Saturday Open Thread

It’s the first day of December, y’all! Ours is shaping up to be a busy one.

DH and DD will head to the Home Depot Center to watch the L.A. Galaxy play for the MLS Cup. They attend a couple of games a year, just daddy and his girl, and have a great time. They are so excited to watch David Beckham play for one last championship with the Galaxy.

And… we are celebrating my father’s 60th birthday with a Big Ass Mexican Party ™. We expect at least 100 people and a lot of noise in the form of a trio, a tamborazo and mariachi band. My mama is cooking. It’s going to be epic.

Also on the first day of December, our Elf on the Shelf makes his return. I know many think it’s creepy and crass and commercial, but DD loves it. She left him a welcome back note and mentioned that he always appears in her room that first morning (which I had forgotten. Glad she reminded me!). What are your thoughts on the Elf?

We have been taking the kids on evening walks around the neighborhood to look at all the Christmas lights. I must say our neighborhood’s effort seems subpar this year. I wonder if it’s because Thanksgiving came so early? Maybe more lights will make an appearance this weekend. Here’s our abode. Can you tell we really, really love lights?  :-D

I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. I mentioned in a previous thread that as a child, I would beg my parents to hang lights, but they never did. One year I even decorated my bedroom window, which faced the street. Now I have my own house to overdo it on! Woo-hoo! And the kids love it too.

What are you up to this weekend? Chat away!

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22 thoughts on “Saturday Open Thread

  1. Love your lights! One thing I miss about the old site- no photos in the comments. I’d love to see everyone’s decorations. Hmmm….maybe there’s a way to do that on Tumblr? Eh- too much work.

    Busy busy here today. M has Nutcracker rehearsal and gymnastics (as usual) but her Girl Scout troop is serving at the Empty Bowls luncheon over at the community kitchen. It’s a big fundraiser for the CK and her troop made bowls earlier in the year and helped hand out Thanksgiving boxes a couple of weeks back. It’s been really good for her to see that “poor people” don’t look any different from the rest of the people she sees in town.

    H is getting a Forced Service Opportunity today ’cause I’ll be damned if he’s going to sit on his butt playing video games all day. I signed him up to work at the church rummage sale. It’s run by the Women’s Fellowship (which is the “over 70 ladies group” in reality) and they always need help schlepping and cleaning up.

    So…I’m spending the day in the car, schlepping kids from place to place. I might squish in a Target run and a stop at the post office, but mostly I’m thinking Christmas Carols, a book, a coffee and a cozy sweater. It’s snowing here and the tree lighting was last night and I’m just FILLED with the freaking holiday spirit.

  2. Beautiful lights, Erika!

    All my friends must get busy in feb/march because we are headed to another birthday party. We had 2 last weekend. Tomorrow we are going on a Griswold type extended family Christmas tree hunt at a tree farm…and then going home to decorate our fake tree !

  3. Rain, rain, rain. This might normally be the weekend we would head to the tree farm – our local one is super fun with popcorn, cider, Santa giving sleigh rides, etc – but it is raining nonstop. Hopefully next weekend will be better weather. DS was supposed to have his last baseball tournament of the year but it has been cancelled.

    Maybe we’ll go to the movies instead, and try to get some shopping done.

  4. Yesterday my boys and the neighbor kids trouped off to RiteAid to buy candy with their allowances. On the way into the store they passed a homeless guy with a sign that said he was out of work. So DS11 bought an extra lollipop to give him on the way back.

    A couple of weeks ago he asked DH whether at his age he was supposed to know what he wants to do when he grows up. About a year ago he came up with ‘fundraiser for the homeless’ as an ambition, and he confided that he thinks he really does want to work with the homeless some day. I’m beginning to think that may well be his calling. At what age do you get kids involved in community service activities? We don’t belong to a church, and boy scouts and 4H are both out, so I’m not quite sure where to look.

    • What a sweetie you have there, lyn, with a very generous spirit and kind heart.

      You might find that your middle school has a service organization for juniors, such as Jr. Beta or Jr. Key Club.
      I found this link through Key Club, with some service ideas:
      http://www.keyclub.org/Libraries/Service/Guide_KeyClub_Service_Directory_-_Complete.sflb.ashx

      And there is a registry I used once to find one of my kids some service hours called Volunteer Match. IIRC, you could narrow down by type of work, location, age of volunteers, etc

      • He’s still in elementary school, though – we don’t have middle school here. I’d really like to see him get involved as part of a group, so hopefully Jr High will have more opportunities next year. I’m not sure to what degree I can volunteer with him if my younger son isn’t willing to participate as well, and he’s likely to balk.

        And thanks to the link to volunteermatch – it turned up one local organization that I didn’t know about that looks just about right if we do decide to get involved earlier.

    • I think the food banks are generally willing to have kids (probably with a parent) volunteer. And my small town has an “interfaith network” that is part food assistance, some utility assistance. Churches support it, but you don’t have to be church folk to walk up and ask how to help.

    • We found a variety of age rules around here. For example, helping out at the dog pound you need to be 15, soup kitchen you need to part of a group with adult supervision or bring an adult with you. I would ask a public librarian in your town (because they know everything). There are liability issues with recognized groups.

      My DS was also interested in homelessness but he just did his own thing. There was one woman in particular that he helped with money and clothes. They had a standing appt. and although she didn’t always make it, he did. He tended to assume the worst when she wasn’t there, thinking she might be in a hospital or something. We talked about how differently time might be experienced by someone in her circumstances.

    • My eight year old is keen to help the animals. So far the easiest way for her to do that is to raise money for various causes. She has done several different fund raisers at school. The last one raised $340 for the orangutans. And when she delivered it to the zoo, she got to meet one! Very exciting. She wants to raise money to cure the facial cancer (viral) of the Tasmanian devil now. I made her do a powerpoint presentation to the principal of the school. Evil perhaps…but she’s learning all sort of things.

      The point is..the easiest way for young ones to help get involved is with fund raising. Maybe you could start there. Or if you don’t want to do money, he could organize a holiday warm coat donation and take them in to the shelter himself. Or a “overnight bag” for foster kids is popular. You organize a backpack, teddy, jammies, toothbrush, and book for a kid that has to leave home in a hurry. Or the standard food drive. You don’t need to join a club to make a difference.

      • All good ideas. His school does food drives but I don’t think they’ve done a coat drive this year, so he could organize one in his student council role.

  5. Busy, busy day here.

    That big report I was working on over Thanksgiving Break was due today and I just submitted the last three supporting documents this afternoon. Woo-hoo!!! Feels very, very good to be done with that (of course …. the hard work is yet to come … making all the action plans objectives realities).

    In addition to completing the report, I’ve also gone food shopping (we bought all food for the week in a record 20 minutes) and spent three hours at school supervising the various Science Olympiad teams that practice on the weekends. Now, we’re about to go out to Christmas in Davidson.

    Then, after that, I am going to pour myself a nice big glass of wine!

  6. I mailed out all necessary Christmas gifts today, and it’s only Dec. 1. I have also wrapped 9 gifts already. Yay, me!

    Next on the list: Christmas cards. Those will get done this week.

  7. Movie review: Lincoln.

    My political, social justice oriented 11 year old said it was, “ok, but very boring in parts. And slooooow.” Unfortunately a weather front came through that was messing him up early in the movie – I felt it hit at the same time he started squirming badly. So I’m not surprised it was hard to sit through; theater seats are tough on achy people. But he didn’t seem all that impressed so I doubt he’d have loved it if he were comfortable.

    My apolitical 10 year old really liked it, and was fascinated by the various political maneuvering behind the vote. He even approved of the disappointing ending (you don’t see Lincoln being shot) once we talked through why the director might have made that decision. I think the significance of the scene with Stevens’ housekeeper may have sailed right over his head – I should go back and point that out. Neither boy thought any of the scenes were too graphic or inappropriate.

  8. We had a couple from church and their 15 month old over this morning for brunch and it was awesome! This is the second great Saturday brunch we’ve done in the past month or so and I think we’ve figured out what works to allow us to entertain again, post second kid. Dinner is more daunting, for some reason. It’s great to put the kids to bed friday night and then clean the house and prep the food for the next day. The kids are happy in the morning, and there’s little time for them to make messes before company comes. Leave taking is easier, too. After about 2 hours, people seem to want to get on with their day and I’m not stressed about the kids’ bedtimes creeping later and later if the guests linger. We had good food and great company, and then I put Clara down for a nap and took Lucy along to the nursery to pick out our Christmas tree. It’s in the stand, waiting for DH and I to do the lights tonight, and then the ornaments will get put on after dinner Sunday. I really wanted to get the outside lights up today, but it didn’t happen. Not sure when that’s going to happen, but I’m antsy to have it done. I love the outside lights. Yours are wonderful, Erika! Hardly bought any gifts, no cards yet, and just barely started on decorating…but it really is only Dec 1. I am trying not to be stressed, because there’s plenty of time. Plenty.

    I got out the kids’ Christmas decor–things like that creepy elf and the fisher price nativity set. Clara LOVED walking around the living room with Jesus in her mouth, a donkey in one fist, and a shepherd in the other.

    • “jesus in her mouth” made me spit my coffee out laughing..

      When my sister died we had a memorial service for her at our hometown church in Maine right after Christmas… liza was four at the time.. as we waited in the church hall she found the doll that had been used in the manger scene .. she was running around with it when the parish priest said “oh who’s your baby doll?” she looked at him calmly and replied “Jesus…”

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