I love fall... the bright yellow, red and oranges leaves against a clear blue sky, the blazing heat of summer turned to perfectly pleasant crisp days. It's cool enough for a sweater in the morning and just warm enough to take it off in the afternoon. It's a cozy, snuggly time---we've had a few fires in the fireplace already--more for ambiance than warmth but soon enough it will be cold enough to have a fire every night. It's also the time of year when I start to get excited for the upcoming holidays---Halloween, Thanksgiving and for our family, Christmas. Often by this time in October we've seen a flake or two of snow but not so far. That's ok with me. As much as I love the cooling temperatures and the impending first snowfall, my tolerance for winter quickly wains after the New Year begins. So for now, I'm going to soak in all of the excitement and enthusiasm, cherished traditions and the apple cider that I can. My childhood memories of fall include apple picked, the haunted house at the town hall and of course, jumping in piles of fallen leaves. Last weekend we practiced one of our annual fall traditions: we went to a local pumpkin patch. We jumped in hay bales, we climbed through an amazing tree house full of ladders and rope bridges, we fed some sheep and goats, road a pony and toasted marshmallows over a bonfire. The weather couldn't have been better. We also did something last weekend that not all parents of young children might do: we visited the super spooky Halloween Store that's taken up temporary residence in an empty spot in our neighborhood shopping center. My girls have never been afraid of the skeletal hands, the glowing red eyes and sharp teeth on display in these store and in fact, they love stepping on the buttons that make hideous creatures shriek or jump or pop up from behind a gravestone. I wasn't sure Cooper would feel the same but I took him anyway. As it turns out, he's just like his sisters. When the towering plastic ghouls leered at him, he stuck out his tongue and waggled his fingers right back at them. He wasn't a bit scared. Lauren, Kate and Cooper have also been engaging in a long standing American autumn tradition, dating back as far as apple pie itself: jumping in leaf piles. This always makes me chuckle because I remember doing it myself. My sister and I would rake leaves into the biggest, fluffiest-looking pile we could and then, with great anticipation, we would get a running start and launch ourselves into the middle of the mound. We were sure that the landing would feel just like landing in a heap of silk pillows. Wrong. And yet, I remember being surprised every time that the damp, scratchy leaves, which flattened into a few centimeters of decaying-vegetation when I landed bum first on the hard ground, didn't feel good at all. This childhood rite of passage truly exemplifies how the idea of something is, quite often, not as wonderful as the real thing, and yet, year after year, generation after generation, children continue to pile up leaves and jump into them. They don't let reality get in the way of having fun. They just keep believing that if they make the next leaf pile a little bigger, landing in them will be AWESOME.
Do you enjoy fall with your family? What traditions do you do with your little ones every year at this time? And have your tried jumping in a pile of leaves as adult? If so, was it awesome?