Friday Open Thread

Happy Friday!!

Our days ramped up toward school this week as DS started marching band on Wednesday. He is there basically all day, M-F, for the rest of the summer. DD is visiting one more college next week and then we will be in serious college application mode.

I know many of you start school pretty soon, while others will not start until after Labor Day. We can’t travel anymore because of band, but we’ll be busy moving my father in law and with the aforementioned college applications.

What are you doing to savor the end of summer?


Thursday Open Thread

Do you remember when you first grasped the concept of mortality?

I must have been about 6 or 7 years old when it hit me: someday, my parents would die. The realization was devastating, and I remember lying in bed, fighting back tears, and trying to chase away thoughts of a world without my parents in it. That is some deep, dark stuff for a child to grapple with!

So this viral video touched my heart. It features a 5-year-old girl crying her eyes out because she just realized that her baby brother won’t stay a baby — AND she’s going to die “when she’s a hundred.” And the baby? He just gurgles and smiles at her. OH, MY OVARIES.

I feel you, little girl. I SO feel you. That’s also kind of how I feel about my own kids growing up!

That said, if my child was bawling about her deepest fears, it wouldn’t occur to me to pick up a camera and record it. Not quite sure what the thought process was there!

What’s on your mind today? Chat away!


Wednesday Open Thread

Good morning! Hope everyone is doing well.

We have some really exciting news at our house — my father in law is moving to Austin! He has lived alone in assisted living since my mother in law died three years ago. He is four hours away from us and with our busy schedules, it is very hard for us to get up to see him more than about once every six weeks. He’s been very withdrawn since becoming a widower, and does not engage with friends he has known for 40+ years. Lately, we have worried that the food quality has declined where he is — he is down to 125 lbs, which is about a 20-25 pound weight loss, yet he eats well when we visit and take him out to dinner.

After many conversations, he has agreed to move into a place that is just minutes from our home. My DH signs the papers tomorrow and then we figure out the logistics of getting him and his stuff moved. I am SO excited that he will be near enough for us to see weekly, or even more often.

I hope I am amenable to whatever works best and is easiest on my children when the time comes for me to make these type decisions.

What’s up with everyone else?


Tuesday Open Thread

We visited the San Diego Zoo Safari Park this weekend and got a behind-the-scenes tour, thanks to my BIL, who is a donor. We were among the first visitors to see a lioness and her four 1-month-old cubs. They were nursing and toddling around and she was grooming them and SQUEE!!! So cute.

Then we saw this:

10556238_10101068931255494_2332324762942573064_n12-week-old cheetah is being raised alongside a 13-week-old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy. Mama rejected the cheetah, so the puppy will be its lifelong companion. I think my  ovaries might have exploded.

What has given you the warm fuzzies lately? What else is on your mind? Chat away!




Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Many thanks to our Mom of Twins, Liturgy Geek and Pat of Butter in a Sea of Salt — for back-up! — while I am gone. This will be my last open thread until I get back from summer vacation the week of August 11.

Stay tuned for pics!

What’s on your mind today?


Weekend Open Thread

I did not read Fifty Shades of Grey, but I couldn’t resist watching the trailer, as it was all over my facebook feed. I described it later to my DH, chuckling at how the female lead is presented as mousy and meek.

“You know, because she’s wearing a drab sweater and has bad bangs,” I said.

So I was roaring with laughter the next day, when I saw this think piece on the cardigan sweater or: How To Make A Beautiful Actress Less Beautiful.

The cardigan sweater/bad bangs combo is second only to the librarian glasses/hair in a bun combo. ACTING!

Which movies have you enjoyed lately? Which ones are you looking forward to?

What else is up this weekend? Chat away!


Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Do any of you watch Modern Family? Our whole family does and we are hooked! We all have our favorite characters: mine are Cam and Gloria. I just learned that the actor who plays Cam (Eric Stonestreet) recently disclosed that at a White House Correspondents Dinner he refused a photo with Rick Santorum. Good on him!

And sorry for the paltry post. I am getting ready for a trip to El Salvador and tying a lot of loose ends before then. But I am looking forward to a beach vacation!

How are you?


Thursday Open Thread

How do you keep your kids’ minds engaged during their summer break?

I remember months of boredom as a kid. Yes, I played outside, but it got hot. There was a lot of TV watching. And after a while, I looked forward to going back to school, just so I would actually have something to do and someplace to go.

So I try to avoid boredom for my own kiddos, especially DD. She is hyper curious and engaged, so she has had various day camps. I also buy her the Scholastic Summer Express workbooks, in hopes of helping her retain what she learned. She also has a weekly piano lesson and the occasional play date.

There is also a fair amount of iPad time, and video game playing. Today DD asked, “Mami, can we watch Property Brothers tomorrow?” She is delightful.

What’s on tap for these waning days of summer? Chat away!


Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

National Geographic Magazine published an insightful and depressing article on hunger in the United States. It cited a cut in food stamp — aka “SNAP” benefits — and falling wages for food insecure households in the U.S. This is a must-read.

Now onto another epidemic in this country: stress. As someone who is always “on” — working, tending to the kids, working out (at the crack of dawn), cooking or doing other household chores — this medium article by a fellow progressive activist really spoke to me.

There was never a clear diagnosis. It’s possible I’ve been suffering from adrenal fatigue, and with the major diet adjustments (I don’t eat sugar, wheat, or dairy, to name a few), my condition has dramatically improved. A lot of what I’ve learned was through food journaling and trial and error. Being a half-baked scientist, I’ve found a a few tips that have helped restore me, and are backed up by science as well. Paying attention to these tips after stressful projects or after a conference can help aid in bouncing back from fatigue, and often even out mood as well. They’re my own ‘field notes’, so your mileage my vary. Always consult with your doctor or nutritionist, of course.

Instinctually, I too, like coconut milk in my coffee, eat a lot of banana and potatoes (potassium), drink a lot of water, and love anything with lavender in it. In fact, when I am most stressed, I drink a lavender chamomile tea before I go to bed.

What are your anti-stress go-to foods and remedies? What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Tuesday Open Thread

Weird Al is back!

He released eight videos in eight days and created quite a buzz. He was relevant when I was 9, and he’s relevant now that I’m 39. Gotta love it!

I found myself playing his videos for my 16-year-old niece and giving her context about who the heck he is. She giggled at his takes on Pharell’s “Happy” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”

But my all-time favorite Weird Al song? Amish Paradise. What’s yours?

What’s on your mind today? Chat away!