The morning was still fairly dark when I walked my daughter to the school bus stop outside our apartment building. All the kids from the apartment complex milled around the parking lot, next to dumpsters and discarded furniture. We shivered in the autumn air. The rising sun glared brilliantly off the frost on the car windshields. When my daughter climbed on board and the bus pulled away, I walked to work through the morning chill with my hands in my pockets and my nose sniffling.
Fall is the foreshadowing of winter. The early darkness and cooling air warn us of the chill and stillness to come. Every fall I feel a sense of drawing in and settling down. I want to feel cozy, to curl up and cocoon; not to avoid the dark and cold, but to enjoy the promise of comfort and warmth.
In preparing for the icy days and nights ahead, I've found a few ways to enjoy and appreciate the changing season:
Make the most of the last nice days by wearing sweatshirts and jackets to play at the park.
Look for free and low-cost indoor entertainment. My daughter and I enjoyed the warm and humid Botanical Center where we stood under the banana trees and counted the geckos clinging to the leaves.
Dig the warm pajamas out of storage, put sleeping bags on the living room floor, and enjoy a slumber party movie night. Make popcorn and use flashlights for lighting.
Buy extra flashlight batteries for possible winter power outages. Check and change batteries in all home smoke detectors.
Bake cookies. Let children help.
Buy extra shelf-stable food so we're not traipsing to the grocery store during winter storms. I stock up on condensed milk, peanut butter, dry cereal, cans of chili and soup.
Make homemade chili and soup. Try this taco soup recipe.
Buy extra over-the-counter pain reliever and cough medicine so I'm not dragging a kid with a cold to the store in frigid weather.
Have the car's oil changed. Check and rotate tires. Replace wiper blades and fill washer fluid.
Buy extra socks for everyone in the household. Save a couple of pairs to make sock snowmen, following a Youtube tutorial.
Trace fallen leaves onto red, orange, and yellow construction paper. Cut out the shapes to decorate the apartment windows and walls.
Then curl up on the couch together, pull up the blanket or quilt, and snuggle in luxurious warmth. Talk about the autumns and winters, springs and summers of our childhoods. Appreciate this gift of time to connect, be present, and talk quietly.
I hope you all enjoy a cozy, comfortable evening together before resting through the long, cold night and then seeing them off to school in the morning.
How do you enjoy the changing season? How do you prepare for the cold weather ahead?