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!

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