Being at home with two little ones (a three and a half year old and an eight month old) requires some creativity to get through the day! Luckily for me fall inspires me - it always has. Maybe it is the thought of pumpkins, costumes, apples, and warm sweaters; I don't know what it is but I love this time of year. Getting to enjoy it with my babies makes it that much more amazing. Following is a description of the things we have enjoyed this fall and hopefully will continue to enjoy fall after fall! I am always trying to make new memories, and create traditions - here is how I am doing it!
I love decorating for every holiday. My rule is we can decorate on the first of every month. So October 1st I brought out my extensive Halloween collection. My T Bear loved every second of first taking all of the decorations out of the totes, but then deciding where each item should be displayed. It was like watching a cuter version of myself on a decorating mission. I have to say she did a great job (of course the OCD in me kicked in and I had to move a couple of things!!)
We love going to local pumpkin patches or farm stands and picking out lots of pumpkins. My T Bear takes great pride in choosing just the right pumpkins; the Mad Man loved feeling the texture of each pumpkin. These excursions also offer excellent photo opportunities. How cute are babies surrounded by vibrant orange colors?! One of our favorite things to do is decorate pumpkins. We paint them, put glitter on them, put stickers on them, glue cotton balls to them, draw on them, and of course carve them! We also enjoy decorating foam and paper pumpkins. I like to keep them to display year after year. Let me say that T Bear's pumpkin faces look much more creative every year; hopefully the Mad Man will enjoy this as much as T and I do. These arts and crafts activities provide hours of creativity, entertainment, and fun!
Apple picking has become an annual fall favorite for us. There is something about feeling the crisp fall air on your skin and harvesting your own apples. T Bear even tried to use one of the apple picking tools this year, which was a bit scary for me but she loved it. We even opened our excursion to two of hubby's softball players this year, one of which had never done anything like that with her family. I think this type of activity is what family is about: spending time together, having fun, and bonding. After all most families have only eighteen fall seasons together (a friend of mine said this to me about summer vacation this year and it stuck - I plan on using this rationale for as long as I can!!). Of course making apple bread. apple crisp, and apple pie is quite fun too. T Bear is quite the blossoming baker (she is not an apple tree that way - check out the "Apple Tree" post and that will all make sense).
I have never been one for playing in the leaves, it just didn't appeal to me, that was until I saw the exuberance on T Bear's face when she ran through the leaves in our yard. Luckily for me we had several balmy fall days (because I truly do not enjoy cold temps). T, Mad Man, and I spent quite a few afternoons outside playing with leaves. T had a blast when I raked piles of leaves for her to jump into. Mad Man loved feeling the leaves and crumpling them in his hands. I thought my arms were going to fall off after raking them again and again, but it was so worth it to hear the giggles and see the pure joy on their faces. Mad Man thought it was hilarious to see T Bear jumping in the leaves. We even enjoyed just picking up leaves, checking them out, and making little piles with our hands.
I stole this idea from somewhere (probably a parenting magazine) and made it my own. We cut out a "B", for our last name, out of poster board and then glued leaves all over it. It came out really cool. I wanted to make them for the grandparents, but my preschool helper lost interest after one letter! Oh well maybe next year!
There is nothing like dressing up for Halloween. It has been one of my favorite things to do for as long as I can remember. This year T Bear vacillated between a few princesses, but finally decided on Ariel from Disney's The Little Mermaid. I thought this would be so simple to find, boy was I wrong. After several Internet searches and multiple phone calls to merchants I finally located all the parts to the costume - even the bright red wig!! Mad Man was much easier, he is wearing a hand me down Nemo costume from Disney's Finding Nemo. I squeeze as much as I can out of Halloween, like I do with everything I really like. So we will dress the kiddos up on our weekend excursion to The Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos, dress them for a Halloween party at Hartwick College, again for one at the Oneonta High School, and for the parade and trick or treating. By the end of it hubby will have had beyond his fill of Halloween festivities and hopefully I will be satiated until next year!
Overall, I have realized that there is an abundance of things to do to entertain little ones, and that it doesn't really matter what you are doing as long as you are doing something together. It sounds corny but it is true. While trick or treating in one of the college dorms I saw this on one of the dorm doors and it really resonated with me: "Don't count the days, make the days count". Thank you for my new mantra!
High: Seeing the happiness and hearing the laughter of my two precious babies!
Low: Knowing that someday these babies will be "too old" to enjoy these simple pleasures with Mommy