Other than about 3 months of the year (give or take) of weather above 100 degrees, the weather in the valley is excellent the other 80% of the year. Bright blue sunny skies, no humidity, 50-60 degree winter days... It’s like perfect vacation weather almost the entire year long. Between the months of September - April people come from all over to vacation, explore, and escape their miserable freezing cold, gloomy days at home. Tons of “Snowbirds.” Eric and I always joke that “You know it’s Fall in Arizona when the license plate colors start changing!”
I’ll never forget the 3 months I spent with Eric during the first year of our marriage in Cleveland, Ohio for his CRNA school clinicals. We were there from December - February. While at first I thought it was fascinating and kind of exciting - all the snow and winter coats and super cold weather - it didn’t take too long for me to figure out it’s actually not that fun and just miserable and gloomy. I missed seeing the sunshine so much I literally took pictures of it whenever it would randomly peek through the clouds. I would look at my friends’ and family’s posts from Arizona with longing to go home and be able to do things outside, like go hiking or for a morning run in a tank top. By the time we were ending our journey and heading back to Arizona, I was legit depressed.
I remember once when visiting Eric’s family in Columbus during Christmas, we went to the zoo to see the zoo lights, and it was so freezing cold my legs were numb and actually hurt. It was not enjoyable. Neither was that time we went Christmas shopping at Polaris - an OUTDOOR shopping mall. I couldn’t walk fast enough to get into the next store so I didn’t freeze to death.
Haha reading back on all of what I just wrote, I realize I might be in for a rude awakening during my first winter here in Payson! Although the difference between here and Ohio is it’s always sunny here. It was in the low 60’s today and lots of sunshine. I wore a light sweater and kind of wished I was in a t-shirt! We’ll get snow and it will be sunny and beautiful, like a Colorado kind of snow. I am really excited!
The one thing I’ve heard people from elsewhere complain about the most (other than those few months of blazing heat), is that they miss having “seasons”. I never really thought much about it and always thought it was kind of a weird thing to complain about (isn’t that why they came here in the first place? To escape their cold miserable “seasons”?). At the same time I kind of get it... Yes the valley is a desert climate, and so there are fewer trees turning “yellow”, but that doesn’t mean there are ZERO of them. I saw plenty of them all over the place back in Gilbert. In fact, we had one in our very backyard that drove me a little crazy because I hated cleaning up the mess. The park across the street was full of them too!
Anyway, now that we live in Payson, I understand a little bit more about what people mean about the seasons. There really is something sweet about being SURROUNDED by yellow, orange, and red leaves everywhere you look. Granted we live in the pines so there are plenty of evergreen trees too, but it’s been pretty neat to have more of that “Fall” feeling all around you. Especially the sunnier, milder version of it compared to the Midwest. I am literally looking out my window from my couch right now at an Aspen tree with yellowing leaves. It’s quite beautiful.
So, Halloween is over and I have been, for the first time in my life, tempted to put up my Christmas decorations early! Something I am strictly against! But I have a son who was born Christmas morning, so Christmas feels extra special now, and I am kind of “chomping at the bit” to start celebrating! But I also love Thanksgiving and firmly believe it deserves it’s turn before we start the Christmas season. Plus I have a toddler who I am excited to teach the different holidays to... So that’s another reason to hold-off.
So today, instead of giving into temptation and putting up my Christmas tree early, I took my children to the park. Surrounded by big, beautiful, colorful leaves, I took that inspiration and decided to embrace this new climate’s gift and get into the Thanksgiving spirit instead of steamrolling into Christmas. We talked about the leaves turning color and falling down for winter. We picked them up and admired how large and pretty they were (and played with them a little bit). We then collected our favorites and brought them home so we could use them for some Thanksgiving-inspired craft(s). So I am taking ideas on what to do with those!
What’s your favorite thing to do with kids during the month of November to get into the Thanksgiving spirit? My goal is to do at least ONE Thanksgiving craft a week with my son. Stay tuned for that! It will be something simple but cute that he will (hopefully) enjoy and I can proudly hang on the wall for a few weeks. And the leaves we’ll use are free - which makes it even better! I’ll probably have Gavin make a Thanksgiving/Fall wreath or a Turkey with leaf feathers... something cute like that. There are tons of cute ideas on Pinterest.
So take a deep breath... Christmas will come too. But for now, let’s embrace Thanksgiving and what we have left of Fall before Winter officially hits us. It’s a good time of year to be positive and reflect on all the many blessings in our lives we are grateful for.