Were I to make a list of favorite months, November would be near the top. In my corner of southeastern Pennsylvania, the month starts with peak fall color. I love food, which makes Thanksgiving — with its festive and seasonal fare — a happy occasion. Then the month ends in cozy anticipation of the holidays (and usually my “birthday week” — I like to arrange fun stuff in the week leading up to my birthday in early December). The weather tends to be crisp, not yet the bone-chilling slush of January. I’ve also spent the past two Novembers participating in National Novel Writing Month, which has involved writing a 50,000 word novel over 30 days. I am happiest when I am writing long, fiction or non-fiction.
Anyway, having jumped on the monthly “what I’m into” bandwagon, here’s my round-up for November.
Reading on the back porch. I spent about 30 minutes during nap time this weekend sitting out there looking at these blazing reds and oranges.
Roads diverging in a yellow wood. Sorry I could not travel both, and be one traveler, long I stood! Actually, not that long — just long enough to take a picture. I love trail runs in autumn. I am pondering signing up for the Philadelphia Half-Marathon in a few weeks. I have not trained at all, but it might be fun to run a race with no expectations.
Bagged Caesar salads. Add a protein, and any extra veggies sitting around the house and voila: instant meal. I probably opt for this at least once or twice a week.
Michaelmas daisies. Blue flowers! In November! Mums are great too. And chrysanthemums. We’ll be hitting the Longwood Garden Night of 1000 Lights festival early this month.
The pumpkin growing in my backyard.
My kid’s inflatable dinosaur costume. I have not always done Halloween well, but this year I made sure to get costume-ordering on my to-do list early. The 7-year-old wanted to be a dinosaur, and I found this inflatable dinosaur costume on Amazon. It was a little tough getting him in it, but it was awesome. After the elementary school Halloween parade, people kept coming up to us in the hallway telling us how great it was. I never knew I wanted to be the mom who came up with the really cool costume, but this year I was.
Strategic babysitting. I’m always on the hunt for ways to ease pain points in my life. I knew that I was flying home on the red-eye from San Francisco last Friday, landing early Saturday AM. Saturday morning is an intense sports time in our house. So I hired a sitter to come from 8:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. so I could nap and my husband didn’t have to bring all the other kids to each sporting event. The nap felt amazing.
Coffee and the Economist at 6 a.m. If I can’t exercise or do focused work before breakfast, at least I can now read while the toddler watches Daniel Tiger. (Also, the past two days my husband has gotten up with him, which has been great. Who knew sleeping until 6:30 would feel like sleeping in?)
Kids who are different from me. I hate the Philadelphia airport parking garage. It is poorly signed, and no matter how many dozens of times per year I park there, I still find myself wandering around trying to get out. While driving the 3 big kids home from the airport last week, and expressing my displeasure, my 7-year-old, who has a near intuitive sense of the world’s mechanics, very rationally said “Mommy, look for the light. We’re one level under the roof deck, so wherever you see the light is the ramp to go down.” I did note that it could also be the ramp to go up, but since I had found that one, looking for the other patch of light was brilliant. I am quite sure that before I could drive I had no concept of which level of a parking garage I was on, but my little guy was paying attention.
Great kids, part 2. My 9-year-old is playing Prince Phillip in a community musical production of Sleeping Beauty. I got a note from one of the directors that they had blocked the scene where he dances with Briar Rose, and while having to dance with a girl might normally set a 4th grader to giggling, he was so serious and got through it with no shenanigans whatsoever.
Summer anticipation. So it seems like a long time off. But my parents want to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this summer with an extended family vacation at the beach. So I am looking at rentals in our favorite beach town that can accommodate all of us. Some research has found that anticipation accounts for a big chunk of the happiness gained from vacations. It is fun to picture it, many months from now.