Field Trip! Visiting New Barn at Cooking for Solutions

This past weekend, I drove down to Monterey to join the crew of my husband's (and his partners') new almond milk company, New Barn, for the Cooking for Solutions event held at the aquarium. I've been to a lot of food shows over the years, and this was definitely one of the loveliest, at least in terms of location.

The kids were crazy with excitement, they both proudly wore their New Barn t-shirts to the aquarium. Both Olivia and Owen wanted to help out at the booth; Olivia was actually helpful, charming booth visitors and explaining which samples were unsweetened, and which were sweetened with maple syrup. It was totally a "big girl" moment. (Big thanks to Matt and Lily, seen below, for letting Olivia feel included in the action.)

Owen was... not so helpful. His idea of "help" was to chug one sample cup after another. I think he must have gone through half a bottle's worth of almond milk. Good thing he's cute!

Once the kids had their fill of helping at the booth (in Owen's case, literally), I took the kids to see the aquarium exhibits. We went along with Lily's daughter, Mesa, and her husband, Jeff, while Lily worked at the booth. Olivia has been pen pals with Mesa for a few weeks, sending each other the most adorable "letters" I've ever seen. (Markers, kid-style spelling, and sometimes glitter are involved.) So it kind of blew Olivia's mind to be able to spend an entire day with Mesa.

Olivia was kind of a turd, though; she's a bit older, and Mesa sweetly followed Olivia from exhibit to exhibit, often holding hands. I repeatedly asked Olivia to let me know if she was leaving an area, because it was crowded mayhem in there, and it would have been all too easy to lose a kid in the craziness. But Olivia decided that she was too excited to listen to me, and so she'd jet off in the pitch dark to look at a new habitat that had caught her eye. This meant that Jeff and I spent a lot of time running after the girls, which was decidedly not fun. Less fun, though, was chucking a screaming Owen over my shoulder because he totally lost it going up the stairs in one corner of the aquarium. That happened not once, not twice, but THREE. TIMES. Like I said, good thing he's cute.

I was very impressed with Jeff's evenness while we toured the aquarium. Like, amazing levels of zen. Maybe I just don't handle loud crowds very well? (I most definitely don't handle loud crowds very well.) Jeff is like the sensei of staying calm amidst a throbbing mass of sticky kids. Next time I'll be sure to take notes.

Overall, it was a great trip (misbehavior aside). The kids got to see some ocean creatures, they got to help out at the New Barn booth, and they got to see their parents kicking ass at the Cooking for Solutions show. I was really glad to have been able to come support Ted in what he's doing, and I'm so proud of the New Barn crew.

Photo by Matt Welty: Lawyer, family man, and New Barn stud.


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