Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summer Camp

Kai had her first week of camp this week -- gymnastics camp, to be specific. Since it's the middle of the Olympics, Kai told us she was going to camp to "get ready to go to London."

I was a little nervous about how camp would go. Lately, Kai hangs back a bit with new things. And, there have been a lot of changes -- and talk of changes -- lately. So, I wasn't sure if she'd be too keen on being dropped off at camp at 9 AM and picked up at 4 PM.  Granted, she's been in daycare pretty much her whole life -- but this would be a much bigger setting with brand new kids.

Or, maybe I was just nervous about the fact that this would be the first time -- literally, ever, that we would be responsible for feeding our child three meals a day for an ENTIRE WEEK.  OK, I suppose if you count my maternity leave or Eric's paternity leave, we did have that responsibility -- but, back in those days, there was no meal planning.  It was just the breastmilk.  Easy peasy.  Since Kai has been eating actual food, we have only ever been responsible for feeding her when on vacation -- and, let's be serious, on vacation, you don't do a lot of meal planning.  Doug used to feed Kai breakfast and lunch when he took care of her.  And, at Home Away from Home, they did the same.

We prepared for the responsibility.  We bought Kai a new lunch box.  Princess. Of course.  She picked it out.  She knew exactly what she wanted.  We'd been to the store with the lunch boxes a few times and she had admired them.  I hadn't realized she had selected one.  But, when we went to purchase the new lunch box, she marched into the store and grabbed the blue and purple lunch box with an image of a princess on the front, declaring "this one!"  I suppose it's good that she's a child that knows her own mind.  Sigh.

Then we went grocery shopping and stocked up on the sorts of things one eats for breakfast and lunch.  Again, Kai knew exactly what to get.  She has been eating these meals her whole life, after all.  We just aren't the ones that provide them most of the time (and, if I'm being totally honest here... on weekends, she often just snacks throughout the day because we don't really eat breakfast and lunch is often while we are running around).  As we were wandering down the cereal aisle, Kai shouted "Heart to Heart!"  We didn't know what she was talking about.  "Heart to Heart cereal," she explained.  "Oh, is it here?" I asked.  She said, "you just passed it!!"  I started going backwards while Kai navigated, "more... more... you're almooosssttt theree.... STOP!"  I stopped and looked and, lo and behold, there was a cereal -- unbeknownst to me just moments before.  Also, I love that she picked a cereal that has almost no sugar in it. It's one of the healthiest cereals in the store.  Yea, Home Away from Home!

We stocked up on many items for lunch too and were ready to go.  Kai loved packing her lunch all week (get used to it, kid.... 15 years from now you might not be an enamored with the activity!)  Monday morning rolled around and she was ready to go.

Eric dropped her off the first day, and said she ran right into the middle of things, turning around just to wave goodbye. She told him later she cried a little at lunch, because she missed us -- but, otherwise, she was fine.

By the third day, we weren't even walking her in anymore. At camp, there is the option of just going through a "drive thru" lane where you just pull up, sign your child in, and then someone comes to take your child out of the car and whisk them away. It was a little weird, for me. Kai loved it.

And, we survived a full week of meals.  We missed breakfast once.  Oops!  But, otherwise, it was a total success.  And, I actually really enjoyed making lunches with Kai in the evening and planning out her upcoming day.

We visited her new preschool one day after camp -- and she was really excited to see the classroom.  She said, "ohhh.. this place has lots of fun things!"  So, we're getting ready for the fall.  I think it's going to be a fun year!

The last day of camp, there's a performance for the parents. Here's Kai showing off her new tricks!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Kailey loves playing pretend.  But, she's also a realist and doesn't like to go too far down the rabbit hole.  She likes to keep it real.  Take our recent trip to a county fair.  Kai got her face painted like a tiger and spent the afternoon pretending to be a tiger. She was so excited to get back to my parents' house, proclaiming "Ginger and Shadow (my parents' dogs) are going to be so surprised when a TIGER walks in the house."

However, after a few hours, Kai left the room for a few moments and came back with her face washed clean declaring, "I'm KAILEY again!"

Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer Days

Over the last two years, we've made the last weekend of July a celebration of summer by heading to Oregon to take part in the International Pinot Noir Celebration.  Not to attend, mind you.  What we get to do is so much better then attending the actual event -- we are there to play with Leo and Soren and take part in the behind the scenes magic of IPNC.

Summer days at IPNC are everything summer should be.  Every year brings perfect weather, long days with little to do except take wagon rides and get into trouble (this year it was water balloons!), and the opportunity to see the inner-workings of a complicated event and meet the people that make it all happen. Oh, and we get to eat and drink!  "Crew Chow" is provided 3 times a day to all the folks working the event (including the baby-sitters and our charges) -- so we don't even have to cook or clean-up after ourselves.  And the "crew chow" is gourmet food prepared by top chefs... I ate so much, I thought I might pop.  It really doesn't get any better.

A few moments from this year really stick out. First, cooking strudel with the pastry chefs.  We were passing through the kitchen and noticed the enormous strudels the chefs and cooks were in the middle of making.  It was quite an undertaking -- with 6 or 7 people gathered around a table to work together to stretch out the delicate pastry.  The pastry chef saw our interest and invited Kai, Leo and Soren to get in on the action.  The kids were so excited to be involved.  They helped to roll out the dough, stretch it, fill it and get it on the trays.  Kai loved cooking with the chefs -- and the photo op was incredible (a lot of folks pulled out their cameras to snap a few pictures).

Kai spent the weekend charming guests as she waltzed around campus in her tutus.  She only wore tutus.  All weekend.  We brought a whole suitcase full of clothes, but only the tutus got any wear -- she had to be fancy! It was a fancy event, after all.   The kids handed out popsiciles and water balloons to guests every afternoon -- which earned them quite a few tips.

They also had a blast pelting one another with water balloons and then, finally, after much patience and endless filling and tying of the balloons, we had a massive water fight involving the nearly 700 balloons we managed to preserve for the big event.   We spent 2.5 days of preparing for our showdown, and it was worth every minute! It was awesome (even when Eric pelted me in the face with a balloon causing my glasses to fly off my face!)  The twins were so careful to make sure Kai was in on the action without getting hurt.  They'd throw the balloons at her feet and let her blast them with her balloons.  Everyone was soaked by the end.... and oh-so-satisfied.  

And, we all learned how to saber a champagne bottle -- which, I must say, is endlessly fun.  I plan to open all my champagne in this fashion from now on!

And then there was the Salmon Bake.  Ahhh... the annual Salmon Bake.  The hallmark event of IPNC.  And we get to partake in all the fun, behind the scenes, with the wine truck crew and a side of salmon all to ourselves.  Not to mention the desserts.  This year it was all about the desserts.  And dancing under the stars.  Leo and Soren thought in advance about Kai's needs, and prepared a little bed for her in the wagon so that she could crash out as the party progressed into the night.  It was the sweetest thing. The whole night was pure bliss.

IPNC is summer magic -- and we are looking forward to going back next year!