Let’s start with a little bit of a flashback to when my oldest son was in First Grade two years ago: They celebrated the 100th day of school by dressing up as if they were 100 days old. Luckily I snapped some pictures (in case I would one day in the future need them for a blog post) I’m pretty sure he nailed the whole old man look – gray hair and mustache, spectacles, button-down plaid shirt, some snazzy Dr.Suess suspenders to keep his pants up. The hunched posture… Behold!

You guys, this child of mine, he cracks me up on the daily. His imagination and expressions are priceless – That pose had zero cuing. Now we all have a glimpse into the future at good ol’ Grandpa Jeff.

Which brings us back to today, when now Kiera is in First Grade. We found out a couple weeks ago that they would be celebrating the 50th day of school this year by dressing up 50’s style! They also got to listen to 50’s music and learn some sweet dance moves from back in the day. The most important takeaway from the day though: They learned how to make root beer floats (with three cherries!)

She got to dress up in her little poodle skirt girl outfit with little poodle socks and shiny new saddle shoes. I learned that it is really hard now to put her hair up in a high-ponytail after she went and wanted it all chopped off up to above her shoulders during the end of the last school year. I tried to warn her that her precious pigtails and ponytails that she is so fond of wearing would be harder. She still looked super adorable though!

As for my smallest guy, he’s a big kid Kindergartner this year. They had a Field Trip to the nearby pumpkin patch in school today. He was very proud of the pumpkin he picked out and ‘decorated’.

A lot of times when kids go to pumpkin patches they always want to find the biggest pumpkin they possibly can to bring home, that’s Jeffery. However, Kiera and Christopher have a serious fascination with little pumpkins and always try to find the smallest ones they can. Last year we had to compromise with them because when it came down to it, they wanted to carve them, and it’s challenging enough trying to design and carve a normal sized pumpkin, so they had to go with more medium sized ones. We’ve also learned the hard way that down here in Florida you really have to wait until like the night before Halloween to carve your pumpkins if you want them out for Halloween. We carved them a few days early last year and they completely molded out and had to be tossed in a matter of about two days, it was disgusting!

Thankfully, I have no photographic evidence of that moldy disaster! You’re welcome!

Do your kids have any fun days they get to celebrate at school?
Does your family carve pumpkins? (I hate the mess but my husband loves roasted pumpkin seeds.)

My birthday was last Friday on October 21st and it finally started feeling like Fall in Florida! Woohoo! I’ve come to the conclusion that living here, my birthday marks the real First Day of Fall, we just get it about one month later than it’s official calendar start date. The actual first day of Fall was in the upper 90’s which is very un-Fall-like in my book. I like my Falls with extra warm coffee-sipping and boot-wearing thank you very much.

We kept things low-key around here, I mean really what other choice do you have when 2 out of 3 of your kids are home sick and you’re the only one around to take care of them. At least I was able to have a Skype date with my husband. He actually sent me some lovely paintings from Japan (with lots of pink because he knows me well), which I definitely need to get pictures of but I’m still in the process of figuring out exactly which room I want to hang them in. So once I figure that out I’ll be sure to post a picture of them.

There was cupcake baking involved, originally I was going to let Kiera do all of the baking but she happened to be one of the ones home sick so I ended up mixing and baking them myself. However, she was very upset that she wasn’t able to do anything for me on my birthday and I did feel slightly bad for her so after some serious hand washing occurred I let her frost the “baby” cupcakes and put sprinkles on all of the cupcakes – even the big ones! I always make both sizes – normal and mini, because sometimes you just want a little sweet treat and sometimes you need something more substantial.

Now that Fall and the cooler weather have finally started to make their way down here, I am fully embracing the darker colors, warmer scents and pumpkin lattes that just felt out of place when the temps were still in the 90’s. I even changed out the cover of my Erin Condren planner to my favorite Fall cover. I purchased it around Thanksgiving last year and it has a gorgeous plaid interior and is also plaid with gold foil accents on the back cover. Unfortunately it is no longer available since they have to phase out older designs to make room for new designs. They recently came out with some new covers for Fall, which are also pretty, but the colors are more pastels which to me seem better suited for Spring rather than Fall.

Shameless plug: If you are in the market for a new planner or some planner accessories you can get $10 off your Erin Condren purchase by using my referral code to sign up and if you make a purchase they will give me a $10 credit also. Everyone wins!

I love the fact that the temperatures have dropped to a much more comfortable level for being outside. My kids have even been voluntarily going outside to play! So obviously that’s a good thing for them (more physical activities!) and a good thing for me (the inside of the house stays quiet!) Usually in the Summer we have our neighborhood pool to go to, but this year they had issues with it and had to close it down a month and a half earlier than usual. So the last month of Summer was especially brutal and we mostly stayed cooped up inside with the air conditioning. I hope we can go on some fun adventures in the coming months now that the weather is more bearable! Fingers crossed for no more hurricanes either!

Is it feeling like Fall where you are?
Do you and your family have anything fun planned for the upcoming season/holidays?

This past week, there was a little hurricane down here in Florida by the name of Matthew. We knew it was coming well in advance, it was going to be in our area Friday night/Saturday morning, which eventually changed to Friday afternoon. I had gone grocery shopping on Monday and on Wednesday we were told by the schools that they were going to be closed Thursday and Friday. I went and got gas even though I had no plans on going anywhere, best to be fully prepared.

I kept up to date on the hurricane through the news on my computer, it was going to be a big one, they said it was almost certain that we would lose power and it wouldn’t be back up until at least Sunday afternoon. I thought I was so smart when I finished grocery shopping on Monday, I had bought enough food to last us until Wednesday of the following week and now with the impending power outage I was most likely going to be out at least $100 in frozen and refrigerated foods. So I decided to go through my grocery receipt and plan out what we were going to be eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day by how expensive the food was, to try to at least not lose out on too much money.

My oldest son was just excited because if we lost power it meant he could eat all of the ice cream, not sure he understood though that if it came to that he would also be without his precious electronics. We seriously have not had to deal with a real power outage lasting longer than maybe an hour in the last 5 years!

I hated the fact that my husband wasn’t going to be around for the hurricane, it was just the kids, myself and our pets. We aren’t in any of the evacuation zones for our area so we were just going to be hunkering down at home, our neighbors were also sticking around and were there for help and support if we needed it, so I felt some relief.

I spent a lot of the time leading up to the hurricane just checking up on it every hour, following it’s location and watching the live news stories about it online. Seriously though, the news… it’s horrible. They have to sensationalize everything, make it seem 100 times worse than it actually is. My anxiety reached a high point the morning the hurricane was scheduled to be on us. Well meaning family and friends checking up, asking us if we had evacuated, asking if we were going to evacuate – we aren’t in an evacuation zone, the bridges have all been closed. We are staying put. People posting videos on Facebook of hurricane simulations, showing the differences and damage caused by the various categories of hurricanes. Matthew was going to be a Category 4 Hurricane when it was off our coast – visions in my head now of the roof of our house blowing off, trees falling on us, debris flying and breaking our windows. I was terrified.

Really the only thing keeping here was our pets, why did we have to get a dog?! Dogs are so needy, they have to be let outside to use the bathroom and they can’t even do that during a hurricane! If we didn’t have a dog I would have been out of there, better safe than sorry, get the kids in the car and just drive somewhere away from the path of the hurricane. Who knows where we would go, but anywhere would be better than staying here in this path of sure destruction! The cat would have been fine. Cats are always fine. Cats are the best.

Then it was go time. Friday afternoon, when the Hurricane was at it’s worst. It started raining, hard. The wind was blowing the leaves off the trees. The taller trees out in the forest swayed quite a bit. I just watched it, waiting for it to get worse, waiting for the first tree to fall, it was coming and I knew it.

Only it never really got worse. Sure there was a lot of wind and rain but nothing was falling or crashing into my house or windows. The dog that I currently had a grudge on for keeping us here during the hurricane was scared, she was standing by the back door and barking at the wind and rain. Suddenly I stopped being mad at her for existing and I felt bad for her. She just wanted to protect her family from the evil nature outside. A leaf blew off a nearby tree and landed right next to the door and she just barked at it for a few minutes. It’s just a leaf Luna…

I sat on the ground next to her, petted her and tried my best to help her calm down as we watched the wind and rain outside. I noticed at one point that at least a small section of our backyard fence had fallen down so I just hoped the rest of it would hold until the hurricane was over.

Our power flickered occasionally but only went completely out at one point. I had settled with the fact that we were going to lose power and be without it for a couple of days, I had been preparing for it to happen, so when it finally went out I was okay with it. However, 20 seconds later it came back on again. So I did what any sane person would do, not knowing if the power would be going back out again in the near future, I decided to bake some cookies and hope that the power stayed on long enough for them to finish baking. Spoiler: The power stayed on for the remainder of the hurricane and the cookies were delicious.

The rain continued throughout the evening, but when we woke up, the sun was shining and the skies were blue. The complete opposite of the foreboding gray skies the day before. I grabbed the leash to take the dog outside so she wouldn’t be able to run off through the broken fence. It was only the one small section of the fence, it was just very awkward because it happens to be the one part of the fence that was right in front of that neighbors backyard and of course when we went out there he was out there sitting in his backyard smoking a cigarette. Heyyy. The cat ran out there with us and just went and lied down on the broken fence, because of course he did and Luna was so distracted and barking at everything because it was different.

It was a small annoyance but I am so glad that the worst thing I was left to deal with was a small section of fence falling over. Which as of yesterday morning is now fixed back up thanks to my awesome neighbors across the street. The posts in that section are not exactly stable but they will hold for now as long as we don’t get more hurricane winds coming through any time in the near future. Other people lost a lot more, had flooding, trees falling on their properties, broken roofs, the things I had feared. Also many houses in our area were without power and even as I’m writing this on Monday evening there are still a number of houses in our nearby area without power.

So I’m very thankful for the minimal amount of inconveniences we had to deal with and that this hurricane wasn’t as bad as it could have been and I hope that those that had substantial damages are able to quickly recover. Also Nature, we have had enough, we are good, keep the rest of your hurricanes to yourself, please and thank you.