Feeling like fall…and a fall fun list

September has just started, but the summer heat has broken here in Pennsylvania, at least for now. I saw a few yellow leaves scuttle over the road! We don’t hit peak fall color until late October, but the gradual build-up, with the crisp weather, is always lovely.

School starts next week — Labor Day comes late — and it will look different this year. My three older children are attending school virtually for the first bit. Their schools issued us (and everyone else) laptops/Chromebooks so my device shortage problem is now more than solved (I didn’t know they were issuing these universally, so we bought an iPad and some speakers/webcams so the desk top could run Zoom, but now it seems we won’t urgently need those). We made the tough decision to enroll the 5-year-old in a private kindergarten program that is set up to meet in person. In order to get him to pay attention to preschool Zoom last spring I had to sit with him for the entire class. That just could not happen for 2-3 hours each day. There may be periodic closures, but the class is small, and I am optimistic.

In the meantime, I’ve been creating a fall fun list. I want to take full advantage of this beautiful time of year. Here’s what I’m aiming to do.

Go apple picking. This is my reminder to myself that this is a September activity, not a October/November activity, at least if I want to pick the Cortlandts and Honeycrisps that I like best.

Take a long bike ride. We hiked in the Delaware Water Gap a few weeks ago and I saw that there’s a long bike trail along the river. But there are also nice ones near my home too. We may try to go on a family ride if I can get a sitter for the baby or figure out how to set up the buggy to accommodate him in a few months.

Run 10 miles. My marathon plans aren’t happening. But 10 miles should. One of my running buddies and I might do this on the day our canceled half-marathon would have happened.

Celebrate our two fall birthdays. I am voting no on Chuck E. Cheese birthday parties this year for obvious reasons. But we can still come up with something festive. My husband and I are celebrating our 16th anniversary later this week. I think it will just involve champagne on the back porch and hopefully the kids giving us 15 minutes of peace.

Decorate the yard with mums. These flowers always make fall feel like fall to me. My husband just planted some fall-blooming asters, and the roses (and the dahlias he planted this year) should still be blooming even as the leaves change.

Take a weekend leaf-peeping trip somewhere. This one is already in the works, more on it later!

Take a solo retreat. This might just be a day-long thing, but I’d like to go think deep thoughts somewhere for a little while. Though, boy, I could use a night away from the baby.

Declutter. This is also in process, with a scheduled pick-up of our donations on the calendar. I should schedule these every month or two to force the issue. I also want to re-make my bed. I ordered a lovely Pendleton coverlet and wool blanket but I’ve been too lazy to set that all up. Maybe the changing seasons will inspire me.

What activities make fall feel like fall to you?

In other news: Elizabeth Morphis, who was the subject of a Tranquility by Tuesday makeover a year ago, started a new blog called The Literary Teacher’s Life. If you’re interested in reading, teaching, and education in general, please check it out!


Photo: Rainbow that appeared after a shower this week 

16 thoughts on “Feeling like fall…and a fall fun list

  1. I’m going to stir the pot a little – why are you bothering to buy new bedding when you have made it pretty clear over the years that you think making the bed in the morning is a waste of time? I’ve always made my bed in the morning because it makes me feel good and the room look less chaotic. Just poking the bear – LOL!

    1. You can have new bedding and still not make the bed everyday. I don’t make my bed, but when something wears out or I need a new blanket to keep warm at night, I don’t factor in whether or not I plan on making the bed. Poking back at the bear.

    2. @Ruth – I do make it occasionally! But I have to sleep under something even if I’m not making the bed, and I think this new set of bedding will be less complicated than the current set-up.

  2. My opinion is NEVER Chuck E Cheese. My husband and I used to “Rock Paper Scissors” whenever that was a birthday party location. If ever there was a destination designed to give adults headaches, it is Chuck E. Cheese.

    1. @Jjiraffe- one of my kids used to call it “Chuck E. Jesus” and that’s perhaps the expression I would use to describe going there…

  3. I love your seasonal lists! I am trying to get my big kids to write a list like this for the fall.
    We are already dealing with the disappointment of a cancelled trip during their fall vacation and need some non-cancellable things to look forward to.
    Apple picking is fun but I am always surprised by how quick it goes. With three kids helping me pick we’ve usually got all the apples I want/need within 30 minutes. I don’t have a huge freezer and I am not interested in canning/preserving/making apple butter.
    My fun goals for fall include having better Halloween decorations and doing some hiking.

  4. There will probably be lots of running and biking for me this fall! I coach high school cross country so many of my evenings and Saturdays will be dedicated to that – although it does look slightly different given the pandemic. I had originally intended to run a full marathon in October, but that got cancelled back in July.
    School definitely looks interesting this year. The private school that I coach at is going all in person (unless you individually opted to go virtual). However, the public school that my brother teaches at is going all virtual for the foreseeable future. As with your family, this has increased the enrollment at our private school for those families that want there kids to go in person. I can’t imagine having a kindergartner at home in this virtual world!

  5. Thanks for the reminder to start ruminating about fall! Because Labor Day is so late, I have not given it any thought yet.
    1. Spend 2 1/2 weeks on vacation in Maine. I hope that it goes well. I have obsessively reading tripadvisor reviews about the places we are staying and their COVID precautions. We are only planning on doing outdoor dining. Among the adventures that I have planned are a daytime trip to hike/walk around Monhegan Island (which I have wanted to visit since I was 14) and a moose safari. Need to spend part of the upcoming weekend organizing my trip notes and sketching out a rough plan for each day.
    2. Take at least 2-3 more day trips to the beach. The Jersey Shore is lovely in the fall.
    3. Go apple picking. I would love to find a place that has Macoun and Cortlandt apples-not sure if they are strictly an upstate New York/New England thing.
    4. Continue walks in local county parks and take trips to Estell Manor State Park and the Forsythe Wildlife refuge. I will try to combine the latter trip with a Jersey Shore outdoor dining stop. I had my first outdoor dining experience in 6 months visiting my sister on Long Island this week. I savored every minute!
    5. Try to read at least 3 books a week. I read a lot, but I have to be more intentional about setting aside blocks of time to read.
    6. Start watching some cooking and travel shows that I have written down as possibilities, and finish the always enjoyable”Samantha Brown’s Places to Love” on the PBS app. I got about halfway through the episodes and got waylayed. I recommend them-they can be viewed in 25-minute snippets.
    7. Figure out what to do with the 6 butternut squash that our garden produced. I love that type of squash, but have never come up with creative ways to use it.
    8. Finish listening to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Virtual Book Tour author interviews.
    9. Start shopping for a bit of a stockpile in case things take a turn in the wrong direction pandemic-wise.
    10. Start organizing Christmas ideas early. Not sure there will be many events, but I can at least start on my gift list and holiday letter. I can also start on the Christmas letter-I am always afraid that it bores people or that our mentions of trips sound too braggy-but I love reading ones that we get, and others tell me that they look forward to ours every year.

    1. Just commenting to say- I LOVE getting Christmas letters. I know what you mean about feeling too “braggy”, and I feel like lately it has become really common for people to talk about that/ refer to them as “brag letters” in the media and whatnot… So, I have mostly stopped sending them for that reason. BUT- I actually really love getting them and reading them from people who are still brave enough to send them. Much more so though than just a plain photo card (with a photo I probably already saw on Facebook 🙂

      1. @Grateful Kae- I like Christmas letters too! We’ve stopped writing them because everyone seems to do the photo cards, and now that social media provides more constant updates to far flung friends and family it seems less necessary, but I actually love the genre. Sometimes I write a Christmas letter just for us so I see what we’ve done over the year!

    2. @Beth – Maine is going to be beautiful! I want to do a fall New England trip at some point. We might make it as far as Boston this fall.

  6. I think the fall fun lists are my favorite—it’s my favorite season. I also love apple picking and getting mums, and I’ll also add pumpkin picking to our list.

    Another thing I like to add is buying the fall scents if Mrs. Meyer’s soaps and cleaning products. I’m an underbuyer and my husband teases me about this, but they truly bring me a lot of pleasure and make icky and mundane tasks much better, so it’s worth the minor investment.

  7. Diving into fresh school supplies – for grown-ups! A planner + pens + paints = a blank canvas. Fall always feels full of possibilities.

    [An Aside of Gratitude: Your blog posts, news articles, podcasts, and book chapters have transformed the way I think and act. Thank you!]

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