🍂 We’re officially on our 4th week of school over here in Oregon, and I’m just going to be honest and tell you that it’s taken me this whole entire month to find a Fall groove that works. I make no secrets about the fact that this is my favorite time of year and that is largely because our whole schedule gets a reboot. I love a fresh start and there’s just something about September feels like a clean slate.
The kids head back to school while I head back into my home office and regular gym time, meal planning, and coffee dates all become a thing again. But as much as I love the shift that Fall brings, pivoting too quickly out of our relaxed Summer mode can get a little dicey.
Unless I give myself and our family a little wiggle room during those first few weeks, all our high hopes and good intentions for a smooth transition will crash and burn.
It’s okay to indulge a short season of trial and error.
Each family has their own rhythms and what works for us might never work for you. I think the most important thing is to listen to the pulse of your own people and figure out what works best for YOUR home.
That being said, I thought it would be fun too share a few of our favorite Fall rhythms this year. It’s not a regimented and rigid thing- we don’t do all of these things every single day/week. It’s just a rhythm that’s working for us as a family right now. Feel free to take it, leave it, scoff at it, or borrow it.
Bible Stories at the Breakfast Table:
When I was a kid my mom used to always make me read a Proverb and a Psalm on the way to school each morning in the car (hashtag pastors kid), and honestly, sometimes I hated it. I’m grumpy in the morning so talking is hard and reading is almost too much to ask. But you know what? Those verses are lodged in my brain now and I’m actually glad about it. I’m not going to pretend like I make my kids read a Proverb and a Psalm everyday because that would be a straight up lie.
But I have started reading them one small story from our Children’s Bible each morning at the breakfast table and while sometimes they act uninterested, they’re actually actually pretty into it for the most part. Breakfast time works best for us because it’s literally the only part of the day when their bodies are still and their mouths are quiet (because chewing!)- and also when there’s nothing else going on to distract them. It’s a nice way to ease into our day together and it’s opened up a lot of unexpected and interesting conversations that I hold dear.
Tricking Myself into ENJOYING Gym Time:
Ever since I hit my thirties I’ve been gaining and losing the same 15 (to 20🙄) (to 25😳) pounds like it’s my job or something. I tend to have an on/off mentality when it comes to health and fitness which I know isn’t good. I’m either all or nothing. Except now I’m 35 and honestly I’m just so tired of that rollercoaster. I’m too old for that crap. So I’ve been trying to make smaller, more long term changes in an effort to find the balance there.
Part of that means that I’ve made working out a regular part of my life. Long term. As in, forever. It took me years to come to grips with the idea of working out as a lifestyle choice and not just a quick fix for gaining weight, although I think (hope) that I’m finally there. But I’ve realized that I can’t do positive work from a negative place (Btw, I feel like there’s a metaphor for writing and maybe even for life in there somewhere?)
I’ve learned that if I approach gym time with a more positive mental attitude, it carries me much further than my negative and harsh self-talk ever could.
So you’re probably thinking that sounds a little woo-woo and yah, fine, maybe, cool, whatever, BUT WORKING OUT IS HARD AND IT SUCKS, AMBER. Yes, it does. I know. But here’s HOW I’m tricking myself into actually enjoying my gym time-
I’ve declared it the “me-time” of all “me-times”.
I do all the things I don’t have time for at home.
I use the time in the car on the way to the gym to Vox friends and catch up with my long distance people. When I get there I fire up my favorite funny podcasts and listen to them while I lift weights. (Currently loving the Popcast with Knox and Jamie)
This is a literal game-changer. And maybe even a butt-changer.
WHY HAVE WE NOT THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE?!
I’m not sure if you can tell by all the exclamation points and shouty capitals, but I’m so excited about this idea that I’m having a hard time controlling THE VOLUME OF MY VOICE!
Combining something I barely tolerate (exercise) with something I love dearly (TV) somehow averages out to a semi-enjoyable experience. I always watch shows that are light and funny because working out is hard enough. I just finished Season 2 of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend-
a bizarre little show that is juuuust campy and ridiculous enough to make me cackle audibly, usually causing the people around me to wonder what’s so hilarious about the treadmill.
Look, I’m not saying I’m the person you should look to for your health and fitness advice (because REASONS), but I do feel like I’ve stumbled onto pure gold here and I’d be doing you a disservice not to tell you about it.
This one is self-explanatory, but basically we set aside one day a week to do nothing but be together.
We intentionally leave one day entirely open and free of outside plans/commitments so that we can just hang with the kids and spend time as a family unit.
We do try to stay off of our phones as much as possible but aside from that we don’t have rules or anything, we just do our best to slow down as a family. We watch movies, play games, do yard work, go for walks, explore antique stores, go to the river, or whatever else strikes our fancy. For us Family Day usually falls on a Sunday because it’s the only day of the week that isn’t already full of games and practices and other extracurriculars.
*Full disclosure*: Family Day does not always live up to the hype.
A lot of times the kids are whiney because they want to be entertained every second of the day, or we accidentally let them watch way too much tv, or we spend two hours commiserating over what to do and then by the time we do it we’re all annoyed with each other for taking so long to decide. Or sometimes we forget that we are more stay-at-home-and-snuggle-the-dog type of people
But hey, that’s real life. It’s messy, but at least we’re all together. 🤷🏽♀️
Sunday Night Home Dates:
Nate and I are fairly good at scheduling regular date nights and usually we like to go out somewhere- to a movie, or we’ll ride our scooters together when the weather’s nice, or we’ll just go grab drinks and play cribbage in the corner of our favorite local dive. But a few months ago we added in the Sunday night home date, and I’ve got to say, it’s become one of my favorite new traditions.
1) Hiring a sitter and paying for drinks/ dinner/ movie can get super expensive.
2) Going out on the town is fun, but not very conducive to deeper conversations (something we’ve realized I need regularly in order to feel connected).
3) Our schedule is already open on Sunday nights because once we wind down with Family Day, we usually put the kids to bed by 7:30.
Sometimes we’ll just sit on the porch together with a glass of wine watching our animals roam around, sometimes we snuggle up on the couch and talk about the week we’ve had, or sometimes we’ll climb in bed and binge-watch a show.
It’s not what we do that makes it special, it’s the fact that we set that time aside for each other that makes it feel special.
I look forward to it all week, and find the element of taking something normal (being at home together) and spicing it up in the smallest way can have a hugely positive impact. There is one thing that we always do together on our home date night, and it involves one my newest Favorite Things. I can’t wait to tell you about it in next month’s Let’s Play Oprah post, so stay tuned for that!
These are just a few things that seem to be working for us right now.
What about you?
I’d love to hear what your favorite Fall rhythms are!
Leave a comment and share what’s good!