Chasing fall

Do you ever feel like you just cannot wait for fall to arrive? Do you ever feel like you can’t wait for it to come to you so you decide to just go chase it down? That’s just what we did when my mom came to visit. On Saturday we went Up North to find fall. As it turns out, the best color was found off our beaten path. Is it that way with just us or do you find that happens to you as well? Our trip was originally only going to take us to the tunnel of trees on M119 (you can read about this beautiful drive here) but when we stopped for lunch about 1/2 way we changed our plans a little, thanks to hashtags and a very nice gentleman at Bear’s Den Pizzeria in Grayling, MI. If you’re looking for a yummy pizza with super friendly people, this is your place. All morning we had been joking about hashtags and how they’re getting out of control. (And if you know anything about my family, you know we beat that dead horse for hours and hours.) Before I go any further, if you haven’t seen Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake poke fun at the hashtagging phenomenon, then do yourself a favor and watch this:

Back to my story. I went to Instagram, put hashtags to work for me and happened upon a picture from Deadman’s Hill (for you Michiganders, this is near the Jordan River Valley). One of the employees heard that we were trying to find it and was so kind to come back with written directions. Talk about going above and beyond! After devouring the pizza, we were off! Here are some photos I snapped on our way…My mom has become quite the Instagrammer!
This is the view from the scenic overlook. Beautiful, isn’t it?I need your opinion. The overlook is situated on a hill. Should this photo stay as is and have a wonky fence and straight horizon…

OR should the fence be straightened and the horizon become crooked?
Which one looks better? Obviously, I think both are perfect since this hottie is in them. By the way, he has lost over 40 pounds this year and I think he looks simply looks amazing. 

After some more picture taking, we were back on the road.I’m pretty sure I could live here:It was a great day and I’m so glad my mom was able to see some color. Hopefully next year my dad can come along, too! And since it’s been a while, I made a movie of my mom’s visit.

God’s sneaky peak

Yeah, so I haven’t been around lately.

I could tell you that I’ve been super busy or that we’ve been to Florida and have had three visitors since May or that I took up running like Forrest Gump and I’ve been running all over the nation or that I was abducted by aliens and they just returned me back to my home planet last week. I could tell you any one of those things. Some of them are actually true. I’ll leave you to decide which ones are and which ones are just a little fib. 

Things are starting to feel different around these parts. Summer is on her way out and fall is sneaking in on her shirt tales. It’s a funny thing, fall. Just like spring, it’s an escort for another season; almost like a sneak peak of what’s to come.

And sometimes I need a sneak peak.
Sometimes I need a change of pace.
Sometimes I need something different.

Not that things are terrible the way they are but who doesn’t want a change in (at least) one area of their life? I think I got a sneak peak of the good things that are on the way. Forever the optimist, I know that good things are always ahead of me. But I also like to think that God put this little leaf right in my path today to remind me of those things. If I looked around the neighborhood, most trees are still green but a few are showing speckles of color. The changes are starting to take place but you really have to look for it. Fall is not in full swing just yet and most of the leaves that have already fallen are brown, not pretty like this little gem. I’m choosing to believe that this was God’s way of saying, “Pssssttt…just look what I have for you. Just wait till “fall” comes and you see everything I have waiting there.” Do I really think that as soon as September 22nd rolls around that some amazing change will come my way? Not really. But I wouldn’t turn it away if it did. I’m just believing that this little leaf was a taste of what’s to come:

Beauty all around me
Everywhere I turn, a wonderful feast for my eyes
Things bright and beautiful

So, welcome back to my little blog. I probably won’t wax this philosophical all the time. Probably not. But who knows? Maybe along with the change ahead of me comes a change in how I blog?

The leafy shortcut

I’d like to start off by saying that I know this will probably bore the pants off most everyone except my family (and even they might doze off during the video) but I thought I’d share it anyway. We’ve had a few days of warmer weather here. For example, today’s high was 76 degrees. I know it won’t last – in a mere five days the high is going to be a pitiful 39 degrees. Quite the change for this Florida family.

Anyway, back to my story. I decided Jackson and I would walk home after school. Ethan liked that idea so he came along for the ride walk. There’s a great park just behind Jackson’s school and I thought it would be fun to cut through there on our way home. It’s actually a short cut so we’ll probably do it again (but not when it’s under 40 degrees). Here’s how we spent our time:

(Music: The Only Thing by Orba Squara)

We have quite a bit planned for this weekend so I should be back soon with some more pictures of our adventures! Have a great weekend, guys.

Cider, donuts and fall colors? Yes, please

The Long family was at it again this weekend. Wanting to see what all the fuss was about, we went to a cider mill. I guess if you’re from up north then you’re probably familiar with cider mills. I have to say I’m officially in love. The chilly weather, the hot cider and warm donuts. Oh, the donuts…The apples were aplenty. In reality, apples are not aplenty in these parts. Earlier this year the apple crops were damaged and there’s actually a shortage of apples. That means not many You Pick places (if any at all). And it also means all things (Michigan) apple related are more pricey this year.

There was also a working water wheel there, too.We left the cider mill in search of some fall colors. And colors we found…There’s The Mister on the left taking pictures for his blog. Maybe he’ll actually update it sometime soon (hint, hint). I forced the boys to throw leaves in the air for a picture. I’m pretty sure they had more fun making fun of me. Yep, I’ve given birth to a couple of smart alecks. (You fit right in with the rest of the family, boys.)

And of course….So, what’s your favorite thing to do in the fall? What should we put on our To Do list? 

Back to school

Just stopping in to let my family know that we’re still alive. The boys started school this week and so far, it’s going great. They were starting to get bored and I was ready for some quiet time around the house. Ethan actually wasn’t feeling well on the first day of school so he stayed home and Jackson went alone. By day two, Ethan was back to his normal self so off to school he went. Both boys have made friends already and seem to be enjoying their first week in a new school. In fact, Jackson actually thanked us for letting him go to his school. That made my heart smile. Lots of prayer went into what city we decided to live and one of the biggest factors was schools. 

Pardon the obligatory back to school photo. I hate taking these picture. There’s never enough time to get a “good” photo, we’re always rushing, and they never want to cooperate. So, I’ve decided I’ll take some better portraits soon. It’s been a while since I’ve tortured them used them as my subjects. Can’t you just see the excitement in their eyes? 

In other news, some of the trees have already started changing colors. Fall is just around the corner, though the weather hasn’t gotten the memo yet. Here are a couple snaps from my instagram feed:

I cannot wait to see these colors all over town. Our street is full of mature trees and the thought of all those colors welcoming me home makes me almost giddy. As well as the thought of hot chocolate, hot tea, soup, blankets, scarves, sweaters and the smell that fall brings. Everyone tells me that the smell in the fall air is amazing.

So how was your back-to-school week? Is it fall in your neck of the woods? What sort of fall things are you looking forward to?