Things have been crazy busy here with summer goings-on. I apologize for the lack of posting but it's going to be sporadic for the rest of the summer.
We just spent a couple days with my mom, three of my sisters and almost all of Julia's Nicholas cousins at a cabin in the woods. What a fun time we had. The cousins age from nine to eighteen so finding things that they will all enjoy is a stretch. I found a great book called Camp-Out by Lynn Brunelle that gave me 10 summers worth of ideas. I highly recommend it - especially if you are digging for a summer birthday present for a child or outdoorsy teenager.
We had just about 24 hours to pack in some fun. It wasn't hard to fill up the time. The cousins are not outdoorsy by any stretch of the imagination. Neither are my sisters. When I was a kid, we went camping once with a pop-up camper. It was a fiasco. My dad hated it and Mom had to work harder than ever. That was the first and last camping trip for us.
So as you can imagine, my nieces and nephews prefer lounging by a pool to a day without showers, hot water but plenty of bugs. But they were good sports. I had everyone check their ipods and cellphones at the door (last year that was a bit of a snafu!)
We built a couple camp fires and did almost all the cooking over the fire. The kids helped cook their dinner and made s-mores. Finding kindling took a bit of time. My sister Nancy made some killer pancakes for breakfast.
I organized a tree and leaf scavenger hunt and the cousins totally surprised me. They each got a zip-loc bag with photos and identifying characteristics of 15 trees. I split them up into two teams and off they went. And they actually did go deep into the woods and both teams came back with all the different leaves. I'm hoping they learned something - at least they will remember the day.
Then it was off to a swimming hole and an icy dip. And then sadly, everyone went their separate ways.
I have some very fond memories of spending time with my cousins in the summer. My sisters and I try real hard to get our kids together a few times during the summer so they too have good memories. We are all scattered throughout the Northeast and two of my nephews live in Brazil so it takes a bit of effort but it is worth it.