May 11, 2017

Thoughts of Mom and Mother's Day

It's a bit chilly this morning. I certainly don't need the fireplace on but it is of comfort on this gray, dreary day. I can hear the birds chirping outdoors and the ducks and geese in the pond. I can't hear the fountain, but know it's on. I can see it out the window.

The lilacs are blooming and sweetly fill the air and everything is greening. Not the dark green of summer, but that light, bright green that signals early spring. 

Dandelions are blooming and going to fluff and the grass is growing at a speed that most neighbors can hardly keep up. Our eyes are teary from blooming plants and trees and noses are running. 

I watched a video this morning about a man documenting his mother's dementia journey. Although you did not have dementia, I have sympathy for him when he runs into the "worst day of his life." The day his mother did not know him. I empathize because after your stroke I did not know if you knew me. You could not remember my name for a week or two and I wasn't sure. I thought those were the worst days of my life. I was wrong.

I think about you often. Maybe not as much as you struggled when grandma passed away. But a lot. I sometimes don't realize I am thinking of you. I do miss you a lot. The thing is the worst day of my life, as it stands now, is not you forgetting me, it's the day you left.

Sometimes writing helps.

I know this is the type of morning you loved. You would call me and tell me you were sitting out on your deck with coffee in hand. You'd be watching the birds or other critters come by the deck. Sometimes a squirrel. Sometimes a bunny. Even ducks and deer stopped by. You would tell me of the butterflies, frogs and flowers. It was always about your deck and flowers.

Of course you taught me that it's too early for potted flowers. Never before Memorial Day. I would laugh and talk about my greenhouse or hoop house. Like I could one up Mother Nature. I lost many plants with my "knowledge" but never put out potted flowers before Memorial Day, unless they were cold weather hardy, like Pansies. 

Those friendly cheerful faces on the Pansies, the lilacs and the gerber daisy I saved from your memorial remind me of you. The birds. The critters outside my window, they too are a reminder. 

I am doing OK mom. I miss you and love you. Happy Mother's Day.  This year it's hard, but know that I hold you in my heart and will forever remember. 

April 25, 2017

Passport 2 Pittsfield

On May 7, explore Pittsfield Township, learning
about the community while finding many fun family activities and freebies!

Another weekend event for the whole family is the Passport 2 Pittsfield Event. This free event on Sunday, May 7, from 1:00–4:00 p.m.allows families will explore Pittsfield Township as they fill their "Passport".

Families will collect stamps and goodies as you travel throughout the Township stopping by each of the locations to tour the buildings, share your ideas, and learn about the services that Pittsfield Township has to offer. Activities you can encounter along the way include:
  • Free line dancing
  • Play Earth Day Bingo
  • Free coloring book for the kids
  • Make a flower art sculpture
  • Get crafty creating a box city
  • Get your own tree to plant with a free state tree seedling
  • Kids will get their own Police Badge, Firefighter hat, and Child ID Kits (for mom and dad) 
There is no lack of fun with games, parachute fun, emergency vehicle displays, and photos with Sparky the Fire Dog and McGruff the Crime Dog! Families can also get into drawing for prizes from many local restaurant and shopping establishments.

April 6, 2017

Building Life Skills with Summer Camp

Summer camp was a right of passage for me which is why my kids attend!
My kids are stronger, better team members and excellent problem solvers
in part due to what they have experienced in going away to camp.

Every summer growing up, my parents sent me away for a week of summer camp. It started  with Girl Scout camp then ended up as a week away at overnight camp where horseback riding was the focus. In fact, I ended up becoming a wrangler at that camp! I remember my summer camp experiences fondly.

Those experiences helped me mature in many ways. I became more self-confident. As a child I marched to the beat of my own drummer and did not feel the pressure to give in to some of the bad habits many of my friends fell into as teens. The American Camp Association calls this the four "C's" of the camp community: compassion, contribution, commitment, and character! And certainly, going away to summer camp helped build that in me.

I've had a similar experience in sending my children away to summer camp. My kids started attending camp their summers before they went into 2nd grade. It was very clear in my daughter though.
Girls CAN do anything!

Overcoming Separation Anxiety

During my daughter's 1st grade year she had a terrible episode of separation anxiety. She would cry hysterically each morning, clinging to me in the drop-off lane. Often she would need to be pried off of me and carried into school. It was horrific for me. No one needs to start their day that way, not her or I!

She insisted though that she wanted to attend Girl Scout horseback riding camp. As a compromise, I choose a 4 day camp, where she would only be away 3 nights. I prepped her in the best way possible then hoped for the best. She was a bit apprehensive when arriving, but cried when she left and begged to stay longer. The changes in her after camp though were phenomenal. She came back more confident and ready to take charge.

Building Character

My son had a similar experience. In Cub Scouts you don't go solo to camp until you are a Webelo. After he completed 3rd grade though I sent him to the church camp. He has gone away to camp every year since then and has attended several weeks of camp since he's been a Boy Scout. In fact last summer he was away 4 weeks! FOUR!

I experienced the biggest growth from him after he went to scout camp. He came home more mature and composed and asked to cook dinner once a week and even to do some of his own laundry. Um, OK, who are you and what did you do to my son! That program had all older boys and they clearly rubbed off on him.

Kids who attend summer camp will try new things,
learn team building skills and become more resilient! 

Is My Child Ready?

"But is my child ready to go to sleep-away camp?" 

There is no age that is ideal for starting camp. Each parent will need to make individual decisions. The first thing to consider though is what TYPE of summer camp you are considering? Parents should also consider their child's development. Ask others about the summer camp their children attend.

Parents may even consider interviewing the camp or perhaps sending their child with a friend. I will say though that the year my child attended with a friend she did NOT have as much fun. The other little girl only partnered with my daughter and hung off her constantly hampering any growth for either child.
Is my child ready to
attend summer camp? You bet!

Foundations for Adulthood

Attending summer camp really will help your child build their foundation of adulthood. They will gain independence, and gain skills. They will be in a team-building atmosphere and learn resilience. They will learn to make decisions and try new things. Your child will mature in ways that will wow you and have memories that will last a lifetime.

What Are You Waiting For?

When children do well at school, they earn good grades. But when children succeed at camp, they learn valuable lessons. Attending summer camp will teach your child character-building skills that are good for life. I know it has done that for my kids!

March 7, 2017

Stridepost Family Motivation Game

I wanted to share with you Stridepost, a new family motivation app for today’s technology-driven families. They are launching this week with a 21 Day Motivation Game. I like the idea that it is a simple, fun way to reward your kids n getting them motivated to do chores. Your children Kids use technology more than ever, so why not use this as an advantage to bring your family together, while staying organized and getting things done.

Stridepost’s four main features not only help to keep your kids motivated and excited to complete tasks, but also your whole family organized and on the same page:

  • Allowance & Rewards Tracker – Set points or an allowance budget for your kids to work toward as they check off their to-dos. Each task completed earns points, and on Sundays, these points are deposited into kids’ accounts. Kids can redeem points for things you agree upon.
  • To-do List Tracker – Keep track of your kids’ and family tasks while teaching kids how to prioritize their responsibilities to develop strong management skills.
  • Family Wall – All members of your family can communicate in one place through private in-app messages.
  • Online Family Calendar – Use the master Online Family Calendar. You can even import a Google Calendar or iCal into Stridepost’s Family Calendar!

Now through June 15, families can participate and enter the Family Motivation Game. The winning family will receive a Family Fun Pack valued at $300, which will include gift cards for a family night out, including a special activity and dinner. So what are you waiting for, improve your family communication and organization while having fun, with special daily challenges. I know I am excited to see my kids play (even if they can't win!).

To enter, sign up for Stridepost online for a free 90-day trial. Parents will need to can download the Stridepost Parents app (iOS and Android) and while adding the Stridepost Kids app (iOS and Android). to the devices their children use!

March 2, 2017

Free Spring Movies

Free movies are a wonderful thing. They give us something to do when spring is muddy and gray. Weekends, through April 2, your family can enjoy free movies at local Goodrich Quality Theaters. Showtimes will be available the Tuesday before and tickets are only available at the door. Tickets for adults are just $1 but kids 12 and under get free admission to the movies!

In Ann Arbor, that gives us a choice of two theaters for free movies this spring:

Goodrich Quality 16
3686 Jackson Rd., Ann Arbor

Goodrich Canton 7
43555 Ford Road, Canton Twp.

Trolls (PG) – March 11 & 12 
Middle School (PG) – March 18 & 19 
Storks (PG) – March 25 & 26 
Sing (PG) – April 1 & 2

It's hard to pass up a free movie no matter how much concession stand goodies you purchase. So one of these cold, wet or dreary late winter early spring weekends, be sure to sneak out with the kids and enjoy your free movie!