Two plastic jack-o-lanterns, one pink and one orange, sit just inside the front door, with one precious piece plucked ever so purposefully from the top. The top of a stack that lies hovering just beneath the curve of the opening , stocked with pounds of sugar... And pretzels and popcorn.
Remnants of Raggedy Ann and Andy lay in strewn heaps across the kids' bedroom floor, thrown to the side as the Sweet Tart sugar rush began to fade into cries of exhaustion. Tired eyes finally gave way to the darker side of eyelids for the night, and excited breathing has now morphed into the relaxing sound of rhythmic slow breaths, in and out.
Tonight was good.
It's like the holidays opening number for the end of the year's grand finale and I can't help but inhale every last bit of it. I woke this morning ready to conquer the world, and my list... Of which sometimes I can't tell the difference, and I don't know if it was the way the rain trickled down from a gray sky, the jam-packed week turned jam-packed weekend (except for pajama Saturday) or the fact that I was still overcoming an under-the-weather bout, but come noon I just wanted to climb under my covers sidled up next to my littles and stay. All night.
But I didn't. We had a house full of friends coming over, a neighborhood waiting for costumed littles to call out "trick-or-treat," and two little bottles of bound up energy waiting to rag doll their way down the street.
So up I stayed, and the night unfolded like a beautifully written fall story. With palm trees and 75 degree weather... that part I'm still trying to wrap my head around. It sang out in direct contrast to last years layers to keep warm and an evening of numb fingers and noses.
Tonight was good.
We tumbled our way over the smooth pavement of our streets' sidewalks. Literally. Every kid fell at least once. Little brother tried to keep up with big sister, who most of the time stayed twenty steps ahead and then would occasionally wait for her red-haired counterpart to show up, and in-between chasing her footsteps, he'd stop and gaze in awe of the bright crescent moon that lit up an almost cloudless black sky. And trees. And dogs. Basically it looked like we never take this little one out of the house, because everything earned a "Woah!"
Top it off with the big girls carrying buckets full of their own candy, and the little guys working to do the same, with buckets hanging as low as their tired arms would let them, but no help was needed thank-you-very-much... And well, tonight was good.
Come tomorrow, when I secretly try and compete with myself to see just how long I can stay in yoga pants, I'll still be excited about the kid's costumes that we actually put together with a couple of trips to Goodwill, bleaching some pink clothes white, raiding through the closet and only one good burn from the hot glue gun while attaching red yarn "hair" to a sailor hat and bonnet.
Once we slid the last of the outfit onto their bodies and finished it off with crimson cheeks, I died.
And came back with another piece of my heart still in their hands.
If that weren't enough, the mailman brought a present full of goodies today... A box full of gorgeous, fiery leaves and some harvest apple scents. And my autumn lovin', sentimental heart leaped.
Come on holidays. Bring it.
And if you haven't had enough sweets yet, check out our brand new webisode series featuring a decadent Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate!