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Hello Fall, 2018

We're knee deep in crisp weather, leaves, pumpkins, hot cocoa, and all other things autumn related. And we're loving it.

For a quick minute, in writing, I'm going to be emotional and comment that this is our last VA fall.... the last fall on this tour. And while Brock and I whine about the east coast like grumpy old people grumbling about the young generation, the east coast has given us some beautiful memories. Memories of camping, memories of friends and fun new adventures, memories of family. Memories worth documenting here, for friends and family to read now, and for Ruby to read about later. Because while I could write a (long) blogpost on the reasons we don't like NOVA, I'd rather focus on all the beauty we've encountered while here. My husband and I are (humble) doing a great job raising an amazing daughter, and I need to remember to focus on the valuable, the important, the good, rather than the negative. It is a personal issue I have: I tend to be pessimistic, so I work on overcoming that. I'm a work in progress, for sure (aren't we all?).

This fall already has given us, quite possibly, our last camping trip in our truck and camper. We've decided to try and sell it, and make the move toward a camper van in the future. So we enjoyed Cunningham Falls State Park, Rocky Ridge Wooden Slide, and lots of perfect family time the first weekend in October. We were almost rained out, but we persisted. That was also Ruby's first sleepover with Nanee and Hop by herself, and she LOVED it.

Ruby has made, and popped, HUGE monster bubbles. And she's become a pro at biking: she really needs pedals! And of course... chalk art. Always chalking.

We've spent so much time the past year with Haley, Ruby's best little friend. We made a visit to Braehead Farms, and the girls played on a perfect fall day. They do countless other fun things together: playgrounds, hiking, indoor children's museums, indoor trampoline places, and even special lunch dates where they just can't stop laughing. We're lucky to have them and all these good times!

We had a visit with Mimi, Grammie Roe, and (surprise!) Auntie Gabby... where we ate good food, and spread lots of love and good vibes. Ruby is truly lucky to have so many strong role models in her life, leading by example and loving her. And she loves all these women (and Auntie Belle too!) to the moon and back!

We got lucky with a stunning fall day and met Nanee, Aunt Sonia and cousins at Wheaton Regional Park. What FUN!

We took Papa to the pumpkin patch and farm, and took a hayride, picked our own pumpkins, and had a perfect morning. We, of course, went on a family breakfast date first, to our favorite place: The Mercantile. Breakfast dates are kind of our thing... Brock loves breakfast, and no one loves taking a toddler to a dinner date.

We carved pumpkins. Ruby helped. She's growing so fast, and becoming more and more independent each day: it amazes me and makes me wish time would slow down for just a second.

We had Halloween. My favorite! Ruby went as the witch from one of her favorite books, Room on the Broom, and her mama dressed as a cowgirl. Papa never dresses up. It is against his personal code, which generally is anti fun. (Not really, but really).

Ruby spent her third halloween with one of her favorite people ever: her Mimi! And Mimi brought Podge, and they had dinner with us (Halloween pasta!) and they trick or treated. All 4 adults couldn't believe how Ruby just owned the trick or treat tradition this year, marching up to all the houses, knocking, proudly saying "trick or treat" and then a pleasant "thank you! happy halloween!" for all her candy received.

Know what was even better than Mimi and Podge coming to spend Halloween with us? They stayed for bathtime, and Mimi read books! It was a special night, and Ruby is still talking about it, almost a week later.

Ruby and I started a new endeavor this fall, coaching an 0930 class at a local gym, CrossFit 234. Ruby is an awesome co-coach, and enjoys bossing people around almost as much as I do. She's quite an athlete in the making!

And to sum up the beginnings of fall, the beginnings of the end of 2018... Brock and I celebrated the return to Standard Time by really sleeping in! Ruby went for a special sleepover with Nanee and Hop, and this time, her best cousins Kenzie and Cam joined in! It was full of fun, and lots of love, and a nice, early, 5am start on Sunday (thank you Nan and Hop!).

I can't wait to live this month. Thanksgiving. So MUCH that we have to be thankful for. May your fall be off to as perfect of a start as ours!

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