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Sleepaway Camp

My kids have gone to Jewish sleep away camp for a few years now, but never more than one at a time. Mostly because it costs an arm and a leg but also because the kids who have been interested have just been too young to stay for the minimum of two weeks -- I mean, sometimes they still sneak into our bed at night. But this year, THIS YEAR, we have two going. Our 12 year old is going for two weeks and our 14 year old is going for three. Preparing and packing for camp isn't a sprint - it's a marathon. No, but really, we've been preparing and packing for weeks. Maybe it's because I'm not as seasoned as lots of parents are, but I'm so nervous the kids won't have enough stuff, won't have the 'cool' stuff, won't have the right I spend too much time worrying basically. They leave tomorrow and this afternoon, in the 11th hour, we're done packing.

So clearly I didn't know both kids' things, but they basically have the same things.

Our older camper went last year so he kinda directed the show here. They do laundry at camp so they don't need 14 shirts, 7 pair of shorts, 14 pair of underwear, etc. so that's really nice. They need 'nicer' clothes for Shabbat (my kids don't wear 'nice' clothes so this was a struggle to find something they liked and that felt comfortable but for my 12 year old we found a super soft and lightweight button up from Wildfang and an adorable floral button up from Crewcuts. The clothes part of packing was easy. It's the other things that stressed me out.

They can't bring phones so my mom got them each an MP3 player they loaded with songs to listen to during quiet times and bedtime. They each have two books. We got a disposable camera (where TF do you get disposable cameras developed?) and a couple card games. For outside time, we made sure to grab some bug spray, sunscreen mosquito repellent stickers, bug bite stickers, goggles, beach towels and a hat. For showers we found a mesh, very simple shower bag to haul to/from the showers with shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, their toothbrushes and deodorant. They each packed some body spray and lotion and then, because mama wants them to be comfortable, I packed them each some bathroom wipes. I mean, come on, they're gonna be grateful.

I'm not nervous for them at all. We will miss them of course, but let's be really honest here: my grocery bill is going to go down by probably $50 a week. I will have two fewer kids to taxi around. Two more sets of chores to argue about. Less laundry. And they are going to have an absolute blast. Each of my kids who have gone have made friends they keep in contact with today. They always come back with exciting stories and silly pictures and an entire 3 hour car trip full of stories. Tomorrow at 8:00AM we take off, so wish us luck!

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