Like many parents and stay-at-home moms, I was both eager for this year’s summer break and also kind of dreading it. Last summer was my first summer in the US and my first summer with two kids. We were still new to Virginia and didn’t know many people. Michael was traveling a lot for work. Finn was napping twice a day. I was nursing him and feeding him solids. Colt was turning 3. It was hot. It was hard. Each day seemed like the one before it. I couldn’t figure out what to DO. I kept asking other moms, “What do you DO every day?” A lot of it was just me taking time to adjust to our new life here, getting to know people, getting settled in our house and neighborhood, caring for two young kids, etc. Things changed dramatically when Colt started school for the first time in September. It was only 3 mornings / week so not a ton of time per se, but it provided us with a structure, a rhythm and it expanded our community.
When springtime rolled around and we started thinking about this upcoming summer, I remembered the lessons from the previous year’s struggles and knew we needed a better plan. As we looked at our calendars we started planning visits to family, classes, activities, etc. Most camps and classes for kids here are kind of expensive and having two young kids – one of whom still naps every afternoon – makes it a little trickier too. But, when Colt’s preschool sent out the notice about their church running a Vacation Bible School (VBS) program, 1 week, every morning Mon-Fri for $25, I knew we were on to something! I mean, they’re singing songs, doing crafts, and learning about God with other young friends, for the steal of the century! I immediately signed him up and then started searching for other VBS camps when Michael had the brilliant idea of looking into my parents’ church in South Carolina. They go to a great church in Columbia – Eastminster Presbyterian – and sure enough they had a VBS running the last week of June (with a different curriculum than what Colt’s VBS in Arlington will be). The timing worked great for us so we signed him up.
We flew my mom up the Saturday prior (just in time to babysit for us as we went to see The Sound of Music!) and that Sunday, after church, Gigi and I loaded the boys and did the drive together.
On Colt’s first day of VBS, we arrived at the church and found his group – the Purple Knights! His little class was all rising 4K and he is on the younger end, and since it’s not our home-church, the place and people were all unfamiliar to him. I was nervous about how it would go but I was SO proud of how well Colt did. There were a few tears on the second day’s drop-off but he pushed through and had a great time. And I think things like that are such good confidence builders, where kids learn that they can do it, they can have fun, they can make new friends, etc. all on their own (in a safe, wonderful environment of course). I was really proud of him.
And when Colt wasn’t at VBS, we were having other fun adventures in Columbia.
We spent over 3 hours one afternoon at the Ft. Jackson water park. It is AMAZING and we can’t wait to go back.
More fun around Columbia:
Swimming, playing and dinner at our cousins’ house, the Longs!
I took advantage of having my mom available to go with me to take the boys for haircuts. I was fully prepared for Finn to melt down like last time but it was a kid salon so they had plenty of toys and ultimately the combo of the lollipop + Gigi holding Mickey Mouse on the Kindle was the winning solution.
The grand finale to our time in South Carolina was a day spent at my grandparents’ house on Lake Murray with my parents, my aunt and my brother’s family. My grandparents moved to the lake when I was 6 and, growing up, my brother and I spent all of our summers here so it is the home and place that has been most consistent in my life. Very special place + very special people = great times had by all! Thank you Nannie and Papa!
What a great week we had!