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Time for Camp!

standard July 11, 2012 Leave a response

I am sitting at my desk, hot cup of coffee at my right, long to do list at my left, and can you hear that? No? Well, that’s because there’s nothing to hear. No “MAMA!!” No yelling. No playing or laughing. Not even the sound of the TV.


This moment of serenity today is being brought to you, well, to me really, by the lovely and amazing people at Camp Galileo.

C and Little L have been traipsing off to camp every day this week with big smiles on their faces. Smiles that are only eclipsed by the even bigger ones they sport when I pick them up at 3pm.

So far, and I realize we’re only halfway through the week so I’m touching wood as I type, camp has been a roaring success. The girls have come home full of stories about the science experiments they’ve been doing, the art projects they’re working on, and even the games they’ve been playing during outdoor time.

Chicken-opoly anyone?

They’re in separate groups due to age. Little L is a Nebula, aka a ‘Nebbie’ or as she calls it a ‘Nevvie.’ C is a Star, and no, she isn’t going to let us forget that any time soon!

Two girls at camp
The Star and the ‘Nevvie’ sporting their group colors for color day!

I’ve been impressed with the Camp Galileo organization since the day I first started working with them, but this week they’ve really blown my socks off.

The sheer number of staffers available to welcome the campers and parents in the morning is amazing. People are responsive, cheerful, excited about being there. It really makes it easy to walk away knowing that the kids are in great hands.

I’ve also really appreciated how, at pick-up, each counselor takes a moment to give me a rundown on how each child’s day went, making sure to share at least one anecdote about the day that directly pertains to my child. It might seem like a little thing, but knowing how chaotic camp pick-up can be, it’s really very welcome!

So far the only downsides have been yesterday’s tuna sandwiches, (but really, that’s my fault, I shouldn’t have assumed that all tuna sandwiches were created equal and should have known that only the ones made by our beloved daycare provider were considered acceptable), and an incident concerning a castle in the Kindergarten playground that gave Little L nightmares last night. A quick call to the camp supervisor later and she assured me that they’d work to turn the stories surrounding the castle into something heartwarming rather than scary. (Please note that neither of those issues are the camp’s issue. The hot lunch is being brought in by a 3rd party organization and the castle is a permanent fixture at the school where camp is being held.)

So there you have it. Our camp interlude in the middle of our “summer at home” (clearly a misnomer given just how many times I’ve been on a plane since June…) is a real success. And now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to go make myself a second cup of coffee and keep enjoying the quiet. 3pm and the noise it heralds isn’t all that far away.

Two girls walking at camp
Heading straight towards “Fun!!”

Local peeps! Summer is far from over and Camp Galileo still has some openings! Your child too could be learning science while doing art and having a blast! Catch a glimpse of the fun being had on the Camp Galileo Facebook Page.

Please note: I am being compensated for this post and the two I’ve written previously on this topic by the delightful people at Camp Galileo in the form of a week of camp for both of my children. Not only are they receiving my words, but also my eternal gratitude for this teensy break in the middle of summer.

Grateful Children and money

standard December 28, 2011 1 response

Last Christmas the air sang with the not-so-sweet sound of kids grumbling that Santa hadn’t brought them what they wanted. They griped that they hadn’t gotten as many presents as their siblings or cousins. They whined that it just wasn’t enough.

The room overflowed with wrapping paper and toys and yet they found reason to complain.

This year I was worried that we’d face the same issue. There was good reason too, this Santa was laaaazy and didn’t go to the extremes she’d gone the previous year. And yet, instead all we heard were the strains of “thank you!” “this is awesome!,” and “I love this!” 

Even better, M reported to me that, upon coming down on Christmas morning, he overheard C respond to her cousin’s surprise that people would be out playing in their yards with a neatly outlined, three pronged answer.

“First of all, maybe they don’t celebrate Christmas. Second of all, maybe they’re done opening their presents because they didn’t get as many as us. And third of all, maybe they’re happy with how many presents they got!”

Be still my heart. Maybe, just maybe, a year’s worth of lessons on gratitude have finally sunk in. Maybe she’s finally maturing.

I’ve been thinking about the allowance issue a lot this year. M and I were not given an allowance as children. We were given things that we needed (or at times wanted) when we asked for them. However I would love for my children to understand how to manage money better than I do and I have a hunch that giving them an allowance is the path to that knowledge.

Until this week, I’ve assumed that C wouldn’t get the allowance thing. That she’d spend her cash on the first thing that caught her mind, not really thinking about saving or even gifting parts of it when the right occasions arose. Now I’m starting to think that we might be able to start her small, explain what expectations she needs to meet to get her allowance, and what expectations she needs to meet to manage her money.

I think that the highly visual aspect of Kidworth‘s interface will help me teach her well. We can work together to create savings goals, spending goals, and even sharing goals. Hopefully next time I hear her exclaim “I love this!” it’ll be over something she planned to get for herself and got because she was able to save up her allowance to get it.

This post was inspired and sponsored by Kidworth, a neat site designed to teach kids financial goal setting. Set up Kidworth accounts for the kids in your life and let family and friends help you give them the gift of financial responsibility. Parents set up an account, and kids enter their goals. Whether they are saving up for guitar lessons, or a donation to the local animal shelter, Kidworth can help them achieve their goals. 

I’m grateful for… my daughters

standard November 23, 2011 2 responses

Seven years ago today my husband and I started the long drive to Lake Tahoe sometime mid morning, him driving, me sitting next to him clutching my phone in both hands.

I was waiting for the lab to call with my baby’s test results, the ones that would clear up the murky scary results we’d gotten the week before at the screening. I was almost 4 month’s pregnant and anxious to know if this child, this first baby of ours, would be perfectly average or if we’d need to make some serious decisions over the festive weekend.

I’d been told that there was just a slim chance that the results would be ready by the end of the day, but I clung to that hope like a lifeline.

I wanted to revel in the family’s joy over my growing belly. I wanted to relax and just appreciate being pregnant.

The road twisted and turned, and, as we started the climb into the mountain, the sun started to set, and the clock ticked past 5pm I had to accept the fact that I wouldn’t know that day. Wouldn’t in fact know until four days later.

I tucked my worry into a corner of my brain and resolutely focused on enjoying a weekend in the snow.

The next morning I woke up and the belly that I’d relatively easily been able to hide up until that moment had popped out. Overnight I’d gone from being able to keep my potentially “different” child a secret from the world to being very visibly pregnant.

Come what may, I would no longer be able to keep my condition a secret from my coworkers.

At 7am on the Monday after Thanksgiving, the genetic counselor called with the long awaited results. The baby was fine. She was more than fine, in fact, she was genetically perfect. Today she’s a smart, serious, loving 6 year-old. And every Wednesday before Thanksgiving I remember that drive and the intense love and hope I felt for the little blob bobbing around inside me as we traveled.

Two years later, same weekend, same destination, this time as we prepared for the trip home, I was struck by an intense craving for a banana slathered in peanut butter, something I hadn’t desired since I’d been pregnant with C. In that instant I knew, without a shred of doubt, that there was another little one setting up residence in what had once been the womb that kept her sister safe for 9 months.

As we head into Thanksgiving weekend, no travels planned this year, I can’t help but think about how, in my heart, this holiday is intrinsically linked to my daughters. I’m grateful for these two girls, their smiles, their jokes, even their tantrums and bickering.

They are both vibrantly alive and well and color my days with laughter and love.

As we head into our more chaos and uncertainty, I’m once again filled with warmth when I think that, no matter what, the four of us will face it together. The love we have for each other gives me the strength to face it all. This is the third post in my Week of Thanksgiving hosted by LilKidThings. Join me all week as I feature the things that fills me with gratitude. Click the image below to see what everyone else is grateful for!


The trip that taught me better

standard June 15, 2011 2 responses

On the map it didn’t look so far, maybe 3, 4 hours tops. The girls and I could handle that easily. And so I bought the tickets.

Instead of flying to North Carolina we’d fly to Washington D.C., rent a car, and, after a night spent with a friend, we’d drive down to the Outer Banks.

I can hear you laughing from over here.

It took us two hours just to get out of D.C. and another 4 to get through Virginia and most of North Carolina.

See, that’s where I made a slight map reading mistake. Instead of being able to hop over to the Outer Banks from the top tip of North Carolina, you have to drive to the very bottom of the state and all the way up the outside of the state. All this with a 2 and 4-year-old in the car.

They were troopers. Amazing passengers. They napped part of the way and sat patiently in their car seats for the rest. I was closer to crying than they ever got.

After an all too brief vacation we had to make the trip back. This time instead of the clock, we raced a hurricane up the coast.

I have no recollection of the trip back down and up through North Carolina and Virginia and just a hazy recollection of the night we spent with a different set of friends.

And then my memory comes into sharp focus.

First there was the flight that was incredibly delayed. Then there was the announcement that no, the flight wasn’t delayed, but instead was leaving from the other end of the airport. Then there was me, toddler under one arm, stroller in front, carry-on precariously balanced on the stroller, and preschooler running beside me. Then there was the three of us arriving, entirely out of breath preschooler in the stroller, bag strapped to my back and toddler on my hip only to learn that, after all, the flight was still delayed, for two hours now.

The new flight was scheduled to arrive in Arizona exactly five minutes after our flight to California was scheduled to leave. And no, because the delay was being caused by a natural occurrence (damn hurricane finally catching up with me) the airline wouldn’t pay for our hotel room.

That’s when I hit my limit. I was tired. I had been responsible for my two kids for a week. I’d been traveling for days and sharing my bed with a squirmy kid – sometimes two – for the entire duration of our trip. I sat on the floor, called my husband, and almost wept.

We watched the sun set over the airport and I did my best to keep the kids from falling asleep on me and when the lovely air steward tried to tell me that families could no longer board early I only growled at him a little. And when the way nicer air hostess told me that she’d make the whole flight stay seated so we could make a mad dash for our next flight I didn’t jump out of my chair to hug her. And I swear that I only shed a tiny tear after we made it to our seats and they slammed the plane door shut behind us.

I haven’t traveled alone with the girls since that day. This summer I’m contemplating it again, but this time I think I’ll plan a little more carefully or at least get a little help.

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