Hello internet friends!
Last week I had the pleasure of a week of kid’s at day camp where they had a fantastic time and came home not just dirty but also sticky and at the same time crunchy? Girl Scout day camp is totally different from YMCA camp. Far less structure, far more messy fun. 2 of my 3 like it better but I think the hold out is more a rules follower, and, she didn’t have any of her particular friends there.
The positive of camp is that I got all day (kinda) solo to get stuff done around the house. The negative is that means all I did for a week was head down work around the house. By the end, I was talking to strangers in the grocery store for the company. I did get a bunch of computer work up to date and fixed our insurance and worked on other grown-up money and house things that weren’t broken but needed solid attention. I did not get the sewing or cleaning done as intended but who thought I would?
I volunteered to be a bus parent, meaning I had a list of kids that should get on and off the bus. Pretty easy job especially since an Alpha Mom took over the job because ‘she already knew everyone’. The other volunteer and I let it go, she did know everyone, and the times we tried to do a more formal parent sign to get child method she really fussed over how long it took. ANYWAY, she asked if we could do it solo the last afternoon and morning since her child was doing the sleepover and that is reasonable except suddenly we were in charge of a crowd of untrained parents who expected us to know them all by sight. Oh well. AND. That was the day that the one kid, you know the kid, the kid who you know would be trouble at some point because of the sass rolling off her like waves at the ocean – well she hops off the bus and no parent is there for her. No problem, her parent has been late the last few days, who of us hasn’t had a tight drive. Then I ask why she isn’t sleeping over like all the others her age are, her reply is she has lacross and is going back later that night. A reasonable explanation, sure. We wait 15 min and call her mom, she tells us that mom is at work she is expecting dad. Ok, what is dad’s number? She has no idea… I call my leader friend who is running things and she finds a number in the permanent file. We call it. Oh, did we mention she meant her stepdad? We called her dad who lives 4 hours away to say we had his kid… bet that was a fun call between former partners (perpetual parents though!). Actually, he did help and we got the step dad’s number who was on his way. We wait for another 15 and get the feeling he may have been ‘on the way’ to the wrong place… yup, we get a call he is at camp, she was indeed going to lacross but stepdad was picking her up at camp for it since it was that end of town. In the end, he collected her and there were smiles all around since we all were pretty chill about a random spare child. It wasn’t a bad day to hang out in a parking lot for an hour and hey, I would rather have an extra kid then be missing one.
The camp week also had all of the afternoon rushes that school does so that was something I didn’t miss. The race to gymnastics, jujitsu etc worked out but I’m glad we are at home most of the summer. The crowning moment of the week and my motherhood career is from that Friday when #3’s very good friend invited her to a sleepover on one of the few days between their vacation and ours. I had a drop off window but it would only work if I went directly from the bus. Recall the sticky, crunchy child comment? Well, I dropped off a filthy child, hungry child to her friend’s house. Good thing the mom is super nice and we get along really well. I actually don’t feel bad because I know they have so much fun and #3 really can shower solo. She came back the next day full of bounty from the farmers market clean and with clean clothes in her bag! It was a sleepover miracle.
This past week has been all about getting ready for being gone for a month. We are going on our traditional 2 weeks in NY and 2 weeks camping event in PA – we just don’t usually string them together. Poor Lars can’t come to much, work is very work right now and I’m proud of his efforts but a solo month is slightly daunting. I truly won’t be alone, I travel with one friends out there, have my parents and a ton of friends at the event, and the hardest thing will be driving from PA to NY. I’ll kidnap my mom to drive NY to MN with me at the end and I know it will be fun and relaxing in a crazy sort of way.
The positive of my 3 at home with me is we have fun doing stuff and I plan differently. We got stuff done but we also had a book club, friends over, park time, swim time – all the good parts were back. I still wanted some solo time to gather my leaking brains because of their various urgent needs but it has been a fun week overall.
Anytime I’m overwhelmed these past two weeks I just think about last year. I may be packing for a month but I’m NOT packing 100% of my possessions to move to storage since the new house wasn’t ready yet. I may be cleaning so I don’t come back to something sentient but I’m not waking up at 4am to scrub tubs and clean the shell of our former home. I might be stressing the details of camping and travel but they are peanuts compared to juggling mortgage, closing, crazy buyers, behind builders, where my kids will physically sleep and eat the vast unknown of a giant life change that is mostly out of your hands. Any emotion I feel this week about being gone for a month is minuscule when measured against the emotions of leaving the place I brought home each child. On the other hand, just because I’ve handled worse does not mean this is nothing but I think this year things will be better overall because I actually have brain space.
Ok, this is my last day and while my list isn’t crazy, I still have a list. Off to do the things that I can and tomorrow we drive.
Still Alive! All of us! And back in our original locations
I attempted to write something partway through the experience but if I thought me sitting at a computer was a signal for 3 to line up to ask questions, fight, gush blood and generally interrupt my flow of typing – it was doubled with 6. We also went out more.
There were crazy moments but nothing too crazy. Nobody actually gushed blood, there was one minor fireworks related burn, and I don’t think we wrecked anything too badly with Mr Diabetic/No Gluten. We didn’t even lose anyone or leave anybody behind on any of our many many outings (although it was occasionally tempting).
The positives absolutely outweigh the negatives. We had tons of cousin interaction time where they could just play and get to know each other. Like the magic of adding a friend, there were actually fewer “I’m bored” and general fights then if I just had my 3. We did have quite a few visits from local friends to keep the fresh fun rolling, and, sent a kid off on a playdate a time or two to keep things fun. It totally helped that all 6 are self-sufficient in the basics and 5 of the 6 can be left home alone so grocery shopping was not me + 6 every time (only 3 times, that was plenty).
Ever notice that you do more when you have guests? That was absolutely the case here. We didn’t do some of the ‘normal’ things we do in summer like tennis lessons but we did get the opportunity to get out and show off our awesome state. The cousins are living in Texas, the word hot does not accurately describe their daily weather – I think you can make driveway jerky from the long slow dry heat baking through their neighborhood. Here we hit 85 a couple times but we also went down to 65 and sweatshirts were required. TONs of outside time and I never felt guilty about kicking them out to use up some energy. In our 3 weeks together we:
Went to the MN sculpture garden after picking up #1 from camp. This is ‘the’ famous sculpture for the Twin Cities. (don’t have a clue why)
Hiked the interstate trail from MN to WI and climbed around all over the pothole area on the MN side. Kids hiking is always an adventure, it was only a couple miles but to some of them, it was a very long walk.
We hit the weather jackpot for our Duluth day, sunny but cool and perfect for playing on the shore, building rock sculptures and general sightseeing on the great lake Superior.
We also took a boat tour in Duluth, it was actually cold out on the lake. PS, this is the last we saw of Zoe’s sweater, she left it at the park in Duluth shortly after. I hope someone adopts it.
Lots and lots of trips to our local parks, we were waiting on a particular park to reopen so we went more than once to be disappointed that it *still* wasn’t open but they had fun anyway. Helps that I bring snacks.
Everyone enjoyed our only rainy day at the bowling ally.
Can’t visit the land of 10,000 lakes without swimming in at least 1 or 2. This is one of them and even Prima got in the water.
#1 suggested that we participate in a volunteer event at Feed My Starving Children where we packed food for kids in other countries. Our session packed enough for 65 kids for a year! It was a nice change from frivolous summer or boring regular life and we did a good job working together.
I didn’t get many actual 4th of July pictures because I was IN the parade and they had fun watching. Again a gorgeous day, not too hot and a good breeze. My shoe broke at the very end but that was the only negative. We did the BBQ thing with friends and then local fireworks. This picture is actually from the weekend when we went to a friends house who really really loves 4th of July and the party was fantastic. Over 30 kids all in the right ages, a river to swim in, shade trees, trampoline, as Zoe said: it was ‘paradise’.
Obligatory sunset over the lake. They swam in this one too
They really got into putting mulch in the garden. There may have been icecream bribes mentioned but I didn’t expect the team effort going on. We didn’t get much done around the house over the 3 weeks beyond the basics of food, laundry and dishes but we did get the garden full of weed blocker.
Toward the end, we headed out to the Franconia sculpture garden. It is way more fun than the downtown one. This has stuff you can climb on, walk around and it is more a discovery than a walk in a park. We had not been there in a few years and there are tons of new installations as well as old favorites
Last but not least, we got this kid to his first SCA event. He wanted to fight so badly that it made the day trip worth it. Usually, we camp but this year with the extra kids we didn’t want to worry about overnights. We wished we could stay but their flight was 8am the next day so we had to take what we could get.
Not shown are the trips to the pool, many meals together, tablet and tv time where they all puppy piled together, books traded back and forth, adventure games spread over the entire playroom floor and board games all over the table tops. Sure there were fights and short tempers and some moments where you wonder how they survived on earth this long and my attention was pulled 6 ways at all times but I would do it again for sure.
And now starts the next phase of summer. A two-week interlude before our travels where 1 week all three kids are in summer camp and the next week we need to get ready to be gone for nearly a month. I’m glad I’m not moving like last year,