A look back on our Fall 2022 Family Activities
Happy Monday! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our family last week and getting back into the swing of things today feels sort of like coming back after a vacation. I’m so grateful for having so much quality time with family and just taking a step back to relax a bit, but I’m also ready to jump back into our regular routine.
Even though it’s still November for a few more days, we’ve officially transitioned to Christmas season around here. The tree is up, I’m 90% done with present shopping, and Christmas music and activities are beginning. I love this time of the year and am so excited to dive in but first, I just wanted to take a minute to look back on our fall. It was our first one as a family of five and honestly, it was so great. We didn’t pack it full of things since we were still adjusting to life with another baby, but the things we did do really made it a special season of life. Maybe it’s not interesting to anyone but me and that’s okay, but I wanted a place to document everything in one place and that’s what today’s post is all about. Here’s a look back at our fall 2022 highlights:
LJ and Vi have had a GREAT year so far in preschool. They both look forward to going and excitedly recap their days as soon as they hop in the car at pick up. Vi is still young enough that she parallel plays with her classmates and will occasionally talk about what a friend did at school but mostly just recaps what she did herself. LJ on the other hand has made a few buddies in his class and he enjoys talking about what his friends did or what they did together. I’m so glad they’re both enjoying school so much!
We joined gymnastics!
I decided that I could handle taking on ONE regularly-scheduled activity this fall with the kids and chose to try gymnastics. For privacy reasons, I’m not going to share pictures of my kids at gymnastics but they were both instantly hooked. They love their classes and have so much fun and it’s a great activity for them to improve their coordination, balance, and gross motor skills. (I also love this sweet leotard I purchased from a small business – it’s a bit of an investment but it washes super well and Vi wears it often!)
Family Fun at a Fall Festival
Is it even fall if you don’t find yourself surrounded by pumpkins at some point? We headed to a new-to-us local fall festival on a Saturday in October – it was warm and sunny and so much fun. It was one of those places that had a ton going on: playgrounds and mazes and hayrides and a jump pad and caramel apples and pumpkin picking and apple cider donuts and a dance party and pig races (lol) and so much more. We had an absolute blast and I know this will become an annual family tradition!
We forgot to take a family picture there so this is the best I have. Ha! I often think that forgetting to take pictures is a sign that you were having too much fun to think about it and that was definitely true here. We had the best day!
My dad is a farmer and for years now, LJ has loved being his little sidekick on the farm. He has helped my dad at all stages of managing the crops this year so he was very excited for the most fun part: harvesting! It’s hard to see, but LJ is up there in the combine with my dad having the time of his life. It’s very sweet for me to see them bond over a shared love of farming and it’s been so good for LJ to see and appreciate the hard work and dedication that goes into it.
Speaking of time at my parents’ farm, after a long day of harvesting, the kids and I stopped in their pumpkin patch to select some pumpkins for our house. (Notice Vi’s chosen outfit: a “princess dress and princess shoes” ha!) We picked a bunch of pumpkins and since we weren’t wanting to attempt pumpkin carving with the kids just yet, they had fun inviting a friend over one morning to have a pumpkin painting playdate.
Justin has Wednesdays off work, so we took advantage of a gorgeous fall Wednesday to head to a new-to-us local orchard. It was really nice to not have all the crowds that a weekend normally brings and just stroll through the orchard picking out different apples to try. LJ loved running ahead of us to “read” the signs at the end of the rows (he would spell out all the letters so we knew what apples were in the row) and we all got our fill of apples and apple cider. It was maybe not the best idea I’ve ever had to push a stroller through the bumpy ground of an orchard but nonetheless, we all had a great day together.
Towards the end of September, Justin made a campfire for our family to enjoy s’mores after dinner. We all had so much fun that we decided to make this a weekly tradition until the weather got too cold. We had so many campfires this fall – some in warm, gorgeous weather and some in cold and windy weather – and have made some great memories. LJ loved learning how to help build and stoke a campfire and we all enjoyed eating s’mores and just hanging out together. We even had my grandparents join us for one campfire which was extra special.
We’re still hanging on to our campfires but now that it’s getting colder and darker each day, we may not have many more until we have to push pause until spring. Still, this has been such a fun tradition to incorporate into our family!
Our zoo stays open until the end of October and they go ALL out in the month of October to decorate for fall. I picked a warm Friday for one final visit of the year and the kids and I had so much fun seeing not only all the animals, but also all the decorations. The kids especially enjoyed the hanging witch hats everywhere and would try to find ones at the right height that they could wear. We took our time and did all the things they wanted and it was actually a super fun me+three day together.
I have one specific memory of LJ turning around on the train ride to show me a leaf – the sun was behind him and made him all glowy with a gorgeous autumnal light. He was so excited about the leaf and wanted to tell me about it and it was just a picture perfect moment of childhood innocence. This is my last year with him at home like this. Next year is kindergarten and things will change. This moment on the train took my breath away and gave me such gratitude and appreciation for this stage of life. It’s not always easy but I truly do love it. I don’t have a picture of that memory but I LIVED it. I was so aware of it and soaked it up in the moment and I’m very grateful for it.
I know my years of convincing everyone to do a family costume are likely numbered, so each year I enjoy it while I can! This year we were Frozen due to Vi’s love of all things Elsa. Vi and I had store-bought costumes but I DIY’ed a Sven, Olaf, and Kristoff (although LJ insisted he was NOT Kristoff, we convinced him to participate by telling him he could be an “ice farmer” with a wooden ice pick Justin made for him). The kids had an absolute BLAST running around to houses with their friends and we were thankful for good friends who let us “adopt” their neighborhood and walk around with them.
Lingering Patio Dates
My favorite kind of date is one where we are eating outside. I don’t even care what kind of food it is, but if there’s patio seating, my enjoyment factor ups significantly. There was a random, unseasonably warm day in November and Justin and I happened to have a date night planned. We requested outdoor seating and it made me ridiculously happy to have the gift of one more outdoor date before the cold sets in for the next several months. I was so thankful for a fun night with my main man + the cutest tagalong.
Early Voting as a Family!
For the last several years Justin and I have voted early, but this year was the first year we decided to try taking the kids. This actually ended up being SO much fun. We went mid-morning on the Saturday before election day. There were only 2-3 people in front of us in line so the wait was super short. The kids had lots of questions and it was so fun to show them how everything works and explain what voting is and why it’s important. They got little “future voter” stickers from the poll workers (who were so kind and excited to have kids join!) and we each took a big kid into the booth with us and let them push the final red button to submit once we were finished. Justin and I both agreed it was way smoother taking children along than we anticipated. Afterwards we had lunch at a local diner and it was an unexpectedly fun day as a family.
LJ’s birthday party!
We had a great time celebrating LJ’s fifth birthday with family on the Saturday before his birthday. His actual birthday fell on a Tuesday this year. He had no school due to Thanksgiving break and Justin worked all day, so in an effort to make it special and fun, I invited a few of his friends over for a birthday playdate and lunch. We haven’t done friend birthday parties yet, but this was a good start. I specified no gifts, but did ask the kids to just draw a birthday card if they wanted. The cards were so sweet and LJ was so surprised to see his friends show up to play with him!
Family Time + Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving this year was so much fun. We spent it with my extended family – not everyone could make it due to sickness but we had a great time catching up with those who could attend. And of course, the food was delicious! On the way to Thanksgiving dinner we went around the car saying things we were thankful for and I had to jot down the kids’ lists which were both precious and funny. We also had a special mid-November visit from Justin’s brother and his family, followed by a visit from Justin’s parents so we made lots and lots of sweet family memories in November!
What a sweet, sweet fall we had. I am truly thankful beyond words for this family of mine and all the moments we shared together. I’m so excited to make more memories and enjoy more fun as we gear up for Christmas now!