To clarify, "Camp Mom" is not a camp that moms go to, although that would be all kinds of awesome! "Camp Mom" is where I attempt to entertain/occupy my children during various weeks of their summer break from school instead of sending them to camp.
I know, I know. You feel sorry for my kids now. But, I'll have you know that at "Camp Mom" today we went on a field trip to a movie theater where they were having $1 summer movies, only it was one of those movie grill places, so my kids got to eat pizza in a theater WHILE watching the movie How to Train Your Dragon which is WAY better than making lanyards while sitting outside in 100 degree heat. Just sayin'!
Then today's session of "Camp Mom" ended with the fun that was well-child check-ups for the two boys. Reading eye charts, being weighed, getting your blood-pressure taken -- what's not to love?!!
And tomorrow? This is how I phrased it to the kids, "We need to get an allergy shot for the 7 year old, haircuts for the two boys, and if all 5 of us survive all that, then we'll cash in the free ice cream shake coupons you earned in the library summer reading program!"
If I've learned anything as camp counselor it's that incentives (we don't have to call it bribery) help -- always save the fun/best activity for last! "You guys want to go to the pool? Okay, sure as soon as you finish your 15 minutes of handwriting practice!"
I have to say we are rockin' the library summer reading program. The 3 youngest kids have managed to read 30 books; the oldest counts by pages and he's topped 3,000 pages -- amazing! But, most amazing is that we haven't yet lost a library book; I'm thinking the Mom camp counselor deserves a free shake for that one!
There are not many pictures from "Camp Mom" because I'm typically too busy counting heads and generally managing the chaos to take pictures.
But, we have hatched dinosaurs:
Gone to the children's museum where again, having my girls dressed alike and my boys dressed alike really helps me not lose my 4 kids in a crowd of kids!
We've done some thorough cleaning out of a few areas of our house. (I feel certain at regular camp kids totally miss out on vacuuming under beds and cleaning baseboards!)
We've had some playdates/sleepovers!
We've gotten up early for swim team practice that is now over -- hurray! Let the sleeping in begin!
There have been times of big fun and times that were the complete opposite of fun!
Like, taking 4 kids grocery shopping. I want to like it. I want to be able to shop with my kids. I don't want to have to use precious evening or weekend time to do that errand when the stores are more crowded. But, even if the kids are displaying their most perfect behavior (which only occasionally is the case), just the shear number of people around the cart is a logistical nightmare! The children are all pretty much too big to ride in the cart, although much to her dismay the 4 year old does typically get forced to ride. So then there are 3 children either walking next to my cart and thus blocking the aisle for any carts wanting to head in the opposite direction or they are somehow preventing my cart from moving easily. The whole time I'm like, "Okay, you walk here. You hold on here. Wait, now we need to turn left. Watch out, I don't want to run over your foot! Honey, that lady needs to pass, you are blocking the aisle."
Then there was the Trader Joe's incident, which is usually a happy place to take the kids because they get to search for Woody and get a prize for finding him and it's smaller so less navigating of the cart, but this week the 6 year old managed to spill his spill-proof cup of water all over the floor in the check-out causing a manager to have to clean it up while the line of people waiting to check out looked on. At least we lived up to everyone's expectations as they stared at us and thought, "That's too many kids!"
All in all it's going well and I wouldn't trade this precious time with my kids for anything. Even as I sat next to a mom at an event recently who was about to send both her kids away to camp for a week and she was musing about what she was going to do while they were away, I wasn't jealous. Really I was mystified by the idea, like I couldn't really comprehend it. I just couldn't stop thinking about how crazy it would be to be childless for an entire week!
I even marveled to my husband later about all I could accomplish. I was like, "World Peace? No problem. You give me a week without children and it's DONE!"
Happy Friday, Friends!