Life Lessons {Halloween edition}

Oh, hey there...it's been awhile, hasn't it? 

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for blogging lately, life is marching along and things are going quite well.  Like the rest of the Internet (well, the northern-hemisphere set of it anyway, I guess?), we are enjoying fall, pumpkins, and slightly cooler temperatures.  No pumpkin spice lattes here, though.  I do not share in the popular affinity for all things pumpkin-flavored.  Pumpkins are only for carving and decoration in my house.

Speaking of pumpkin carving, that's a fall activity that was a first for our family this year.  I realized Jeremy and I had never carved one together, and that the girls had really never even seen a real jack-o-lantern up close.  (We always do the pumpkin patch and have them around, but usually they just sit on the porch and look pretty.  One year we let the girls paint pumpkins, which was...messy.)

So, about two weeks ago, I picked up a good-sized pumpkin that looked about right for a smiling jack-o-lantern, and we got to work.  As we began the process, Jeremy proved to be quite clueless about the whole process, and admitted he didn't think he'd had a carved pumpkin, EVER.  I have not verified this fact with his mom yet, so we'll see what she says about that.  That husband of mine 'misremembers' things pretty often.

I drew out a simple face and J got to work with the kitchen knife.  No fancy carving tools here (and yes, it shows).  We ended up with a passable jack-o-lantern, not bad at all for our first try!  A & M were thrilled, of course, and had many questions about each step of the process.  They enjoyed digging their hands into the pumpkin guts and cheered when we lit the candle.

One thing I forgot (or 'misremembered', maybe?) about carving pumpkins?  It's best to wait until a couple of days before Halloween.  Our two-week-old pumpkin is currently collapsing into a pile of mold and ooze on the front porch railing.  Jack-o-lantern fail.

On top of that Halloween misstep, rain and thunderstorms are predicted for tomorrow night.  Our neighborhood is a prime spot for trick-or-treaters, so we have stayed home the last few years and enjoyed handing out candy to the crowds of kids that come by.  I gave the girls a choice of staying home and handing out candy or doing a little trick-or-treating of their own this year.  Of course they chose trick-or-treating, and have been rather excited about it.  I'm still not at all sure what we'll do since it's likely to be pouring rain, but I have begun preparing them for a bit of disappointment.

BatGirl is in the house!

At least their pink rain boots will match the Batgirl costumes!


The State of Affairs: September 2013

We have been dreaming of September for months and months, for one simple reason:  VACATION.  (Well, Jeremy has been dreaming of it for something like eight months, for another reason:  college football.  But I digress.)

This year's annual visit to Gulf Shores was every bit as fantastic as we hoped.  We had a solid week full of the beach, pool, naps, food (and more food), shopping, and just being together.  There was not one rain cloud in the sky during our entire vacation, and it was just about a picture-perfect trip.  I have lots of pictures to share, but none on this computer, so that will have to wait.

Vacation naps are the best
Beach naps are the best!

Other than our trip, September was relatively low-key.  Football season began, which means it's officially fall in the South, regardless of what the calendar or the thermometer says.  That makes me think of this passage from Rick Bragg's All Over but the Shoutin', that has resounded through my head for weeks now:
Before the hot, wet air even begins to give way to the odd cool breeze, before the oaks and maples have begun to turn even the slightest bit red and gold, football banishes summer and announces, with crashing cymbals and an earth-quaking "Roll Tide", that it is now, officially, fall.
 So yeah, fall has been here for awhile, even it is only just beginning to feel like it.

Long day, no nap #beachlife

Books read: 4
Pretty much all of these were read on our trip, at least in part.  I kind of had a little reading slump after that, but I'm back on a roll again now.

Perfect Match, by Kristan Higgins--A rather cute romance that was (sorry, bad pun intended) the perfect match for my first few days at the beach.  It's a series centered around a family of three sisters, apparently, but each can stand alone.  I won't be rushing out for the others, but I wouldn't necessarily turn them down, either.

The Moon and More, by Sarah Dessen--Ms. Dessen is almost always a win for me, and I was looking forward to reading this, her latest book.  Unfortunately, it did NOT have the Dessen magic for me.  The small-town coastal setting was near perfect, as always, but something was missing.  I also pretty actively disliked the main character and thought she made some pretty boneheaded decisions.  Not liking this book made me a little sad, but I will hope for better with Dessen's next venture.

And When She Was Good, by Laura Lippman--This book, on the other hand, I LOVED.  The main character is a professional escort who has built a fairly successful business, not usually the kind of character I would find absolutely charming, but I confess that I did.  I appreciated that she was never characterized as someone we should be pitying...though she'd been through a lot, she was shown as a woman who did whatever it took to survive.  I loved it; you should totally read this one.

When Will There be Good News?, by Kate Atkinson--I had this book sitting in a TBR pile for quite some time, and I nearly quit on it during a particularly slow part.  Kate Atkinson is an outstanding writer, though, so I stuck it out and was rewarded with a much-improved second half.  Fantastic characters.

I celebrated 15 lbs lost!   I ran more miles than ever before in any previous September, I can guarantee that. 

Addison & Mackenzie are really enjoying the 4-year-old class at MDO.  I can see much more of a preschool-type focus this year.  Their class is working on writing skills, and both the girls have come so far since late August.  A & M are constantly talking about something new they have learned or heard at school (mostly good things, but a few less-than-desirable behaviors...newsflash:  4-year-olds can be gross).  They have never been happier to go to school, and I'm so thankful for that, especially this last year before "real" school begins.

And now, all of a sudden, it's October.  Pumpkins, fall mums, Halloween...like every other person on the internet, I love it all. 

Happy Fall, y'all!