How We Spent Our First Halloween at Our New House

For the first time in a long time, we’ve got a door bell of our own for trick-or-treaters to ring! Although we’ve lived together in an apartment over the past few years, this is the first time in a long time, that we’re able to “participate” in Halloween festivities in a neighborhood filled with doorbell-ringing children.

Almost all mums are perennials. They require upkeep and care throughout the year -- being trimmed back until mid-July so they'll stay bushy and bloom in the fall. If they aren't trimmed, they'll bloom again early summertime.

Almost all mums are perennials. They need to be trimmed back until mid-July so they’ll stay bushy and bloom in the fall. If they aren’t trimmed, they’ll bloom again in the early summertime.

Two weekends ago, we visited one of Phillip’s best friends who teaches high school English in a rural North Carolina town. We visited a farmer friend of his, and bought four baking pumpkins to serve the dual purpose of being decorative and, come Thanksgiving, being delicious baked pumpkin pies! We also bought ten magenta mums from the farm (cheaper than buying at a store, plus the money goes directly to the farmer), and will plant them in front of our house so we can enjoy the perennials next year too.

Farm Pumpkins


Halloween marks an important anniversary for Phillip and I. Four years ago, while we were both in France, Phillip came to Aix-en-Provence to visit me for the weekend. It was Halloween, which didn’t mean much to the French.

I was in grad school and Phillip had finished with the harvest in Bordeaux for the second consecutive year. So, we both took a break and spent the weekend in a very “typically” French way — strolling through markets to find gifts to send back to our families for the holidays. Being leisurely and enjoying the energy of the village.

We found ourselves sitting at a quintessential outdoor café in the square next to the Hotel de Ville, partaking in typical fashion of the afternoon coffee. Let me paint the picture for you! We sat at a table for two with a red and white-stripped umbrella overhead amidst a sea of tables with red and white-stripped umbrellas. There wasn’t a more perfect time or place for day-dreaming.

We’d been talking about our dreams for a while. We learned early in our relationship that we both wanted the same thing: to bring a piece of France back home to North Carolina to plant roots. To find a place to call home and let the early seeds of our labors dig into rich soil. So a few short years ago in that café on Halloween, we decided there wasn’t a better time than the present to visualize what that future looks like together.

With a pen and a paper napkin, over two half-consumed cappuccinos, we wrote out the end. We went all the way to the end of the vision and wrote out what it looked like, who was there and what was important.

This Halloween, as I was unpacking boxes, I found the napkin! It was dated October 31, 2009. Along with our vision, it listed things we foresaw needing to do to better prepare for our vision. Two of the “to-do” items included starting our own businesses, and visiting specific wine regions to learn about their wine production and visit their wineries.

The best part about having written the vision out was revisiting it, and seeing how much we’ve accomplished on the list. Of course, we still have a ways to go! Now we need to create another napkin plan. “The Dream on a Napkin Plan Continued.” On Halloween 2017, we can revisit the plan to see how our vision for land with a vineyard has come into fruition.

Do you have a vision for a future that you’re excited about? Go all the way to the end of the vision, who is there? What’s important? Write it out along with a few necessary to-do’s to get you closer to that vision. Then, in a year or two, revisit it and see how far you’ve come in creating that vision.


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