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Volume 24 No. 115
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Weekend Plans With Pac-12 Networks' Lydia Murphy-Stephans: New House And Pets

With the start of the college football season right around the corner, Pac-12 Networks President LYDIA MURPHY-STEPHANS is taking the next week off to get organized and enjoy some uninterrupted family time. It took nearly 18 months to find the perfect spot, but her family just moved into a new home in the Oakland Hills neighborhood of Oakland, Calif., which means there is still plenty to unpack. And no home is complete without a family pet, even if it is an unconventional one.

UP IN THE HILLS: We moved last week into a new house, and so we are surrounded by hundreds of boxes. I am looking forward to unpacking so I can actually find my stuff before going to work every morning and not go through the fire drill that I’ve experienced over the past week and a half. I’ll get out of the office probably around 4:00 or 5:00 this Friday and I’m taking the next week as vacation with family, or really "staycation" with my family. It’s the last week before the kids go back to school and before the football season starts. I have two kids, a 9-year-old daughter whose name is BELLA and an 11-year-old son whose name is JESSE. Where we live is where most people fly or drive to for vacation. We are up in the Oakland Hills and we are surrounded by forests and rolling hills and mountains. It’s spectacular. There are miles upon miles of trails for mountain biking and great trails for walking and hiking.

BONDING TIME: At least once a week we do take-out (for dinner). We’re more inclined to do take-out and hang out as a family rather than sit in a restaurant. We love to either take out and sit outside to eat if the weather permits, or we do -- it’s kind of old fashioned -- but we do family movie night either Friday night or Saturday night. So we pick a movie and do take out and eat and maybe play a board game. We’ll watch comedies or dramas but it’s got to be G or PG for us. PG is as far as we’ll push it. We haven’t gotten to PG-13 yet.

EMPTY-NEST SYNDROME: We’re about to get chickens. And notice how I said plural -- chickens. The house we bought has a chicken coop and one cannot have a house with a chicken coop without having chickens. We’re looking forward to organic eggs and my children have learned in their school how to take care of chickens. Now we’re figuring out, do we rescue a chicken or do we get chicks and grow them to be our own? We’re getting four -- one for each family member.

DAY OF REST: I’m going to come across as a slacker, but we are as a family so scheduled Monday through Friday, and so regimented, that by the time we get to Saturday, it is hang out day. So unless there is a soccer game or an event that we have to be at, the kids stay in their pajamas as long as they possibly can. ... It’s truly time to do stuff around the house and not be scheduled and hang out and read the newspaper. I tend to wake up early, whether it’s the weekend or a weekday, and usually while the family is still asleep I’ll spend an hour or two really early Saturday morning meditating and then catching up on work e-mails.

PLAY DATES: My daughter does horseback riding and she aspires to be a cheerleader and she’s a great swimmer, but she doesn’t swim competitively. My son plays flag football, he plays soccer, he does the skateboard. Both of them bike. One of our favorite family activities is ice skating and both kids have been on skates since age three. Both of them are active in all sports but neither of them focuses on one sport in particular, and I’m encouraging them to not focus on one sport until they get a little older.

SUNDAY FUNDAY: Sunday is family and friends day. After church we tend to hang out for a while and then do something as a family. It could be come back to our house, go for a family bike ride, go swimming, go hiking or have friends over that would be a whole family. We love hosting at our house regardless of where we are. I’m so excited about our home because we now, in fact last Sunday family day, we went to church and on our way home from church finally, finally after 18 months we picked out a grill and ... we did a cookout Sunday night. So we’re all set up now.