Thursday, November 23, 2017

and the holidays start...NOW!

may your home be full of joy, your stretchy pants freshly laundered, your mashed potatoes creamy and your turkey...uh, moist.


happy thanksgiving, one and all!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

cheer competitions are our jam(z)

the bean and i slept in a little on competition morning - at least, a bit more than we would have had we been driving down to anaheim instead of waking up right next to the convention center.  while she laid in bed watching saturday morning cartoons (which are really just regular ol' cartoons because the damn things are on 24/7 nowadays), i hopped into the shower and found this creepy message she'd left for me the night before.


she's such a weirdo.

after taking care of all the hair teasing and glitter makeup and doing my best to recreate the old lady's perfect red lip from the week before, we got dressed and packed up all our stuff.


the lobby was cheerleader central.  and this was just our team!


she was going through some major pre-competition jitters, but you'd never know it by looking at her.


once everyone had arrived, they lined up and began the short walk out of the hotel and over to check-in.


$15 gets you entry to the arena and this sweet wristband.


the first (early!) session was almost done when we got inside and found seats on the upper level.


and then when awards had been handed out, we parents worked together to secure seats down on the lower level right in front of the mats for the team, coaches and all of the supporters.  the bean ended up sitting right behind me.


one of the cheer teams who has been really helpful and supportive of our coaches and their brand new team sent over a cute little care package with a sweet "good luck" note.  and so whenever one of their squads went up to perform our girls headed down to the floor and showed 'em some love.


i always find it really entertaining to watch all of the other teams show off their routines during these things.  i know it's mostly because i only got to be a cheerleader for one semester in high school, womp womp.  but really though - the moves and stunts that these cheerleaders do these days are on a whole other level than what we used to do back in 1987.  it's definitely much more of a sport these days.

by the way, this is my biggest nightmare - do you see that little brown thing on the floor?  well, as we watch these performances it's not uncommon to see a random shoe come off of someone's foot.  but this...this was someone's HAIRPIECE that came off of their head during their routine.  yikes.


and then finally, it was the bean's turn to strut her stuff.  that's her little head right underneath the left side of the A.


they went through the whole 2:31 routine without any missteps.  no one fell, everyone's shoes stayed on their feet and they were all in sync the entire time.


and with that over with, we went outside with the hub to check out what was available for lunch.  there were lots of concession stands open, as well as a few food trucks that were parked just outside the doors.  and of course, we took a couple of selfies with our little cheerleader.



she paused on the way back into the arena to see where our third team was on the schedule posted just outside of the entrance.


so this time, our younger team ("hope") was up against five other squads while the advanced team ("inspire")had four competitors.  the bean's intermediate team ("believe") only had one other squad to compete against, so we had a 50/50 chance at first place.  and unlike last week's competition, jamz is super organized and while we were still a little bit behind schedule, it wasn't by much.  we didn't have to wait too long to hear the results - while hope and inspire both took second place, believe managed to beat out the other team to take first.  much excite.


yay for first place!


we'd discussed heading over to disneyland after it was all done, and i'd told her that i was leaving it up to her to make the final decision.  i knew she was pretty wiped out after the long day, and as much as i wanted to grab some holiday treats and soak in some disney magic i was feeling a little ragged myself.  i never sleep well when the hub isn't with me, which i know is kinda lame, but it's true.  so when she decided she wanted to go home and just relax, i was pretty relieved.  we stopped in the restroom at the hotel to get her out of her uniform, clean her face and brush her hair out.


and it wasn't too long before i turned around and saw this:


two competitions down, seven more to go between now and march.  i hope i can survive it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

fun overnight date with the bean

considering the bean's cheer competition was in anaheim at the convention center, i'd kind of just assumed it'd be no biggie to just get ready at home and meet up with the team that morning.  after all, we're not really that far from there and we all know how familiar i am with the anaheim area...especially as the convention center is pretty much across the street from disneyland.  not to mention, this was one of the bigger competitions and i just assumed at the hotel would either be booked solid or that the rates would be at a premium.

but then i started thinking about how much of a pain in the ass it is to find parking that isn't a country mile away.  and the fact that we needed to be there at 9AM sharp, hair and makeup in place, full uniform on and ready to go.  so i decided that it wouldn't hurt to browse the hilton website, just to see what i might find...you know, just for shits and giggles.  and whaddaya know...lots of rooms were still available, and at a really decent price to boot.  so i shot the hub a text to make sure he didn't mind us staying down there for the night and i booked it.

as soon as practice was over on friday evening we hopped into the car and made our way down through traffic to anaheim.  it'd been a long day and we were both pretty tired and hungry, but i remembered that the hilton had a food court on the lobby level.  the check-in process was quick and easy and we were in our 6th-floor room in no time.


but then as we perused the guest services book i noticed something:  the food court closed at 7.  and it was 7:45.  boo.  so to the bean's utter delight, we ordered room service.  they gave us a 30-minute delivery window, and while the bean was enjoying a relaxing hot shower after her long practice the food arrived.



mac & three cheeses for her:


pepperoni pizza for me:


she was super amused by the mini baguette in the bread basket.


and we pocketed the tiny tabasco bottles to take home to her sister:


we'd thrown in a molten chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream for dessert:


which she enjoyed immensely.


we even had some little chocolates for later, which neither of us ended up eating.


we headed up to the coach's room to grab a couple of things, hung out for a little while, and then went back to our room to get to bed.  with an early morning ahead of us, i knew we'd both need as much sleep as possible.

next up, JAMZ!

Friday, November 17, 2017

i'm such a room parent fail

it's hard to believe that thanksgiving is next week.  i know i say this every year, but seriously...where does the time go?  2017 has literally flown right by and it feels like a big ass blur when i try to think back on what we've done this year.

i got to join the bean and her class a couple of days ago for their thanksgiving party, where we'd decided to keep it nice and simple.  we put together a sandwich bar - hawaiian rolls, turkey, cheese, mayo, mustard, pickles.  and i learned quite a lesson as they started digging in - 9- and 10-year-olds like to eat.  a lot.  especially when hawaiian rolls are involved.  holy crap.  we definitely ran out of food a lot faster than i'd anticipated.  oops.


and then as we started dishing out the soup, we found that the crock pot had somehow failed us.  it was super hot to the touch - like hot enough that i burned a finger just testing to see if it was warm - but the soup inside was stone cold, like straight out of the fridge cold.  i ended up having to dish out bowls and warming them two at at time in the microwave.  that was fun.

still, the kids were somewhat satisfied and happily ran outside for recess once they'd gotten their fill.  once they got back, they separated into their two classrooms to work on a fun thanksgiving-themed craft together before coming together again in the presentation room next door.  there they got to spread out and sit at tables that we'd set up with the makings of another craft - this time, a fun edible one.  they had plain sugar cookies on a plate with tubs of frosting, candy corn and other adornments all ready to go, and they were super excited to get started.


it was fun watching them work on their cookies, which magically turned into turkeys as they added all of the toppings in the order they were given.


and the bean said that the cookies were delicious, even though she doesn't typically like frosting (i know, so weird).


she let me get a quick selfie in before they settled down to watch "a charlie brown thanksgiving."


and now we have all of next week off to relax and unwind a little.  it'll be nice to take a break, and we have some fun local stuff planned as a family.

but first...cheer competition tomorrow!  wish us luck!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

competition season has begun!

the bean and i were up bright and early the next morning to get her ready for competition.  we'd been to a workshop led by the cheer coach to show us how their hair and make-up was to be done, and after years of dance recitals and things, i was feeling pretty confident in my skillz to get it right.  turns out that the hairpiece i'd bought wasn't going to work after all...they wanted the ponytails to be teased high and straight with some beachy, loose curls at the bottom.  yarg.  at least she'll have some pretty cute cheer portraits this year, i guess.

along with the uniform, the coaches provided each girl with a cute little personalized makeup bag and all of the makeup in the right shades that they wanted them to wear for competitions.  i really like that - and this way they make sure that everyone has everything they need without having to shop for stuff and risk the possibility of not matching.


with the help of the old lady's beachwaver curling iron, multiple hair products, two different teasing combs and some extra-strength hair ties i managed to get her hair properly teased and high-ponytailed.


next we tackled her least favorite part - the make-up.  we'd seen at the workshop that it was pretty simple, so i was hopeful that we could get through it quickly without tears or fighting.  there was glitter for the eyelid, black gel liner for a winged eye look, and a really pretty shade of red for the lips that we saved for the very last minute.  i think i did a fairly decent job of duplicating the desired look:


once all that was done, it was time to put that uniform on.  still, we decided to wait on putting the lip color on so she could have something to eat in the car on the way.


we got down to yorba linda pretty quickly, and the rest of her team was easy to find as we pulled up.  i knew this was a fairly small competition - just the right size for a first competition as a brand new team.  and as we stood in line to enter the gym, the girls headed off with their coaches to do a little warm-up and practice.  i could see that our team had a pretty big turnout, with practically every other person in the line wearing some sort of one dream paraphernalia.


my friend had saved us some seats with a pretty good view of the mats, right behind the special chairs that were set up for coaches to sit in during their teams' performances.



the girls got to come in and sit with us while the other teams went out and performed for the judges.


and when it was their turn to go back and warm up, the coaches texted us this picture.


the hub arrived and i was happy to see that he'd put on the "cheer dad" shirt i'd bought for him, heh.


i was so convinced that i would cry when the bean took the mat with her team and performed the routine they'd been working on for so many weeks.  she was nervous and i just reminded her that she had to trust in her skills, the hard work they'd put in and her teammates to pull it all together.  she seemed okay after that, and i stood with the other parents down on the floor to watch them get to work.


they nailed the routine, hitting all the stunts and smiling through the whole thing.  we were all so proud of them, and our humongous support squad roared with approval with every stunt.


the competition was somewhat unorganized and ran about an hour behind schedule, so everyone was relieved when all the performances were done and it was finally time for awards.  i managed to catch the bean's eye with a smile as she sat down with her team to see how they'd fared.


the coaches had done their research and realized that none of our teams had any other squads competing against them.  this meant that they'd basically be performing for the judges to receive their critique and evaluation, and so while everyone was excited when they received their trophy and banner we all knew it was pretty much a win by default.

we have another competition this weekend, and this one is much bigger and more important.  it's a qualifying competition that will give them a bid for the national competition in las vegas in january, so the girls have been practicing nonstop all week.  like, they had showcase on saturday, competition sunday and then they've had at least an hour and a half of practice every night since then.  they won't get a break from cheer until this sunday.

phew.  it's a good thing the bean enjoys all of this...although i guess we wouldn't be here if she didn't, right?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

all about that one dream lyfe

this weekend was the bean's first foray into the world of competitive cheer.  yeah, she was on her school cheer team for the last five years, but this time she's on a team whose sole existence is based on competitions - no games, no pep rallies.  it's all very different and pretty intense.

saturday was picture day.  because of the super teased hairstyles that are required of cheerleaders, i'd bought a couple of faux headpieces to use in an effort to make things easier and to avoid having to do so much backcombing on the bean's actual hair.  i hate doing it, it makes such a mess and trying to brush it out and wash out all the product is such a pain in the butt.  check this thing out:


these things are created especially for cheerleaders who wear their hair in high ponytails and teased up like crazy.  the video tutorial with instructions on how to attach this thing seemed simple enough though - just throw her natural hair up into a high bun and then use the attached combs and drawstring cords to hold it in place.  before:


and after, with the equally ginormous cheer bow in place:


i went through the process a couple of times to make sure i had it down, and with that done i sent the bean to go get dressed in her uniform.  besides the fitting this was the first time she was going to spend any time wearing it, and we were both excited.  when she emerged from her room i made her pose for me in the usual spot:


i die.  she looks about sixteen with all that hair (which she decided she wanted to wear for her pictures).

we hopped into the car and drove the short distance to where the girls were meeting up, and i got her to take a quick selfie with me:


it was a beautiful day, warm and sunny, and this fountain served as the perfect backdrop for their portraits.


she did a "buddy" picture with a couple of her friends too:


and then all three teams within the one dream squad got together to take one giant group photo.  the younger, new-to-cheer girls are called "hope," the intermediate girls like the bean are on the "believe" team, and the oldest and most experienced group is "inspire."  there's about 60 of them altogether.


after going home to grab some lunch and get changed out of those uniforms, the girls gathered again at the gym to get one last practice in before the next day's competition.  a showcase was scheduled that evening too, where the three teams would get to show off the routine they'd been working so hard for the last five months to perfect.  friends and family were invited to the showcase, and it was a great chance to see the girls in action if you couldn't get to any of the competitions.  the bean was super stoked that one of her BFFs and her family were there, and she beamed as she saw them in the audience with me and the hub.


they'd brought her a beautiful bouquet of pink roses, which she happily accepted once the showcase was over.


after that it was time to head home, grab some dinner and rest up for the next day.  the first competition jitters were setting in, and along with the excitement of picture day and showcase it wasn't hard to get her to go to bed at a decent time.

ah, the life of a competitive cheerleader.
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