Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Back to School?

Summer is in full swing - the weather is great and the kids are having a blast at camp: field trips, swimming, sports, all with awesome new friends. 

In the midst of all this fun being had, what's a bigger buzz-kill than all those pesky back-to-school ads? Do I really have to buy school supplies now? I hate to admit it, but I’m nervous I’ll miss all the great deals. But how I do I shift gears and go from fun in the sun to pens and paper clips?

I think the important thing is to focus. I don’t want my kids to lose sight of the present, and I want them to keep enjoying each moment. As adults we know these moments go by quickly - perhaps we need to learn to savor them a bit more. Perhaps we can learn from our kids. 

I know my kids don’t think about what’s next; they certainly do not think about saving a few dollars if we buy school uniforms now, rather than waiting until the end of August. While it’s good to teach responsibility, and to explain the benefits of planning ahead, I don’t want to teach them to rush through each season in anticipation of the next. I want them to know how to slow down and smell the roses - or in our case, play gaga!

So, for me, I’m going to kick back a while. The pens and pencils can wait. IT'S SUMMERTIME!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

To Car-Line or Not to Car-Line

The front of the "car-line."
The "car-line" is what I affectionately call the line-up of autos out the back of Camp Jaycee and up Executive Drive beginning around 2:55 every day. The line-up gets pretty long and I have a daily debate with myself about whether I should wait or scoot around the line, park my car, and walk over to pick my campers out of their groups in person. 

My inner debate goes something like this:

"Ah, the luxury of sitting in my car with my own thoughts for 15 extra minutes before the post-camp cacophony of stories and songs."

"You know, I should check in with the counselors and see how my daughter is doing. She hasn't eaten her lunch for 2 days and I wonder if something is going on."

The debate typically ends with, "Well, this line is moving pretty fast and I hate to bug the counselors when they have so much to keep track of at the end of the day."

Before another thought can pop into my head, I'm at the curb and my kids are climbing into the car with all the stories and songs they can get out in a single breath.... ah, the serenity of the car-line!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Picture is Truly Worth a Thousand Words

Another day of fun!
The camp photos are posted on SmugMug! Now I can see - in bold, bright color - all the fun my kids are having. It’s like I'm right there, experiencing their great times.

Navigating was easy: I went to Camp Jaycee's SmugMug and clicked the "Camp Jaycee 2013" folder. After that, I went to the folder for Kochavim, my daughter Zoe's group. Her smiling face was everywhere. Clearly, she isn’t at all camera shy.

Then I went to Gesher K to look for Eden, the less outgoing of my two girls. Fourty-four photos - not bad. Surely she'll jump right out at me. By page 3, I started wondering where my kid went after I dropped her off with her group in the morning. Is that her blonde hair peeking out from behind her counselor? Maybe that’s the brim of her hat - I thought it was black, but maybe it was blue? Page 4: I think she didn't swim that day.

I was just starting to seriously wonder if the camp photographer had it out for me, or worse, maybe they didn't photograph kids that weren't having fun. But on page 5 - right there, bright as the sunshine - a smile that lit up the entire screen. There was my happy girl, flanked by new friends and her ever-present and loving counselor!

With so many parents wanting to see their happy kids, it’s no wonder there are so many photos to get through. But when you find the one you’re looking for, it’s worth it all. I encourage you all to sign on to the SmugMug site and enjoy the search - a picture is truly worth a thousand words!

~Lori Spar Carnot, Camp Jaycee Mom

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I Had the Best Day EVER!

Day 1 of Camp Jaycee
Those words are echoing in my head since yesterday afternoon at 3:00. My kids are at Camp Jaycee; my 6-year-old is a third-year, seasoned camper enjoying Kochavim, and my 5 year old is a newbie. She is a bit shy and stand-off-ish, and unlike her sister (who is crazy for camp), was uncertain about this new experience. 

Being the ultimate camp mom, I have been setting her up for weeks. Okay, months. I’ve been prepping her for camp: singing camp songs, talking about all the fun things she’ll do, and of course, shopping. Shopping for camp stuff is my favorite, and I’ve been on it since summer gear went on sale months ago. "These are the cutest sneakers, and you’ll need them for camp." "When is camp?" "Oh, in a few months." 

And then the day arrived. My little one tried to mirror her big sister’s enthusiasm, but she was scared - and told me she would not swim. "Okay, let’s see how the day goes." I dropped her off with her counselors and explained we were having some pre-camp jitters. They jumped in with hugs and games and I walked away cautiously. Fast-forward six fun-filled hours later. I tapped my wet-haired little girl on the shoulder at pick up. She turned to see me and said, "I had the best day, ever." Sweet - another happy camper!

~Lori Spar Carnot, Camp Jaycee Mom