Pumpkins, Pumpkins Every Where

We are right on the edge.  Pumpkins are every where.  We are carving them, decorating them, cooking them, and drinking them if you have an addiction to PSL like I do.  There are several items that scream “Fall is here and I’m wearing my favorite boots and sweaters every day.”

Wanted to share a few of my favorite pumpkin creations.  All of these goodies are perfect to surprise neighbors or coworkers.  Enjoy the cool air and the wonderful smells of fall.


Just Stop It- Pumpkin Oat Filled  Chocolate Chip Cookies

Toffee Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Bread

My (I mean) Their Hopes and Dreams

Like with the beginning of any school year, you get all geared up with the hopes and dreams of what the year will hold.  As a teacher, my students would always illustrate their hopes and dreams for the year.  We would hang their drawings in the classroom and refer to them throughout the year.  I would ask questions about their hopes and dreams and as their teacher, I became a navigator for those hopes and dreams.  “My hope and dream is to learn to read a chapter book.”  “My hope and dream is to learn how to multiply.”  These were their thoughts and as their teacher I wanted to make sure they achieved their goals.

As a mom of two boys, I am constantly checking into their hopes and dreams.  Of course I have my own for them but it is important I know what they are wanting to achieve.  With my ten eleven year old, it is easy, “I want to score goals at my lacrosse game.”
“I want to raise my math grade.” “I want to be a leader at school.” 

And then there is my 2 1/2 year old son.  He has lots of words, actions, and ideas but they don’t come out the same way.  We began this school year with our second year of Mother’s Morning Out.  Whitaker loved it last year.  He loved his classmates, adored his teachers, and came home singing about Jesus and about wheels on a bus.  Life was good.  When it came time to sign up again, there was no question that he would move from two days to three days.  Wow, three days a week, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and I can finally get some things done.

I quickly planned out MY “Hopes and Dreams” on these three days a week.  Oh I would get some much accomplished.  Grocery shopping, volunteering, cleaning my house, the gym, doctors appointments, so many things I can take care of. 

The first week of Mother’s Morning Out was rough like most first weeks with little ones.  There were tears, extra hugs and kisses, and prying a child off of me.  He would get the hang out it.  It’s a new room, new teachers, new classmates, but it will all work out.  The first week, I accomplished so much.  The report each day was that Whit had a hard time with transitions and was sad most of the time.  It was very easy for him to tell me that “I just miss my Mommy.”  “I’m sad at school.”   I would reassure him that he was big and brave and Mommy would come back.  (Mommy had things to do!)

So the pattern should be that each week gets a little easier.  I have a degree in Early Childhood, I know what is supposed to happen.  But this was not the case for Whitaker.  He would greet me each morning with “No School Today!” Each week became harder and harder.  Phone calls with him crying in the background because they could not get him to calm down.  They/We tried everything :extra cuddles, a special place in the room to cry when he needed it, extra cookie in his lunch box, prizes when I picked him up…..  And continually, he was saying “I need my Mommy.” “I need to cry for a minute.” “I need to be with my Mommy!”  “I want to go home.”

These phone calls and early pick-up were beginning to weigh on me.  Thoughts like-  What is going on up there?  Why is he the only one doing this?  He is completely fine. I have things I need to do. 

It was a call on a Monday.  It had only been one hour.  I could hear him in the background.  They had tried everything and he was completely inconsolable.  I drove to the school wondering what I was going to face.  Praying the whole way to the school.  I wanted clarity and an understanding of what was going on.

The minute he saw me “I’m happy now.  There is my Mommy.  I need my Mommy.  Mommy, let’s go home.”  It was discussed that maybe we should take a couple of days off with Whitaker.  Maybe he would reset and be ready to try it again. 

“Are you serious?”  I have things I need to do.  My husband is hosting his coworkers at our home. I have company coming in. I have responsibilities at Will’s school.  I can’t have him home ALL day with me. 

I went home that afternoon with my sweet two-year old and tried to rationalize this all out.  Then that clarity I had prayed for came and karate chopped me in the face. 

‘What were Whitaker’s Hopes and Dreams for this school year?’ He loves life, people, activities, and his Mommy. 

This was my first time to stay at home.  With Will, he was with a caregiver at twelve weeks.  That became the norm for Will.  Now with moves, changes, and circumstances, I have the blessing of staying at home.  I had wanted this before and now I have it.  So, why am I chasing my two-year old off so I can get to my agenda.  He is my agenda.  I get to be Mom.  I get have someone miss me and want to spend time playing with me. 

That week, I put on some new lenses with Whitaker.  It was obvious as we drove anywhere near the school his adrenaline began to rise.  He wanted reassurance that we were staying together for the day.  I began to plan activities for him.  He sat a little bit longer in the morning.  No rushing to get out the door to school and to my agenda.  We had a combined plan of what we needed to accomplish for the day. 

We are on week two of “No School Today.”  The teacher in me has been planning activities complete with learning targets. (you can take me out of the classroom but it will still creep out of me).  I have been blessed by this time with Whitaker that I thought I so badly wanted to myself.  There has been quick reminders that this time is very short.  This season will not last long.  He will be going into a classroom and not turning back before I know it. 

So, I’m going to soak it all up for now.  God is still working on me.  I’m growing and learning as a mom everyday.  I get to do this.  And it is a blessing.   It is my agenda.

Looking Forward, (and open for play dates and crafts)

Amanda, work in progress


And We Say, “No School Today!”

That was not the plan of how that sign would be used but I’m so glad we get to begin again.


And of course an outtake to make life real.