We went swimming twice this weekend. One of the YMCAs in the general area has family swim until 10 p.m. on Friday nights, and that’s wound up being a fun way to transition into the weekend. The kids had a good time then, and so we also decided to go on Sunday afternoon.
The Sunday trip was one of those parenting moments that you just have to shoulder through, knowing what the outcome will eventually be. My husband and I had agreed the day before that we wanted to go. When we announced it, two out of three kids objected heartily. They wanted to sit around at home watching TV and playing games on the Kindle Fire. We were prepared for this, and didn’t let the initial whining derail the trip. But it was pretty bad. One of those kids even howled for about 20 minutes that he didn’t want to go. The other tried to undermine us by not putting on socks (since you need socks for the kids playroom). We had to stop on the way there, but I had an extra pair of socks in our swim bag. He was thwarted. They went to the playroom for 30 minutes while we ran and had a good time, and then we went to the pool. The kid who’d been howling said he didn’t even want to put on his suit but I said he had to — he could just sit on the side of the pool if he wanted. Then, of course, he had a great time and didn’t want to leave. This was all inevitable. I knew they’d love it, but if you’re not prepared for the resistance, it can wear you down.
Other highlights: We went out to Outback Steakhouse for dinner and the kids all ate their food with no whining or running off. It actually felt like we got some of the upsides of eating out (not having to cook) without the downsides (being on edge much of the time for some sort of melt down). So…perfect time to plunge back into the baby stage, right?
Now on to the actual title of this post. I spent some time this weekend thinking through what I want to do over the holidays, beyond the usual buying and decorating a tree, and giving presents to the people on my list. I’m intrigued by the idea of a literary Advent calendar (see this Modern Mrs. Darcy post). We have a few Christmas books I could wrap up, and if I get started now, I’m sure I can order some more and have 24 ready to go. Some other things on the list:
Visiting the Garden Railways around here (Longwood and Morris Arboretum).
Making cookies. My daughter and I are going to have some solo time together over Thanksgiving so that may be a good time for getting our kitchen fun in. I’m going to start clipping recipes as all the December magazines come in.
Attending the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus Christmas concert in NYC.
Going to two Christmas parties we wind up attending annually.
Going out for a festive date night on my birthday. (I also want to go to an art museum and go shopping by myself on my birthday, but that’s not holiday related per se).
Going to a Christmas Eve service.
That’s pretty much it. If I hit all these, that will be fine. It was good to realize how relatively short the list is. I think one thing that winds up being stressful for people about the holidays is thinking there are various things they should be doing that they aren’t doing. But when I list it all in black and white, I realize it’s all very doable, leaving space for going swimming at the Y (even if the kids need to be convinced).
In other news: I’m working on an article on organizing great conference panels. I’ve been to so many that are so, so bad. Conferences have them because it’s a way to increase the number of speakers, but often the format just doesn’t work. If you’ve ever organized a good panel, what made it work? What tips do you have?
NaNoWriMo update: 32,300 words. Yeah, baby.