{Enjoying the Start of Fall}

Our family has been making sure to take time to stop and smell the crisp, fall air so far this season, and I’m working to embrace autumn for all its gloriousness (and not as the sign of summer and Daylight Savings Time ending)!

A few weeks back we continued our autumnal tradition by going to the Louisburg Cider Fest; we had a great time going through the impressive and ever-changing corn maze with some long-time friends that we ran into while we were at the Cider Mill. I savored a Sparkling Raspberry Apple Cider beverage and shared my fresh-made cotton candy and nachos with my tiny tot who was just about as thrilled as (pregnant) me to partake in those indulgent snacks. 🙂 He loved climbing in the corn-filled, jack-o-lantern-painted bin, he enjoyed the blue-grass band while he sat listening on hay bails, and he had a great time playing among the other children doing kiddo activities like sliding down the hillside and leaping around the pumpkin patch without tripping.

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{Slightly Controversial Post on The End of Summer Days}

Yesterday marked the end of summer days (again) and I find myself getting all nostalgic (again). I just love going to the pool and watching my toddler splash at the “splash park”, I love grilling season, summer vacations, summer clothes, the feeling of having no school even though I am no longer a student, and more!

I see all the cute memes out there and people posting about their excitement for fall, and I want to be someone who likes fall better than the other seasons. I want to join the “cool club”! [See what I did there? Kind of a double meaning if you catch my breeze.] But I can’t yet. Year after year I don’t gain entry into the “cool club”. Perhaps I can’t figure out the code, I tell myself.

Perhaps I’m not seeing what everyone else is seeing, I think. So I survey those I love who love autumn and ask them what they find so great about it. Because once I know the secret, I can gain entry into the club, right? And they tell me they love the changing colors of the leaves, the crockpot meals, football season, bonfires, cool-weather fashion, dropping temps and less humidity, etc. My husband says best of all is “the smell of fall”. Each time he says this year after year, I ask him to describe “the smell of fall” and each year he says it smells like “fresh air”. I usually laugh to myself but this year I laughed aloud. “Isn’t there fresh air in other seasons? And what does fresh air smell like?” He found it hard to articulate why autumnal air is just fresher.

Now, I gotta admit that I’m not known to follow sports–or even the ball as it moves from one player to another across the TV screen. So maybe that’s a big part of the miss for me during autumn, but I think more than anything it’s because autumn signifies the end of summer–my steadfast favorite season. If you’d like to see what turned into a bit of a love letter to summer but was mostly aimed at being an optimistic message about the baton hand-off between summer and fall, check out my blog post from a year ago entitled {The End of Summer Days}.

On our road trip/babymoon two weeks ago (all about planned spontaneity and bonding) we spent a couple days in Chicago, and during the falling rain I meandered into the storefront of a Bath & Body Works in a mall on The Magnificent Mile. The only scent I picked up was an Autumn-scented body lotion; I applied lotion from the tester to my hands without smelling it first. Unorthodox, I know. But I wanted to try to embrace fall. I loved the scent and plan to go out and buy it in a candle (because I can always use a 140th candle around my house or in my closeted box of candles, and I’m sure my hubby agrees). 😉

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We’re Always Finding Nemo

Funny and fond life space moments tonight:

  • S tried to flush the toilet a second time while it was still cycling and I told him that doesn’t work, to which he replied with certainty: “It needs batteries.”
  • S has a baby picture book from Grandma Beth that I have him read to me by identifying what he sees in the pictures. Of all the books he can choose from, he’s always gravitated toward this and one other book from his great-grandmother that I have read to him most nights at bedtime from the time he was a newborn. Tonight he pointed to the baby boy in a stroller and labeled them: “I see little boy. I see stroller…..[Puzzled, he pointed to the blank space above the stroller and looked up at me with a scrunched face.] Where’s da mommy? Where’d da mommy go? She went bye-bye?” Apparently he just assumed all strollers have mommies pushing them! Priceless.
  • It’s kind of funny if I sit back and think about how often that orange Disney fish goes missing in our house. It’s like we are always finding Nemo. But I don’t mind one bit because it makes me chuckle to myself each time I think about it, and then I remember these days of finding Nemo are numbered so I hurry up and find the fish to get back to my own little boy.
Finding Nemo
Found One!

{My Grief and Loss and the Ray of Sunshine in My Life}

On May 28, 2015, my beloved grandma Beth Tielke passed away after a brief battle with cancer. I loved my grandma beyond belief and definitely beyond words. That became increasingly apparent in these weeks after she passed away because I longed to be able to put into words to people how much she meant to me and yet I felt like no one could truly know unless they shared our titanium bond. And while we had an amazing bond, let me also say that my grandma had a unique way of making anyone she was talking with feel like they were the most important person in the room, because to her, they were. Jokingly, she always told whichever child, grandchild or great-grandchild who was with her that they were her favorite. So if I have any family members read this, I know you were truly her favorite. 😉

I wanted to write this because I wanted to express the feeling of deep sadness I have but also something more intense. I have a strong impression from conversations with my grandma over the past couple years that she wants me to be able to carry on without her and have the best life possible, free of sadness as much as possible. Just this past year at Christmas she said in her most cheerful disposition, “Oh, I could die happy now because I know that you have everything you need and you have [your husband] and [child]!” Our family was used to Grandma saying things like that or about her own mortality with light-heartedness over the years, and I guess in a way she may have been preparing us for the inevitable so that we could one day face the reality of the loss ourselves.

I’m not sure that you can ever be fully prepared for the feelings and emotions that come with loss or the loss itself. But I do feel comforted by some conversations I had with her in which she told me everything was going to be fine. My grandma also faced difficult losses during her lifetime and I remember some of my favorite road trips with her involved talking about the signs that she had seen that indicated to her that her mother was watching over her. On those drives, I always looked at the sky through the windshield–day or night–and tried to envision heaven and those I knew who were there.

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