Am I a Funny Girl?

Camp Galileo: Adventures Down Under #review

camp galileo disclaimercamp galileo bay areaThis summer, the one between kindergarten and first grade, has presented some new challenges for us when it comes to child care and how to keep Max engaged and entertained during summer break.
Last year was easy; he just stayed at his full-time preschool until the week before kindergarten started. This year, it wasn’t that simple.
With family trips and our weird work from home schedules, we had to cobble together a summer of child care, including the on-campus company he goes to during the school year, an outdoor adventures camp I’d won admission to, a week with my sister and his cousins, and Camp Galileo.
Before Camp Galileo reached out to me, I’d heard of them before… offering one week camp sessions at a bunch of Bay Area locations, they often appear on those “What to do with your kids this summer” lists that are so popular at the end of the school year.
Galileo offered four different themes this summer, and I let Max pick. Of the four, it took him no time at all to choose the “Adventures Down Under” camp, because he has been talking about wanting to visit Australia since last year. (Sorry kiddo, this is the closest you’ll get for a few more years)
The other themes were Galileo Road Trip, The Incredible Human Body, and Leonardo’s Apprentice.

We arrived on Monday morning for the first day of camp, and I was instantly impressed with how organized they were. No fumbling for paperwork, or unsure staff members. It took only moments to get him checked in, I verified his after-camp care, and he was all set to enter through the “Fun Machine” into his Galileo experience.

camp galileo fun machine

Pick-up every day was an adventure; he would climb into the car bursting to tell about things he’d learned, or done. He’d be covered in paint from head to toe. (Seriously. Face and body painting is a big thing, and he loved it! Thank goodness for washable paint though, amirite?)

camp galileo face paint

After the first morning, a streamlined drop-off allowed Max to be greeted, by name, in front of the school and he hopped out of the car without my even needing to park. Win.

Parents are invited to come to camp on Friday afternoon, to see a bit about what they learned, crafts they made, all the good stuff of camp. I loved getting to see all of the different groups; the younger kids were adorable, of course, and seeing the older ones who really put Galileo’s emphasis in innovation to work.

camp galileo classroom wall
camp galileo anemometerEvery staff member I encountered was like my childhood memories of camp counselors. Silly and fun, with crazy hats and attitudes, I knew that Max was in great hands with people who love what they do.

Each day had a dress-up theme, from Jalloween (Halloween in July) to Crazy Hair Day; just the right amount of silly to temper the learning that was also happening every day.

camp galileo jalloween

Max can’t wait to go back to Camp Galileo next summer, and he’s already asking if he can go for two weeks instead of just one. Who am I to say no?

camp galileo max classroom

Want more info? Connect with Camp Galileo on their website, Facebook, and Twitter!

It’s almost time for #typeacon! Worth it? YES!

I had heard great things about the Type A Parent conference long before I ever attended. Fadra calls it “blogger grad school,” and I had heard nothing but rave reviews from other friends; the content is top notch, Kelby and her team are super organized (Type A, duh) and the parties are fab.
I was thrilled when I found out that I am both a blog partner for this year’s conference, AND I will be speaking, as an expert roundtable called “The Hybrid Life: Juggling a Blogging and Marketing Career”

It’s all very exciting.

20131001-154705.jpgI finally made it to Type A last year, a wrote a post about my experience, called “The Schlep” Because a flight from the Bay Area to Atlanta isn’t the most convenient thing ever, and anytime I can use a word like ‘schlep’ in a title, I’m in.
Type A is a great size, especially if the thought of giant crowds of people is a little terrifying… don’t get me wrong, I love me some giant conference experience, but sometimes it’s also nice to not be overwhelmed with what seems like your ENTIRE internet materializing in front of your eyes. ;)
There’s so much to love about Type A; chances to build real relationships with brands, enough down time to get to connect with other bloggers on a real level, this year is the second year of the “We Still Blog Awards” and community keynote, and I loved the Blogger Town Hall open conversation, which is a highlight of the weekend.

I had a great time with friends, met new people, walked away with some great takeaways, and just really felt like it had been a worthwhile investment of both time and money.
So, will I see you in Atlanta? Because I’ve partnered with Type A, I’m so excited to be able to offer this 25% OFF discount code, but act now, because it’s only good today! Use the code BLOGPARTNER to save 25% on your pass! It’s already worth every penny, so fewer pennies is even better!
Click the button to register, and don’t forget the discount code, BLOGPARTNER:

Type A Partner

The above is an affiliate link, so I am paid a portion of your ticket price. It does not impact the amount you pay, so I really appreciate you using my link! Thank you! :)

On Robin Williams and me.

I’m struggling today.
The heartbreaking news of the world’s loss of Robin Williams has hit me hard.
It’s hit most of my generation hard.
We grew up with Mork and the Genie; were inspired to read the classics, and to stand on tables and carpe diem.
I’m heartbroken.
There is so much pain; unarmed teenagers being shot in the street, six year olds dying of cancer, the terrors in the Middle East.
The world is hurting.

I woke up this morning, and thought hoped I might be OK today.
And then I saw the quote that Zelda Williams’, Robin’s daughter, Tweeted:

photo 1

And I cried.
The sadness washed over me in a way that is hard to explain.
Because if depression can take a man with all the resources at his disposal, how am I supposed to survive it?
How am I supposed to go on, if even he couldn’t fight it off?
We lost him.

I want to share what happened in my mind this morning, but first I want to be clear: I am not going to injure myself. I am, thankfully, far enough on the other side of a dark place that I can see myself going in that direction, and I can power through. Today. Sometimes, I can’t. I’ve come closer than I care to consider, on a day so much like today, when I’m grasping at straws.

As I walked to work this morning, crying behind my sunglasses, my “happiest” playlist blasting in my ears, these are the things that went through my head, and my heart:
This is the worst.
I wonder what people would say if I were gone.
It would be nice not to hurt any more.
It would be so easy.
I’m tired.
I shouldn’t be thinking these things.
*Change to Pharrell’s “Happy” in my ears*
But still, just to be done.
It would be so easy.
I should call one of those hotlines.
Hell, I tweeted it out myself last night.
Nah, I don’t want to waste their time.
I’m sure there are people who are more in need than I am.
I’m not worth it.

THANKFULLY I am far enough past my most recent darkness to be able to stop it there.
Because I AM worth it.
Because I might have called today, because I’m teetering, but can step back from the edge.
And I started to draft this post in my head.
Because that’s what depression does. It lies and tries to drag you down with it.
But I fight daily not to let it.

I got to the platform and was waiting for the train. After several moments, I pulled out my phone, starting to type a text to a friend.

photo 2

Before I could hit send, I felt a hand on my elbow. “Hey, it’s great to see you!” Hugs are exchanged. Before me stands a friend from Facebook, someone from my moms group who I’ve never seen before on my commute.  We make small talk for a moment, and in a lull, she looks at me and asks “Are you OK?”

Even with hiding behind my big sunglasses, she asked.

Did she save me?
Maybe not today, but today the depression wasn’t winning.
If it had been?
She would have evened the score in my favor.

 If you are struggling, even just a little bit,
The world needs you. Please, reach out.


There are people who want to help.

Do this, not that: Spirit Week ideas for #BackToSchool

I always loved Spirit Week at school, the opportunity to dress-up in fun ways, to be silly and creative beyond my usual “school clothes.” And again, it was one of the things I was so excited about when Max started kindergarten. I was a little disappointed when I learned that themed Spirit Days weren’t something they did at his school, beyond wearing school colors on Wednesdays…

But I was thrilled when, about three weeks before school let out for summer, I got a notice that they had a whole week with daily themes for dress-up! We excitedly reviewed the days and planned what he could wear. My heart sank a little when I saw some of them, though. I’m on board with pajama day, and crazy hair day, but nerd day? Encouraging kids to “wear your too short pants and wrap some tape around your glasses and dress up like a nerd”? How is this a good idea?

But I digress.

While “Nerd Day” might have been popular when I was a kid, it isn’t something that I’m comfortable encouraging  Max to participate in. We talked about it the night before, and we agreed that dressing up as a nerd wasn’t a fun idea. And it inspired me to create this list of Spirit Week ideas.

Instead of Nerd Day, how about Someone You Admire Day? Or What I Want to be When I Grow Up? This allows lots of flexibilty for children to come up with something to wear. A child can dress up like a parent, or a teacher, a pilot or a construction worker. The possibilities are endless. Jessica‘s daughter’s school had a “Future Career Day” and her daughter dressed up like, yup, a blogger. Pink streak in her hair (not after me, after Jessica, but still!) and a WordPress tee shirt, all she needed was a computer and a Starbucks cup and voila!

career day spirit week

Rather than Culture Day, how about A Place I Love Day? This was a challenge for us; Max’s school did “Culture Day,” and for a school as diverse as ours, this is a good one. We have lots of first generation Americans in Max’s class, so finding something to wear to express their “culture” is easy. We saw lots of traditional dress from a variety of countries, and it was lovely. But what does a European mutt kid like Max wear? We’re English, Scottish, French, Irish, Welsh… all of the most generic of the heritages. Unwilling to buy him a kilt (which I probably couldn’t get him to wear even if I bought it!) we put him in this:

photo 1

Because he’s an All American kid, and what’s more American than baseball? You want to know what happened? His teacher asked, “Were you born at the ballpark?” and said this didn’t count. Challenging a child to dress for their birthplace is hard for someone, like Max, for whom his birthplace ins’t a signifcant impact on his identity. My friend Cam, from Growing Up Goofy, said that her daughter’s school celebrates as “Diversity Day,” and her daughter chose to celebrate differences by wearing 2 different socks that day. A great way for her to be able to express herself and still participate.

diversity day spirit week

Skip Twin Day, and challenge groups of kids to dress alike for Matchy Matchy Day, so that groups of three or more can coordinate what to wear and still participate. Imagine the heartbreak of the one kid in class who couldn’t find a friend to dress up with. By opening it up to larger groups and skipping the “twin” word, it makes it easier for everyone to participate.

Max’s school had a “Rainbow Day,” which is good in concept, but the execution leaves something to be desired. They assigned a color to each grade level, so third graders were all assigned green, first grade got red. The idea is cute, but Max was in kindergarten. Guess what color they were assigned.

rainbow day spirit week

White and kindergarteners? Not the best idea ever. I would instead suggest setting Rainbow Day as “Wear All One Color Day” so each child can choose their own color, instead of being assigned based on grade level. Because it bears repeating: Kindergarteners in white?crazy hair day spirit week copy

Still looking for more dress-up ideas? Here you go!

  • Pajama Day
  • Crazy Hair Day
  • Mismatched Shoe Day
  • Mismatched Everything Day
  • Dress Like a Hero Day
  • Hat Day
  • Tacky Tourist Day
  • Superhero & Villain Day
  • Ugly Sweater Day
  • Cartoon Character Day
  • Holiday-themed days
  • Dress Like a President Day
  • Backwards Day (Kriss Kross’ll make you what?!)
  • Dress Like an Olympian Day
  • Dress Like an Animal Day
  • Sports Team Day
  • Dress Like Your Teacher Day
  • 1960s Day
  • 1970s Day
  • 1980s Day (Sensing a trend, here?)
  • 1990s Day
  • Futuristic Day
  • Wear All Black & White
  • Tie Dye Day
  • Favorite Book Character Day
  • Sunglasses Day
  • Formal Wear

Do your kids have dress-up days at school? What are your thoughts on some of the more questionable choices? Do they do anything really fun? Share in the comments!
And thanks to Heather and Nazy for sharing their daughters’ Crazy Hair and Olympian Day photos!

Procrastination #30DaysofWriting #justwrite

There are dishes in the sink.
Max needs a shower.
I should put in that load of laundry.
Maybe now is a good time to clean out the junk drawer in the kitchen.
Or roll all that change in the big jar.
Anything to keep from sitting down to write.
If writing is a muscle, mine fell asleep and is now achy and cranky and doesn’t want to move.
Also, my actual muscles are achy and cranky because Pilates.
I’ve said this before; I need to keep up with it because then my brain gets rusty.
It’s like summer slide for grown-ups.
I want to sit down and write, I really do.
I want the words to come,
to overtake my hands as they fly across the keyboard.
I want them to flow out of me and across the screen.
I consider writing a poem, but then flash back to those terrible, terrible poems I penned in high school.
A post with all images is cheating, and I have no images to share.
I wonder if I’ve bitten off more than I can handle right now;
I can’t believe Max starts first grade this month.
It isn’t good,
it isn’t strong,
but it’s grammatically correct
and I’m writing.
That counts, right?

Dissaray #30DaysofWriting #JustWrite

I slept in this morning; clearly something I needed since I’ve been going nonstop since BlogHer.
I stumbled out of my room, still bleary-eyed, towards the coffee that (thankfully!) my husband had already made and left some of for me.
Coffee in hand, I sit down here, at my computer, ready to start my day.
And my routine is all. screwed. up.

Facebook is down.
Don’t laugh.

As part of my morning routine, part of my waking up, Facebook has been a tool for bringing my to my ready for the day state for a number of years now.

But not today.

Fortunately for me, this is the perfect time for my morning routine to be tossed aside in such a way. Yesterday, my friend Laurie told me about a daily writing challenge she had joined for the month of August, and before I could think twice about it, I signed up to join her.

One of the elements of the challenge is that your write first thing in the morning. For 30 days, make writing your #1 priority. I know it won’t be first thing *every* day. If nothing else, Max’s first day of first grade is this month and we have things to do that morning for the sake of tradition (Hello, donuts!)

But on these other days, these regular August mornings, I’m planning to write.

I always come home from BlogHer inspired and energized, but I so often let that energy dissipate without putting it to good use. Not this year. I am taking August off from sponsored content (except one post that I’ve already written) and I plan to post every day, or at least write every day.

This is a different kind of challenge for me; no prompts, no instructions. Just write.

Check out my friends who are also participating: Laurie, Dresden, and Jana. (There may be more but, as you know, I can’t access the Facebook group right now to double-check!)

Blog conference reentry: Things that are normal #blogher14

Reentry back to real life after the blissful mesh of off and online that is a blog conference can be hard.
I wanted to let you know about a few things that you might experience that are TOTALLY NORMAL while you readjust back to everyday life in the days after returning home.

  1. Picking your phone up to check notifications in the middle of a conversation. This is acceptable behavior at a conference, but your spouse/child/co-worker/boss/priest may call you on it and say that it’s rude. Just try to be aware and you’ll eventually get back to being able to go longer stretches of time in between checking. Unless you actually work full time in social, in which case that never happens.
  2. Being disappointed that no one is leaving random cupcakes on your bed and stickers on your bathroom mirror. You might be able to bribe your kids into leaving you little gifts on your bed, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to train a pet to do it because they usually will just poop on your pillow.
  3. Being selfie ready at all times. Unfortunately,  no one in the real world is going to pop up next to you, raise their arm and say, “SELFIE TIME!” And it definitely won’t be Kerry Washington.
  4. Thinking you hear or see your blogger friends everywhere. For several days following a conference, you’ll find that you are doing constant double takes when you think you spot an online friend who actually lives in some far off state. Do not approach the strangers, they will run away and maybe call the police.
  5. You might expect people to hand you random gifts, or snacks or shots. Do not help yourself when you see lovely displays in stores. That’s stealing.
  6. You will find yourself being more motivated, more inspired, more excited, more connected, more confident, more sure, more YOU than you have ever been. Hopefully, this part doesn’t go away anytime soon, but if it starts to wane, we’re still here for you always.

Did I meet you at Blogher14? How has your reentry been? Will I see you at Blogher15?