When spring rolls around many moms are busy perusing camp schedules trying to figure out which camp(s) will best fit into their summer schedules. Should Billy do Lego camp or Science camp? Should Suzy try Dance camp or Princess camp? I've looked through the brochures and I know the the camp possibilities are endless. But, I've never sent my kids to any organized day camps because we have way too much fun checking out all there is to see and do in our area. I tell my kids they are officially enrolled in Camp Mom for the summer because we have the time to do things, together, that we can't typically do during the school year.
I am dreading the day they are too old and too cool to hang out with Mom anymore so I take these summer schedules seriously. As long as they are not embarrassed to be seen with me, I will continue the Camp Mom tradition of filling our schedules with fun outings.
So, what do we do all summer?
Mondays start out visiting Rocky Gardens CSA. We pick up our share of delicious produce and either work an hour or two at the garden or venture off to another stop. If I'm planting lettuce or spreading mulch the boys are checking out the chickens, riding the John Deere tractor toys or figuring out which garden row is Kale and which is Swiss Chard. A few hours of fresh air surrounded by beautiful gardens is the best way I know how to start the week. After our "chores" are done we are free to stop by Indian Springs Metropark and ride bikes, play in the splash park or see if the tadpoles have turned into frogs.
Tuesdays find us at the beach. We pack our beach gear, especially the shovels, and meet our friends to build sand castles and swim in the lake. A day of sunshine and surf tires rambunctious boys out like nothing else I know. The day speeds by too fast and we find ourselves packing up when it seems like we just arrived.
Wednesdays start out at the library for Nicholas's math tutor. Nicholas listens to his tutor about 1,000 times better than he listens to me so why not pay someone else to help him keep his math skills sharp over the summer months? It's a no-brainer. His tutor helps him complete his summer math workbook and Study Island which, in turn, helps him prepare for the MEAP (Michigan Educational Assessment Program) test which he will take in 3rd grade. Math is not my forte so it's money well spent. Christopher practices spelling words or reads or writes during Nicholas's tutoring time so he gets some homework done, too. Win-win. After an hour of math homework and spelling drills we are free to ride bikes, run errands, turn on the sprinkler in our backyard or whatever the heck we want to do. Work is done so it's time for play!
Thursdays and Fridays are open for whatever. We've enjoyed an outdoor kids' concert at Marshbank Park, checked out Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum, toured the Ford Rouge Factory, had tea and scones at Greenfield Village, gone for a dip in our friend's pool, and picnicked at the park. We spend many days at Greenfield Village during the summer because every visit uncovers something new.
Of course I have to clean my house so if we go out on Thursday I clean on Friday or vice versa. The boys are required to help because it goes much faster and they are learning to do more things for themselves. Each boy has to hang his own clothes after I do laundry, dust his bedroom, make his bed, pick up his room and clean his bathroom sink. Does that happen without crying and complaining? Absolutely not. But, I'm not backing down so the chores must be done. I've threatened to shut down Camp Mom indefinitely if I don't get the cooperation I expect and deserve. The thought of losing bike privileges or not being able to go to the beach keeps two little boys dusting and cleaning albeit through gritted teeth. Besides, if we all work together our chores get done faster which means more time for play.
Our elementary school garden is doing great and the boys have been a big help with watering, pulling weeds and planting seeds. I'm happy they will grow up gardening and knowing the difference between a sugar snap pea and a snow pea because I never did. We are trying all kinds of new recipes with our fresh produce from both our school garden and the CSA.
Nicholas is also learning how to kayak this summer. When he's not discovering how to paddle and turn the kayak, he's jumping off Grandma and Grandpa's dock or tubing behind the boat.
We still have plans to go to the zoo, catch a Tigers' game, run down the Sleeping Bear Dunes, take a leisurely ride around Kent Lake on the Kensington Island Queen II and explore more bike trails. That is if we have enough time. It's hard to believe it's the middle of July already.
Summer is short here in Michigan. I see the back-to-school items lining the shelves in the stores already. But, Camp Mom is in full swing and we aren't thinking about school. We are thinking about taking the fishing rods or nets down by the river to catch Bob the Bass on our next walk around the neighborhood.
Summer memories at their best.