This weekend was beautiful around here. Everyone was out doing yard work (which made me grumpy since I can tolerate about five minutes of yard work and then I’m laid up in bed the rest of the day). My neighbor mowed his lawn twice. He needs to get a hobby or I need a taller fence, because it’s only mid-April and he’s really getting on my nerves with the lawn perfection thing. Sometimes I step on his grass even when I don’t need to. Then I hide when he comes out to fluff up the footprint.
I’m seeing pictures of everyone’s landscaping projects on Facebook. My goal is to get the huge, mutant poison ivy off the side of the house. It has already reached the gutter, and I know it’s going to climb in my bedroom window and attack me one night.
It seems like it was only a few years ago that this time of year I was frantically searching for summer camps for the kids. We’ve done the YMCA summer camps with both the kids, but I never felt they were 100% safe or entertained. The year they called (on a day over 100 degrees) to tell me my son, who’d been at the pool several hours, was feverish, listless, and glassy-eyed I rushed right over. When I asked them how much water they’d had the kids drink they looked at me blankly. No more YMCA, thanks. I prefer my kids alive.
Zoo camps are great, Scout camps are freakin’ awesome. Just a reminder, though. Scout camps are staffed by volunteers. Yes, every single person there is a volunteer. Most of them work full-time and are using their vacation time to watch your kid. So if you are signing your kiddo up please sign up to volunteer one day during the week if at all possible.
Drama camps are super-awesome, as are art camps and music camps. There’s just not enough time for the fun stuff during the school day. If you’re lucky your community will have something like Louisville’s Camp Shakespeare. If John didn’t have marching band he’d still be doing that every summer. How much better do you think students do when it comes time to read Shakespeare in school if they’ve actually performed Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, and The Tempest? They rock it. And if you have boys? Swordplay. Wooden swords, but seriously choreographed swordplay.
Summer seems to get shorter every year. So make sure you and your kids aren’t bored out of your minds by mid-July. If there’s no money for vacation (we haven’t been on vacation in eight years) find something fun to do locally. Camp in your backyard. Hit Farmer’s Markets and cook together. Trade off kids with friends so you each get some alone-time with your spouse. Hottest day of the year? Have a movie marathon. Classic, cool stuff your kids have never seen. Think 80’s movies.
Do you have a whiner? An apathetic teen? Someone who just needs to get away from the group they’re running with for a while? Find a friend or family member to ship them off to for a couple of weeks. You’d be surprised how many aunts and uncles and long-distance friends would love to have them! My best friend lives in Atlanta, and they do lots of fun stuff. Our youngest sons are about nine months apart, and she’s asked John to come visit several times. I really wish I’d made that work out. Kids need to see how other people’s families work.
I used to visit my cousins in Lynch, Kentucky. We could walk everywhere. I thought that was super-cool, since I lived in the country and it was a ten-mile drive to town. My older cousins came in to help work on the farm. I loved having them around, because normally I only had my pesky younger brother. Line some things up to make sure the whole family enjoys this summer. If you work full-time and come home exhausted have a plan in place for, “I’m bored.” For the entire family’s mental health make sure you’re all reading or being read to, that everyone’s getting outside and getting some exercise, and that summer break feel different from the rest of the year in more ways than just the temperature!