Al Fresco Among the Leaves






This Arizona summer was so rough on me.

On an almost daily basis between June and early September, I thought, “WHY do we even live here?”

I’m sure being pregnant and tired didn’t help, but I’ve never felt so thrilled for fall to arrive.

All summer, I’ve felt trapped inside by the blazing heat, and I’m rejoicing daily that we’re finally able to go outside again.

We’re visiting our neighborhood park almost every day again, the streets are filled with people walking and children playing (in the summer, it’s like living in a ghost town), and we’re taking advantage of every opportunity to get outdoors.

My children are so much happier when they’re able to play outside again, and I forgot how easy it is to keep them entertained when they have some space to spread out.

A bunch of leaves don’t hurt either.

The dropping temperatures have also ushered in renewed requests from Ella to eat al fresco (her favorite Fancy Nancy term), and we’ve obliged as much as possible.

Last week, when the leaves started dropping all over the place and it truly looked like fall, we picked up dinner at Zoës Kitchen in Chandler, and headed over to a big open field near our house.

They just launched a new kids menu that has more options (my girls are obsessed with piadinas – like a quesadilla but way way better)  and I love the range of side options, from fresh fruit to hummus to roasted veggies. I love the convenience of a quick meal that offers the kinds of things I’d make at home and that my girls will actually eat.

Their non-children menu is also excellent – Bart raved about his grilled Gruben sandwich and I had the Greek chicken pita.

It was such a nice, relaxed evening (and the girls actually ate their entire meals, which never happens – usually we get home after they’ve picked at their food or ignored it completely and then they’re all, “so, what’s for dinner?” and that’s not at all irritating). I feel like I’ll never get over the joy of being able to actually go outside after a summer of indoor living.


I wish I could end this post by saying that then all the girls came home and, thanks to all the energy they’d burned racing around, fell immediately asleep, but that was only true for Ella and Star. Ani was awake in her room, singing songs, playing with her toys, and reading books until after ten p.m. Apparently she needs to start running marathons.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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  1. I'm happy for you that you're coming to the end of your enforced indoor time with multiple children. Ours will begin in about a month (I think–we've never lived on the Canadian border before, so I don't actually know when real winter begins and ends) and will go FOREVER. And we live in a two-bedroom house. With three boys. And a dog.

    Should make spring that much sweeter, right? Right. I keep telling myself that.

  2. I can totally relate except that for me, it's winter. I can already feel myself tensing up because I know what's coming, and I dread the cold and dark so much.

  3. I'm so, so glad I live in the half of Nevada that basically allows people to be outdoors year-round. And yes, I realize you live in Arizona, but the Southern Nevada and Arizona are basically the same and I spent enough years in Vegas to imagine what an Arizona summer is like.

  4. I live in Dallas and we're finally getting back to enjoyable weather too. I just keep reminding myself that you either get 3 months of ridiculous summer or 3 months of winter. It makes it easier to just think of it that way (of course then I get grumpy when it gets below 50 in the winter because I don't want to be outside then either).

  5. This is may be kind of weird, but could you give some tips on how you dress your children? Basically all of their outfits in these pictures are #stylegoals!

  6. I always think it's so terribly hot here in Atlanta, and then you talk about Arizona, and suddenly our permanent 90° weather doesn't seem so horrible anymore.

  7. LOL My little girl needs to run marathons, too! She has soooo much energy and is never tired at bedtime (and her bedtime is already quite late!). Maybe I should sign her up with Ani for some marathon training program.

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