Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Daddy Camp Update

So, I was right about something. That Daddy Camp was not going to be a euphoric jaunt through golden fields, holding hands, and reflecting on the shape of clouds. The only whining would be when we would eventually have to stop doing math flash cards.

At this moment, the kids are sleeping with mosquito bites all over them from our trip to a forest preserve. I yelled at Bunny because she wouldn't execute my morning workout with seriousness and vigor. And JD is already begging to be sent to day camp.

In fact, we have had a lot of fun so far. Our trip to the forest preserve was awesome. We trudged through mud and battled swarms of mosquitoes. We saw butterflies and dragonflies. We have worked out every morning, and have had fun doing it. By the end of the week, we will have seen both Grandmas. And, while things haven't been perfect every moment, I am not sick of it.

We have a lot to look forward to all summer and that is probable helping. There are constant outings and trips. I am flexible with the kids while maintaining a certain amount of structure. In short, I think the three of us have started summer in a really positive way. It's the way that could lead to a very fun, memorable summer.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mid-Day Camp Report

One thing that I was going to mention was that I had to be careful to mitigate my expectations.

In my head, the kids would be cooperative and excited to have lots of things to which they could look forward. At the same time, I rationally knew that there would be the typical arguments and challenges that come from having strong willed children.

Today, Bunny decided that she would challenge the whole plan before anything could start. She woke up at

5:45 A.M.

That was not part of the plan.

My alarm was set for 6:00 A.M., which was pretty ambitious for me. I would get laundry and a fresh loaf of bread going, do some planning, then get the kids up. Instead, she woke me up extra early, then started complaining that her tummy hurt, then refused to go lie down. The confrontations have continued and it is no quite 1:00 P.M.

We have still managed to get a lot done and have fun, but every fifteen to thirty minutes I have to ask something of her and then get backlash.

We're going to the park now. Wish me luck.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Daddy Camp Starts tomorrow!

It all begins! Tonight, after story time, we sat them down and talked about what starts tomorrow.

7:30/8:00 A.M. wake up
make beds
put away dirty clothes
dress in athletic clothing
exercise 15-30 minutes
eat breakfast
5-15 minutes of math
have an adventure
Draw a picture and write about our adventure. Or whatever they want to draw and write.

I'm excited. Really, I'm excited about the whole summer. One thing about me, though, is that I have to make sure that I don't get caught up in the dream of the summer at the expense of planning the details. For example, I've been meaning to pick up a couple of workbooks to do some school work this summer, but that hasn't happened yet. I haven't put together a list of specific places to visit. What parks and when to go. For example, do some parks have live music or other shows? Are there special events and street festivals, farmers markets and other things we shouldn't miss out on?

Also, I need to get ready for all of my trips. For example, do I need any clothes, books, or toiletries for Barcelona?
Does the car need any work before I drive it over 3,000 miles?
What preparations do I need for when the kids stay with the Grandparents?

Doing this blog and having Wife helps keep my eye on the ball.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer's Here. What to do with kids during the summer?

What am I going to do with the kids this summer?

This is not as difficult a question as one might think. Some ambition and planning can result in a great summer. And, no, the answer isn't full-day camp.

I embrace the concept of, "You never get time back." Once it's over, it's over. So, while I still get frustrated and angry with my kids, I still love spending time with them and having some ability to shape their life experience. Soon enough, they'll be allowed to go off with their friends and get arrested for petty crimes.

Here's my rough draft. School ended last Friday. Starting this morning, the kids are at home. For the first week, they get to sleep in and be lazy. Going forward, Daddy camp begins. They do have three weeks of camp. One week is Lego Robotics camp and two weeks of day camp. They'll also spend a week split between our parents so that Wife and I can go to Barcelona. Finally, we have two road trips.

I'm not some weirdo home-schooler who can't get enough of his kids (see Red Dirt Girl.) I'm also not above summer day camp. JD and Bunny have gone to camp the last couple of summers. I realize that I do not want to spend all of that money on day care, that we can spend a lot of time doing really cool things. Shit, if I wanted to be really selfish, I could add up what day camp would have cost and get babysitters a few days a week and golf the very best courses in Chicagoland!

Daddy camp. That is when all of the dreams of spending quality time are fulfilled. Again, rough draft:
8am get up, make their beds, get dressed in athletic apparel
8:15 downstairs, exercise (I'll start with 5 minutes the couple of days, then increase to 15 then 30 minutes.)
5-30 minutes per day each of math, reading, writing, and art
Fill the day with adventures in and outside of the city (Maggie Daley park, parks around Chicago we've never been to, forest preserves, museums.)
Playdates or meet with other families at local parks
Visit grandparents
Lunch with Mommy
Beach bumming

So, it will be some structure and some adventure and imagination. There will be days when we don't get out of our pajamas and watch tv while figuring which bags of cookies and chips to open next.

Lego Robotics camp looks awesome. Here is the course description:
If you enjoy computers and tinkering then come use LEGO Robotic kits to unleash your creative powers. Complete real-world engineering and computer science challenges as you build and command robots that walk, talk, think and do anything you can imagine. The basic programming concepts will prepare you to write your own programs at home.
In ages 6-7, you will use the LEGO WeDo system to build your robots.
In ages 8-12, you will start with the LEGO simple machines and mechanisms system as well as using hydraulic and the renewable energy system and eventually move onto the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 system.

Just before school starts up again, they will go to day camp for two weeks. That way, they get some structure and have to listen to non-parental authority but it's not quite school intensive. 

Our road trips are going to be awesome. The first is one I've been dreaming about for months, maybe a year. Our end destination is Kennebunkport, ME. I am fortunate to have a close-knit extended family. One cousin was married a couple of years ago and I'm finally getting around to celebrating with them. On the way there and back, the kids and I will stay with friends and family who we rarely see. Wife cannot make the road trip but will fly in and out of Boston so she can spend the weekend with us in Maine.

The second road trip is to Grand Marais, MI. Grand Marais is a tiny town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, right on Lake Superior. I have been going there almost every summer since I was 8 months old and the place and the people there are very special to me. Whenever I round the last bend and decend the hill, I get a chill and think, I'm home. Kind of a silly sentiment, considering I've never been there more than two weeks in any year.

Finally, this August commemorates the best wedding I've ever been to. Mine. August 20, 2005. It was a drunk fest. There was a massive hora. I mean, four or five rings deep. We had wedding crashers. We had a piano in our suite. To commemorate such awesomeness, Wife and I are going to Barcelona, Spain. Beaches, Wine Country, cooking class, strolling, eating, drinking.

So, yeah, this summer looks pretty awesome at the outset. Again, a little planning will go a long way. I look forward to updating you and updating these pictures. I mean, that running one was from a half-marathon two years ago. What a phony!