Swim Suit Season

Tis the season for sunshine and swimming. But before I get to enjoy summer, I need a new bathing suit. It’s been years since I purchased a new one and figured this season’s bright colors would be a nice refresher to my wardrobe as I enjoy splash-splashing.

That’s all? You don’t want to try on more, Jared asked on a recent afternoon as we took turns holding Baby Girl and trying on suits.

No. I remember why I hate bathing suit shopping. It always make me feel fat and now my boobs are down to my knees, I told him.

Last summer, of course, I was pregnant and was so happy to be cooled down that I didn’t care what I looked like as I luxuriated in the river or soaked my feet in the kiddie pool.

Since having Baby Girl, I thought I was making headway on maintaining a positive body image and found myself cheering on women posting scathing comments about the new “dad bod” and women who share images of their stretch-marked selves.

When shopping, though, I realized I’m not as comfortable in my own skin as I thought I had become.

Do you want to go anywhere else, Jared asked.

No. I just want to go home. I’m exhausted and now I feel fat, I said.

You’re not, he said. Remember, you’re still breastfeeding Baby Girl. You make milk. That’s your super power.

Stop it. You’re going to make me cry.

Are you laughing?

No. I’m totally crying, I said, wiping tears off my face.

But I didn’t feel fat anymore.

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Back to school? Not yet. Back to the fair!

The other day, while we were in the store, I spied a “Back to School Sale” sign and pointed it out to the kids. Even though they both love school, they cried “NOOOOO!” in unison.

Yes, we are already counting down the days until August 27, when school will begin again, and trying to squeeze in as much camping, BBQing, swimming, and playing at the park time as possible. Sure, we can do all these things after school starts – but it’s just not the same.

This summer is just flying by, far too fast, and there’s still so much my family wants to do.

The Western Montana Fair is always on our must-do summer list, and this year promises to be extra special because it’s the fair’s 100th anniversary. It starts Tuesday, August 5 and ends on August 10.

What sort of things do you consider essential summer fun? Gotten around to doing them yet? Time’s a-wasting!

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Could it be that summer’s really here?

Considering it’s Montana, the likelihood of this warm spell turning into something long term is probably a daydream at best.

Spoiler alert: this weekend calls for rain and temps in the 50s.

Still, it’s hard not to get antsy to pull out the tent, blow up the raft and head off for adventure despite my growing belly.

In the meantime, it’s nice to hear neighborhood kiddos squeal in delight at some new adventure of their own at the community park or as they race around the block on their bikes. They throw themselves into playing catch or tag as wholeheartedly as if they were preparing to run a marathon or climb a mountain. For them, everything is a grand outing, full of potential for fun and discovery.

Missoulian photo editor Kurt Wilson captured this moment that sums up the mood around town …

happy kids

I like to think I haven’t lost my sense of simple curiosity with adulthood, but I’ve got to admit, it’s been a while since I got this excited about a garden hose.

Several summer trips we have on the books do have me giddy with anticipation. But even though they have yet to happen, I’ve caught myself thinking about the trips nostalgically.

Any float trips might be the last ones we take for a few years without having to find a babysitter. Biking Going to the Sun will be exhausting with a trailer in tow. Foreign travel might not make sense with a toddler who won’t remember much, if anything, anyway. And forget about pounding out 14 hours a day in the car.

When the gray skies roll in again this weekend — or when I feel like my adventure leash is getting tighter — I might just pull up this photo. It’s a good reminder amid all the baby books and admonitions about safety that kids are antsy for adventure too.

The photo will remind me that I am excited about helping Bob experience the world and all its wonders, even the ones as simple as a hose.

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Camp Invention at C.S. Porter this summer

It’s almost summer camp sign-up season. I’ll admit, I’m already freaking out about it a little bit. This will be the first summer both the kids will need to be in camps while their dad and I work (semi-)regular office hours.

There are SO MANY camps! Thankfully, each year the newspaper puts out a guide to summer camps. I understand the first summer camp tab will be out this Sunday, and the next comprehensive camp guide will come out on Thursday – a week from today.

Until then, here’s one camp to consider:
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Plan ahead, sign up to help feed hungry children this summer

Thanks to Missoula’s breakfast and lunch programs, school-age children in low-income families don’t have to worry about going hungry during the school year.

It’s a different story in the summer months – unless people step up to help out with programs like the Summer Food Service Program. The program is actively looking for sponsors to help it get its ducks all lined up before the end of the school year.

Check it out, below:

Sponsors Needed for Summer Food Service Program

Help End Childhood Summer Hunger

Helena, MT— Now is the time for communities to start making plans to sponsor a Summer Food Service Program. The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) is accepting applications for the 2014 Summer Food Service Program from public and private nonprofit schools as well as local government agencies and private nonprofit organizations that are interested in sponsoring a Summer Food Service Program.

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MCT has ‘Glamour and Goop,’ summer camps for kids

Here’s a short list of upcoming opportunities from MCT, Inc.  I note that at least one “try to register by” date has passed, but it’s never too late to call and see if there’s still an open spot. – MM

July 10: “Glamour and Goop”

MCT’s Next Step Prep presents Susan Egan and Georgia Stitt in concert in “Glamour and Goop.” “Glamour and Goop” is a fundraiser to benefit MCT’s Next Step Prep Scholarship Fund. Come join Tony Award nominee Egan and composer-lyricist  Stitt. Egan was nominated for a Tony Award in 1994 for her performance as Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Stitt’s original musicals include Big Red Sun, Sing Me A Happy Song, The Water, and Mosaic.

Next Step Prep is a performing arts boarding school located at the Missoula Children’s Theatre headquarters in Missoula, Montana, offering world-class musical theatre. “Glamour and Goop” takes place Tuesday evening, July 10, with the reception at 6:30 p.m., and the show at 7:30 p.m. Join the artists for light hors d’oeuvres and drinks with entertainment by Next Step Prep students. Gala Tickets $50, includes Reception and Show! “Glamour and Goop” (show only) $20. For tickets: (406) 728-7529 or visit www.mctinc.org.

Missoula Children’s Theatre’s Summer Day Camp and Performances

Summer Days Camps are for children Grades 1-12.  Each camp is M-F 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with performances at 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. on Saturday or Sunday (you choose when you register!).  All children participate in an audition, are cast in a role and perform in the show.  MCT accommodates accessibility needs upon request.

Summer Camp #2: July 9-13: ROBIN HOOD.  Please try to register by July 6th at 200 N Adams Street, by calling 728-7529 (PLAY) or visit www.mctinc.org. Performances of ROBIN HOOD take place July 14-15, 3:00 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets go on sale July 9 at 9:00 a.m.

Summer Camp #3: July 23-27: TREASURE ISLAND.  Please try to register by July 20th at 200 N Adams Street, by calling 728-7529 (PLAY) or visit www.mctinc.org. Performances of TREASURE ISLAND take place July 28-29, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets go on sale July 23 at 9 a.m.

For more information, contact MCT, Inc., “Home of Missoula Children’s Theatre and Missoula Community Theatre,” by calling (406) 728-1911 ext. 236, faxing (406) 721-0637 or clicking www.mctinc.org.

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Tickets go on sale today for Families First fundraiser

Starting today, families can buy tickets to an ultra-family-friendly summer concert coming up on August 20.

The concert will feature Aaron Nigel Smith – of PBS’s “Between the Lions” – and Missoula’s own special guests Tangled Tones and Friends.

If that’s not family-friendly enough for you, consider that the concert doubles as Families First‘s annual fundraiser. The Saturday event at the University Theater will kick off at 3:30 p.m. – but please note that the doors will open an hour earlier, at 2:30 p.m.

The slate of available activities includes beading, face painting, tie dying and more. Tangled Tones will warm up the stage at 4:45, and Aaron Nigel Smith will take over at 5:30, with the whole thing scheduled to wrap up at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are free for kids under the age of 1. For kids 1-12 years old, tickets are $12 each, and anyone older than 12 will pay $15 for a ticket. Buy tickets at the official ticket outlet – the new MSO Hub Box Office located downtown at 140 N. Higgins Ave. Or, buy them at the Families First Children’s Museum – also located downtown – or by phone by calling 543-3300.

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Kids can spend the summer camping at Missoula parks

A note sent out by Missoula Parks and Recreation today reminds parents that the school year ends after this week – and then summer vacation begins.

Missoula Parks and Rec is offering a number of one-week day camps starting next week and running through August 19. The camps are for kids ages 6-12, and take place at Missoula’s neighborhood parks: Bonner, Westside, McCormick, Pineview, and at Playfair Park and at Currents.

There are half-day and full-day camps, and different weeks have different themes, such as Art Camp, All-Star Sports Camp, Discovery Camp, and Bowling Camp.  According to Parks and Rec, “Half-day camp options include Water World, Explorer, Nature, All-Star Sports, Eco, Western, Einstein, World Traveler and Fun and Fit camps.  The week of June 13 features All-Star Sports Camp at McCormick Park for ages 9 to 12, Discovery Camp at Bonner Park for ages 6 to 9, and World Traveler half-day camp at Westside Park for ages 6 to 12.”

The half-day camps cost $40 per week with a city resident discount. The full-day camps are $100 per week, and low-income families may be eligible for scholarships.

For more information call 721-PARK or go online to www.missoulaparks.org. Registration forms are also available at Currents (located in McCormick Park at 600 Cregg Lane).

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Only three days left to sign up for GUTS summer programs

Right off the bat, I’m going to admit that the headline on this post needs clarification. While the official deadline to sign up for the YWCA‘s Girls Using Their Strengths! (GUTS!) summer programs is May 28, the program will continue accepting applications until the trips are full.

But you don’t want to wait until the last minute.  I’m sure the slots will fill fast for this summer program, which includes outdoor adventures on local trails, farms and rivers.

Here’s how the YWCA describes its “five week-long outdoor wilderness adventures for girls ages 9 to 18.”

Summer trips incorporate multiple outdoor activities, such as backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, rafting and mountain biking. Adventurers are also introduced to “leave no trace” backcountry ethics and teamwork, as well as place-based learning. Trips include one day of service, which is usually spent working on an organic farm or helping with trail maintenance.

The application is available here. The suggested donation for the program is $350, but don’t let that number stand in the way of signing up; scholarships are available.

For more information, contact Roe at YWCA Missoula by calling 543-6691 or sending an email to rerin@ywcaofmissoula.org.

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Young writers invited to summer camp just for them!

Ever heard of the Montana Writing Project? It’s a part of the National Writing Project, natch, which encourages teachers to help their students become better writers.

And one way for young people to become better writers is to write often and share their writing with others. While summer and the start of summer vacation would seem to work in opposition to this goal, that’s not necessarily the case in our neck of the woods – thanks to the Montana Writing Project.

This summer marks the seventh that the professional development organization is offering a Young Writers Summer Camp. It is specially geared toward youth who will be starting sixth, seventh, eighth or nineth grade when the school year starts.

“The program is designed for students who are interested in devoting time to their nonfiction, poetry and fiction; participating in a writing workshop; publishing in an anthology; and being members of a writing community. Participants receive individualized writing instruction, engage with other writers, and have opportunities to share their work.” So says the informative email sent to me from Merrilyne Lundahl, program coordinator for the Montana Writing Project.

The camp will be offered from June 20 to July 1, from 9 a.m. to 12:30, and it will take place in Liberal Arts Building Room 210 0n the University of Montana Campus, which houses the Montana Writing Project.

The cost is $175, which includes materials, instruction and snacks.

To sign up your kiddo or to learn more, shoot an email at mwp@umontana.edu or call 243-4680.

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