The Holidays May Be Over But …

IMG_7134Yes, it’s January 12th. I did glance at the calendar before I sat down to write this post. Is that going to stop me?

Nah…

I know by this point most people are ready to move forward and put the stress and craziness of Christmas behind them. Most of us have undecorated and put away (or thrown away – so sad) the tree. We’re back to work or school or whatever we call the normal routine and we’re embracing (or not) all those resolutions we made at the start of January.

That’s okay. I’m sharing these photos with you anyway. In my part of the world when the start of the year means cold and snow and dreary days, I’m grasping for a happy pick-me-up. Over the weekend, the family and I went to Phipps Conservatory for their after-hours candlelight tour. I’m so glad we managed to squeeze it in before it ended because it was as beautiful as I expected.

It’s tough to pick out just a couple of my favorite photos but here you go… I hope you enjoy them, too.

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End of Winter Survival Plan

winter 009This is my plan. What’s yours?

I love living in an area where we get to enjoy the change of seasons. Each season offers something unique that I look forward to experiencing, some more than others. And when we’re stuck in a rut, sometimes that change is exactly what we need to breathe new life into our daily routine.

But by this time of year, I reach a point when winter has lost its charm and I am itching for that change. Bring on spring, those warmer temperatures (hey, I’ll settle for above freezing), hints of green, and daffodil sprouts. It’s so close we can almost reach out and feel … yet, still oh, so far away. Winter doesn’t want to give up her grip.

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This is my backyard. The sun shining on the snow is pretty, I admit. But the negative temperatures that delay school for the umpteenth time this year… that has got to go.

I don’t want to rush the days by too quickly but enough is enough. Raise your glass in a toast to the end of winter! Cheers. 🙂

 

A Foggy Morning October Run

October 008Dressed in my orange ‘Happy Halloween’ t-shirt and a pair of black running shorts, I laced up my sneakers and headed to the park for my morning run. October settled over the area in the form of dense fog which certainly added to the pre-Halloween atmosphere.

Although I love summer and the carefree days hanging out with my boys, I have to admit October has always topped my list of favorite months. There is just something so invigorating about the cooler days and the colorful leaves. I love apples and pumpkins and looking at Halloween decoration. I love wrapping myself in a blanket on the couch and getting caught up in a great ghost story. But most of all, this is a great time of year to be an outdoor runner and I’m making the most of it by getting out to enjoy it while it lasts!

Cooler air overnight brought powerful thunderstorms. I’m not usually one to wake up to the crash of thunder but this time, it was hard to miss. Those sunny warm days we were enjoying are suddenly replaced by a fall morning chill. This is the first morning I have felt compelled to grab a light sweatshirt before heading to the park.

The fog is lingering and the ground is wet from last night’s rain, making the leaves that have already fallen a little slick along the trail. It is also quiet. I suppose many people looked out their window this morning and decided today is not a good day to go outside.

Me, I’m still running. As a matter of fact, I am pushing myself a little harder in preparation for my second 5K race coming up on the 11th of October. I was so exhilarated after the first 5K (The Graffiti Run in early August) that I rushed to find another one I could participate in before the cold weather sets in. Now, I’m starting to think maybe I was a little crazy.October 016 Am I ready to do that again? I don’t feel ready. Then again, I said the same thing the first time. All I can do is keep running and on race day, hope to be a little less anxious, and definitely ready to run.

I’ve started getting off the main trail to explore paths through the woods, not just to run farther, but because I like to explore. My current favorite path is barely wide enough to walk but it’s a peaceful meander amongst trees with lots of twists and ups and downs. And okay, the occasional spider web that I’m forced to walk through – but I’m less impressed with those.

During my time in the woods, my mind is free to start thinking about my day ahead, especially what I will write. I like to imagine my characters walking with me. What would they do?

Where will they lead me?

It’s a new month and a new day to explore. I’m ready to sit back with a cup of tea, stretch out tired muscles, and put words to paper to weave new worlds…

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Fall Family Picnic

Oct 079Every fall we make it a tradition to have a family picnic at Moraine State Park. This includes not just my husband, my kids, and me, but also my parents and my brother as well. We plan ahead of time who will bring what, nothing fancy, usually just hot dogs on the grill along with some pasta salad, and plenty of goodies to enjoy. That was the menu plan this year, at any rate. After we eat and catch up, we all head to the extensive bike trail for a long walk together. Inevitably, we end up at the play area for the kids to swing, climb, and go down the slides. And okay, sometimes the adults take part in this fun as well.

I’m grateful that we didn’t miss our annual picnic at Moraine this year and that we had such a beautiful day to enjoy it together. Of course, where I go, the camera goes too so I have plenty of photos to share of some of the sights that took my interest along the way. Oct 082 Above is a lovely view of the bike trail as we started on our walk. And to the right is a view of Lake Arthur. There were a lot of sailboats on the water. You can just about make out one in the distance in this particular photo. I love the way the water sparkles in the sun.

Oct 084My husband shakes his head and says, “You and flowers…”

Yes, flowers and me… I have a strange obsession with taking photos of them and if you could peek into the files on my computer, you would see that I have hundreds of them already and I still can’t help myself to take more every chance that I get. I love to capture them in photos, which is better than cutting them and killing them just for a few days of being pretty on my table. And yes, I feel this way even about the weeds and I always have.

Oct 086My kids adore their grandparents. We don’t see them as often as they’d like because we live many miles apart but when we do see them, it makes those moments even sweeter. I couldn’t resist stealing a photo of the kids as they walk along the trail with Grandpa. What do you suppose they are talking about? Are they discussing the caterpillars that we see now and then? Are they pointing out the color in the leaves? Or maybe, knowing these are my kids and my kids happen to be superhero obsessed, perhaps they are discussing the details of how Iron Man or Captain America would save the day? This is, after all, serious business.

Oct 110And then there were more flowers and once again, I could not resist. Even in the fall when everything begins to die, they are still beautiful, maybe even more so than in summer’s full bloom.

The days are getting shorter. The trees are even more vibrant than they were a week ago and many leaves have already fallen. I like to believe that I’m capturing every moment before it disappears and gives way to winter cold and snow.

And last but not least, I leave you with my very favorite photo that I’ve taken so far…

Oct 115The sun is setting over another fun-filled family day. My kids call these “wish flowers” because I told them that if they close their eyes and blow away the seeds, they could make a wish and it would come true. My oldest wished for more wish flowers because he loves watching the seeds scatter. Now, I think that is one wish that just might come true.

If you could sit in the grass and watch the sun set over the lake, pick this flower and make just one wish …

What would you wish for?

 

Tuesday Photos – Fall at Morraine State Park

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m dangerous with a camera in my hands. Plant me in the midst of a pretty day during my favorite season and you’ve got a recipe for a photo extravaganza! I’ve always had a fascination with taking pictures of people and places and in the past, I’ve shared some of those here on my blog. Today, I’m planning to share a couple of my favorites from Morraine State Park.

Every year we make it a family tradition to enjoy a picnic there with my parents at the beginning of October. These photos are a few of my favorites from last year’s adventure. (Perhaps I’ll soon have some new faves to share from this year?)

As a matter of fact, I am starting with one of my favorite photos of all. I love this one so much that it’s been my desktop wallpaper since I downloaded it. I smile every time I look at it…

Don’t you love those brilliant colors? When you look at a photo like this, how can you not fall in love with autumn in Pennsylvania?

Same place, slightly different, but just as beautiful…

Take my hand and walk with me?

Do you see the moon?

Thanks for taking a walk with me on this beautiful fall day. I hope you enjoyed looking at my photos as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing them. 🙂