2017-03-30 / Front Page

Spring break for families who stay here

Day care can be challenging
By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff


JOSEPH, 1, THE son of Josh and Lena VanderMuelen, shows off his clapping skills at Cherry Blossom Day Care in Suttons Bay. JOSEPH, 1, THE son of Josh and Lena VanderMuelen, shows off his clapping skills at Cherry Blossom Day Care in Suttons Bay. When it comes to spring break, it’s not all fun and sun for some families who find themselves working through the week.

For many parents, the time out for schools and day care centers means it’s time to look for a sitter to watch the kids.

Casey Plamondon, who works at Huntington Bank in Leland, is a case in point.

Her two younger children, ages 6 and 2, can go to day care, but her 9-year-old is just too old for the facility.

“The 9-year-old is just going all over the place,” Plamondon said. “We’re tapping grandma and grandpa and just kind of taking it day by day.”

He’s been to work with his dad at Hobart Sales and Service, where he sits with his uncle in his office. Plamondon said she’s not sure if he’s learning anything about the business.


SIBLINGS JULIAN Calderon, 7, Jesus Calderon, 18, and Alondra Calderon, 12, take advantage of their vacation and the sunshine on Tuesday to practice their moves at the Suttons Bay School soccer field. SIBLINGS JULIAN Calderon, 7, Jesus Calderon, 18, and Alondra Calderon, 12, take advantage of their vacation and the sunshine on Tuesday to practice their moves at the Suttons Bay School soccer field. “I think he’s learning how to play a lot of video games,” she said.

Shana Bolger runs the Cherry Blossom Day Care out of her Suttons Bay home, where things feel a little out of whack this week.

Some of her regular kids are home this week with parents who are teachers and have the time off. But some older kids who are usually in school are taking up the slack, Bolger said.

And that’s something she’s not really used to.

“The big ones don’t nap so it can keep the babies awake,” Bolger said. “They want to play during quiet time.”

Mary Leon’s 5-year-old daughter goes to the Leelanau Children’s Center in Northport, which has been closed since Friday and will not reopen until Monday.

The Children’s Center, which also has a site in Leland, is closed whenever schools are closed, with the same scheduled breaks, vacations and even snow days.

“The school calendar dictates what days they’ll be open,” said Leon, of Leelanau Township. “It’s a real situation sometimes. It just means that you have to do some pre-planning and stay ahead of it.”

Leon said it helps to be engaged in the community and know who is available on those days, whether that’s other parents with young children or grandparents who live nearby.

This week Leon hired a local teen to watch her daughter, but said you have to pay them well to provide incentive to work during what is also their vacation.

“You want them to feel like it’s worth their time,” Leon said.

Molly Grosvenor is the Leland program director for the Children’s Center.

“Some families won’t work,” Grosvenor said. “It’s something they’ve had planned for a long time.”

Quite a few of the Children’s Center families are traveling, Grosvenor said.

“Having this week off is something that is expected,” said Grosvenor, whose three sons are now in high school. “For me, I always had the same time off as my kids so that would not be an issue.”

Tricia Denton, former director of Samaritan’s Closet, plans to take her two daughters aged 6 and 15 on a geomorphology hike on the north end of the peninsula this week. They’ll check out the shoreline features left by glaciers, hunt for pretty rocks and maybe catch a peek of a porcupine den.

“So that’ll be kind of sciency and cool,” Denton said, adding that this is the best time of year for such a hike. “The snow is gone, there’s no bugs and you see stuff that you can’t see any other time of the year.”

This is the first time in several years that Denton has not been working during spring break.

“This is one of the first times I haven’t been absolutely panicked about what to do with my kids because there’s no school and I have to work,” she said.

Those who were hoping to take their kids to the Suttons Bay Theatre this week may have been a little dissappointed. The theater closed on March 17 and will reopen on Friday with a showing of the movie “A United Kingdom.”

“This time of year tends to be a little slow, even though it is vacation time,” said Denise Sica, manager. “This was a good opportunity to get some things done before spring.”

The theater was cleaned and painted, the floors were refinished and the seating was rearranged to give theatergoers some more space.

Bolger said spring break is a stressful time for her. But she has solution in mind.

“I need to start planning my vacation during spring break,” she said.

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