Millennium Mom

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

8/26 Blog: A family camping trip

This past weekend we went on our 2nd family camping weekend. Last year we decided to start camping as a family. I grew up camping (my little brother won a 21 foot trailer in a raffle when he was 2!) and Arnie just loves the outdoors and began to camp as an adult. We always knew when Sarah was old enough we would start camping. Last summer she was about to turn three so we decided to bite the bullet and try it. We invited our neighbors the Taylor's to join us. We bought a tent at Sam's Club (great deals) and borrowed a ton of stuff from a women I work with, just in case it didn't go well, this way we wouldn't have wasted a lot of money. We went labor day weekend to Indiana near French Lick (famous springs) and had a blast...we were hooked.

This year we had hoped to go more often, but with our vacation schedule, travel schedule and just "life" (little league through June on weekends) it made it hard to find a date. We finally locked on this past weekend. This year we decided to go closer to home, given we didn't have the extra day off. The Taylor's found a place less than 90 minutes east of us, and it was very "family friendly." It had a lake with diving boards, water slides, water park, go carts, carousel, and put-put to name a few. Once we got there we realized about 2/3 of the place were people who permanently kept a trailer there and make it their weekend home. That brought a very family feel to the place.

We got there Friday around 6pm. This was a good thing as it was light out, last year we had to put the tent up in the dark ;). We were set up before we knew it and ready to cook dinner. Going with friends is a great thing, you split the meals ahead of time which takes a lot of stress away as you only have to prep for half the meals. It also means the kids have their playmates which makes the weekend so much more fun. We were lucky to get spots not too far from the restroom and right next to a playground, so the kids had "many" friends within an hour. I think we adopted Gabi for the weekend.

All in all camping is a fantastic way to bond as a family and teach the kids about nature. Sleeping under the sun, all in one tent is a real treat. The fresh air is so good for the kids and it keeps our children grounded given the fortunate life we lead. I highly recommend hitting a campground near you, many have "cabins" (and this one did too....Long's family retreat is the name for those of you in Ohio) if you want to ease into the roughing it part. Finally, I am always looking for tips for camping, so if you have any (good meals, fun games to play, packing tips) please send them my way.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

8/25 Blog: First day of school

We had a big day in the Zucker household today...the first day of school. For two of our kids it was a first. Claire's first day of Kindergarten and Ben's first full day in 1st grade (as our K is 1/2 day only) - which meant he got to eat in the cafeteria. Arnie and I both blocked our calendars this morning to be able to be here with them. Arnie made a special "weekday" breakfast of pancakes for the big day. Sarah didn't even wake up and because we were home, Amber could stay home instead of going to the bus stop, this meant Sarah got to sleep in past 9 for the 2nd day (we were camping this past weekend and went t.o see the Jonas Brothers Sunday night, so she needed the sleep...more on that tomorrow).

After breakfast I got the cameras out and began to snap away to mark the occasion. The bus stop was so cute, three new additions this year (and we lost 2 to middle school)...Claire and the Taylor twins who went to a full-day K at a different school last year. The pile of bookbags was really cute. Ben chose Bakugan which is a big part of his life these days. Claire just went for a cute one from Children's Place (well mom did because I got it cheap, but I knew she would like it because it was "girly").

I called home after Claire got home and all had gone well. They phase in K so only half the kids were there. She loved every minute. Ben yelled "I love school" when he got off the bus this afternoon, so I guess his day went well too. Of course the homework has not started, so we will see how long that last. The great news is that is three best buddies are all in his class (and there are four first grades), not sure how we got that lucky, but we did. Let's hope they are still best buddies in June :)

Tomorrow I am on Fox talking about tips for back to school. For all of you reading they are simple: lay the clothes out for the week, stock up on healthy food for lunch, pack lunch the night before, set a homework time, and be sure to dial back bedtime a couple of weeks before school starts or even after it starts as they will really tired after the first few days. I hope your first day goes as smooth as ours was.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

8/12 Blog - A proud mother

My kids delight me each day, with their kind words, polite manners and bright smiles. But as they get older and either begin competing or truly work hard at something that they truly love and have chosen themselves, it brings a whole other level to it. I got it when my daughter's had their first dance recital. Seeing them remember every step and take great pride in it, not having to look at their teacher at all made me so proud. I think I was beaming. I could see they loved it and wanted to do a great job. I felt so proud and wanted to tell them.

This week the same thing happened with my son. The first time he had "hockey try-outs" for lack of a better description on Monday night. He will be playing this year on a team, so they have the kids come and "show off their skills" per se. An older boy goes through them (and very fast, it was quite intimidating, I was nervous for him). But of course he did great, despite me being nervous. He had gone to open skate on Sunday, given he hadn't been on ice since May. He woke up on Monday and could barely move complaining of a groin injury. At 6:30 AM I am trying to figure out how I can help him, trying to get him to stretch, etc. I put a Ben-Gay like cream on it and gave him some children's aspirin. He even debated not going to his birthday part at a water park because it hurt so much. Instead he decided to go...I encouraged him to go in the hot tub for a bit to help it.

Before the try out he felt better and ok to skate, so off he went. He did fine in the skating part. He isn't the strongest skater on earth, particularly backwards. But then the stick handling came, then a scrimmage and then he showed off, even a break-away goal. I was so happy for him. In his words he said "I think I passed hockey mom." We will go back next week, and it is all done to balance the teams, which is how it should be at 6-8 years old, but knowing he worked hard and felt he did well made me so proud.

I was even prouder yesterday after his reading test. Our school has the entering first graders come in for a reading test before school. From what I understand it is just to know what types of books to give him. Still not sure why the Kindergarten teacher could not have told them that at the end of the year, but anyway, off he went. The teacher didn't tell Amber anything so of course I asked Ben at dinner last night. Apparently the teacher told him "you are an awesome reader"...I could see how proud he was in his eyes. He isn't that fond of reading, and we have worked hard to get him to do it regularly, so I know how this positive reinforcement will go a long way. On our end we toasted him at dinner and his great week and hope this will encourage him to read even more.

So I am an even more proud mother and so blessed by my children.