Weekend Open Thread

It’s the weekend, y’all! And we’re having ourselves a 3rd birthday party today.

I might have gone a little overboard. There will be cake. And a piñata. And a catered barbeque dinner. And a churro machine. And a trackless train.

Did I mention cake?  😛

I guess I’ve just been feeling like life is short, so when you can, live it up. It also hit me that this is very likely the last 3rd birthday party I will ever throw, as I’m still coming to grips with the no more babies thing. Plus, this is the first year that DS really gets the birthday concept. He chose the theme and has been talking nonstop about the cake and the candles and the bounce house and the presents. We’re all pretty excited, and can use some joy after all the trials and tribulations we’ve endured lately.

And: after two weeks, my Bell’s Palsy seems to be improving! Still can’t close my left eye completely and don’t have great control over the left side of my mouth, but my smile is much improved and the headaches are finally gone. I feel like partying a little.

What are you up to this weekend? Chat away!


112 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

  1. Erika! That sounds awesome! If I lived in SoCal I would totally crash your party! Very happy party day to ds! We are heading to my niece’s first bday party today, then Dd’s party (and birthday) is next Saturday.

    Also, would you say you are sleeping with one eye open? Yuk yuk yuk.

    So, yesterday I found out I will be having a date with the biopsy needle for my thyroid. Gross. However, the good part was that I stopped by my department and was greeted by a warm hug from my boss. I am really excited to go back, even to my limited schedule. I’m glad I decided to keep this gig and drop photography instead, because it’s what I truly love. It’s just nice to feel confirmation that I’m making the right choice, because I second guess myself constantly.

  2. Glad you’re seeing some improvement and that you have a great day to look forward to. We’re basically snowed under here- about 30 inches and it’s still coming down. The kids went out to play with the neighbor kids and I have serious plans with a cup of coffee and the interwebs until they come back. Everything is shut down, I have chili and cornbread for dinner, and we FINALLY have good plans for our renovation. (It’s taken 18 months with the architect to get to what we want.) It’s looking like a good day so far.

  3. guys, thank a nurse or a cop or an EMT today… I helped my wife dig her car out of 2 feet of snow at 530 am so she could go to work.. she had to put her emergency brake on to get down the hill to the facility and said it was like the apocolypse with only her on the road but she’s THERE.. phew…

  4. I’m a morning person in a house of night owls. Lying in bed reading MT on my phone. DH is asleep on one side, Stormy fell asleep nursing on the other, there’s a sleeping cat on the other side of him and one lying on me.

  5. Glad to hear you’re feeling better, Erika. Life without headaches has got to feel great. The party sounds wonderful. I just now had to Google “churro machine”…yum! I guess I’ve never considered how they’re made, only how they’re eaten.

    We’re doing the usual during the day (practices, errands, cleaning) but our evenings are more exciting than usual. We had a great date last night (dinner/comedy club) and we’re heading to a Mardi Gras party tonight. I’m super jealous of all the snow and cozy crock pottery happening in the NE. Stay safe, my friends!

  6. That’s a relief that things are getting better, Erika! I’m not going to say I’m jealous of 30 inches of snow…but a good 5-6 inches would be nice to see about now. I’ve only gotten to use my snowshoes once (last Saturday morning) since DH and the kids gave them to me in early January. The snow is melted again now and there’s none in the forecast. Boo.

    Clara was up early early but then went back to sleep. Then Lucy entertained herself solo when she woke up, so though I was up with Clara from 5:30-6:30, we went back to sleep again until 9!! Yippee!

    We are going to clean this morning and then we have a babysitter coming at 4 so we can have a date for the second week in a row. We’re seeing Silver Linings Playbook at 4:20 and then going out to dinner. That’s our favorite date timing, because we’re home in time to put the kiddos to bed. The babysitter feeds, bathes, and gets PJs on and we swoop in for the final night night. Usually tipsy.

      • I’m a little worried about the intensity. We’ve already seen Argo and Lincoln. DH refused Les Mis. Neither of us want to see Zero Dark Thirty. Amour isn’t playing around here. Seems like SLP is our only Oscar option. I’m hoping the comedic aspect will make it less depressing.

            • trust me Bradley Cooper’s character had nothing on what I used to go through with my daughter during a middle of the night anxiety attack..maybe that’s why it didn’t bother me..

              • The first part, especially, was filmed to increase anxiety in the viewer, I think! I felt all caged in that house and worried that he was going to haul off and hit someone or otherwise freak out at any second. And I kept waiting for that one guy who kept showing up and then getting hauled back to the hospital to do something bad. Which I think is the mark of brilliant cinematography and directing.

    • Have fun!!! Woo date night! We always time our outings so the sitter puts them to bed, weasels that we are. We went out last night and came home to them blissfully sleeping! Although they are always such angels for the sitter at bedtime, I don’t feel bad. Then she has some down time to text to her hearts content or whatever it is teenagers do nowadays.

      • I don’t mind the actual last bedtime part, but I am happy to give up the post dinner and bath part. I like reading a few pages of Harry Potter with Lucy and Clara still nurses right before bed, which are the reasons we like to be home by then.

  7. We are looking at 10-12 inches of snow…but never lost power, and most roads are plowed, so definitely not as bad as others. I am very happy that my new commute can be done by foot/subway, so I have no anxiety for Monday morning.

    DS did the shoveling without being asked and then went sledding with friends. Now I’m making Mac and cheese and soup. Except for the snow, it’s a normal Saturday for us.

    • Fun. Do you have good places to sled nearby? My ILs in Brooklyn live near a park with a big hill. It mostly seems fairly flat around their neighborhood though.

  8. I’ve been enjoying all the snow pics from my friends in the northeast. I wouldn’t mind having a bit once in a while, but we have to go to the mountains for that.

    I saw Madeline Levine talk last night. She wrote The Price of Privilege and now Teach Your Children Well. She was very down to earth and funny. She is very much speaking to a small and very high income / high education stratum though – e.g. Harvard came up repeatedly in her book and during her talk – so some of her comments and examples just don’t seem all that relevant to me even if her broader points (which are, basically, chill out and be open to alternatives) are right.

  9. Hi All,
    It’s a little tricky updating over here on the phone but I thought I should let those of you who aren’t on FB know how it went. The results are kind of bittersweet. The cancer is gone but they took a lot of other things out to get it out so we hit one of the worst case scenarios we had been warned about last month as far as outcomes were concerned about putting him back together was concerned. So we are thrilled that it’s gone but at the same time we are heartbroken that he will be permanently dealing with the destruction it caused to his body.

    Also, being the strong member of his support team is highly overrated.

    • Hugs, C! Again, so sorry things turned out worse than hoped. And also sorry you have to be “the strong one”. The whole thing sucks. (((Hug)))

    • Will you be able to get a good nap in today after being up last night? I wish there was a way to send some of Erika’s fresh churros to the hospital!

    • Hugs and more hugs. We love you and we are honored to be your support team, although I wish it could be more than virtual support. I’m sorry his family is not stepping up, and making things so hard.

    • Is there anything at all that we can do? Arrange food delivery once you get back home? Find you an isolated corner where you can lose your schpdoinkle when need be?

    • I’d seen the news on FB, but thanks for posting it here too. Could one of us help you out by taking care of posting here?
      Please, please, please use MT or the FB group to vent all you need. We are here for you! Also, please tell us if the is anything else you think we could help with in any way.
      Cyberhugs are terribly inadequate right now, and I so wish there was more we could do! Thinking of you all, sending vibes, hugs, love, etc.

    • Thank you for posting here as well – we’re all thinking of you. I wish the outcome had been more positive. Be gentle with yourself as much as you can and feel free to let it all out here. We’re always here for you.

    • I’m so sorry things aren’t better all the way around. Both in the short term, making sure the pain is handled well, and the longer term with all the adjustments that will be necessary. We will be with you every step of the way.

  10. Hi All,
    It’s a little tricky updating over here on the phone but I thought I should let those of you who aren’t on FB know how it went. The results are kind of bittersweet. The cancer is gone but they took a lot of other things out to get it out so we hit one of the worst case scenarios we had been warned about last month as far as outcomes were concerned about putting him back together was concerned. So we are thrilled that it’s gone but at the same time we are heartbroken that he will be permanently dealing with the destruction it caused to his body.

    Also, being the strong member of his support team is highly overrated.

  11. Who brings their obnoxious, jumpy dog to a 1 year Old’s indoor birthday party, with babies crawling everywhere and kids running wild? And sets up the dig’s potty pad right under the cake table? Yes, my sil’s parents (who live 15 min away) could not bear to leave the poor snowflake home, apparently. If she jumps up at my baby one more time I will lose it.

  12. So this is totally random, but has been on my mind…

    This week, a young woman in our office sent an email giving her two weeks notice. I haven’t been there long enough to be attached to anyone, but this girl is def one of my faves – funny, hard working, sort of hipster but not in a too serious way. I didn’t realize how much I connected her to my own DD, until I saw her crying in our bosses office.

    I”m not sure what happened, but after 6 years in NYC, she decided she can’t hack it and is going home (upstate NY).

    The part that got to me though, was that she was crying and saying “how can I tell my mom?” (and later saying “how can I tell mom I failed?”). That made me so sad that she didn’t think her parents would support her through this, and the next morning I called me DD and said “we have high expectations for you, and I know you’ll go far, but I don’t want you to EVER feel like you can’t tell me something or that you would be greeted at our front door with anything other than hugs and a place to crash”

    I know every family has its own story, and many parent-child relationships are complicated, but it really hit me hard that a young person, still trying to find her niche in the world, didn’t feel she’d have a soft place to fall.

  13. Gah, I have an acquaintance through work that I’m FB friends with. She lives out east and has lost power, so she brought a big propane tank with a heating unit on it INSIDE. She has two kids. I’ve always thought she wasn’t that bright, but I think I can confirm it when a friend of hers posted on FB “Carbon monoxide??” and she replied “It’s propane!” as if CM was a type of fuel. Forehead > desk.

    • UGH – OTOH, my mom just called me to say she found firewood and kindling that my DH had bought for her years ago, and figured out how to open the flue in her fireplace and “brought out my girl scout camping skills” and lit a fire in her fireplace.

      Hope your work friend finds a way to vent her house and that she gets power back soon.

  14. DH and I also had a date last night – dropped the girls off at the MIL’s and went for dinner and a burlesque show at our local town hall! It was so awesome – Finucane and Smith’s Caravan Burlesque. Firstly, the performers were so talented. Secondly, things weren’t your traditional burlesque. Nudity? Yes. Broad jokes? Yes. But a bit left-field. The opening act was a woman in men’s drag, lip-synching I Touch Myself while stripping. I really thought it was a man, until she took her shirt off. Second act was a shy gorilla dancing to I Am Beautiful. It was fantastic and hilarious. Loved it.

  15. Where is everyone today? Baby’s in bed and Lucy’s busy doing some kind of imaginative play by herself involving blankets and treasures and overturned chairs. I was hoping my friends could amuse me!

    • I’m here. Just got back from a preschool open house. Very nice, catholic school with very light academics. Dd would enjoy it but it just doesn’t hold a candle to head start. Which we cannot qualify for now because they changed the income requirements after ds. Sigh. I feel like they’re all overpriced and none will prepare her for kindy as well. I’m in a bad mood. This is just one more decision I have to make and I don’t love the choices, but the classes are filling fast.

      • Hey BB–One of my colleagues is from your city originally and just used the word “nebby” this past week. I was kinda proud I knew it, all thanks to you. And this morning there was a new couple in sunday school from…guess where? Your city! Clearly all the stars are aligned for you to relocate here. Everyone is doing it. Darn, I wish you hadn’t just purchased that new dream home.

        • All or nothing. And it’s a LOT. It’s actually really impractical, besides being across town if I wanted to stay at Ds’s old center. Assuming we’d even get a spot.

            • Squeee! A girl can dream!

              I actually really love it here. After college I really though I wanted to leave, but then I married a burgh boy with a big ‘burgh family. I felt trapped for a while. But now my brother married a ‘burgh girl and settled here, and my parents are here part time. It’s a cool and very accessible city. Our football team rules. It’s not far to get to some really beautiful parks/hiking. I like it here and it’s home.

        • Guess what I learned last week? “Nebby” comes from “neb,” the Scots English word for nose. MIL brought Stormy a bunch of books of kids’ rhymes and such written in Scots. (Not Gaelic, Scots.)

    • I’m here, eavesdropping on my boys and a friend who are in the dining room designing the backyard fort they are planning to build. They’re sketching it out with pen and paper. I’ve heard them discuss where the rug will go, the couch, the TV, and the minifridge. (You need a minifridge to keep the ants out of the snacks, obviously.) This has been a dream of theirs ever since they saw a comfy armchair at the thrift store for $1.50. So they started scouting other thrift store items and decided that the project of their dreams was within their budget. Without being too much of a wet blanket mom laid out some practical constraints: No upholstered furniture without a watertight roof (that shouldn’t be a problem, right?), no electrical equipment is allowed out there overnight (no problem, we’ll just keep the tv and mini fridge in the garage when we’re not out there), no advance purchasing of these items for “later”, I reserve the right to limit extension cords. I’ve agreed to supply wood, nails, and tools, though of course they’ll need to clear out the weeds and scrabbly old bushes covering the site (which is quite a bit smaller than they think) before I’ll even consider getting stuff. But it’s never too early to draw up plans. No discussion yet about framing the roof and walls, but these are minor details.

      • OK, they’re done with fort planning for the moment. DS11 just passed by with his swimsuit on and asked if he can go in the pool. Yes, it’s february. Yes, we have actual winter here and the pool is not heated. But it’s a sunny and balmy 59° this afternoon, so it seems the obvious thing to do. I told him I didn’t want him to jump in (last year we learned how that goes) but he is welcome to wade in from the shallow end.

        Aaaannnnd… that activity didn’t last long.

        • LOL! Your boys are awesome.

          Lucy finished her strange activity in which she set up treasures and booby traps all over the living room. I was just thankful I didn’t have to be involved until she was finished, and then I was to fall prey to each trap (for pretend, thankfully). So, for example, I had to try to steal all her mardi gras bead necklaces off the table and pretend to trip on the row of 10 pencils on the ground (whoa whoa whoooooaaa!) I’m now rethinking my decision to let her watch Home Alone over the holidays. Thankfully, she’s nice enough to point out each booby trap and let me know I can just PRETEND to get hurt.

        • Our winter is Dec-Jan. It’s spring now as my neighbor’s daffodils are blooming and even a tree is blooming by the grocery store! But still not warm enough to swim by any stretch of the imagination.

      • Sounds fun.

        My older one is taking advantage of the 3 day weekend by having a marathon sleepover with his best friend – last night at BF’s house and tonight at ours. They stated up til 2:30 last night so we’ll see if they crash tonight. They walked downtown and back and now are playing basketball at the park. I am enjoying the teen-ness. He and this friend really connected this year although they met last year, it is really good for him to have someone like that.

        The younger one went to a birthday party and now is hanging out, bouncing his tennis ball and reading. Mellow afternoon. I got some errands done.

        Last night I watched The Queen of Versailles which is streaming on Netflix now. It’s pretty interesting. The family are so emblematic of the spend beyond your means boom times. Even with that amount of money (a billion) they still couldn’t live within their means.

  16. Sigh. Things feel totally out of control again. I just can’t seem to get the balance right between trying to let/ make the kids be independent and doing the actual parenting thing. Let’s take today for example:

    Kids fixed their own breakfasts while I slept in.
    Kids managed their screen time well with just a tiny bit of prompting.
    Kids decided to go outside without any prompting from us and managed to keep themselves happily engaged for about an hour
    H made an apple crisp (I know! His FACS teacher is a gem!) and fixed his own lunch.

    All good right? Except…

    M never ate lunch. Went sledding with a friend at 2:30 and only after she left did I realize she hasn’t eaten since breakfast.
    H wants to go sledding but won’t move on it. He doesn’t want to go alone, doesn’t want to go with me, but won’t tell me who to call (or who he will call) to go with.
    Neither kid is brushing their teeth in the morning on the weekend. They did it today at 2 when DH reminded them (and gave them a 10 minute lecture on gingivitis).
    Cooking is too hard and no one eats anyway, so I’ve fallen back in the habit of just letting everyone eat what they want so long as there’s some balance to it. We haven’t had a family dinner in ages because it always seems to end up in an argument.
    DH is spiraling again and is in the “we live in a sh*t hole” phase of his depression, making him just a joy to be around.

    Sorry for the vent- my problems are ridiculous in the face of what other’s are going through, but their mine and they’re sort of threatening to bury me today.

      • I probably could but I don’t feel like I should. If anything, I should go to the store and get menus organized for the week to try to get us back on track or I should take H sledding so he at least gets some exercise.

        • Ok, H is a big enough boy he can go if he wants, or not. So I would cross that one off. Do something fun before you trudge to the store. Have a beer maybe!

          • Sorry it’s been a day. I think H’s is old enough to go sledding or not as he chooses and M’s old enough to know she needs to eat lunch. I know he needs exercise and you worry about her eating enough, but they are old enough to take on some of the responsibility for themselves without you having to worry yourself crazy over it. And maybe they need reminders to brush their teeth, but they are also old enough to remember to do this on their own. It’s probably not that big a deal to delay it once in awhile.

            Now, meal planning for the week and grocery shopping sounds more like your (or DH’s) responsibility. Maybe you could do the planning and list and DH could go to the store? Sounds like he needs a kick in the ass, so could you ask him if he’d rather meal plan and make the list or go to the store?

            • Thanks. I was feeling like maybe I was totally crazy for feeling like this was all stuff I needed to be taking care of. I ended up caving and taking H sledding. It wasn’t that fun for him and apparently 2 minutes after we drove away, a neighbor kid showed up wanting H to go to a different sledding hill. Had I just left well enough alone, he would have had a much better time than he did with me.

              I got DH to make the menu for the week. I won’t get to the store tonight but it’s sort of a light week so I can go tomorrow.

        • I’m not seeing the problem here. Do you think other families live in some kind of idealized nirvana where everything is always perfect? It looks like a normal weekend day to me. The kids don’t need a lecture on gingivitis, they need to be reminded that they are not allowed to do X before brushing their teeth. DH is welcome to clean the house to above what he considers to be the shithole line. H should go sledding if he feels like it. None of these are evidence that your family is falling apart.

          The meals are your hard part, especially if you’ve lost control of family dinner. But you can do grocery shopping and meal planning in the time you save by not taking Harry sledding and not cleaning. And I suspect you need to review the dietary ground rules with M, which should include a minimum caloric intake.

          • All good points Lyn. Sometimes I lose perspective because DH can get a bit obsessive, particularly about health and safety stuff. He has horrible dental problems because he didn’t take care of his teeth as a kid, so he obsesses over the tooth brushing thing. The sh*thole stuff is mostly about the long-overdue renovations we’ve been trying to do- we’ve had to postpone some basic maintenance stuff because we’d just have to re-do it once we start the construction. The result is that our house looks pretty rundown- not so much about clean I guess. M, however, is going to do some carb-loading when she gets home or she’s going to be a wreck tomorrow. I like the way you put it- “dietary ground rules.” She likes rules, so she’ll probably be able to make sense of that.

            But you’re right- it’s not an insanely out of control day. Sometimes I just need a bit of a reality check.

            • Lyn’s right. Of course. But I do think that given m’s eating issues, sitting down with food, whether she eats it or not, should be part of the daily routine, possibly for as long as she’s under your roof. Since she apparently doesn’t feel hunger, which is a bizarro concept for me. :)

              • It’s weird- she’ll complain that her stomach hurts or she’s tired or whatever, but she doesn’t identify any feeling as “hungry” except boredom- and then all she wants is sugar.

    • When I read this, I think it’s really about which part of the story you focus on – the day had both good things and not-so-good. Some of the not-good are BIG, some small, and how big they feel to you is up to you.

      For example, I’ve realized that what DS eats on the weekend is much more variable than it is during the week. It bugs me, for example, that he skipped breakfast, then had a brownie at 11. But then I made a healthy lunch, which he ate at 1:30. He’s 13, he knows what he’s supposed to eat, and maybe eating a brownie, in front of me, is a little bit of safe defiance of authority. BUT also, M-F his meals are pretty well planned out and structured – breakfast happens between 7:30 and 7:50, lunch is whatever 20 minutes 8th grade is scheduled for. If it gives him a sense of control to eat more laxly on the weekend, it’s not the end of the world.

      IKWYM about the sledding thing too – DS is a little bit of a couch potato – would be happy in his bean bag chair watching TV on his computer most of the day. It’s really only this year (8th grade) that he’s had a steady group of buddies to do stuff with (and would be embarrassed to death if I went sledding with him LOL). I worry that he’s alone to much, but have been relieved the past few months that he DOES seem to have a tight social group.

      This ended up being more about me than you, sry! 😉

      I think you are hard on yourself – and then take the ‘blame’ for other things – most of what you describe falls IMHO in the range of “normal”.

      • It’s weird- I was feeling okay about all of it until DH started spiraling. He was so upset- “We’re doing a terrible job of taking care of our kids.” “We only have 8 years before they’re gone and we’re not doing everything we should.” Instead of staring blankly at him and responding, “I feel pretty good about things right now actually. What do you see as the big problem?” I let myself get sucked into his worldview which is largely influenced by his *own* feelings that he’s missing out on the kids’ growing up. Whether he is or not isn’t really my thing to figure out, but I shouldn’t have let myself get pulled into it.

        • I”ve had those convos!!! Almost the exact same one! DH will let out a loud sigh and say “I’m worried about …..” I mean, not to brag, but my DD is doing pretty damn good these days, and DS is really growing so much this year. I realized that the negative world view is HIS, not mine. And try (not always successful) to say “why do you feel that way?” It’s not easy – sometimes I wonder if I’m over- optimistic, to balance out his tendency toward depressiveness.

  17. Laura,

    I”m in my pajamas. do NOT Make me drive over the mountain to dope slap both you and J across the head.

    you know what Liza ate today? a donuts, an apple with peanut butter, some chips, and 2 pieces of pizza…

    you can see how insanely bothered by this I am…

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