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Rethinking summer camps

Garden-feet This time of year I've usually entered panic mode about signing my kids up for summer camps. Summer looms in the not too distant future. All that unstructured time... Here's the drill: find camps that are still available, not too far away from home, not too expensive, and that my kids will enjoy. Coordinate with Heather to fill up alternating weeks of summer, so that we don't have to spend such excessive amounts of time with our kids that we go out of our bleeping minds. Along with all this goes a good dose of grousing about why kids even need summer vacation. It's not like they are working the fields and reaping the harvest like they did (presumably) when school calendars were set in stone a bazillion years ago.

Crazy as it may seem. I'm not panicking. I've signed them up for one mere week of camp -- the best one we attended last year. A few more may get peppered into the schedule, but I'm thinking differently this year. Heather and I were toying with the idea of a mini childcare cooperative over the summer. We're blessed in that our kids are evenly matched in age, and all seem to get along fairly well. One of the ideas that's floating out there is I watch her kids for a few hours a week, she watches mine for a few hours the next week. It would probably help if we structure it somewhat and not just take the loosey-goosey playdate approach and hope for the best. This would be a stretch for me. I have no track record of structuring playdates. So I will work on this. I do have some ideas.

I'm also going to try on for size the slow mom approach. Being that it's summer, and we have less pressing agendas, we can walk more and will (an aside: I walked with my 4-year-old daughter to the library yesterday without a stroller, and miracle of miracle, she made it! The "I spy" game saved my bacon). Stopping to smell the roses, if you will. Picking more u-pick fruits with kids. We tried it with friends last summer, and it was great fun. This is also the year that my edible garden takes over a big portion of my front yard. If Michelle Obama can do it, so can I! Perhaps the kiddies will be working the harvest after all.... And it will all go so well that even I will be wishing summer vacation were longer.

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