kinda sorta on Halloween, let’s start with that.



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For the first time in forever (cue the song from Frozen...because I’m a mother of two girls, hello?) the kids were trick-or-treating in just their costumes, minus the heavy coat and gloves and hat. They went door to door after a romp at a mini neighborhood block party where kids jumped in a bouncy house, in short-sleeved or skimpy costumes nonetheless, and no one, not a single person, was cold. It was a glorious (and I use this word a lot to describe the current season here, just so you’re warned; that way you can be judicious with your eye-rolling) 70-degree weather that had us ex-Chicagoans giggling like schoolgirls - is this for real?

On a day where old friends and neighbors from Chicago posted about a day of snow, hail, and freezing rain, as well as a flooded Lake Shore Drive from abnormally high waves from Lake Michigan, it didn’t seem right that we were enjoying a day like we had this Halloween. But then again, I told myself, we had done our time in snow, hail, and freezing rain. We were there last year when our girls were drenched in icy rain while trick-or-treating; barely two blocks into it and we had to call it off. It was just too much.

I knew how my Chicago friends felt this year, and my heart went out to them. It just wasn’t fair to the kids. I couldn’t in good conscience post about our Halloween on Facebook that day; I’m pretty sure that’s the quickest way to get unfriended en masse. But I choose to write about it now because the weather is all I think about these days.

As a transplant from the north, everything here in the south is still so new to me, especially the weather. We left Chicago for many reasons but chief among them was that we’re just so done with the harsh winters that sometimes linger long past their welcome. Snow in April? Fuck that.

Granted, the Fall here isn’t as spectacular, color-wise, although the temperatures have been rather glorious (ahem) - 70’s and perfect blue skies for weeks! I was seeing only the candy colors of summer well into the end of October, and the green leaves remained a vivid green, mocking me with their vibrance. For someone who relishes the warm and ruddy colors of this season, I was a little annoyed. I can’t help it; I’m a freak for Fall. I make banners with colorful fallen leaves, mull wine with aromatic and decidedly autumnal spices, pick apples at an orchard with my family, look forward to all things pumpkin, and happily get cozy in a warm hoodie and tall boots. So far, Fall here meant a lovely reprieve from triple-digit heat, which was great and all, but I needed more.

And then came November, when all the leaves were on the ground in the northern part of the country, probably covered in snow, and something magical started to happen. The leaves started to change. Gasp! The green hills are now textured with varying shades of amber, yellow, and orange. It’s not like New Hampshire or even Chicago; heck, it’s not even close, but I will take what I can get.

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The picture doesn’t do the view justice, but how cool that this is in my neighborhood

 

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And this along my drive home
 

I know I should be recording details of Halloween for the girls (they had a great time and a basketful of goodies, what more can I say?), or even the fun Frozen birthday party we had at our house for Little Miss, but really, all I can think about is that the leaves are changing, the leaves are changing, THE LEAVES ARE CHANGING, and it’s finally gloriously, wonderfully, truly Fall y’all!

 

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This too, on our route home, a few minutes from the house. Also known as my happy place.

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