Sunday, August 23, 2009

Product Alert: Waste-Free Lunch Kits


This year we're going to work toward reducing our lunch waste -- plastic utensils, plastic bags, juice boxes. The boys have agreed to use these handy lunch kits; Mia wants something a little more fashionable.

I can't comment on the quality of usefulness of the kit yet, as I just ordered them. They seem a little spendy until you start adding up the cost of all the individual accessories from other companies. I also found a 10% off coupon code online, and those always help a little. So once we try them out, I'll let you know if we are actually able to give up Glad bags.

Friday, August 21, 2009

No Flying in Your Underwear

Remember way back when Max was making paper diapers in Kindergarten and bringing them home for each of us? Well, he has graduated to first grade this year, and apparently he has also graduated to underwear:

This, he brought home from day camp last week.

"What is this?" I asked.

"Underwear," he told me in the most matter of fact of ways.

"What's on the front?" I asked, worried it might be a stain.

"It's a 'No flying in your underwear' symbol," he replied, again, as if this was the most normal thing in the world. (Which it's clearly not...)

So that's the advice of the day. No flying in your underwear. Especially a pair of underwear made out of red construction paper. It might not hold up to the elements.

(After paper diapers and underwear, I wonder what's next...)

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Time Out Revelations

I enjoy hanging out with my kids. I've discovered, however, why parents send them to sleepover camp for the summer. Quiet, calm, clean, less laundry, lower grocery bills, fewer decisions. A different pace altogether. And the satisfaction of knowing they're having far more fun than they would at home.

As you might guess, Husband and I have completely enjoyed the break. Feels like we've reconnected in some ways. Like, for instance, just spontaneously going out to dinner when we feel like it. And talking to each other while we're out. Little One is still home, but he's at day camp on weekdays and easy to be with in the evenings. Yes, he is bored and misses his brother and sister somethin' terrible. So do we, but after the first day or two, the peace settled in, and now we're ready to put down a deposit for next summer's camp.

We've received letters from Mia almost every day. They're not detailed -- more like "Miss you. Love you. Having fun. Gotta go." Will wrote once, and his letter was more revealing: "I hope the first night is the hardest because I missed you so much I cried...and I made the archery team." In Mia's letter yesterday, she noted that Will did a disco dance in front of everyone, so it appears he has adjusted.

Any worries? Nope. The camp is well staffed with people who have been there for years, so I'm sure there aren't many situations they haven't seen before. They did have 25 kids sick with some 24-hour flu-like bug, but we dodged that bullet.

We pick them up in four days, and I can't wait to hear the trials and tribulations of the adventure. But the time apart seems to have been a needed evolution for all of us. So with school just around the corner, so our summer ends. Peacefully, happily, refueled.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Summer Camp

We dropped #1 and #2 off at two weeks of sleepover camp yesterday. This is a first for them -- and for us. We've never been away from the little darlings for any time of length. #3 is still home with us, but he's scheduled to go to daycamp. It's going to be far too quiet at home.

Mia has been worrying about this camp since we made the plans in February. On the night before she left, she had a pit in her stomach and shed a few anxiety tears. Of course. I gave her a big pep talk about what a great experience it will be for her to be the master of her own domain for a couple weeks. Choosing her own food, activities, clothing, and so on without her parents hovering over her or telling her what to do. Her response:

"Most kids talk about how much they don't like their parents, but I want you to hover over me."

We made the decision to try sleepover camp for a couple of reasons. We thought it would be good for our high-anxiety daughter to see that she can survive away from home. We wanted the kids to get that classic, singular summer camp experience about which others speak so fondly. And Will was excited that the camp offered archery.

The camp is actually packed with activities, so they should have no trouble keeping busy. Having been around for 102 years, it seems like a traditional program, with "colors" in the morning, taps in the evening, and cabin chores. Interestingly, it's also a "technology free" zone, so no iPods, cell phones, and the like. The kids also can't make phone calls (i.e. "come get me" calls) home, and I can't call them. I suspect this is to keep the homesickness--and from-homesickness--in check.

So here's where Mia will sleep for the next 13 nights:

And here's Will's cabin:

Drop off yesterday went fairly well. Mia welled up and tried to attach herself to my hip. But we made the break, and getting into the car, Max broke up the melancholy with this:

"Well, looks like I'm the only one now."

He apparently wasn't too broken up about leaving his brother and sister. Husband and I, on the other hand, were a little stunned by the experience. We spend today guessing what the kids might be doing every hour. I've already sent postcards, and Max wrote a couple more out this evening. While I'm planning that the hole will fill itself up with all the projects I haven't had time for all summer, 13 days feels like a long stretch right now.

But hey. I've already found some time to blog -- a luxury given the chaos of our summer. The dogs also got a walk yesterday, and I got in a swim this morning. So maybe this camp thing will work out for everyone after all. Stay tuned.
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