October weekend moments

photo-215This past weekend was a nice one. For starters, we had real fall weather, with a nip in the air and lots of the trees starting to change. Second, we had a good number of “anchor events.” It was just the right number to make the weekend feel full of good memories, but with enough space for down time too.

On Friday night, my husband and I went to the restaurant Sbraga with some friends. Our friends are part owners of the restaurant, and they’d donated a dinner to the preschool silent auction last spring. I bid and won, and finally got around to using the gift cards (with them). Chef Kevin Sbraga, who won Top Chef several years ago, came over to our table a few times to talk and helpfully sent over the items that he thought we should have ordered but didn’t (like the BBQ parsnips). It was a great dinner, from the foie gras soup to the semifreddo.

On Saturday, we got a slow start (foie gras soup will do that to you). I managed to read for about an hour while the kids played. I am now close to page 400 in Capital in the Twenty-First Century.* We let my daughter open her family birthday presents one day early, so there was a lot of playing too. Seeing the joy on her face and her brothers’ faces was pretty fun. I think Christmas will be something this year. After lunch, we hopped in the car and drove up to Blue Mountain in the Poconos. They had their Octoberfest, and the kids made crafts and painted pumpkins. We took a hayride up into the hills (I didn’t go on the ski lift, though. I don’t like heights!) Even if I didn’t get to drink a giant frosty mug of beer (I took sips of hubby’s), it was lovely to be in the cold, seeing the bright colors, which are closing in on peak at altitude.

Sunday morning I got up early and went for a run. The temperature was about 48 degrees at 7:30! I got in 4 miles before breakfast, and by the end it felt pretty good.

Then I took my now 3-year-old (Happy Birthday!) to soccer at the YMCA. It’s a cute little class and she had fun kicking the soccer ball around. Then she consented to go to the playroom for 20 minutes while I ran another 1.5 miles.

After lunch, we went for a short family walk near Valley Forge (my Fitbit was at 18,000-plus steps for Sunday and I didn’t even have it on for the extra 1.5 miles on the treadmill!). Then it was off to the 3-year-old’s party, which was at the exact same place where we celebrated the 5-year-old’s birthday. They made it easy as usual. At one point, I went into a bouncy house and crammed into a little bouncy tunnel with my 3 offspring because they wanted to have all 4 (!) siblings in their little hideaway. The littlest guy tends to travel with me. At home, we opened presents and did some more playing. Then my husband and I had dinner together: steak, spaghetti squash, and leftover veggies from the birthday party veggie tray. We ended with an apple pie my husband baked earlier in the day. Quite a good dinner, and the kids were in bed by 8:30. Compared with being in bed around 10, that’s a much better way to end the weekend.

I need to think through next weekend ahead of time since I’ll be on solo parent duty. I have a rough plan, but some more anchor events would help…

* It is quite a juxtaposition to write about foie gras soup and Piketty’s book in the same paragraph.

In other news: The cold weather led to a slight crisis today (Monday). It was long pants weather. My 7-year-old has been wearing shorts all summer and, sure enough, nothing fit. The only pants he could wear without showing massive ankle were the black dress pants I bought for their recent photos. So he went to school in those, and I went to Old Navy tonight to load up on size 8 pants.

8 thoughts on “October weekend moments

  1. sounds like a pretty perfect weekend! i love how your crisp run was 48 degrees and mine was 73 (still felt crisp to me 🙂 ).

    i find the solo weekends so much more challenging, too. i need to come up with a list of good one-parent anchor events!

    1. @sarah – “crisp” is relative, isn’t it? I was going to go back through your posts for weekend ideas! Since I have 2 soccer games at the same time (again!) I got a sitter for a few hours to help with that, and so I can go for a run. We may all go swimming at the Y since my daughter has soccer there. I’ll probably take the 3 out to dinner on Friday. But I honestly feel like I’m preparing for a hurricane or something — seeing if I have enough groceries in the house, since it is a pain to go shopping with all 3.

  2. I just came off a solo parent weekend, and it went okay. It was Homecoming at the local University, so the sitter pool took a hit. Things were off to a good start, and I had a sitter for 2 hours Saturday morning to run and a sitter Sunday afternoon/early evening for some catch up time and a girls sushi night out. If I had not been attacked by fire ants Friday afternoon at the playground and then pulled my back out carrying a very heavy toddler sunday morning, things might have gone smoothly. Back pain with two toddlers is, well, a pain!

    1. @Griffin – oh dear. I hope your back is doing better. And what a bad weekend to have it happen when you’re on solo duty!

  3. Hello Laura, I started following your blog a month or so ago. It is really great and I really enjoy reading the details of your days and time spent with your kids. As a new mom of a 14-month old, it is very helpful to peak into another family’s schedule. One thing I noticed that you do not write much about, or I just missed it so far, the logistics that goes into planing all these activities. For example, your Sunday sounds wonderful, but I am sure you must have spent some time planning the birthday, the food, the kids to invite etc. Likewise, the dinner you had after the party. You did not mention if you cooked it yourself or just have somebody delivered/cooked it for you. I think learning about how you deal with less fun, more labor intensive household chores would help all the readers. If you already mentioned this in other posts, I am sorry. From the last few ones I read I got the impression that you have some sort of cooking/cleaning assistance at home because you never talk about it.
    Thank you

    1. @Mina – thanks for reading the blog! These are all good questions. We have a PT housekeeper (8 hours/week – she comes two days for 4 hours) so we don’t do a lot of the laundry or cleaning. We do the daily dishes. My husband and I both cook, but neither of us have particularly elaborate ideas of what that should involve. Steak and spaghetti squash are both 1 ingredient items! He made an apple pie because he just likes doing that sort of thing. It’s not like it has to be done (also, it was a pre-made crust). As for the birthday parties, I did take about half an hour one weekend to send out the evites for both my fall-birthday kids’ parties. We had them at a place that does *everything* — so you just pay and they get the cake, the pizza, the balloons, the goodie bags. We’ve done parties at our house in the past but then our previous nanny planned them (she enjoyed crafts and such things). One current thing we have going which is helpful is that our new nanny’s schedule includes 3 hours when all 3 kids are at school. So she does a lot of errands/grocery shopping and other household tasks (e.g. finding which 3T hand-me-downs from my 5-year-old son don’t look so masculine that my 3-year-old daughter will refuse to wear them).

      As for basic logistics, my husband and I are trying to get in the habit of talking through weekends beforehand, and we’ve also started having semi-regular calendar meetings to figure out who is where. Like we’d figured out last night that his train from DC got in at 5:30. Soccer for the 7-year-old started at 5:30. I brought all 3 kids to the field and the little ones played on the playground, and he met us there around 6:15. We switched cars, he stayed with the kids, and I went to Old Navy.

      I totally agree with you that I find family logistics fascinating. My next book has some amount of this, and I’ve been convincing my editors that people really do like to read about it!

  4. Yeah, the pants weather got us, too. we all went out with shorts on Saturday and just about froze. Thankfully I had ordered jeans from Old Navy ahead of time. Unfortunately, the 4 year old refused to wear any of them and is wearing the same, hole-y, too short, dirty pair of “comfy pants” all week.
    It really was a lovely quintessentially FALL weekend.

  5. At a carnival many years ago there was a crowd gathered around a bouncy house so I went over to it myself to have a look. A mother had gone inside to play with her kids and to say she was overweight is a little bit of an understatement. She’d created this black hole all the rest of the kids had fallen into, and they were frantically trying to climb up the sides to escape being piled on top of each other.

    It was hilarious, I’m embarrassed to admit, and heartbreaking — at once.

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