Category Archives: People I Love

the family that claims me

Camp AJ 2013 :: one more time for the last boy

31 days of blogging catch-upThis is part 4 of the untold story of Camp AJ. If you missed the earlier posts, you can find them on the index page of “31 Days of Blogging Catch-Up”.

After Camp AJ 2012 was such a great success I wanted to do it again for The Dyl this past summer. This time wouldn’t be as busy or as often, but I tried to plan a few special days throughout the summer for just him and me to enjoy hanging out together. Some of my plans succeeded and some failed miserably, but we were able to do a few fun things before school began again. He’s in middle school now, so I doubt we’ll have another true Camp AJ summer, but what makes it so great is that the activities aren’t as important as the attention he receives from me. I think that’s what Dyl likes so much anyway. As long as that continues, I’ll be happy to provide more Camp AJ moments in the future.

Camp AJ 2013

Since our schedule had to be open-ended this summer, I created postcards for Dyl to inform him of upcoming Camp AJ activities. This summer included a visit to a new car wash location (always D’s favorite) as well as a movie and outings for dessert: Molten Chocolate Cake at Chili’s and $1 scoops at Baskin Robbins. We began the summer with BookCrossing – releasing books “into the wild” – and thus accomplished my personal task of purging many books from storage. Even the little things can be lots of fun with The Dyl.
 
Camp AJ 2013
 

Camp AJ 2013

Camp AJ 2013

We visited our downtown area and left books on outdoor benches and cafe tables. We’ve only heard from one person who found one, but that book is now in South Dakota!

Camp AJ 2013

Camp AJ 2013

Dyl left a couple of books at a bus stop and when we drove past it later he looked to see if the books were gone yet. [They were.]

Camp AJ 2013

We took a walk in the park and left a book on a picnic table under the pavilion.

Camp AJ 2013

And while we were at the park D had to check out the duck boats, of course.

Camp AJ 2013

Finally, a book had to be released at our favorite pirate ship. No sno-cones on this day but, of course, we went back for a visit later in the summer!


 

One of Dyl’s favorite activities of all time is visiting car washes. He loves to watch the brushes spin, and each time I take him we try to find new locations. He also takes photos every chance he gets. So one of our “big” activities of Camp AJ 2013 was visiting a car wash that featured windows inside the walls. Not only could we drive through the car wash but D was able to watch other cars drive through! He stood at the windows for half an hour and took dozens of photos of the car wash process. It is so fascinating to him and never fails to make him happy. I love that car washes are a guaranteed winner when planning activities for The Dyl.

I love his photos, too! Other than the first ones with him in the shot, each of these car wash photos were taken by the boy himself.

Camp AJ 2013

Camp AJ 2013

Camp AJ 2013

Camp AJ 2013

Camp AJ 2013
 

Camp AJ stories are now complete, but there are more untold stories to come on phrenetical this week. If you’ve missed any of this month’s Blogging Catch-Up, you can see a list of the posts on this index page. You can also subscribe to receive new posts via email. Just complete the form below.
 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 
31 Days is a challenge issued by The Nester to post on your blog each day in October. You can check out other participants by visiting the official 31 Days welcome page.

 
 
 

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Camp AJ 2012 :: reading rewards and pirate ships

31 days of blogging catch-upThis is part 3 of the untold story of Camp AJ. If you missed the earlier posts, you can find them on the index page of 31 Days of Blogging Catch-Up.

When I first envisioned Camp AJ I knew there would be a reading challenge for The Dyl. He does like to read at times, but he was struggling with comprehension during 4th grade. There was no question that he would need to read throughout the summer to maintain his skills, so I knew I had to make it fun for him, too. I created a rewards chart in the shape of a thermometer and marked off 15 minute increments. For each 150 minutes D read he would receive a reward of some kind. His goal for the summer was 600 minutes, at which point he would have 4 rewards from me as well as a reward book from both Barnes & Noble and Half Price Books. Reading became a mainstay in every Camp AJ day.

D’s mom helped me with rewards based on his tastes and recent “wants”, then I took care of all the legwork to make them happen as he earned them. Along the way Dyl would color in the thermometer chart for each amount of reading he accomplished, and he also added the book titles to the chart so we had a record of his summer books. Of the 4 rewards his favorite was a visit to the pirate ship sno-cone stand. There’s nothing more fun than visiting a pirate ship on the side of the road! No matter what else he worked for, the pirate ship was a highlight of his summer.

For the final day of Camp AJ 2012, Dyl requested a sleepover at my apartment. Naturally, the sleepover had to begin in late afternoon so there was plenty of time for spontaneous activities. I let him plan the whole evening, though, and his requests were simple: pizza, night swimming, and staying up as late as he wanted. No problem! But I did add one more art project – a framed memory collage of his summer. We chose photos of all the things he’d enjoyed over the months, and I created a little pipe cleaner sculpture to resemble the one at the Dallas Museum of Art. It’s such a great memento for Dyl, and he still has it hanging on his bedroom wall. When the summer ended, he had a heart full of memories to share.

Camp AJ 2012

Camp AJ 2012

Camp AJ 2012

Camp AJ 2012

Camp AJ 2012

Camp AJ 2012

Camp AJ 2012

Camp AJ 2012

The final Camp AJ of 2012 marked a turning point for the boy: the first time he slept on the couch in another room instead of in his sleeping bag beside my bed. Becoming 10 years old changes a lot of things!


 

Camp AJ 2012
 

Join me again tomorrow for the story of this summer’s Camp AJ. If you’ve missed any of this month’s Blogging Catch-Up, you can see a list of the posts on this index page. You can also subscribe to phrenetical and receive new posts via email. Just complete the form below.
 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 
31 Days is a challenge issued by The Nester to post on your blog each day in October. You can check out other participants by visiting the official 31 Days welcome page.

 
 
 

Camp AJ 2012 :: field trips with The Dyl

31 days of blogging catch-upAs I mentioned yesterday, Camp AJ with the last boy included a couple of fun field trips. We began with a drive to our local mall (one town over) for the specific task of visiting Barnes & Noble. The Dyl has participated in several summer reading programs throughout the years, and BN’s program is one of the best. So we set out first thing to choose the book he wanted for his reward. Being at the mall, however, also meant riding the escalators and elevator – up and down, again and again – as well as taking a ride on the indoor carousel. Lunch at the food court also meant we’d succumb to the siren call of the Disney Store, and D proceeded to create his birthday wish list by having me take photos of every item he picked up. What makes our little jaunts so much fun is that Dyl and I can start with a short list of items to do and fill up the whole day with side trips. The best kind of day!

Later in the summer we took a truer “field trip” and rode the train into Dallas for a visit to the Museum of Art. I’d accompanied him once before on a school field trip but was disappointed that he couldn’t view every exhibit. On our personal field trip we just wandered through the building, stopping when something caught our eyes and enjoying the freedom to explore at our own pace. D’s not much for the art itself, but he does like hanging out at the museum. Another little thing after my own heart!

FIELD TRIP TO BARNES & NOBLE

Camp AJ 2012

First stop is always the glass elevator in the mall. He’s been fascinated with elevators for as long as anyone can remember.

Camp AJ 2012

Of course, we had to ride inside the elevator, too!

Camp AJ 2012

Escalators are just as much fun, and Dyl loved that there was one inside of Barnes & Noble. He’s holding his 3 options for summer reading reward, trying to decide which to work toward.

Camp AJ 2012

We stopped inside the Disney Store, and I was coaxed into taking photos of EVERY SINGLE toy car from the CARS collection. Dyl said they would be on his birthday wish list.

Camp AJ 2012

This was also the summer he loved LADY AND THE TRAMP, so these two little guys were added to the birthday list. I didn’t complain.

Camp AJ 2012

This day at the mall led to our next art project: creating a photographic birthday list of all the items he wanted from the Disney Store. Kind of the coolest little impromptu project ever!

Camp AJ 2012

We made one quick side trip on the way home from the mall that first day: Home of the Frisco Roughriders AAA baseball club. The gates were closed but Dyl saw the statue and just had to take a quick run around it, as if running the bases. He’s such a fun kid!


 

FIELD TRIP TO DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART

Camp AJ 2012

You wouldn’t know it from the look on his face but Dyl insisted that I take this photo of him with the red sculpture. Kids are so weird.


 

Camp AJ 2012

While I adore this window of glass sculptures, D is actually watching all the people in the cafe on the first floor. Unfortunately, he was less interested in the art exhibits.

Camp AJ 2012

This exhibit, though, was a hit because it is the re-creation of an actual home. Being able to roam the stairs was a huge bonus for him, as was moving through all the little furnished rooms inside the house.

Camp AJ 2012

Of course, none of the museum’s paintings or sculptures could compete with a hole in the ground of a glassed-in courtyard. Go figure!

Camp AJ 2012

Dyl was also extremely fascinated with the jumbo Lego guy in the gift shop. I guess that’s the kind of art that speaks to a 10-year-old.

Camp AJ 2012

Despite a lack of enthusiasm for the works of art, Dyl does enjoy field trips into Dallas. On this day he decided we should ride the train while sitting in the seats facing backward. No amount of sculpture can compete with that.


 

Come back tomorrow for more stories and photos from Camp AJ. If you’ve missed any of this month’s Blogging Catch-Up, you can see a list of the posts on this index page. You can also subscribe to phrenetical and receive new posts via email. Just complete the form below.
 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 
31 Days is a challenge issued by The Nester to post on your blog each day in October. You can check out other participants by visiting the official 31 Days welcome page.