Happy Labor Day weekend. I’m excited to introduce you to this week’s smarty mom, Laura Austin. Laura is great friend, fun girlfriend and wonderful mom. She is the mother of Davis who is 17 months. Laura was formerly a teacher at CMS, but she quit her job to become a fultime mom and is loving every minute of it (well, I don’t mean to exaggerate, all moms have their days, don’t they?) Laura and her husband Scott love to travel and they have had a very interesting summer…let’s hear more about it.
Laura, you and your husband Scott have been on the go this summer. You spent six weeks being counselors at a boys camp. Tell us more about this adventure?
Yes, everyone is always curious why we went to camp this summer…sort of an odd thing for a family to do. Scott and I were always involved with camps as campers and counselors- long ago. When we got married, we said we wanted it to be part of our lives in the future; possibly owning or running a camp someday. ( it’s amazing how fast the ‘future’ sneaks up on you) Recently, we were given a great opportunity to work at Falling Creek Camp for Boys in Tuxedo, NC. (moms of boys ages 6-16: this is a fantastic summer camp!)
The directors of the camp allowed us the opportunity to sort of do an internship. We did a little of everything from helping out with the administration to lifeguarding or covering cabins, as any regular counselor would do (except that the other counselors referred to me as ma’am …..oh, I felt so old…) We shared 1 position at camp so that when one of us worked, the other was with Davis. On my ‘off’ days, we had free reign over the camp. We swam in the lake, went to arts and crafts, listened to the music in guitar class or visited the nature hut to see snakes, rabbits, and owls. It entertained me to listen to Davis ‘who whoo’ at the owl.
We lived in a cabin, ate all our meals in the dining hall, sat around the campfire and sang camp songs, etc… 6 weeks of nonstop family time (yes- I was ready for a pedicure, massage and ‘me time’ when we got back!) but it was time that we will always treasure as a family.
How did Davis do as the youngest camper?
It took some adjusting, but he was great. Eating in the dining hall, while frustrating at times, was a perfect opportunity for him to learn to eat what was served. Don’t get me wrong- there were quite a few embarrassing tantrums of food throwing, but luckily we were in a room with 300 other boys…..the fits were easily drowned out.
After playing hard all day, he slept (and slept well) in his pack ‘n play. Because we used this as his bed for 6 weeks, he has gotten very comfortable with it. Now, in hotels rooms or at friends houses, he is perfectly content to sleep in his traveling bed. I also think that whole experience made him a lot more flexible. Although he needs structure like every child- he has learned to go with the flow when things need to change a little.
You taught kindergarten for years before Davis came along, did it prepare you for becoming a mother? And as Davis gets older, do you find your teaching experience more helpful?
Yes and no….. in some ways my experience has helped because I feel like I have always have been and am still in ‘teacher mode’. I’m always buying books according to what concepts they teach and buying lots of them! My experience also taught me that consistency is important, that kids need routine and structure as well as flexibility…..but I really didn’t know anything about babies before I had one. I seriously could count the times that I had held a baby…I had only dealt with school age kids. I thought that I knew all about discipline- but yes, discipline for 5 year olds; children that I can talk to, explain things to and reason with. That hasn’t helped me at all with a toddler! It’s all new to me!
Since I taught kindergarten, I do feel like I know what to do to make sure Davis will be ready for school (although the expectations will probably change by the time he gets there and he’ll be expected to do calculus) I am also only certified up to third grade so after about 8 years old- I won’t know what to do with him!
I hope that since I dealt with parents for so long, I know what teachers expect from us and will be helpful to them. I use that word cautiously because I want to be concerned and helpful but not overbearing. Although, now that I am a mom, I understand why parents are the way they are. If I decide to go back to teaching, I think I’ll be more understanding of their concerns. After all, I was teaching their ‘babies’ and for the most part they were just trying to watch out for their kids. (But I promise not to ever be one of those moms that think their kids can do no wrong!)
You have so many new mommy friends, how did you meet them?
This makes me laugh because I met one of my best ‘mommy’ friends at Harris Teeter! It sounds so ridiculous but we just started talking about our boys who were close in age. We talked for a little while and went our separate ways….but when I ran into her later on another aisle, I decided to give her my number. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose, she could call or just think of me as a crazy lady in the grocery store. When people hear this they ask, ‘Really, you just picked her up in the deli section?’ But yeah…kinda like that. We started meeting for playdates every once and while, that turned into every week and now we’re together all the time. It’s been over a year now and we talk on the phone, go out to dinner with our families and have girls nights out. (last month Cindy and I even went to the American Idol concert!) Davis gets really excited now when I tell him we are going to play with Lincoln- he runs to the door saying his name (well, he says ‘din-din’ but I know what he means!)
What is your favorite place to take the whole fam to dinner?
During the summer we love to sit outside so Big Daddy’s is always a favorite. But last week we went to The Common House for the first time and I was really impressed-great food, atmosphere and very kid friendly. Instead of crayons they have magnetic drawing pads (much easier since Davis still thinks crayons are tasty)
What is your favorite date-nightspot
We try to find different things to do when we go out on our own. The first Friday of every month we have date night and we trade off planning it. That way each person has a month to plan something a little different. We have done all sorts of things from getting tickets to see comedians to going to listen to live music- one night we even bought a bunch of blank canvases and had a painting night. If you come to our house you might notice that some of our modern artwork is homemade! We do have one favorite date night spot though; we start with an early movie at Phillips Place, sushi at Upstream and then to Dean and Deluca for a flight of wine. Hmmm..speaking of….I think I might see one of those in my near future…..
What is your favorite movie that you have seen lately.
Scott and I love to rent movies on demand. (probably because we are both terrible about remembering to return movies to Blockbuster!) A couple weeks ago we decided to watch an old one and rented ‘Raising Arizona’ We are always spitting out quotes from that movie but hadn’t seen it since we have had a baby-hilarious!
Funniest thing that Davis has done.
I was getting ready to take a shower- turned on the water, went to get a towel and when I turned around Davis (at 15 months old) was in the shower….fully clothed! He loves to shower with me- I guess he just couldn’t wait!
What has been your favorite CSP article this far?
The article Tracy wrote about E-Vic Savings has changed the way I shop! I had no idea you could do this and I have shared it with so many friends. It has kind of become a game now to see what deals I can get! One day the cashier even commented, ‘wow- I think that’s the most anyone has saved all day!’ Woo hoo- go me! I love that I can click on the things I want and it makes a list for me- sorted by aisle! Anything to make the trip faster…. (on a side note…I just discovered the ‘space shuttle carts’… makes shopping with a little one much easier!)
What is Charlotte’s best kept secret?
I hesitate to share this because it is a quiet getaway but I love it so much I have to share. The Green, uptown, is one of my favorite spots. It is a small park off Tryon that is beautiful and great for kids. In the summer it has an interactive fountain that kids can play in. I love to set up a picnic and let Davis run through the fountain. The water sprays out of the ground and out of the fish statues in an unpredictable pattern- it always gets Davis giggling. I am not sure if people just don’t know about it or people think that downtown is a pain but it is never busy. It is actually easy to get to but I like to park a few blocks away and walk. (especially during the week) It makes me feel like I am taking advantage of living in a big city and Davis loves the change in scenery too- so much to look at!
I could not live without my…
sleep!! I have always been a night owl and despise waking up. My parents still talk about what a pain I was to wake up in the morning. I am so fortunate to have a wonderful husband that is a morning person and loves to get up with Davis. He gets him up, feeds him breakfast, spends some quality time with him before he goes to work…while I get some extra sleep. It works well for everyone- Davis gets some Daddy time and I am a much nicer person to everyone for the rest of the day. I like to think that this could continue with more kids but I’m not so sure about that. So for now…..I’m making the most of it and loving it! Thanks Scott.
Thanks, Laura! Email us if you have a Smarty Mom OR Dad that you’d like to “mominate”!
Laura, your camping experience seems incredible. I am sure the boys there appreciated you so much.I laughed as I read your comments about maybe going back to teaching one day. I, too, was an elementary school teacher and have stayed at home with my kids for the past six years. I think if I ever went back, I would be SUCH a different teacher now that I am also a mom. I think it made me realize that even though Little Johnny may have grated on my last nerve daily, he was the same little kid who hung the moon to his parents. I would probably be a little more sensitive to that now.Enjoyed your answers!
We love E-Vic, too! Can't beat it!
What a great camp for boys! I checked out their website, it looks like so much fun! I have a boy, but he is just a year old, so he will have to wait!! But I have 2 girls as well, 8 and 5 years, could you reccomend the best camps in NC for girls?
You are right, Falling Creek's website makes you so excited about camp! http://www.fallingcreek.com There are lots of great girls camps in the same area as well. I have not personally been to any of them but have heard wonderful things about both Camp Illahee and Camp Green Cove. A lot of families drop their boys off at Falling Creek and then drop the girls off at one of the neighboring camps. Hope you find a place for all your kids- camp is a wonderful experience!
Oh also…here are the websites for those neighboring girls camps:www.campillahee.comwww.greencove.com