Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Lana's Marathon of Summer Camps, part 4

Yes, I know it's October and summer ended clear back in August, but just like Lana made it through her marathon, I've got to make it through mine. Also, I think this will be a handy reference to have next spring when we're signing up for camps again.

Moscow Parks and Rec Camp:
This day camp is held in the youth center in Moscow. They do all sorts of neat things with the kids and go on awesome field trips. They went to the Moscow Water Park 2-3 times per week, to the paint-your-own-pottery studio, to the University of Idaho climbing wall, to local parks, and to the library. Lana always had fun stories to share on the drive home. This camp may have been Lana's favorite day camp of the entire summer (it's neck-and-neck with Cougar Kids Camp) and she was bummed when it ended. She met some great new friends and wants to go back next year. Of course the extra miles I had to drive every morning and evening were less than convenient. However, this was the only day camp that allowed you to register (and pay) for individual days and not entire weeks. This worked out very well for us because we had a trip planned and didn't have to pay for the days we were gone. If Lana needs a fun camp for a few days here and there next summer, we'd totally sign up again.
(Sigh. I guess by this point in the summer I was less than enthusiastic and took exactly zero pictures of Lana at Moscow Parks and Rec Camp. Here's a cheesy stock photo instead. Just imagine Lana was as excited as the wild-eyed girl in the upper left.)

Refresher Camp:
So, guess how many day camps there are the week before school starts? Two. Exactly two. One is a sports camp with a similar set-up to the Cheer Camp Lana did earlier in the summer (which filled up quicker than I realized), and the other is Refresher Camp. This camp is designed to get kids back into school mode by doing academics in the morning and outdoor activities and games in the afternoon. It sounded good and the fact that it was the only option available made it a winner in my book. The schedule was 9:00-3:00, which is not working-parent friendly. Fortunately, I know a fabulous teenage babysitter in that neighborhood and she faithfully walked Lana to and from camp every day, fed her a snack, and let her lounge on the couch watching movies until I got her at 4:30. By this point in the summer, movies and snacks were the perfect thing for an exhausted 8-year old.
Refresher Camp was good for Lana. Her horrific summer handwriting became legible again and she remembered how to sit still and behave in class. She wouldn't say it was her favorite, but she did get back into "school mode" and that was the whole point.

Overall, Lana's Marathon of Summer Camps was a success. She was safe and well-cared for every single day. She has a bunch of neat stories and met some great new friends. However, it was exhausting. For her and for me. I felt like I was always making plans and thinking about where I needed to drop her off and pick her up that particular week. I'm not sure what we'll do next summer, but I should probably start making arrangements now : )

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Nora went to Camp too!

Lest you think I've completely forgotten about my youngest daughter in all this summer camp madness, I should tell you that Nora got to go to camp too!

Pullman Parks and Rec (my new BFF) puts on a 1/2 day program for preschoolers. Miss Jean, the teacher, has been working with preschoolers since forever and everyone I talked to about this camp couldn't have given it a more glowing review had they tried. I wasn't sure how Nora would do around so many new people in an unfamiliar environment, but she did fine and I needn't have worried.

The camp was simply adorable! The first week was all about transportation and the kids got to ride their bikes and take a trip on a city bus. The next week was all about bugs and flowers. They also walked to the library for story time, did neat crafts, and sang songs and played games.

Lana loved Miss Jean and the helper teachers and definitely wants to go back. Because it's a 1/2 day program I had to piece together afternoon friends and family care, but it worked and I'm glad Nora got this wonderful experience.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Lana's Marathon of Summer Camps, Part 3

Are you tired?
Because I'm tired. Thinking about (and writing about) all these camps reminds me of the whirlwind summer we had. Now that we're back to our regular school-year schedule, I can say I am a creature of habit and routine.

Here are camps 5 & 6:

Mega Sports Camp VBS
This vacation bible school is run by Resonate Church and is pretty stinkin' fantastic. Lots of great teaching, awesome counselors and a whole heap full of physical activity. The kids do so much running and playing and are exhausted by the end of the day. It's a 3-day program with a 9:00-3:00 schedule. The times aren't exactly working-parent friendly, but with the help of some awesome friends, we made it work. The fee ($20) is tough to beat.
(Sorry, no pictures from Mega Sports Camp.)

SkyHawks Cheer Camp
This was a program we found through Pullman Parks and Recreation. They offered about 1 million different camps over the summer and the Parks and Rec summer catalog became my best friend. This camp had the option of half-day (cheer only) or full-day (cheer and afternoon swimming). Lana went with full-day. This camp was also 9-3:00, but because it was located relatively near my workplace, I could run her down to the park and pick her up relatively easily. That arrangement wouldn't have worked all summer, but for that week it was fine.
Lana had a great time. She adored her coaches and had several friends in the program with her, but honestly her favorite part was swimming each afternoon. I don't think it sparked a desire to do competitive cheer or dance, but she sure had a lot of fun!

Go Skyhawks!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Lana's Summer Camp Marathon, Part 2

Before I was married and had kids, I heard about Cougar Kids Camp, and even as a childless single lady I knew it was something special and that one day my kids would be attending. This is Lana's fourth year attending and it still hasn't lost its luster. She often comes home with sand in her hair, is exhausted and happy, and full of stories.

CKC is held at the Student Rec Center, a multi-million dollar facility at WSU that is underutilized in the summer (all the students are gone). It gets turned into a wonderful playground for kids. Campers go swimming, climb the rock walls, play lots of games, do crafts, go on field trips around campus, meet Cougar celebrities, go on excursions (like hiking and visiting the water park), and learn cool stuff about the outdoors, safety, nutrition, being in college, and leadership. In short, every week is awesome and quite frankly, I want to pay $122 and go for a week myself. (That's another thing. As far as summer day camps go in this area of the world, Cougar Kids Camp is CHEAP. It's less than daycare, less than Parks and Rec, less than science camp, and that makes it awesome in my book. I think regular price is $142/week, but I make sure we sign up in advance for the early-registration discount and I take advantage of the multi-week discount too.) This year Lana even did an overnight at Cougar Kids Camp and camped out on the soccer field and played capture the flag in the dark. Pretty much she had the best time ever. Nora wants to go to CKC and thinks it sounds awesome too. In two more years, I'm sure she'll be there right alongside her big sister.

VBS (Vacation Bible School) is a week of songs, crafts, games, stories, Bible learning, and friends. And Lana starts asking me about it months and months in advance. She loves the outlandish themes (this year's was Galactic Starveyors - lots and lots of outer space) and the songs. The stage and classroom decorations are so well done and turn our regular church into a who new world.
Lana comes home from VBS full of Bible stories and shows off new dance moves to her new favorite songs. Just like with Cougar Kids Camp, Nora sees what Lana is doing and want to do it too. When she was told that she could do VBS when she was five, Nora (without missing a beat) said with authority, "I'm five enough."

Next up - Mega Sports Camp VBS (yay for another VBS!) and Parks and Rec Cheer Camp.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Lana's Summer Marathon of Fun, Part 1 (Bike Camp and Ross Point)

Last summer Lana learned(ish) how to ride her bike(ish). We decided to sign her up for bike camp to help her get better on two wheels and gain more confidence as a rider. Bike camp did all that and more. The instructor and his helpers got all the kids riding upright and took them on jumps and ramps, down some maintain biking trails, and helped them work on riding up and down hills safely. They learned about proper helmet fit, basic bike maintenance and riding rule and etiquette. They also rode their bikes a lot, which is exactly what Lana needed.

The first day I picked Lana up, she proudly rode her bike around the obstacle course without falling, a grand improvement over what she did when I dropped her off five hours earlier. She excitedly told me. "I crashed three times and have two band-aids and IT WAS AWESOME!" I took my cues from her and figured if she wasn't too hung up on the injuries, I wasn't going to be either.
Over the course of the week Lana earned the nickname of Crash Queen, but also earned the admiration and respect of the other campers and the instructors for dusting herself off and getting back on her bike after every fall. I was expecting Lana's bike riding skills to improve over the course of the week, but it was her strength of character that probably grew the most. Lana wants to do one of the more advanced bike camps next year and I think that's a great idea.

After Bike Camp came Ross Point Baptist Camp, the only overnight camp Lana's got scheduled this summer. For Lana's age group, she's only gone Sunday-Wednesday, but that's certainly enough time for me to miss her. Ross Point is very much a typical, traditional summer camp. There's swimming in the Spokane River, as well as canoeing and paddling, campfires, a climbing wall, singing silly songs, Bible studies, s'mores, staying up too late, and making a dozen new friends.

Lana loved going last year and I knew she'd love it again. More than anything, she's excited for next year because she gets to stay for a whole week. I can easily see our girls going back to Ross Point year after year after year.

Two camps down, six more to go! These two are definite keepers.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Goodbye Spring, Hello Summer!

With tomorrow being the first official day of summer break, I thought I should chronicle some of our highlights from this past spring.

Lana's Science Fair Project - Let's Make Crystals!
(Not Crystal Meth, like it kind of appears the board reads. We didn't make drugs, I promise : )

Easter egg hunting is the best!

Sweeties on Easter morning!

We visited some fun spots for Go Idaho articles.
Here's the one for Shattuck Arboretum.

We enjoyed some incredible sunsets......

.....and some pee-wee soccer fun.

Little House on the Prairie day was a big hit.....

.....and I think Lana and Nora made the cutest Mother's Day cards ever!

Lana rocked her singing solo and her 3 lines in the church's children's musical.

Our Memorial Weekend at the cabin was like hitting the resent button.

Double rainbows are beautiful!

We've got lots coming up this summer and maybe (just maybe) I'll hop on her to update every once in a while : )

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Happy Birthday Nora!

Yesterday this bundle of personality and spunk turned three years old. Being a day-after Christmas baby means the party is small (just the four of us), the activities are easy (a movie and lunch at McDonald's) and the treats are store-bought (grocery store cupcakes because the fancy bakery was closed and I was done with baking). However, the giggles and squeals from the birthday girl were as delightful as any could be.

Three years of snuggles, stubbornness, dancing in the snow, infectious laughs, and sloppy kisses are all wrapped up in this one little girl. Nora knows her own mind and lets her wants be known. (Yesterday she wanted a birthday hat and a birthday dress, so I dug around and found both. She didn't care that the hat was a crushed leftover from last year or that the dress needed ironing.)

This girl challenges me more than anyone on the entire planet and also holds on to me tighter than anyone ever could. She's taught me a lot about patience, expectations, and perseverance in the last three years and I'm sure will continue to in the years to come.

Happy Birthday Nora!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Crafty Girls!

When Lana was a wee toddler, we started a tradition of inviting a few girls and their moms over for a morning of Christmas crafting fun. This year was out 5th annual party and it was a success! Eight little girls and four moms made ornaments and nativity blocks and cards and got messy with paint and glue and stickers galore!

 Nora loved being a part of the good times this year!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The End (of Summer) is HERE!

The first day of school is TOMORROW! I am really looking forward to getting back into our regular routine. Summer has been great, but I am a creature of habit, and I just never felt like I was on top of our makeshift summer routine.

This morning I asked Lana is she was excited for school to start. She kind of gave me a mumbled, "I guess?" but didn't really elaborate. Oh no! What had I missed? What was she dreading? Why wasn't she looking forward to school?

A quick conversation cleared it all up. Lana didn't dislike school, she was just going to miss all the fun things she did over the summer. When I thought about it from her perspective, of course she might be a bit sad. Her summer was pretty epic.

Let's recap:
*Overnight camp with a dozen other girls and two fabulous counselors *Ziplining at a friend's 4th of July party *Park time with cousins *Big BBQ with fire trucks *Bowling with Cody *Picking flowers with Grams

*A day at Silverwood *Gymnastics Camp *Cougar Kids Camp *Lots of summertime treats!

Not to mention two different VBSs, hours of uninterrupted outdoor play, adventures with Mom for articles, pool time, and getting spoiled and loved on by extended family. Yeah, I get it. I might not be all that excited to return to school and "regular" life either.

I shifted the conversation by asking about Lana's favorite school subjects like Art, Science, and Music. She perked up pretty quickly talking about those things. Maybe not with as much gusto as talking about camp, but I'll take it.

Nope, the school year isn't the same as summer, and contrary to what the seven-year old thinks, that's actually a good thing.