Heading South For The Winter

July 17, 2013

Navarre Beach, Florida

Although it is clearly summer here, we are digging out a few winter clothes and heading south. South of the equator to Peru, where it is now winter! Adam has already been down there for a week doing humanitarian work. Camille and I are now on our way to join him. Stay tuned for tales (and photos) of llamas, mountains, and Incan ruins.

Summer Buffet

July 16, 2013

 I wish I could say that we are enjoying the summer offerings in the garden, but the neighborhood critters keep cutting in front of us in the buffet line.

Our garden got off to such a good start. We made new garden sticks. We made the most of small spaces. We had a lot of rain to get things growing. And we even had a few days of tomato harvesting (see top photo): Sungolds, Sweet 100s, and our first Big Boy. The kids were especially excited about the first Big Boy since they have such good memories of Aunt Janet's. 

But it turns out that the squirrels are also Big Boy fans. In the course of just a few days they essentially destroyed what had been a thriving plant full of nearly ripe tomatoes. And the worst part of it was that the little buggers didn't really eat them. They tossed them around the back yard and even left a taunting little pile of them on the back steps and in the driveway (see above).

The squirrels aren't the only ones enjoying themselves in the garden. The bunnies are also fans of open air buffets. Bob is going through a growth spurt and decided to mow down a big clump of dill, the cosmos seedlings, pansies, purple cone flowers, and all of the parsley. It's turning out to be quite a frustrating summer in the garden!

Summer Fun In DC With Kids

July 15, 2013

This weekend we were thrilled to have some of our favorite friends visiting us from Sicily. It was such fun to catch up on a year's worth of news, gossip, and changes. It was also fun to see the girls all having a blast together with their fashion/dance/music shows in the basement and late night giggles. 

In addition to catching up, we also attempted to squeeze in a bit of sight seeing so they could experience a slice of DC. 

We kicked things off with a Friday night viewing of Peter Pan and Wendy at Imagination Stage. We are so lucky to have this amazing children's theater just a few blocks to our house. As soon as the girls discovered that we were attending a show, they hit the dress-up box, pulled out fancy shoes and got all gussied up. I loved watching them sashay and skip downtown on their way to the show! Highly recommend Peter and Wendy as an entertaining(and cool..the AC is always blasting in theater) summer treat.

Saturday was a very busy day for us in the city. Our first stop was the National Building Museum where the kids had fun building/playing in the various hands-on areas, but the real high light was their annual summer mini-golf course. We loved it last summer and this summer's course is equally as enjoyable and creative. Then off to the Mall to soak our feet in the National Gallery's fountain in the center of their sculpture garden (where we went iceskating this past winter), ride the carousel, eat ice cream, and take a quick tour of the dinos at the Natural History Museum. In addition to eating ice cream and fountain soaking, our misting water bottle was a big hit. Highly recommend one of those for your summer adventures, especially city sight seeing.

 Sunday was also focused on water. We headed down to Georgetown and had a refreshing time at the Waterfront Park. The splash area is so well designed that all ages had a blast while cooling off in the summer heat. It is also in a beautiful location overlooking the Potomac River and the Kennedy Center. After everyone was sufficiently soaked, we walked along the waterfront and admired all of the boats, kayaks, ducks, and swimming dogs. We eventually wound our way over to  Farmers, Fishers, Bakers where we gorged on their amazing Sunday Brunch: a seriously delicious and satisfying meal for all of us. The last stop of the day was the Lincoln Memorial. Just a quick viewing because everyone was pooped. Since I couldn't find parking, I actually dropped everyone off and drove around until they were ready to be picked up. It turned out to be a good decision because it is so much easier to load tired kids into a van that already has the air conditioning running! We didn't see everything in DC, but I think we did a pretty good job of keeping everyone happy, fairly cool, and entertained. It's nice to be in a city which has so many different options and fun to have visiting friends to share in the exploring.

If you are planning a trip to Washington, DC with kids be sure to check out these blogs and books:


Old Man Cabin

July 11, 2013

I just got a quick phone call and this photo documenting Noah's arrival at his cabin. Not only do his monkey boy antics crack me up, but the names do, too. I love the assortment of old Jewish men/Old Testament names in his cabin. I can't remember if it was Ayelet Waldman or Michael Chabon who wrote an essay on the cycle of names....nursing homes and preschools that are now both occupied with an assortment of Maxs, Rosies, Sols,Hannahs, etc., but it also applies to Jewish summer camps.

Summer Camp

July 10, 2013

Noah left for summer camp today. His first sleep-away summer camp. Three and half weeks in rural Mississippi. It's a big milestone. 

Everything was neatly labeled, bagged, and crammed into three bags, but I have a hunch it won't come back that way. And that's ok. As long as he has more fun than I did during my miserable week at 4-H  summer camp and as long as he comes back in one piece, I will be happy.

 It's funny how camp can be such a defining and unifying experience for some people. I always get a bit jealous when I listen to Adam's camp stories or listen to him singing Jewish camp songs with strangers who didn't even go to the same camp and yet they still share a common lyrical bond. We all have a good feeling about Jacobs Camp since we did their Winter Family camp this past December, but it still has me reeling a bit. My baby monkey boy heading off on his own for a big chunk of time.

His departure day had a bit of a rocky start which didn't help to soothe the nervous energy that was already descending and swirling around us. I took the kids out for a celebratory/good-bye breakfast and when we exited the pancake house, we couldn't find the van. Turns out we parked in the wrong spot.Thank goodness, I hadn't already loaded his camp luggage, because they towed the van to a different city and we weren't able to pick it up until this evening! 

Happily, we made it to the airport on time,we had a nice visit with the other camp family who is flying down with Noah, and a few hours later we got confirmation of their arrival. The adventure has begun!

And speaking of camp, here is a little camp list:

A Summer Camp Lesson
Notes on Camp
Thirteen Signs You May Have Attended Jewish Summer Camp in the 1980s
Tinker Camp
Homesick and Happy
Why a Widowed Mom Sends Her Son to Camp All Summer Long
The Parent Trap

Have any good camp stories or links? Please share!

Summer Evening Viewing

July 6, 2013

The Washington Monument

 It's under repair until next year, but even with the scaffolding it is still an impressive site. The kids are anxious for it to re-open and I can understand that. I remember peering out of the little slitted windows as a kid, but here's a truly unique and scary view.

Takoma Park 4th of July Parade

July 4, 2013

Home Camp

July 2, 2013

Playdough Cookies

It's our first full summer back in the States with school aged kids and I am trying to figure it out. The norm around here seems to be to sign kids up for multiple day camps. Don't get me wrong some of them are really cool....lego robotics, nature camps, art camps....seriously, the choices are overwhelming AND expensive. Not only were my kids not clamoring to sign up for anything, I wasn't either. I love summers with the kids. I love lazy mornings, spontaneous adventures, and piles of books. And I just can't wrap my mind around having them in structured activities every day or the chauffeuring that comes with that. We have some big things are on the horizon for summer plans, but for right now we are staying pretty close to home and doing our own little version of "camp"

In addition to fun outings like Elizabeth Mitchell at Wolftrap and butterflies at the Natural History Museum, we have also been having some home-ec training sessions. Yesterday Noah learned how to make Ramen noodle soup for himself. Today the kids worked together to make banana bread. A few days ago we had a big class on proper bathroom cleaning techniques and surprisingly they ate it up (we'll see how long that enthusiasm lasts). Noah has assumed laundry duties and Camille has upped her dish duty. I am relishing the extra help and happily there hasn't been much whining. So far home camp has been a good thing for all of us. 

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