Sunday, July 31, 2011

Update on Caroline

Caroline's camp ended yesterday. Everything went as planned...she made it to Minneapolis on the camp bus and was picked up by our friends.

She was exhausted! We were supposed to do a video chat with her last night so that we could all see her before she got home today. At 6 pm, she asked Julie if there was a guest room. When Julie answered in the affirmative and then asked her why, Caroline asked if she could take a nap. That was the last anyone heard from her until 7 this morning!

This morning, we ran into a snag. Our plan was for Caroline to be on the 9 am flight out of Minneapolis/St. Paul and be back in DFW at noon. She is flying stand-by though and the flight was full. Blaine is monitoring the flights and it looks like tomorrow morning is our best shot for a flight. So, Caroline gets an extra day in the much cooler Minnesota weather!
She is doing fine though and enjoying her extra playtime with Emma.

We have such wonderful friends! Thank you Blaine, Julie and Emma for welcoming our Caroline into your home!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

We have pictures!

We hit the jackpot today! We got a letter AND we get to see pictures!
1. Look at that smile!!
2. Someone is doing her hair!
3. She is holding the camera, so we may actually get to see pictures! :D

Correspondence from camp

I am sure that my children are the only ones who leave me in a vacuum when they leave for a week or two. Both Libby and Caroline were able to receive emails (Libby's for a fee, Caroline's free) at their camps. I, dutifully, emailed every day to let them know the status of important things like how many library books we checked out and how hot it is.
With both girls, I sent note cards and envelopes. I pre-addressed them and stamped them. And, I truly did not expect to receive anything. But, it was there should the muses move them.
Libby's camp did not move her to write home.
Three days before Caroline comes home though, we have received a letter!
Never has a letter generated such excitement in our house (especially, with Libby).
Dear Mom,
How's things going at home? Things are going well here. I'm having LOTS of fun!

At the surface, it doesn't seem to say much. But it DIDN'T say that she was miserable or hated it or homesick. And, that says it all.

Libby, immediately, sat down and wrote her (via email) back:
dear Carly,
we were very happy to get mail from you! And we got amon carter books today. I miss you very much I can't wait to see you again! You know that flower thing I got at camp we took it out to see it shrink and after a week or so it shrank. And when you get home I will give you a BIG HUG! Libby

And, when you know that that is the same child that would hardly tell us good-bye when we dropped her off and the same child who said that she would be fine for three weeks without Caroline because they "always fight anyway", that speaks volumes.

Sen Lin Hu ZhiLu

This is Caroline's camp singing one of their songs. You can see Caroline (sort of, barely) in the front row. She is wearing a brown shirt and hot pink pants?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sen Lin Hu Free Time

The camp posted some pictures yesterday showing an after dinner free time. Caroline appears several times, but her back is always to the camera.

She is wearing navy blue capris and a light blue shirt. Doesn't she look little? This camp is for 9-14 year olds and she won't be 9 until September, so she is probably the baby of the camp.

Sen Lin Hu Chants

Here is a video from the camp blog from the first night of camp. Caroline's group is the first one after they stop singing the John Denver song in Chinese.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Caroline is at camp now

After we got Libby home, Alex, Caroline, Libby and I were home for a whopping 12 hours before we left for Minnesota. We completely missed seeing Ken and Joseph because they didn't get home until later that day.
This was our schedule:
Friday: Pick up rental car, drive to Camp Bette Perot in Athens, pick up Libby and drive back to McKinney (stopping to eat at Gloria's at Libby's request) and pick up tamales to deliver to Julie in St. Paul.

Saturday: Leave McKinney at 7 am bound for Kansas City. Arrive in Kansas City at 3:30 pm

Sunday: Leave KC for St. Paul, MN. Arrive in St. Paul at about 4 pm. We spent the night with my friend Julie and her family.

Monday: Julie and I drove Caroline 4 1/2 hours to Sen Lin Hu and then drove back 4 1/2 hours to St. Paul. We spent 2 hours at the camp helping Caroline to get settled and go through all of her check in stuff. Alex, Libby and Emma (Julie's daughter) spent the day at Mall of America.

Tuesday: Leave St. Paul and  head back to Kansas City, arrived about 5 pm.

Wednesday: Leave Kansas City for McKinney, stopping to see Big Brutus in Kansas. We arrived home around 7 pm. 

I drove over 2600 miles in six days. Did I mention that I have a killer case of poison ivy right now?

Here are some pictures that Julie took of Caroline checking into camp.
When we arrived in Minnesota, it wasn't terribly different than Texas. The temperature was in the mid 90's and the humidity was 80%....that's actually WORSE than Texas. We were a little wilty.
As soon as we arrived at the camp, everything was in Chinese. Caroline had to check in, go through customs (they check for contraband....ipods, cell phones, English books, food, etc.), she had to exchange her currency (She was very impressed that her $100 got her 700 Yuan), check in with the nurse for a lice check, make her name tag, unload her stuff in her room (she has an awesome room!) and go through a little language evaluation. 

Her cabin is called the Norwegian Log Cabin
The camp is a cross country ski resort the rest of the year. This is a picture from their website. The loft above is Caroline's "bed" and the couch and chair below are hers. Her roommate has the same thing on the other side. The loft floor was large enough for her to have all of her stuff up there and still be able to move around.

Julie and I wanted to stay at camp too! What a cool place! We left Caroline after the check-in for the drive back to St. Paul. She was getting ready to go change into her swimsuit and take a dip in the lake to cool off.
As soon as we got back to Texas, the heat left MN (and their government decided to start operations again after three weeks of shutdown). So, hopefully, Caroline is enjoying some milder Minnesota weather now.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Girl Scout Camp and Boy Scout Camp

It was a really quiet week here this week. Joseph AND Libby (and Ken) were all at summer camp. Caroline and I spent the week getting ready for our trip to Minnesota and packing for her upcoming two week Chinese immersion camp experience. So we were pretty busy.
I didn't hear from the boys at their scout camp, but I was able to kind of keep track of Libby via their photo site. Although, there were no pictures of her posted until Thursday and we had to go get her on Friday. :p I was a little concerned about Libby being at camp since she tends to HATE heat and it has been over 100* for days now. And she doesn't tend to suffer in silence.
When we picked her up on Friday, the head counselor told us that she had a rough day on Monday (the day after she got there), a minor issue on Tuesday and after that she was fine. WHEW. They got off easy. She is saying that she doesn't want to go back until she is MUCH older (not next year), although she did say that the homesickness would not have been as bad if she had had Caroline with her.

She was so happy to see us. She hugged and hugged and hugged Alex, Caroline and I. She even said she missed Joseph!
I am so proud that she made it through without any major issues.
Here are the two pictures of her from the Camp Bette Perot site. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sea Life Aquarium

Libby got to attend a VIP tour of the new Sea Life Aquarium in Grapevine because she was one of the Young Environmentalists chosen in their contest. Libby and I got to go on a tour before it opened to the public with the other Young Environmentalists and the media. It is such a cool place! I can't wait to take the other kids back there (once we have everyone back in the house again from all of the various camps!)

All of the Young Environmentalists received a tshirt.

We had to wait a few minutes for the doors to open for our tour.

Once they let us in, they had giant muffins from Corner Bakery for us to eat.

Here are all of the Young Environmentalists together.

This giant stuffed stingray was very snuggly.

Giant stuffed seals are also very snuggly.

Monday, July 4, 2011