Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Party and Tidying May 23, 2015

I love a party. Especially when the weather cooperates. We’re having our backyard BBQ today, and while I’m bummed that a few of the regulars can’t make it today, I’m thrilled that some of our neighbors (who we added this year) will make it. There’s a high of 73* today and it’s sunny but not windy. A perfect day to be outside all afternoon!

We’ve made so many improvements to the back yard over the last few months that it will be nice to see them in action. The swingset, soccer goal, fire pit, grill, and bounce house are all going to get some use today, I hope.

Patrick and I have been cleaning fools. As you know, we’ve been working on Japanese tidying our home, and we’ve asked ourselves if items bring us joy, and we’ve worked through our problems with sunk costs and attachments, and now we have SO MUCH MORE SPACE in this house. We looked at some pictures of when we first moved in (when Gil was exactly the age Porter is now!) and this place felt pretty big, because it was empty. While we’re not working toward that, exactly, we are working toward being able to walk around and maintain space for the kids to play.

For me, I feel claustrophobic when there’s too much furniture in a room. I’m not a minimalist, by any means, but I like to feel like I can do a headstand if I need to. I feel like we can live another five years in this house now that we’ve undertaken to pare down some of the extraneous stuff that frustrates us rather than brings us joy.


And some musings: I only like to host about one party a year, but I like it to be big and fun. My parents were much more likely to host family parties than friend parties, and I love a big family party (actually this is why we decided to have Porter is that we wanted the possibility of the big family party in the future). I remember the family party as most often occurring around Thanksgiving with lots of food and big tables for everyone. I only remember two big parties my parents hosted that involved people other than our family, and those were fun because there were lots of kids, but they were very busy parties.

In college, we had parties, but Patrick wouldn’t let me drink if I was hosting. He’s loosened up now. In grad school, we hosted a few parties, but mostly we just had about 15 people tops, as it was the most our house could accommodate. Our big backyard and small house means that a May party is really our only option, but we can make it big and invite lots of kids.

I wonder, based on all of this, how the boys will feel about parties as they get older. They get super excited when we have one, and they go over the guest list obsessively, asking about who’s coming (and this time they have a bet with each other on who shows up first). Will they want to host? Will they behave themselves in public (ie not pee in someone’s yard, like a bad frat boy)? Will they avoid large groups of social interaction?

It’s been a good opportunity to talk about some social things. We’ve had conversations about talking to and playing with everyone who comes. We’ve talked about the concept¬†of RSVP, and that it comes from the French language. We’ve plumbed the depths of how to introduce your friends to each other so everyone feels comfortable. These are also good reminders for us!


One Response to “Party and Tidying”

  1. Linda St Clair Says:

    If the party isn’t over by now, run out with the camera and take a photo. We hosted about 12 of those yearly Kentucky Derby parties and not one photo out of the whole bunch. I just got too busy cooking and cleaning and hosting. Now I wish I had a few photos.

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