Fall is in the air...

It's finally felt like fall this week.  With a combination of warm and sunny seventy-degree days outside, paired with cool temps., brisk evening walks, and open-window lullabies at night, my favorite season of the year is upon us and again reminds me how much I love all that goes into this beautiful sequel to summer...

Doesn't fall smell amazing?  Sure, there's evergreen at Christmas, fresh cut grass in spring, and coconut sunscreen on baby skin in the summertime, but I'm not sure there's any aroma more poignant and powerful than fall.  The past two Fridays, Beau and I have picked up Cruz from daycare and spent our happy hour at Hartman Reserve, this hidden little preserve of wildlife trails tucked right in the heart of Cedar Falls.  Although it's just yards away from highway and downtown, it swallows you up and gives you the feeling of being hours away from anything civilized.  It reminds us of Canada, and I feel very Thoreau-like walking its trails.  We hike through the unpaved trails, spot deer and walking sticks and acorns, and inhale the scents of spice, and harvest, and leaves burning in the distance.  I've always known scent to be a powerful sense, but truly experience its valor when I'm walking through its leaf-fallen trails.

Our days have been busy, evidenced by my infrequent blog appearances here lately, but we're slowly settling into our back-to-school routines and discovering pleasure in small and simple ways to take advantage of the great gifts of this season.  And although it's true that I miss our summertime projects, our color weeks, our afternoons at the pool --- I'm learning to be content and okay with these little vignettes instead. 

After all, sometimes less is more.

...I bought my first bag of Honeycrisp apples.  Sure they are pricier than your Galas, your Red Delicious, and your Braeburns, but in my opinion, these crispy and sweet treasures are worth every penny.  After all, they only grace the shelves of the local grocer for a few short months, and they make the perfect snack for post-work afternoons, especially when paired with brown sugar apple dip.

Did I mention Cruz loves apples?  If he can sneak in the fridge while we're cooking supper, he'll grab one out of the bag and munch away until his fingers are touching the seeds, skin and all.  I've decided watching him eat an apple is one of the cutest things he does, and believe he concentrates more on this than just about anything else.  

We've been cooking a lot lately, trying to use up the last remnants of our summer garden project, and taking advantage of the cozy comforts of sitting by a set table, lighting a few candles, and cleaning up together before a bath, a walk, and bedtime stories.  These simple nights at home, taking part in simple routines together are some of my happiest.  I think when our life seems so overshadowed by busy schedules, places to be, and money to spend, these nights remind me of what's truly important when it comes to raising kids...

...just being together.

Beau has networking group every other Tuesday night, which means every other Tuesday night becomes Mom and Cruz's date night.  Sometimes, we stay in and do simple routines, and other nights, we go out.  Tuesday night, we snuck away to one of our favorite places - Barnes and Noble Bookstore.  We were there two hours, going from Thomas the Train, to books on the stage, and mama even scored a coffee to sip on while thumbing through the center display of fall board books.  We met a nice mommy of two little boys Cruz's age, and read stories until the sun went down.  

Nothing says fall more than football around here, and we once again went on a search for some Chicago Bear blue to add to Cruz's closet.  We have a Bears jersey in every size for our little linebacker, and I admit our little Urlacher looks pretty dang good in navy blue.


We also got Cruz and his lady friend, Harper, together for a little play-date before Harper's mommy, Kate, heads back to work after maternity leave.  Us mommies sipped glasses of red wine, I got lots of time to snuggle sweet, Will, and Cruz and Harper played toys, sang songs, and munched on some yummy fall Chex Mix.  We love getting together, and are both pretty infatuated with this little bond our two little blondies have formed over the year.


We've been busier lately, and it's true our chances to be home and enjoy our weekends around here are seemingly few and far between.  Since we had a big weekend in store for this past weekend, I wanted a simple, quiet night in on Friday night.  With my new Pioneer Woman cookbook, a clean kitchen, a Mumford and Sons playlist on Pandora, and a freshly lit Spiced Pumpkin candle burning on the counter top, I cooked up a pot of beef stew, threw together a big bowl of candy corn popcorn crunch, and threw some sheets on the clothesline.  We let the stew simmer while we trudged through Hartman Reserve, dipped crusty bread in savory stew while we listened to the football game commence at the stadium just yards from our backyard, and ended the night with a freshly bathed baby snug as a bug in his stroller, a neighborhood walk under street lights, and long pants in bed with the windows open.

We've got chili on the agenda for today, some football on TV, and a reunion with our Cruz Man, who spent the night with Grandma and Papa last night.  My sunburnt cheeks are recovering from a crazy day of Iowa/UNI Football at Kinnick Stadium yesterday, and one much-anticipated engagement proposal that I can't wait to reveal later this week.

Fall is in full swing, and I am so excited for more of its charm this month.  Craft shopping and movie nights, pumpkins and butternut squash soup, and one pretty important birthday celebration are sneaking up on us, and life is more than good.  

What's been on your fall list, lately?