I have been looking forward to attending Camp Mather long before I settled down and got married. As a child, I LOVED summer camp and once I learned about Camp Mather I couldn’t wait to have my own family and participate in this quintessential San Francisco experience otherwise know as family camp.
Getting into Camp Mather isn’t always easy. During the summer there is a lottery, but if you are up for attending Camp Mather in September it is much easier to get a spot. There are also less mosquitoes in the fall which makes it a great time to go if you are bringing young children that you don’t want to coat with nasty bug repellent.
The only downside of attending Camp Mather in the fall is that sometimes there are a few brief rain showers. Lucky for us they were mild and only occurred during the girls nap times.
Cabins are rustic and include beds, a dresser, closet, and if you are lucky a bookshelf. However there is a picnic table out front and the cabins have electricity.
The few mild rain showers provided us some time to catch up on our reading while sitting on the small front porch of our cabin. There is no cell or internet service at Camp Mather. At first I honestly thought I might die, but not being connected for almost five whole days turned out to be an incredible blessing!
Since the cabins are TINY you will spend almost all of your time outdoors. There is a beautiful lake, swimming pool, tennis court, basket ball court, ping pong table, archery, etc. etc.
Horse and donkey rides are available for a fee. Ivey LOVED stopping by to talk to the “caballos y burros” several times a day. She even learned how to make a pretty realistic neigh and hee-haw sound which is wonderfully amusing and annoying at the same time.
There are also activities like making lanyard, friendship bracelets and tie-dyeing t-shirts.
One of the BEST things about Camp Mather is that you don’t have to cook! They feed you three squares a day and the food actually tastes good. During a few of the meals Ivey, like a typical toddler, refused to eat what was provided – lucky for us cereal and apple sauce is almost always available as well.
Instead of heading to the dining hall for lunch you can request a sack lunch and eat it at the lake or other location of your choice.
Because we didn’t bring the stroller, and she is not quite big enough for a high chair, Linden spent most meals sitting on my husband’s lap. She is only 3 months old but I swear I caught her checking out daddy’s food on more than one occasion.
Most people bring bikes to Camp Mather. However if you don’t have a bike, or your kids are too little, make sure you bring carriers for each child. Originally I was only planning on bringing the Moby for Linden but I luckily decided to pack the Ergo as a backup. As it turns out, Ivey spent a fair amount of time being carried in the Ergo and I really don’t know what we would have done without it.
Ivey loved Camp Mather (she loves playing in the dirt and picking flowers to wear in her hair). She didn’t wear a pull up during the day (except for naps) which really helped with her potty-training. On the few occasions where we were hiking around and were unable to reach the bathrooms in time, Ivey learned how to take a “nature pee”. Now that we are back in the city however getting Ivey to understand that a nature pee should only happen in nature is not that easy to explain when you live in an urban neighborhood where the streets sometimes smell like pee.
While at Camp Mather we met so many amazing San Francisco families. Some of these families have been attending Camp Mather every summer for 30 years! This trip started off as an item I wanted to check off my life list but ended up as the start of a family tradition. Hopefully we will see you there as well!
Have you attended Camp Mather? I would love to hear your stories and experiences! Please leave a comment below.
I thought my movie theater days were on hold due to the recent birth of my daughter however I was pleasantly surprised to discover the FREE Monthly Mom and Baby Movie at the Presidio Theater on Chestnut Street.
For years now Jill Russo and Lorianne Daluz have been sponsoring the Monthly Mom and Baby Movie and as a result admission is free for Moms, kids and their friends.
At first I was a little skeptical; what was the catch, why was the movie free? How on earth could I watch a movie with a newborn? What if she cried? What if I needed to breastfeed or change her diaper?
When I arrived at the theater I found myself standing outside making small talk amongst a sea of moms, babies, strollers, and the occasional dad. We parked our strollers in the lobby and proceeded to carry our babies (and their gear) up the stairs while politely maneuvering to secure the best possible seats. Jill then introduced herself and gave the softest 30 second sales pitch I have ever heard. The lights were dimmed (only slightly) and the movie started. Throughout the movie babies would cry, mothers fed, diapers were changed, and babies were burped and bounced.
I can only assume that anyone without a child would be annoyed by the noise however I found it heart touching and personally I was thrilled to be in a theater watching a newly released movie.
Check out www.jillrusso.com on the Tuesday prior to Thursday showing for specific movie information.
Who: Moms, babies, kids, friends
What: FREE newly released movie
Where: Presidio Theater on Chestnut Street in San Francisco
When: Second Thursday of each month at 1:00pm
Additional Tip: Walk or take public transportation (if possible) and consider sitting down and having lunch at Pluto’s prior to the movie, the salads are scrumptious!
What happens when a fun loving city gal in her mid 30’s and her husband of five years finally get pregnant? They realize they know absolutely nothing about raising a child and do everything they can to plan and prepare; which is why I am now talking to you fine folks.
Hi my name is Kelly, and I am expecting my first child this August. Luckily, I’ve been working at Walmart.com for the past year and a half which has afforded me this amazing opportunity to contribute to the baby buzz blog. I’m very excited to share my experiences with the community, but more importantly, I could really use your thoughts and advice as my only experience to date comes from a half dozen baby books and some advice from friends. Not only am I a new mom, but it has been almost 20 years since I attempted to change a diaper and without your help I might possibly diaper the wrong end.
Not only are my husband and I new to the world of child rearing but as city dwellers we have other things we need to consider as well. First living in the city can be expensive and with a kid on the way my husband and I are trying to optimize our budget buy eating out less, comparing prices as well as cutting out “nice to haves”. Secondly city living generally doesn’t provide as much space as the suburbs therefore we need to be smart about the products we purchase in order to maximize our living space. We enjoy living in a busy city because it allows us to be close to work and only blocks from a grocery store. However since both my husband and I were raised in suburban households we are still struggling to envision what it looks like to raise a child in a multi-unit building without a yard not to mention the fact that our child will probably never be able to walk to and from school.
I am doing my best to be a smart shopper not only to save money but to do my part to save the planet by conserving resources. Even though I am sure I won’t be able to resist every adorable baby item for sale in the retail stores I am hopeful that I can secure several good items second hand from the web or friends.
Even though dogs outnumber kids in San Francisco I still have to believe that it will be an amazing place to raise a child (once I know what I am doing). I can’t wait to hear your advice as well as answer your questions as I prepare for this important journey.
Kelly Tirman works at Walmart.com in the Creative Team. In her free time she blogs at kellytirman.com where she shares creative ideas, recipes and reviews that help people make smart decisions on how to spend their time & money. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and is expecting her first child in August. She can be found on Twitter at Twitter.com/KellyTirman.
Note: Originally posted on Walmart’s Baby Buzz Blog on 3/9/2009.