Pumpkin Patching + Halloween

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

This year, we got around to the pumpkin patch a lot earlier than usual (I think we made it out the day before Halloween last year!), which means it wasn't quite as cold as I like it to be for all the harvest-y photos. No coats were needed this year, but it turned out to be a lovely afternoon. 

I'm still getting used to my new camera, and sadly, a good chunk of my pictures came out completely under-exposed before I realized the setting was way off. But, I managed to get a few good ones of the kiddos running around through the patch. Loden was too little to care or understand what pumpkins were last year, but he's really gotten into them this year. Avienne picked out the perfect mini one for him, and he was walking around the house all day holding it saying "pum-pum." 

We managed to carve the big one just before Halloween, too. Admittedly, this just isn't my favorite holiday, so I tend to over-procrastinate and get things done barely in time for the actually celebration. I surprised myself by gathering all the costume elements for Avienne way in advance, but that was likely due to the costume being largely handmade. Maybe it's what I should do every year, come to think of it...

Avienne has been begging me to knit her a poncho, and once we found a pattern (which ended up being crochet), I suggested she consider making it into a Little Red Riding Hood Halloween costume. Surprisingly, she was super excited about the idea and actually stuck with it!  I found most of the supplies to accessorize it, including some fabric for the skirt, at Austin Creative Reuse, so spent maybe a couple of bucks on the whole thing. 

It turned out to be much too late and rainy for Loden to do any trick-or-treating this year, but he let me scribble some paint onto his face and stick a tail on him long enough to take some photos of him as the not-so-scary wolf. In the end, Avienne and friends did a quick round of trick-or-treating in the rain and got to bed at a decent hour for a school night. 

Not gonna lie, I'm happy for Halloween to be over and really excited about the holidays ahead. Cooler weather, cozy weekends and yummy food are what most excite me about this season, and I'm really ready for some leisurely time with my people.

Preschooling 2.0

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

When I was pregnant with Loden, I didn't really have a plan set out for what our time together might look like. I knew from experience that the first year or so with a new baby is a special and unforgettable time that I would want to be entirely present for, so I planned to be home with him as long as possible to maximize our bonding time. What I didn't know was that I would also struggle with a sense of losing my own time and feel a strong urge to regain an independent, meaningful-outside-of-motherhood existence within that year. 

It was a long and bumpy year, but I pushed through and prioritized my life in order to maintain a sense of self-worth and feel like a whole person for my kiddos. Before Loden turned one, I knew he would follow in his sister's footsteps and enter preschool once he was 18 months old. Reading back through the reasons Avienne was ready to start, I see how many of the same apply to Loden. This time, however, there is also the added selfish urgency to reestablish myself as an autonomous being and feel a sense of belonging to a world I currently feel so disconnected from.

When I started looking into schools for Loden, I considered language immersion again, as it had worked so well for Avienne. Some friends of ours recommended their son's Spanish immersion preschool which was a stone's throw away from our house, and after researching it, we decided it was the right place for Loden to begin his schooling away from home. 

I've just dropped him off for his second day, and although he walked into the school with confidence and coolness, he completely fell apart the moment I said goodbye. It's funny because I don't even recall having such strong, gut-wrenching feelings when Avienne did the same, but clearly, I did! I do remember having vague and fleeting feelings of guilt for "abandoning" her at 16 months old, but for me, the greatest takeaway from that experience with her was that she emerged a confident, Mandarin-speaking kid that lasted long after those torturous transitional weeks. My heart feels so full and strong when I think of that happening for Loden. This little boy of mine is so ready to share his love and friendship with the world.

NYC...a month later

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

It's been a little over a month since our family took a little trip with another favorite family to our mutually favorite city (New York, of course). Since I'm feeling the itch to get out of Austin again, I thought, what better time to recap all the fun we had on our last little jaunt? We made it there just in time for some crazy cold winter weather, lots of snow and lots of sludge. With the exception of one extremely lousy day that kept me with Loden in the apartment for 24 hours, we had a pretty swell visit.

TEXAS SARAH. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.