Friday, October 28, 2011

Celebrating fall and family

Fall is my favorite time of year. We are finally getting a break from the scorching Texas summer. The cooler temperatures are pleasant, without the cold bite of winter. It's the perfect setting for family adventures, particularly with my son old enough to really appreciate the fun brought by the changing seasons. His pronunciation of his favorite word (outside) is improving. "OUT-tide, OUT-tide," he says in a sweet, little exclamation; the emphasis and rise and fall of his voice make it almost a song.

Yesterday evening, son helped me carve his first pumpkin (selected during our earlier Pumpkin Patch outing). He watched, somewhat impatiently, while I cut a lid into the top of our pumpkin, and then he eagerly dove into the gooey center with his spoon. He would pause to flick the seeds off of his spoon or figure out how the pumpkin lid fit back into place. After a while, son ran into the yard to get a better look at a dog passing on the trail. He shared his excitement with an enthusiastic imitation: "awoo, awoo!" He circled back to my pumpkin-cleaning project between other investigations, such as his sand/water table, the grill, the back door, etc. Hubby snapped pictures as I turned my hands and wrists orange in the struggle to gut the pumpkin.

We eventually moved inside to do the more intricate carving. Son took a break to read a book on the couch, checked out mommy's progress in the kitchen, played music on a long-standing favorite toy, and found himself a snack in the pantry (he brought me a box of the tubes we keep around for on-the-go snacking). We have been opening our windows in the evening, and I think the cool air only ups son's energy level. We can barely keep up!

On Halloween, son will dress up as a Starfleet Academy science cadet for day care festivities. I am making pumpkin sandwiches (grilled cheese cut into pumpkin shapes) that he can share with the other toddlers in his room. Other moms are bringing their contributions in the form of fruits and sweets. The children will also parade through the rooms in the day care for goodies and participate in other Halloween-related games. That evening, his Aunt and Uncle are coming over to help son hand out goodies to the bigger kids.

Family and friends are planning to visit us in our new home in November. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are coming up next weekend, as are some friends and their young son. Our church and community are both holding Fall Festivals, which we hope son will enjoy. We are also taking him to weekly swimming lessons (indoors). Thanksgiving brings my parents home from Korea for a short visit, so the Ripley family gathering will commence with their arrival. We are planning to ply them with Tex-Mex, Dr Pepper, and Blue Bell, but we will also savor our traditional potluck-style Thanksgiving dinner.

Please share your family traditions and adventures. Feel free to include recipes. With the weather cooling, I'm ready to make use of my oven again. I already made pumpkin bread to share with my Newsletter Committee and co-workers. What are you doing to celebrate fall and family?

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