The Gross, Disgusting, Icky Trouble with Fall

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Fall is absolutely my favorite season. I love the crisp air, the sights and smells, the anticipation of the holidays to come, the feeling that new things are coming. Ahhh, I love it. There's nothing better than sitting down with something pumpkin-flavored or enjoying something that smells or tastes like apples, whether you're watching your kids play outside or at a local high school football game.

That being said, I do have one gripe with fall.

When I was a kid, I loved raking leaves. I remember spending hours with my cousins in rural Indiana, raking paths through the thick coating of leaves in their backyard. We carefully carved out "rooms" and went into painstaking detail describing the different ways to get from point A to point B in our leaf community. There was something so wonderful and beautiful about those memories and I would be lying if I said I didn't hope to one day recreate them with my own kids.

And then I'm brought back down to reality with a thud...or a dry, leafy crunch.

Because when I look at this:

And my kids say, "Mommy, can we jump in the leaves??"

All I can think of is this:

And then I see this:

Not to mention all the other brown piles in my yard (courtesy of our two dogs), bugs, dirt, mud, little boy pee (oh yeah, it happens), and who knows what else??

At first, I was all...

Did our parents worry about these things when we were growing up? Did they care that we were rolling around in mud, and pee/poop, and general filth? Do I need to arrange to take my kids to some kind of faux-fall clean room environment where they can toss one-time use, synthetic "leaves" into the air and I can feel a little less gross?

Please tell me I'm not the only one who has thought about this. What's your solution?

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