Gearing up for Fall

I love how holidays bring out different traditions, memories, and experiences. I love how it can also be a time of refocusing ourselves in different ways. For fall, there is this focus of gratitude for the Thanksgiving season. I think themes of giving can also begin now. I am not sure how to implement that, and have the rest of the year to figure it out, as this theme definitely is more prominent during Christmas time.

As is expected, Caleb has a very hard time with sharing. In fact, he was all on board with giving our friends some of his many toys (that I was going to donate anyway), and even offered above and beyond what I was initially giving them, but as soon as they left, he cried. He wanted his toys back and hated sharing. He went to sleep, woke up, and was still disgruntled by giving his toys. He experienced no joy in sharing, I assure you. It was only in the moment, and once the moment ended via minivan drive by and we said our goodbyes, there was instant sadness on his end. So, yeah...I should get a book about sharing to read or something. I talk about giving out of God's love, out of a generous spirit, and out of recognizing our blessings. He doesn't care. HE WANTS THOSE TOYS BACK, DAMNIT! Nevermind his piles of toys I have to routinely go through and organize. Anyway, that is another topic for another day.

To gather some ideas for fall activities, I went to the formidable mother of all idea pin-boards, Pinterest. Today's Pinterest visit began with slight anxiety and ended with being inspired. The hundreds of posts of crafts and expert fall decor were freaking me out. Let's just say that part of my "fall decor" last year was the result of a quick stop to the dollar bins at Target. It was cheesy, at best. No A for effort there. But it was something. And I only have wall space for any decorations. I don't have counter space. Or time. Or extra money. So, cheers, dollar bin.

Oh right, I was saying something. As I said, I love how this season brings out giving and gratitude. It brings out different measures of generosity and love. And yes, it can be a time of hardship for many who don't come from the warm and fuzzy environments that foster these sort of values. I would know. Holidays weren't difficult for me in the sense that it brought pain. But it reminded me of what I didn't have in lieu of things like stable families and traditions and whatnot. I talked about that a little here: Family Ties. Now as a mom, I am enjoying the themes that I want to highlight to my son as they emerge through each season. These are values to foster throughout the year, but easily gets lost in the muddle of daily living.

I loved this pin today with a quote from Winston Churchill on it that I saw when looking at ideas for a Gratitude (or joy, or blessing) Jar. We make a life of giving love, grace, forgiveness, compassion, material possession, sacrifice. These are some of the things that if I had my way, I would demonstrate to Caleb like a pro. But I'm no pro. I'm just a lone and usually tired mama who is fighting for her kid to just wash his hands, please. But anyway, holidays. They help by being a vehicle to ride into these values by planning different ways to demonstrate that. Below are the fall tradition ideas I have come up with for this season. Who knows what I will get to, but there are different goals and activities to aim for. They do not really tackle the themes I mentioned earlier on. I think for this season, the concerted focus will be on gratitude.

I think I am ready for this refocusing. I get work down and disgruntled by morning after morning of being woken up against my will, dealing with discipline, feeling anxious of different things that come up, feeling appalled by things like government shut downs, etc. I lose focus on who I want to be. I lost focus on what that looks like. And I need to sometimes reel it back in, take a moment, and focus on this grace filled life I am so blessed to live. Thank you Jesus, for that.
I complain about being awoken at hours I wish I never saw. But this right here, makes me feel lucky no matter what.
Anyway, cue the list. I started #1 on my list today on my lunch break by hanging a single wreath on my door. That's it for now. Perhaps Ill be frequenting the nearest dollar bin near you. ;) Nah, we'll see what effort ends up being made.

Fall Tradition Ideas
  1. Decorate the house for fall
  2. Apple picking (Oak Glen)
  3. Make Italian Wedding Soup
  4. Bake a fresh apple pie
  5. Taste hot apple cider with a fall cartoon
  6. Go to a pumpkin patch
  7. Decorate or carve a pumpkin
  8. Pick up an extra pumpkin for a neighbor
  9. Roast marshmallows over a fire
  10. Bake pumpkin bread
  11. Play a board game
  12. Eat breakfast for dinner
  13. Take a family photo
  14. Attend a fall festival
  15. Make pumpkin pie
  16. Go on a nature walk and collect leaves
  17. Have a picnic 
  18. Do some fall art/crafts (leaf art? apple art? Cute idea from Regina: "Let him paint his hand and his feet and walk on paper! Bright colors that can look like fall leaves. His hands and feet aren't always going to be that small. Need to see some pictures!" And Caryn: "He can use his hands dipped in different fall colored paint and do full hand prints on paper to look like leaves. Also, trace his hand flat out and the fingers becomes feathers & the thumb becomes the turkey neck & head. You/he can fill in details like feet, head ,etc."
  19. Tree of Gratitude (and/or)
  20. Gratitude (or Blessing) Jar
  21. Trick or Treat in the neighborhood 
  22. Halloween costume shop
  23. Read Halloween/Thanksgiving books
  24. Have a Halloween home dance party (If we don't have any friends over, this will literally mean that it is just Caleb and I dancing alone in the living room. Maybe I can put up orange and black streamers to make it different). 
Here are some fall photos from last year. We ended up going to at least 2-3 patches.
Tanaka Farms pumpkin patch visit with his school and friends!
My dear friend Anna with Caleb, painting pumpkins.
She loves her football like you wouldn't believe.
Pumpkin patch with some of my favorite people.
Mama and boy painting pumpkins.
 A magical patch.
Carving pumpkins.

Happy Fall, friends! Let it be a magical one of gratitude and joy.