Our vacation ended Sunday morning in the 70 degree ocean air and we landed in Chicago pleasantly surprised to a beautiful 70 degree temperature and loads of leaves everywhere.  Maybe it was the 5 days away that made me stop and notice the beautiful reminders of fall in the midwest, but I got it.  Windows were rolled down almost immediately, we drove from house to house retrieving our furry family members and home we went.

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It was good to spend time with my family without distractions.  Very little work and a lot of play.  Early morning donut runs, followed by football on the beach.  We saw family and friends and did a whole lot of exhaling.  It is funny how I seem to forget to do just that exhale.  I charge through my days and nights with my head down and my checklist on the counter.  Dog bath (check), laundry (check), work (check), schooling (check) I could keep going but you get the point.  I never take the time to stop and just be.  I am constantly pushing myself for more ideas, inspiration and goals but come up short handed.  My pot has been empty for a lot of different reasons.  What I realized in Florida was that I never take the time to fill up, to experience the weather…..really experience it, like walk outside.  I mean how do I expect myself to grow and create if I don’t fill my heart and mind up with experience?  Instead fear and insecurity just take the front seat and I remain in my conundrum.4Q3B5492 2 copy 4Q3B5504 2 copy 4Q3B5508 2 copy 4Q3B5515 2 copy 4Q3B5516 2 copy Untitled-1 copyThat is why vacations are good for the soul.  There is nothing else to do except experience and then think about those experiences.  I did that.  I felt the air, soaked in as many different palm trees as possible (did you know there is 100’s of varieties?) and had real conversations with my kids, my husband as well as friends and family.  I grabbed all of that stuffed it in my heart and brought it home with me.4Q3B5530 2 copy 4Q3B5528 2 copy 4Q3B5540 2 copy 4Q3B5533 2 copy 4Q3B5546 2 copy 4Q3B5552 2 copy 4Q3B5553 2 copy 4Q3B5555 2 copy 4Q3B5566 2 copy

Tuesday morning was back to reality.  I was up early making coffee and starting the bacon for the kids.  Moms with 6 kids generally make bacon under the broiler but not that day.  I cooked each piece like it was a science experiment.  Savoring the way the iron skillet cooked that bacon and the way the kitchen smelled.  Today I took time to step foot outside.   Not just to run to the car for errands or to grab the mail, I really stepped out with the kids and a whole lot of leaves.  We raked and burned leaves for about 2 hours.  The smell and crunchiness of the leaves as well as the huge fire we created brought more thoughts of possibility then I have had in months.4Q3B5560 2 copy 4Q3B5564 2 copy 4Q3B5573 2 copy4Q3B5589 2 copy 4Q3B5598 2 copy

I am enjoying real life.  Home rearranging, cooking, baking and just being.  But being with the intention of remembering and appreciating.  We are entering into the month of gratitude.  We all have it, but tend to forget about it.  I read an article on the plane in O Magazine talking about how to remember to be grateful.  It is really pretty easy,  If you are grateful let people know it.  She them a note, the real deal, with a stamp and an envelope and let them know what you appreciate about them.  It is sad we have to read something as simple as that in order to actually pick up a pen and find out note cards but it works.  Being grateful reminds us that we are grateful and that is a good thing.  It is important to wrap our gratitude around the ones we love.  It helps and it keeps me checked in and that is exactly where I want to be this holiday season.

Happy Gratitude. OX  Katie