Summer's last trail. Looking ahead to autumn.

How was your weekend?  Ours was full, with plenty of family time and some rest tucked in there too.  My nose and the weather seemed to decide they were going to let me know in a dramatic way that summer is indeed, on its way out and autumn is knocking instead.  Usually this time of year I'm pulling out the pumpkins and looking ahead to the next season.  Not this year though.  This time I'm content to let the last of summer stay until every single spray drop from the hose is nowhere to be found. 

We've had a great summer with the girls and look how big they've gotten!  That is SUCH a mom thing to say but I'm ok with it.  They both started preschool again this year, for just a couple of mornings a week.  I wondered if they would be excited or nervous and was prepared to lovingly parent through both.  But excitement won out!  After attending their Open House the girls both couldn't wait to go to school and have loved every single day since!  It is a delight dropping them off and I feel like I've earned it.  Last year Betsy Grace cried at drop off for a good, solid six months and my mama heart just almost couldn't take it.  But it seems like the time put in was worth it.  I suppose that could be true in a lot of areas of life.

One of our favorite late summer activities is visiting the county fair.  We usually go with my sisters and their kids, plus Granna and Poppa.  This year it didn't work out so I took the girls after school one day.

I would say they were most impressed with the chickens. 

We sat and watched these little ladies show their pigs, saw some cows up close, and left after one of the prize flowers accidentally got knocked over.  Ooops.

Our garden has totally gotten away from us the past month or so but you know what big realization I came to while staring these weeds down?  What The Nester says is true, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful."  The beauty is sparse in this overgrown weed pit we are calling a garden, but if you look close enough it's still there.  Among the dead plants are bright red, juicy tomatoes that you can pick and eat right off the vine.  In fact, there are so many we've been enjoying salsa, spaghetti sauce, soups, bruschetta, and even had plenty left over for sharing with the neighbors.  

What if I had written off the value of the garden, due to its unkept appearance and jungle of weeds?  
The beauty and rich taste would have also been lost. 
I think that'll preach.
As our fingers splash and make mud puddles and our feet jump and spray water droplets everywhere, there is a sense of saying goodbye to summer. 
I've slowly been taking little peeks into autumn, gathering ideas for books to read, crafts to make, things to sit by the fire and do in the long, dark evenings. 

Here are a few ideas I think you might want to store for autumn too: 

Cozying up to the fire and coloring

Exploring this creative network, complete with free classes! 

Browsing this cooking blog and this one!

Happy Monday friends! 
Make it count and I'll see you tomorrow! 
(p.s.-What are you looking forward to this autumn? I'd love to hear!)