Saturday, August 5, 2017

Camp Listenbee 2017: priceless memories

Summers are wonderful seasons we look forward to and quickly they slip away. We’ve been calling our summers Camp Listenbee because when kids come home from school, we are basically running a summer camp with food, fun and learning in the mix. One more amazing summer has gone by and we are thankful to God for everything we experienced together. School doesn't start for a few more weeks but here are a few summer highlights:


Family time • this summer, more than any others, we enjoyed a lot of family time. Usually my husband would be working but this time he could be part of a lot of our activities. I define ‘Family Time’ as all the things that we choose not to post on social media. It is the bonding, it is the new experiences together and the hidden things that brand us as family. I’m glad that summer was a great time to make such memories.


Reading • I decided to make a point to read out loud more and it has worked very well for us. I was tempted to put all the reading responsibility on the big kids but there is something magical about reading together. I also enjoy introducing new stories to the kids. I didn’t grow up in the U.S. so most of the childhood literature is new to me. It’s been a beautiful discovery. My goal as always, is to solidify Old and New Testament stories in the kids’ minds. For some reason we started at the end of Genesis and we hit the major stories from there. It’s been lovely.


Swimming • Every year, getting in the water with the kids is less and less stressful. When we started camp I never went swimming because they were 4 and under and no one could swim. We did two years of swim lessons and this summer, I decided I was going to be the swim coach. I also did not have money for lessons. I am so thankful that all three kids are swimming well! I’m amazed at how much they can learn on their own. We love the water and not to be stressed has been a blessing. In year’s past, I found the beach to be easier than the pool. This time around it doesn’t really matter as long as we all have fun.


Traveling • we love traveling and I find it to be easier now that the kids are bigger. I remember dragging, I mean, carrying multiple bags full of essentials for feeding, diaper changing, etc. This summer, everyone carried what they needed on their own backpack and they even took my travel bag to the car. Amazing! Another thing I wasn’t excited about was the all the work I had to do once I got to my destination. Driving for 12 hours then ‘working’ a full day is no joke but we got it done. This summer I am experiencing the joy of seeing my kids mature. I no longer have to worry about schedules (naps, feedings, diaper changing) so I actually have a chance to grab a book and enjoy the trip myself.

Special events • The more I lead Camp, the more I see the pattern of special events we enjoy each year. One event is Cow Appreciation Day. The trips to the beach rock. The library summer reading challenge is a great way to keep us all interested in reading new material. Fireworks on Fourth of July were amazing! I also love the blasé aspect of summer. I try not to over or under program our schedule. We enjoy the events we have, the surprises on the way as well as the lazy days. This summer I also learned not to freak out because there was no money to pay for summer camps. I'm thankful for the free things we could do. I'm also thankful for my own creativity and resourcefulness. Money will never determine my amount of enjoyment. While I have a brain I can think of ways to have fun.

In 2013 I realized that all my effort will become memories in the kids' minds. I'm amazed to find out what are their best memories of the summer. It's not the stuff I wish I could pay for. It's not my detailed planning. They treasure togetherness, they love the bond we have as a family and the love we share. I will never be able to put a money amount of the things my children will remember and I'm grateful for that.

• What are your children's favorite summer memories?

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