Saturday, December 12, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

On Wednesday morning, I returned to work.

I arose bright and early to play with Carter and enjoy his most talkative time of the day. We lay on the floor together in the nursery and I listened to him babble and sputter. We did all of his favorite things - looking in the mirror, staring at the ducks on his wall, reading his soft panda book. Then I nursed him, rocked him to sleep, kissed him goodbye and left him with my mother-in-law. As I was leaving the apartment I choked up, thinking of a full day without my little boy. Arriving at work, I almost burst into tears when a co-worker asked me how I felt about my first day back.

And then, a magical thing happened. I felt fine.

I feel almost guilty admitting that the transition back to work has been so smooth. After all, the prelude to my return was full of conflicted emotions and gut-wrenching sob-fests, and I fully anticipated my first week back to be a torturous daze of melancholy sighs, swallowed sobs and barely-contained emotion.

Instead, to my utter shock, I found myself downright pleased to be back in the office. I happily made the rounds, greeting old friends and relishing the many welcoming embraces, congratulatory comments and incredulous statements about my back-to-normal post-baby physique (thank you, breastfeeding!). I eagerly dove back into my job and was amazed (and a bit horrified) to discover that it feels like I was never gone at all, that the past 18 weeks were a blur, a flash, a different life. It is as if I was somehow transported back to a year ago, before I even discovered that Carter (then LOOL) was on the way, like my work world and my mother world had not yet merged in my brain.

Toward the end of the first day, a friend came up to my desk to inquire about my emotional state. I tentatively admitted that actually, I was ashamed to say that I felt surprisingly good. Where were the tears? Where was the emotional breakdown? Where was the much-anticipated crisis that was sure to result from the inevitable blending of work with mommyhood? Other mother friends had told me their tales of woe - the weeping, the anguish, the near-quitting of the job to avoid leaving their child. And yet here I was, happily chatting about Christmas cookie recipes with the woman down the hall.

She looked at me with a mischievous smirk, as though we shared an inner joke, and said "That's exactly how I felt. But it was like I couldn't tell anyone - everyone expects you to be a mess to be away from your baby, but I felt fine."

So there we were - guilty not for leaving our child, but for not feeling horrible that we did so. For Carter, the transition seems to have been almost as seamless - though he was reluctant to take the bottle on the first day, he learned quickly and was gulping it down by Friday. I drove home to see Carter each day during my lunch hour and was happy to find him smiling in the arms of his grandma on Wednesday, my brother on Thursday, and Daddy on Friday (it takes a village, right?). My mother arrives tomorrow to care for him all next week, and then in January he starts daycare, a five-minute drive from my office where I will see him daily for lunch.

As the weeks roll forward, I am sure that being away from Carter will be difficult and challenging, and that I will at times envy the stay-at-home moms who need never leave their babies. Occasionally, when I think of the overwhelming, capital-letters concept of Leaving My Baby it still upsets me, and I worry about missing precious moments of his development. But for now, I am fine. I am a mother, but I am still a working woman, and I will not apologize for that.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Incoherent Ramblings

This has been my last full week with Carter before I go back to work next Wednesday. I chose to come back early from maternity leave instead of take the full 12 weeks of bonding, which would have me return on January 5th. As is, I return December 9th and work a three-day week, then one full five-day week, then have a week off for Christmas. I originally thought this was an excellent plan, since my mother will be coming down to take care of Carter for the full week before Christmas, which will be an easier transition for him than just plopping him in daycare cold-turkey in January. Also, this way I'll actually get paid for December, whereas if I hadn't come back til next month I wouldn't, since my bonding pay has run out. Eight days of work and then a break for the holidays wouldn't be so bad, I rationalized.

That was before I happened to stop by my office the other day on my way home from a visit to the LA zoo (the perfect place for SAHMs to stroll with their little ones). I made the rounds, saying my hellos, and happened to mention that I would be coming back next week. One coworker, a fellow mom, looked horrified and said "But I thought you were out til January..?"

For some reason, something about this comment broke my heart a little. Perhaps it suddenly hit home that I have chosen work and money over time with my baby, and I was overwhelmed by a wave of guilt and shame. Suddenly the torturous questions began rolling through my head - what kind of mother does such a thing? Why was I not eager to take every last moment I could? Am I so desperate to prove my dedication to my bosses that I would sacrifice precious moments with my infant? Or am I just a money-grubbing penny-pincher with dollar signs for eyes, thinking only about my bank account? I certainly don't need the money. So what's my problem?

After mentally berating myself for the past two days and coming precariously close to calling HR and extending my leave (even though doing so would doubtlessly be unprofessional, given that I doggedly negotiated my time off at Christmas with my supervisor, which was finally approved on the condition that I come back December 9th), I realized that going back to work will essentially rip my heart out of my chest, regardless of whether I do it in December or January. Also, although I love my child, I cannot apologize for the fact that I occasionally miss adult conversation and look forward to speaking to someone who can respond with more than "Unnngaaaaaahhhh." Perhaps I made a mistake when I decided to come back early, but I have made the decision, and I will live with it.

One thing has become clear to me recently - though I enjoy my job, care about my career, and am certainly not wired to be a full-time stay-at-home-mom, there is something slightly unnatural about a mother leaving her child. Perhaps it is simply not in our DNA - we are hard-wired to protect and care for our young, just like mama gorillas.

After several nights of gut-wrenching sobbing while staring at my tiny sleeping child, today I was given a lovely surprise. A good friend and coworker called to inform me that my company just sent out a memo notifying employees that they are closing down entirely from Christmas to New Years. In other words, I go back to work for eight days and then have two weeks off. Now that's what I call a pleasant transition.

Fussy baby - must go.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Right before Carter falls asleep, he often has a few moments of fussing - whining, squirming, and general crankiness. Sometimes this occurs on our morning walk, when he's tucked deep in the Moby Wrap, trying to find a comfortable position against mommy's chest before conking out.

On this particular morning, I happened to be passing an older woman standing in her yard, surveying the neighborhood. This lady inhabits the odd-duck house on the street - overgrown lawn, chain-link fence, chipping paint - sticking out like a sore thumb amongst its manicured neighbors.

I have seen this woman standing on her lawn on prior morning walks, but I have never interacted with her. Yet as I walked by today, precariously balancing my morning coffee while attempting to soothe my fussy baby, she looked at us and stated flatly, "The sun's in his face. That's probably why."

I chuckled and kept walking, but in my head an entirely different exchange played out.

"Why THANK YOU, Random Lady! What insight! I'm sure that my 12-week-old son is certainly not capable of moving his head. In fact, I know NOTHING about this creature strapped to my chest! Hey, I know!! Why don't you move in with us and help raise him, oh wise one? Would you like to take the 3am feeding or the 5:30? Because clearly you are some kind of baby-raising savant, shouting precious words of advice to all the bedraggled mothers passing by your shack. Woo-whee! How fortunate am I that the guru of childcare lives right down the street?!"

These are the thoughts that race through my mind when I am confronted with unsolicited babycare tidbits from strangers.

Listen up, friends - perhaps I may look like an unwed teen mother with my Converse, Dodger cap and make-up-less face, but I can assure you that I am of age, and that this child and I are doing just fine, thanks. So take your well-meaning words of wisdom and shove it, folks!

Did I mention that I get a wee bit cranky when sleep-deprived?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Almost every morning since Carter's birth, we have gone on a morning walk together. I pop him into his Moby Wrap and make a beeline to my neighborhood Starbucks, where I get a much-needed java to kickstart my day and rouse me out of my sleepless mommy haze. Then we wander around the neighborhood for a half-hour or so - he generally conks out right away, his sweet baby face tucked snugly into my chest, as I have my morning phone call with my mother.

During our walk this morning, I passed a scuffy 30-something dad pushing his toddler daughter in a stroller. He looked us over and asked "How old?" "Eleven weeks," I told him proudly. "Nice. Congratulations!" he said.

Walking away from this simple encounter, I smiled, thinking of all the other similar exchanges I have had with other young parents since Carter's birth. Whenever these exchanges occur - which they do often - I walk away with the realization that parenthood has gained me entry to a very special club. These are my people now, and though I may know nothing else about them, we share a common thread in our harried, sleep-deprived lives.

My husband and I have joined the ranks of the Baby People, and as a result, it seems that everywhere we go we are amongst friends.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Back in Action

I am officially back to the blogosphere!
My long absence was due to a much-anticipated trip up north to visit Grandma and Grandpa. We were up in wine country for a week and then in San Francisco for two days while my husband attended a conference. It was a fantastic trip, full of fall colors, a chill in the air, and lots of old friends. Fortunately, my best friend's awesome sister has a toddler and lent us all the stuff we would need for the week - bassinet, playgym, swing, etc. My husband went to Target to buy a bouncy ball for Grandma and Grandpa's house (Carter loves himself some bouncing), and we were set.

To my great joy, we discovered that Carter is a fantastic traveler. On each plane ride he barely made a peep, preferring instead to (flight up) conk out and sleep or (flight down) stare wide-eyed around the cabin, charming the hell out of nearby travelers. Hauling all of the baby stuff through security wasn't nearly as hellish as I'd anticipated, happily - we had him in his carseat and Snap-n-Go, and simply had to shove it all through the x-ray conveyor belt and then gate check them both before boarding. Easy-peasy. Hopefully longer flights will prove as painless as the short LA-SF hop, but we most likely won't find out til next summer when we fly to the east coast to visit friends and family.

Carter is becoming more verbal every day, particularly in the mornings. As soon as he wakes up, he greets me with a series of "gaaaaahs" and "eeeeeeegkks," grinning all the while. In the past couple of days he has even started laughing - it's only happened a few times, but it was fantastic. I weighed him at the Pumpstation yesterday, and he's 12 pounds 2 ounces - officially double his birth weight! My baby is becoming a little boy!

Here are some shots from our vacation:
With mommy on the plane
Family portrait prior to lift-off
At Powell's Sweets (the best candy store in the world) in my hometown
With Grandma, exploring the Russian River
Posing next to an ancient barber shop on a trip to coastal Point Reyes
Laughing at silly mommy
Getting cozy in front of a crackling fire in the fireplace
Drooling over huge vats of molten chocolate at Ghiradelli's in San Francisco

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My little pumpkin


I knew I would love being a mother. But I just had no idea that I would !!!!LOVE!!!! being a mother. I thought I would be ready to go back to work when the time came, that I would yearn for the challenge of the workplace after many long, tedious days of mommyhood. I had no idea that I would tear up at the very thought of being away from him for a full day, of someone else getting his smiles and seeing the way his little eyes scrunch up when he grins his tiny baby grins.

Although I do not return to the office until next month, the thought of leaving my son already inevitably sends me into a melancholy haze. Discussing it with my mother the other day, I found myself choking up, and wondered What the hell is this? Who is this person? Who I am?

While I am not looking forward to returning to the daily grind, I can't say that I want to be a stay at home mom either - I dream of a part-time scenario, a job share, something that would enable me to spread my wings both as a mother and a worker. I have a mommy friend who is going back to work soon and is ready for the separation, yet feels guilty that she doesn't want to stay home. Why do we mothers torture ourselves so? Perhaps by this time next month, I will feel the same way. Who knows? One thing I do know - when I return to work, it will be with a new perspective - how can the petty office dramas bother me when all that matters is my healthy family?

As trite as it sounds, motherhood changes you. Mommy me is simply a different person than pre-baby me, and the new me is pretty damn fabulous.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gratifying Mommy Moment

The other day, Carter was in a mellow mood so I propped him up in his glider chair and began clipping his tiny nails. They grow like weeds, and before I know it he has these ghetto-fabulous talons like some kind of homeless crackhead and he's accidentally scratching his face and whatnot (those are definitely "Oh shit - negligent mommy!" moments).

When I began clipping he was just gazing around the room pleasantly, staring at the bright pictures on the walls, or the way the light came through the window, or the shadows on the floor. Suddenly, in the midst of my clipping, I realized that he had become strangely still.

I looked up to find him staring at me with a big smile on his face. It was as if he was saying "Thank you mommy. I don't want to look like a crackhead."

Delicious, priceless moments like these make me want to stop time and preserve his sweet baby perfection forever. Yet so many glorious adventures lie ahead - so I simply smile, kiss his tiny face, and soak it all in, loving every exhausting, challenging, overwhelming second.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Last week in pictures...

Bathtime Fun:

At the Santa Monica Farmer's Market:

Entranced by (or slightly afraid of?) the moving monkey on his bouncer:

Cheering as he squeezes into his last "newborn" outfit (Daddy's favorite) for a photo op:

"Wow, look at all of my friends..."

"...I must be really popular."

Daddy is so comfortable...

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear:

Mommy's little sweet pea:

Some Kind of Wonderful

There are a couple of reasons why today is a wonderful day, even though it began with my son projectile spitting-up all over me (which he rarely does - but truth be told, I'd stuffed the poor boy with about a gallon of breastmilk...oops).

It is a wonderful day because last night was the best period of sleep that I have received since Carter came home from the hospital. For the past several weeks, he has been on an aggravating and exhausting schedule, sleeping for a long stretch in the early evening from about 6-11, then waking briefly to eat, then sleeping again from 11:15-2, and then waking every couple of hours thereafter, only eating for about two minutes each time. Grhagggghghghghgh!!!!! I discussed this with my mommy group at the Pumpstation and the moderator told me that this pattern is fairly standard for his age and will pass.

Last night, however, was magical - I fed him at 10:30 or so - a good long feed, about ten minutes on each side, instead of the paltry four minute feeds that he's been doing recently. He went to sleep at 11 and I conked out immediately thereafter, instead of staying up for another hour watching crappy TV like I usually do.

Ladies and gentlemen, the boy slept until 2:45am - that would be a whopping three hours and forty-five minutes - then awoke to do another nice long feed and have a diaper change, and then (drumroll...) slept until 7:15am! Another four hour stretch! All told, I got almost EIGHT hours of sleep, albeit not consecutively, but hey, beggars can't be choosers, people. I awoke refreshed and rejuvenated, and am fairly certain that I am actually a better mother today since I'm not utterly sleep deprived. Carter, however, has spent most of the day sleeping, which does not necessarily bode well for the evening we have in store for us (sigh).

More importantly, today is also a wonderful day because it is our two-year wedding anniversary. Two YEARS already?!? Where did the time go? Didn't I just walk down the aisle yesterday? Wasn't it just a moment ago that I was taping my nipples down to slip into my wedding dress (if you were there and saw the dress, you understand the need)? Weren't we just in New England celebrating our first anniversary, drinking wine and beginning to think about making babies? Carter was just a twinkle in daddy's eye - now suddenly we're two years in and parents.

And every day I love him more than I could ever have imagined.

Happy Anniversary, LOML. We love you so much.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

No Swine Flu for Yours Truly

Well, I finally figured out that there's a "Blog I'm Following" feature on Blogspot, where I can enter my favorite blogs and be notified on my "Blogger Dashboard" when they write something new. Yeah, it only took me a year and a half to figure this out. Good lord.

As I write this, my little boy is fast asleep in his swing - hallelujah! He's had a big day - we left the house bright and early this morning to drive to Venice and stand in line to get our H1N1 vaccines. LA County is having free clinics for 1) people without insurance and 2) people in the high-priority groups. As parents of an under-6-month-old, we qualify for one of these criteria, so GIMME my shot, people!

We arrived promptly at nine, only to discover a line wrapping around the block. We was waiting patiently when an organizer came walking down with a loudspeaker, telling pregnant women to come to the front of the line for the thimerosol-free version of the vaccine. I popped up and asked her if breastfeeding allowed me to quality for the mercury-free shot, as my pediatrician had told me to get it in that formulation.

She looked at me and must have taken pity as I stood there in the chilly ocean morning air, shivering in my short-sleeves (hey, it's hot in West Hollywood) and jiggling my sleeping infant in my arms. "Come with me" she said, and the next thing I knew my husband and I were escorted to the front of the line, where we waited while she asked the resident doctors if breastfeeding entitled me to the preservative-free shot. Turns out that it didn't, as they only had limited quantities specifically for pregnant women, and evidently the CDC has publicly declared that thimerosol does not enter breastmilk, so there is no risk with the regular shot. No matter - we were already at the front of the line, and got in and out in no time. I rationalized that there is no guarantee that I would have been able to find the preservative-free version anywhere else, so I suppose this will have to be one time that I choose to trust my government agencies, solely for my own peace of mind. We are flying up north in two weeks to visit my parents, so we felt it was important that we be vaccinated before the trip.

I will leave you with a few new pictures, all taken within the past couple of weeks. I hereby vow to be more punctual at posting new shots:

Carter looking startlingly like his Grandpa:

Discovering grass in Grandma's backyard...

...and looking unimpressed. Perhaps he's really a city boy at heart, like his father.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Among the many things I hadn't anticipated about motherhood is the guilt. Every day I am plagued with it. Each time I want to take a few extra minutes in the shower to (gasp!) shave my legs, it's there. When I take two minutes to throw some make-up on my haggard face, it's there. If I use five minutes to jot down a blog or write a quick email, it's there - the nagging voice in the back of my head, the waggling finger tsk-tsk-ing me into a shameful panic. Am I talking to him enough? Am I stimulating his brain sufficiently? Should we play more developmental games? Am I taking him out in public enough/too much?

With the brief exception of bathroom breaks and the occasional shower, I am with Carter every moment of the day. On the rare occasions that he naps for more than ten minutes at a time, I find myself racing around the apartment, using the fleeting opportunity to wash the dirty dishes in the sink, toss in a load of laundry, take out the trash, etc. When he is awake, I am either holding him or playing with him - singing, talking, feeding, having tummy time. I try to make every moment of the day count, to pack in as much love, affection and attention as I can, but sometimes I am so exhausted that I will actually pass out in the middle of playtime, dozing off on the nursery floor next to Carter's beloved jungle play gym as the kiddie melody jingles in my mind, or nodding off in the middle of breastfeeding, my head sagging down onto his little belly.

Sometimes I try to combat the exhaustion by taking some time to myself - putting Carter in the swing or his bouncy chair while I relax on the couch with a cup of tea and the remote. He'll let out a little squawk of protest, and that's when the guilt begins anew and I mentally chastise myself for needing ten minutes to myself.

In my previous life before I became a mother, I would listen to moms talk about not having time for themselves, how there aren't enough hours in the day, how challenging it is, and think Whiny bitches. What could possibly be so hard? Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby eat my words. Karma is a cruel wench indeed.

I know that I will get over this. I am a good mother, and am doing everything I can to make my baby grow strong and healthy, and to show him how much he is loved. Every so often, I remind myself that I was a woman before I became a mother, and I am still a woman now, one who deserves to treat herself as well as she treats those she loves.

With that mantra running through my head, last night I did something amazing. I left Carter with my husband and a bottle of breastmilk, and left the house for TWO HOURS - by far the longest I've been away from him since his birth. I went straight to the nail salon and got the most amazing pedicure of my life - I hadn't had one since well before I got pregnant, since I didn't wear polish during my pregnancy and have been living with janky polishless toes for almost a year. Afterwards I made a Target run for breastfeeding pads and other mom-essentials, and even spent a ridiculous amount of time browsing the accessories aisles without a slight bit of guilt. I arrived home to find my little boy dozing peacefully in daddy's arms, and all was right in the world.

Today, I look down at my sparkling red toes and am reminded that I am entitled to a few minutes to myself. My days may be spent changing diapers, breastfeeding, burping, bathing, singing "The Wheels on the Bus" and cuddling my baby boy, but my fancy toes remind me that not only am I a mother, I am a woman.

There may always be guilt, but there will also always be pedicures. And by damn, I will be one mama with nice toes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Clothing Crisis

This morning while dressing Carter I was, as usual, crippled with indecision about which cute outfit to put on him. Preppy stripes? Footed duck jammies? Onesie embellished with witty phrase? Looking over the profusion of adorable choices, I happened to glance down at my own stained tee and saggy yoga pants. Suddenly I came to the startling realization that my son's wardrobe is far better than my own. Between the preloved hand-me-downs from friends' sons and the collection we've amassed from generous baby gifts, his drawers are full to bursting with 0-3 month clothing. In fact, my little fashion plate could probably wear a different 0-3 month outfit every day until the three month mark without repeating.

While I rotate between the same handful of decent-looking tops and somewhat-flattering pants, Carter is perpetually decked out in a parade of fantastic duds - or rather, he would be, if I had the wherewithal to dress him up every day. However, more often than not I forgo the snazzy Ralph Lauren jumpers in favor of comfy sleepers or a onesie and socks, then spend the rest of the day feeling guilty about not dressing my child better. Evidently the indecision with which I have always faced my own closet has now trickled down upon my baby's. Curses!

Not only has Carter now outgrown all his "Newborn" clothing, he is also too big for several of his 0-3 month outfits. My best friend Erica had given me an organic cotton red onesie with white piping and matching hat and socks - it was the first clothing anyone gave me for the baby, and I'd planned to have him wear it home from the hospital. However, it was far too massive for his tiny body when he was born, so I had saved it until last week. I tried it on him, only to find that it was now TOO SMALL. I missed the window! The poor child looked so uncomfortable, so I took a few pictures for posterity and have since retired that outfit to the back of the closet.

Behold my child, AKA the Christmas Elf:

His "Why the hell have you done this to me, mommy??" face:

Unfortunately, after 3 months, he's out of luck - I only have a tiny collection of 3-6 months clothing, so his wardrobe will diminish significantly come December. Also, I have decided that before I go back to work in December (argh!) I am treating myself to a wardrobe upgrade, too. Babies R Us and Banana Republic, here we come!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back in the saddle again

Last week was a tough one - I got a nasty cold and spent several days congested and achey, scared to death that I would get Carter sick. Fortunately, I washed my hands 80 times a day and tried to refrain from sneezing in his vicinity, and it seems to have spared him from illness. Although really, about ten days ago he had a sniffle, so I maintain that the baby gave it to me. Except for Monday's Mommy movie and my six week postpartum doctor's appointment on Tuesday, I laid low and took it easy, and now I'm feeling 100% again.

Yesterday we took Carter to a pumpkin patch for some festive autumnal shots. He was in a very agreeable mood:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tuesday's Child

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is fair and wise and good and gay.
*I grew up with this rhyme, and always wondered about the day that my baby would be born. Full of grace, indeed.*

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Baby Party!

Yesterday was the much-anticipated reunion gathering for all the couples from my birth class. It was great to see everyone and spend a few hours unabashedly yammering on about breastfeeding, diapers, sleep schedules, baby acne, and mommyhood. All of the babies were beautiful - our class made some fine-lookin' kids!

My friend Erica and her husband Uri hosted - they have an amazing camera and got some great shots of the party. I think we need to upgrade from our dinky point-and-shoot digital!

With mommy in his fabulously preppy outfit:

Examining Daddy:

Our little family:

Baby party!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Carter's Nursery

Here are a few shots of Carter's nursery. Clearly, I didn't spend much time setting up the room with proper lighting, etc. to make it picturesque, but you get the idea.

The three pictures on the wall above the crib below are the covers of the classic childrens' books This is San Francisco, This is New York, and This is Paris. I always loved these books growing up, and Max and I both love San Francisco, got engaged in New York, and had our honeymoon in Paris. I bought the books, made color photocopies of the covers, framed them and ta-da! Instant art.

The gumball art is from an exhibit that my mother and I went to in San Francisco almost ten years ago, and the teddy bears are from my childhood collection. I found the glider in perfect condition on Craig's List.

Our incredible hot air balloon - I still have to sponge-paint white clouds on the wall behind it.

Carter enjoying his jungle playmat:

Park Day

Yesterday I took Carter on his first trip to the park. We live only a few blocks from the Pan Pacific Park, which is absolutely ginormous, with multiple playgrounds, a jogging path, baseball diamonds, basketball hoops, tennis courts, picnic tables and lovely grassy fields. This is the same location where my awesome friend Natalie took my belly photos, so I thought it was fitting to walk over and sit under the same tree with my little boy, now holding him in my arms instead of my belly.

I popped him in his Moby Wrap for the trip and he slept the whole time. After the park, I wandered over to the Grove, browsed Nordstrom's shoe department, puttered through Crate & Barrel and ended up at the ice cream stand in the Farmer's Market, where I got a fantastic scoop of homemade pumpkin ice cream. I walked home enjoying the crisp breeze in the air and feeling particularly autumnal.

I could get used to this.