The leaves are falling…here’s how I did on the Fall Fun List

Driving around these days, I can see a lot more sky than I could a week or two ago. Lots of leaves are on the ground. While there’s still some brilliant fall color in patches, there’s a lot of brown too, and our first frost is in the forecast. So, it’s time for an update on how I did on the Fall Fun List!

(For new readers: I posted this list in early September, talking about what seasonal adventures I wanted to have to make fall feel like fall. I post seasonal fun lists about five times a year — the four seasons plus holidays — to help guide my schedule as I follow Tranquility by Tuesday Rule #6: One big adventure, one little adventure. If you want more little adventures in your life I’d suggest making these lists!)

Here’s what happened and what didn’t:

Go to Maine. I took a work trip to Portland in early September, and there was definitely cold in the air at night, which made me feel like I was ushering in the new season. It’s a lovely little town and I had a lot of fun!

Run a half marathon. I finished the Philadelphia Distance Run. I was not thrilled with my time. But I did finish. My next race will be a much more manageable Turkey Trot 5k, which I am running with my oldest kid.

See the bird migration. I suggested going to Hawk Mountain or Cape May, both of which are great bird-watching spots. We did not make it to either. The weekends just got filled up with stuff or bad weather and the kids not wanting to spend the time in the car. I’ll have to bump this to next year. (Though I doubt any of those variables will change next year…but I won’t be launching a book, so maybe I could go during the week.)

Take a leaf peeping trip. We did do this! The whole family went on a weekend trip to my brother’s house in upstate New York. We went on a lovely fall hike in Minnewaska and then went apple picking. There was a bonus stop at Starbucks in downtown Stroudsburg on the way back, and it turned out to be a very cute and autumnal town in the hills too. Some year I’m going to do a Vermont/New Hampshire fall leaf peeping trip, but I’ll probably need to make a long weekend out of that.

Go on a fall hike. Sort of… There was Lake Minnewaska, as mentioned above. I went on two bike rides through very colorful leaves, and on a short walk through a local trail. I would have liked to go hiking in the Poconos, but as with Cape May, that did not happen.

Go to a Halloween-themed event. I took the three younger kids to Dutch Wonderland, and though it was rainy they had a lot of fun. We also went to my husband’s office Halloween party. And we hosted my daughter’s 11th birthday party, which had a Halloween theme, complete with decorating pumpkins, and wrapping her up like a mummy.

Drink apple cider/go apple picking. We did go apple picking by my brother’s. As for cider, I haven’t been that excited about drinking it, but when I took my daughter to Longwood Gardens to see the lights, we stopped at the beer garden and I ordered the cider. Alas, it had a caramel flavor to it that I didn’t notice before ordering…Oh well. Maybe a better one next year. (I am more of a “dry” rather than “sweet” cider sort of person – but we have some dry hard cider at home that I haven’t drank either. It is the sort of thing I feel like I want to drink surrounded by pumpkins and hayrides and if I don’t have that it’s not going to be my Friday night choice.)

Listen to fall-themed music. I started listening to a few options, but I think I’m going to count the Faure Requiem (which I sang this past weekend with my choir) as my official fall music.

Take family photos. We got this done last weekend! The 2-year-old was in full 2-year-old form, refusing to participate, then refusing to take any photos without this giant water gun backpack on his back, a toy he had never shown interest in until the photo shoot, so I didn’t know to hide it…ugh. Miraculously some of the photos turned out quite well, though a few where we are all facing the camera I didn’t suck in my stomach and I don’t want to choose those for the holiday card and have people send me notes about whether the family is growing…No. It is not.

Celebrate the launch of Tranquility by Tuesday. I had a virtual toast the night before launch, and I had some friends and family over to the house to celebrate on what turned out to be a perfect autumn day.

Anyway, I made a lot of memories this fall, even if the season was intense in many ways, and certainly all did not go as planned. Now, onto the holidays, which will be complex as our list of traditions is long and our available time limited.

How did you do on your fall fun list, if you made one?

In other news: I was a guest on Erik Fisher’s Beyond the To Do List podcast. Please check it out.

10 thoughts on “The leaves are falling…here’s how I did on the Fall Fun List

  1. I spent a lot of time enjoying the leaves and changing seasons (in Montreal, in Perthshire, and in Northern Ireland), we went to the pumpkin patch, and my husband and I got away for two nights in a nice hotel while the grandparents watched kiddo.

  2. Love these updates Laura! And anyone that’s ever had a two year old know the struggle of having to incorporate a random toy into a picture…

    1. @Laura C – I’ve just casually mentioned it, and seen if people want to join me. Then see if the kid’s interest develops…running is something that most people can do and can do flexibly, so that’s why my oldest has been willing to do it occasionally. I’m hoping the Turkey Trot makes him more excited for it!

  3. We did family photos in september and it was a total gong show. I can’t believe she got so many good ones. Our almost 2yo was not cooperative. Mg husband and I laughed over how misleading the photos are. We look like we are all happy and everyone was cooperative. That was so not the case. If we had wine in the house, I would have had several glasses after the session!

    I’m traveling for work and when I saw a coworker, he somehow misunderstand a comment about our youngest being almost 2 and thought I had said we were having another child. I was like ‘OH MY GOD NO!’ My collegues around us laughed so hard at my reaction. But we are sooo done having kids. But I hope he didn’t think I looked like I am having another baby either! Eeks.

    1. Oh, gosh. My youngest is 2.5 and I probably look a little pregnant from some angles! Just today in toddler music class I was wondering about one of the other moms, whose belly I think was flatter in September…

  4. I’ve done very well on my fall fun list – lots of Halloween outings – and the key has been restricting it to things I actually want to do. In previous years, I’ve put aspirational things like “apple picking” (I live in NYC and the nearby orchards are insanely overcrowded, and lacking in facilities for toddlers) and spent the whole season feeling guilty about not doing my “fun” and dreading even looking at the list. This year, I’ve used it less as a goad and more as a guide, to be sure I plan in the things I’m excited about.

    1. @Erica – totally agree that you should only put things you want to do on the list! No need to feel guilt over something that is supposed to be fun…

  5. My original list and how I did:
    Going on a cruise through Maritime Canada with a couple of stops in New England this fall. Portland is a stop and a lobster roll somewhere is a must. I second the recommendation for Scales, and would also add The Holy Donut (pre-order online to avoid standing in line) or Two Fat Cats bakery. They have a nice farmer’s market if you are there on a Saturday.
    My list:
    1. Soak up whatever fall things we see on the cruise. We start in Quebec City, which I have never visited-very much looking forward to that. After the cruise, we’ll be at our Marco island timeshare for several weeks, where I am hoping not to have to work remotely too much. I’m a little sad about missing the peak October fall season in the Mid-Atlantic, but our soon-to-be forfeited 2020 cruise credits needed to be used or would be lost. Results-Success! Quebec City has a great European feel, and the other places that we visited on the cruise were all great. A highlight was spending a day on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia with a cousin of my ex-husband. I am still in touch with the Canadian portion of my ex-husband’s family-and they are all wonderful people, His cousin cleared the decks and spent a wonderful day with us, He is the port chaplain and was able to clear security and meet us at the bottom of the gangway out of the ship.
    2. Enjoy September Thursday noon hikes in a local park with a local hiking group. This is a weekly little adventure, made all the more fun because I have made 2 new friends as a result of my prior participation. Result: Success-only had one canceled by rain. I count this as one of my weekly Tranquility by Tuesday little adventures-an hour and a half in nature.
    3. Meet up with 2 friends who live about an hour or so away (so too far to make spontaneous plans). One will join me on a local hike this Sunday (with coffee beforehand) and the other will meet me for lunch later this month and impart the Quebec City wisdom that she gleaned from a family trip this summer. Results: Success. My hike with my friend was rained out, but we met up for a 2-and-a-half-hour coffee date instead, She commented that it was the getting together that mattered-so true! My trip planning lunch with my other friend was also great-we wound up getting delicious crepes and maple lattes in Quebec City based on her recommendations.
    4. Watch the changing of the guard in the UK as the Queen is given a final farewell. We attended the Braemar Highland Games near Balmoral 8 or 9 years ago and she was there. I got chills as the crowd sang, “God Save The Queen” while she was among us. Her limo also passed within 10 feet of us as we were walking back to our car. Charles was there and was quite enthusiastic as he watched the “tossing of the caber.” Picture hulking men tossing something resembling a telephone pole that tumbles end over end…..Results: Success-although I watched so much and got up so early for some of it that I felt a bit obsessive.
    5. Go to see Ringo Starr in concert, which will mark the 3rd Beatle that I have seen performing live. Results: Success. He is 82 years old and did jumping jacks on stage at the end of the concert.
    6. Celebrate the 90th birthday of my husband’s aunt at a cousin’s reunion. She is an example of someone who enjoys continuous weekly adventures even at an advanced age-she hosted Wii bowling with friends in her apartment every week until she turned 89, and still posts jokes on Facebook. Results: Did not happen. My husband’s aunt got Covid 4 days before the celebration. Felt really sad about the cancellation (especially for her).
    7. Find somewhere local to pick apples right before our cruise and figure out how to store them in a cool place so that they last until we get back. Results: Success. We scrambled to get up to Terhune Orchards in Princeton to pick apples before we left for our cruise/Florida timeshare trip. We go home tomorrow after 5 and a half weeks away-we ate a number of apples before we left, but I am anxious to see if the apples that I left behind in a cool place have survived.

    1. @Beth C- I hope the apples made it! And so sorry to hear your husband’s aunt got Covid – such a disappointment not being able to celebrate that birthday….

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