Friday, July 26, 2013

Kudos to Kate

Finally a brand new mum in the public spotlight who can step out with her postnatal tummy in a natural state. Best of all she doesn't really seem to care as she is so enamoured with her new Prince George of Cambridge. I do see Diana similarities here. The polka dotted dress, the sweet baby boy all bundled up, the same London hospital (St. Mary's), and the Diana sapphire ring adorning her finger.

What a refreshing change!  Kate looks awesome and was strong and healthy enough to leave the hospital within 24 hours of giving birth. I wish I had that kind of luck! She gives a great example to new mothers everywhere that your body will be far from perfect for weeks, months, and even years after childbirth. I wish that more celebrity moms would follow her lead and stop striving for a perfect body within weeks of giving birth.

Once again Kate proves that she is far more normal than most who live their lives under the glare of the media. Well done Kate!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Back to School in July?

Has Target missed the mark or are other retailers selling back-to-school supplies as well? At my local Target, the school supplies went up right before the 4th of July and the aisles remain fully stocked and ready for all of the kids. Problem is, it is still summer! Who really wants to buy pencils, notebooks, and folders when it's hot and sunny outside? Judging from the lack of shoppers in the backpack aisle today, not many people are ready to push this season and get a jump on the back-to-school buying frenzy.

I could imagine lots of better ways to spend a glorious Sunday afternoon rather than stocking up on folders and crayons. Although I will admit that I was surprised to see one woman who actually had a school supply list and pen in hand, checking off items as she loaded up her cart. But it was just her and not her kids. Hopefully her kids were out tubing on the lake or hanging out at the beach.

Target must think this rush on the school season is a good idea because they are backing it up with a barrage of witty school supply TV commercials and colorful Sunday flyers. If any of my readers work for Target, please enlighten me about this marketing tactic and if it actually works.

Does a July back-to-school binge shopping trip mean that all of the supplies will be in short supply when I return in early August from vacation? Maybe when I'm actually ready to buy school supplies in the end of August, Target will have cleared them away to make room for the Halloween costumes and candy. I think retailers should let kids (and their parents) actually savor the school-free summer months instead of urging shoppers to stock up on school supplies nearly two months before school even begins.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Off to Camp Wapo

Jack and his friend in their cabin
Camp Wapo . . . it sounds like a camp out of a Chevy Chase movie. But this is a real camp on a real lake in northern Wisconsin, and my 10-year old son boarded a school bus with his buddy, bound for a week at camp. The house is quieter without Jack and his gang of friends running around the house and annoying his older brother.

In a way, Jack is creating his own path being the first of my kids to brave a week away from home and venture off to camp. His older brother and sister never had a camp desire or never had a close friend to bunk with at camp. They flatly refused any attempt to sign them up for camp. Jack was game and happily left with his bag of snacks and camping gear.

Farewell to Mom for a week
I'm hoping Jack has a better camp experience than I did. The Girl Scout camps I attended were tolerable, but church camp at Imago Dei was the worst. (It should have been called Imago Diablos.) A very old mosquito infested camp nestled in the woods along the banks of the Wolf River in central Wisconsin. I remember falling out of the canoe in the middle of the river, swarms of mosquitos and black flies, mean middle school girl campers, and attempting to sleep while completely zipped up in my sleeping bag to avoid the bugs that came in through the holes in the walls.

Jack's camp is luxurious compared to Imago Dei. His cabins are clean without open slats between the wall boards, air conditioned rooms, and hopefully minimal bugs to squash during the night. The food is probably better than your standard camp-fare, and he is with one of his best friends.

He is nearly 18 hours into the Camp Wapo experience, and I have not yet received a phone call to retrieve him. Maybe I'm jinxing myself by writing this post. Only five more days to go!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Summer—Not Quite the Same From an Office

Grand Teton National Park,
Now that summer has finally reached the Upper Midwest, I feel like I've been missing out on my most favorite season—Summer! This longing for the summer experience comes from being at home with my kids and working from home for the past 15 years. Those days are gone. Now I work in an office and gaze out my window at these glorious summer days.

Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan
I'm not complaining though! I love my job and going to work each morning. But I think everyone must secretly wish to have the summer off. Especially with small children, being home was ideal. When they were really little, long stroller walks along the Potomac River, trips to the National Zoo, strawberry picking, and hours spent playing at the local parks. As the kids grew up: sunny afternoons spent at the pool, hanging out with friends and family at one of Minnesota's many lakes, bike rides to the beach park, a long weekend spent with friends at the water parks of Wisconsin Dells, and far too many trips to the local Dairy Queen for ice cream.
The Kalahari, Wisconsin Dells

EPCOT at Disney World
 All of that time to work in the garden on a Wednesday morning, take the kids for a 10-day trip to see their grandparents, taking road trips out West to Yellowstone, down South to Florida, or out East to Washington, DC, and visits to Japan to climb Mt. Fuji.

I do miss being outdoors in the summer and enjoying the free time that summer offers. It is all sort of a juggle isn't it? Time can be stretched to include many of these same activities, but now I have to learn to live with limits. No more jaunts to Japan or a spur of the moment run to the pool for the afternoon.

National Gallery of American Art,
Washington DC
Nearly at the top
Mt. Fuji, Japan
It is okay though. There was a time for all of that, and I do feel lucky that I had those 15 carefree summers to spend with my kids from when they were babies into their teen (and nearly teen) years. I realize that everything in life has a season. With those fond memories, I can survive another week of summer days in my office.