Wednesday, May 22, 2019

wrapping up 5th grade

it's so hard to believe, but the school year is winding down to an end again and it seems like it absolutely flew by.  i mean...didn't we JUST have christmas??

for their end of the year bash, the 5th graders go to boomers, a local amusement park where they get the run of the place for a few hours.  there's all sorts of stuff - mini golf, go karts, carnival-style rides, a rock wall...you get the picture.  the teachers had already approached me a few months ago asking if i could do shirts for everyone to wear that day, something simple with lots of room for the kids to sign each other's backs.  i had them poll the students to come up with a slogan or something for me to put on the shirts, and this is what they came up with:


i told the bean privately that it was a little lame and cheesy and then she informed me that it was her suggestion that won the most votes.  muahahahahahahaha. 

along with the last couple of weeks of school comes the annual uniform donation/exchange.  you turn in whatever uniform pieces you want and then you can "shop" from the items turned in for next year.  anything not claimed gets donated to charity, and then your kid gets free dress for the rest of the school year.  it's always the kids' favorite time of year.

while the bean loves free dress, she doesn't really care much about what she wears.  yet.  and she still loves wearing pieces i make for her.  so i busted out a couple of new things for her to wear, and the first day she wore this dress i made using the leftover fabric from the top i made my mom for mother's day.


and this fabric i've been hoarding for a few years.  she said her friends had fun identifying all of the disney doggies from the design.


the annual choir and band spring concert was last week too, and while she's terrible about practicing on that trombone she held her own during the performance.


also last week, she got the haircut she'd been asking for.  i was a little hesitant because her hair has changed so much with the onset of pre-puberty - her hair used to be so straight and easy, but over the last year or so it's become really wavy and curly.  it's beautiful, but i don't know how to manage curly hair!  and she loves to brush it, which makes it really big and poofy.  i have to break her of that habit so that she doesn't end up with a bush on her head. 

and i can't take her to the kids' salons anymore because they always do a really shitty job of cutting.  or, i should say, they just do a basic snip and go.  so i took her to one of the local big girl salons, where she was super excited to sit back and have her hair washed before the cut:


here's the before:


and the point of no return:


before the drying and styling:


and the end result.


man, she looks so different with her hair straightened like that.  and older!  yikes. 

of course, after she washed it and then slept on it, it went back to big and poofy.  i told her that if she wanted to maintain that perfect 'do she was going to have to learn how to dry and straighten it - knowing the entire time that there's no way she'll want to do that.  at least, not yet. 


and now it's the last week of school.  they've been having a blast signing yearbooks, cleaning out lockers, soaking in the last few days of being together.  with the transition to junior high, a handful of her longtime buddies are going in different directions and it's going to be interesting to see what the class looks like once the new school year starts.

ch-ch-ch-changes.  they're a-comin'.

Monday, May 20, 2019

peace out, vegas

as we were packing up to leave vegas on sunday morning, i spotted this on the nightstand:


she pretends like she doesn't love cheer...but i know she secretly does.

the hub had a couple of casino vouchers to cash in before we left - one that we redeemed in a machine on the way out of the orleans, and the other we had to make a pitstop at the park MGM to redeem.  he told us to cash it out and then go into eataly one more time to pick up some meat and cheese to snack on as we drove home, and we were happy to oblige.


except that most of the kiosks didn't actually open until 11 and it was only 10:30.  so we decided to shop in the market area, scooping up everything that caught our eye.  the bean made a beeline for one of the few kiosks that was open for business - of course, the nutella cafe.


but i'd forgotten how convoluted the system is here.  you can't actually order your items here - you have to go to the next one over to place and pay for your order...and the line was really long.  gah.  not to mention, the staffers in both spots were moving at a glacial pace.  it was frustrating, but we waited it out to satisfy the bean's craving for a nutella crepe.


oh well.  it gave me time to scurry around the rest of the place looking for more snacks, and when i came across a display of these chips i knew i needed to at least try them.  a full-size bag was $18, but for the low low price of $3.90 you could pick up an individual serving:


and let me save you $4.  they weren't all that.  just a bag of chips.  heh.

once we finally made it back to the car, i went about trying to create little charcuterie plates for everyone.  i knew they had little plates from prior visits, but we couldn't find any and had to settle for paper bowls instead.  and the plastic knife i'd grabbed on the way out wasn't sufficient for slicing up the whiskey maple salami we'd bought:


luckily, the hub found a camping knife in the glove box.  i cleaned it off as best as i could and went to work.  he was pretty pleased with the bowl i handed him a few minutes later:


not too bad for having to improvise, right?  and it was really delicious.  the bean was happily devouring her crepe in the back seat, and saved me a piece.  those crepes aren't particularly pretty, so this is the only photo i took:


the charcuterie plates kept us happy long enough for the hub to get us to baker, where we made another stop at the old lady's request here:


along with our delicious gyros, she was super excited for one of their fresh strawberry shakes.


the hub finished before the rest of us and disappeared for a few minutes, coming back as we were cleaning up.  when we got back in the car, there was something new in the car, placed right between the old lady and me:


after all...it was mother's day.  and still the old lady's birthday weekend.  cheers!


we made one final stop before we got home...at eddie world again, so that the old lady and her special friend could check it out.


and as i went in for a potty break, i noticed for the first time the rather hilarious signage at the restrooms.  look at their little faces!  and the potty dance!


back in the car, everyone settled in for the rest of the drive home.



the hub made good time despite the traffic, pulling up at the house around 3 or so.  and then i remembered one last present for the old lady that i'd forgotten to bring - i'd ordered her these memory bracelets from an animal rescue organization that i'd found online.  every purchase of the little black bracelet on the bottom generates funds that are used to help pay for transportation of shelter animals who are in danger of being euthanized to areas where adoptable animals are in higher demand. 


i chose the one next to it in honor of our molly.  it provides a meal for seven shelter dogs in her honor.  there's a heart-shaped bead and a pawprint one, and the colored beads represent the rainbow bridge that she crossed when she passed from this life to the next.  i cried when i gave it to her, and it's even hard for me to type it out without tearing up. 

anyway, the one on top is for stevie.  it also provides meals for seven shelter dogs and i thought she would like to wear them all together.  she loved all of them, and has been wearing them every day since i gave them to her.

sorry if i bummed you out.  heh.

Friday, May 17, 2019

getting our midseason jamz on

so, back to comp day.  the bean had an appointment to have her coaches do her makeup for her late morning, and luckily it didn't take very long for her to be done.  i can never get the eyeshadow quite right on her, and so when they opened up appointments for makeup and hair i jumped on it. since we have one of those crazy teased cheerleader hairpieces, i figured i'd do her hair myself when it was closer to dropoff time.  the makeup is a smoky eye with winged liner:


we had several hours with her before she had to be back in the coach's suite, fully dressed and ready to perform, and so that's when we hit the strip for those yard o'margaritas and the m&m store.  she loves that place (and secretly - or not so secretly, i suppose, so do i).


while her sister and her special friend sipped on their margaritas, she posed for me with this:


upstairs, there's a whole section of the store where you can create some personalized m&ms.  they were pushing these pretty hard with mother's day the next day, and as much as i would've loved to get some m&ms with my kids' faces on them i couldn't bring myself to shell out $25 for 'em.



speaking of mother's day, the hub had taken care of ordering and sending a present to MIL while i decided to go the handmade route and put together a little care package for my mom that i mailed before we left.  her favorite color is purple, so i busted out half a dozen cookies:


and then i used some super soft fabric in a fun rainbow print to make her a little top she can wear through spring and summer.


so back to vegas - after the m&m store we snagged a refill for the old lady's margarita and then headed on back to the orleans so that we wouldn't be pressed for time.  as predicted, the bean's hair was super easy to do, and she was dressed and ready with a few minutes to spare.


i dropped her off with her teammates in the coach's suite and then met up with the old lady and her special friend with the intention of going downstairs to do a little slot machine-ing.  but since they were leaving to meet up with her dad and then coming back later to watch the awards ceremony, i figured it was probably better to head over to the box office and buy our tickets for the competition.  as we walked towards the arena, we came upon a photo op and the old lady took my phone and said "you two, do a trick or something."  not knowing what else to do, this is what we ended up with:


there were signs like this all down the hallway:


and when i stepped up to the desk to buy our tickets, i had some major sticker shock as we were charged a whopping $34.50 per person to get in the door.  holy cow.  i mean, they have us by the balls...that's what we're there for, so we're gonna pay whatever they charge, right?  but damn...i choked a little as i handed over payment for four tickets.  sheesh.

we'd timed it so that we arrived close to the time the girls were scheduled to hit the mats.  and as i looked around the arena, i noticed quite a difference between this competition and the last time we were in vegas for nationals.  this midseason competition is new, so it wasn't as crowded.  it was nice not to have to fight for seats, though, and then pretty soon it was time.

the girls nailed their routine and hit all of their stunts, and we were screaming and cheering and yelling encouragement from the floor.


i had my lucky shoes on - you know i wear these to every cheer competition.


the awards ceremony started a couple of hours later, not too long after the last team performed.  


unfortunately, the team had received a 5-point deduction for some sort of illegal cradle...something about how they did a half turn when they were only supposed to do a quarter turn.  this hurt their overall score in a huge way, and i was sad to find that my lucky shoes failed me for the first time as the team didn't place in the top three this time around.  as she tends to be, the bean was pretty matter-of-fact about the loss and didn't seem too terribly disappointed.  the coaches gathered the girls together for a final pep talk, congratulating them on nailing their routine and telling them how proud they were of them.  and then everyone went their separate ways.

we headed upstairs so that the bean could change and wash her face and take down her hair, and then we grabbed an uber that took us to top golf.  we ordered a bunch of food, including this sushi platter at the bean's request:


everyone had a great time hitting the golf balls, aiming for targets and trying to outscore each other.  the old lady beat us all, which was a fun surprise, and we had more fun than i'd thought we would.


and then the excitement and flurry of activity of the day finally hit her and we turned around to see the bean passed out on the couch.  heh.


when we got back to the hotel, i was surprised that the hub was also feeling pretty tired and decided to go to bed when the bean and i did.  so much for one final wild night in vegas.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

can't get enough of the vegas

okay, so vegas.  after enjoying a fun mimosa breakfast with some of my favorite mom friends, i headed home to throw some stuff into a bag and get on the road with the hub and the bean.  we'd originally planned to head out around 10, but as is our norm we didn't actually get out of the house until a full hour and change later.  oh well.


no vegas road trip is complete anymore without a pitstop at eddie world.  we picked up a few snacks and some water and got back on the road.  it was starting to get a little busier on the freeway, and we were trying to avoid sitting in too much traffic.


luckily we managed to make pretty good time, and decided to hit the strip and grab a late lunch before checking into the hotel.  we knew we could get something quick and super delicious at another favorite spot:  eataly at the park MGM.




the bean and i are always down for a plate o'prosciutto and burrata.  always.


and we split a nice, juicy ribeye that was perfectly seasoned.  so good.


once we'd devoured every bit of those plates o'meat, it was time to hop back into the car and head over to the good ol' orleans to check in and get the bean ready for the evening.  this cheer competition also included a fun "prom"-style gathering for all of the athletes, and the girls were excited to get all dressed up and do fun stuff together.  when we got there, the line at the registration desk was pretty similar to that of a ride at disneyland...super long, but moving along at a decent pace.


the hub checked in for both rooms, since the old lady and her special friend were arriving a little later that evening.  we were glad to see that their room was just across the hall from ours.  and then a glance at the clock told me that we needed to get moving, because we had just about half an hour to get the bean ready for prom.  so i busted out the curling iron and got to work.

do you know how hard it is to find an age appropriate prom-style dress for an 11-year-old who's not in girl sizes anymore?  everything is either way too low cut, super short, insanely tight or just really uncomfortable.  ugh.  we actually tried a couple of options before i finally gave up and decided to make her dress myself.  i asked her what she was hoping for, and when she said "something with sleeves, not too tight, round neck and a hi-lo hem" i was excited to find that i already had the perfect pattern to use.  she requested something in either a light blue or a mint green, and one trip to joann's yielded an aqua velvet with just enough stretch to make it work.  with a coupon it only cost about $20 to make this dress that she said was just what she wanted and was comfy to boot.  excellent.  we added one of my old stella & dot necklaces to jazz it up a little, pulled back the sides of her hair into two little braids and curled the rest and voila:


i took her upstairs to the coach's suite, where a few of the girls had already arrived and were giggling and chattering excitedly about each other's dresses.  they were all super cute, and i gave the bean a kiss and headed back downstairs to meet up with the hub.  we still needed to buy the old lady's birthday present, and so we headed out to the fashion show mall.

it didn't take us too long to pick out the present, and with more than an hour left to kill before picking the bean back up we decided to hang out at one of his favorite spots - the davidoff cigar lounge.  there were couches available on the patio, and it was a great spot to sit, sip a cocktail and do some peoplewatching.  because you know, there's nothing quite like peoplewatching in vegas, amirite?


while we were sitting there, i got this picture of the girls as they were preparing to walk the red carpet into prom:


we were to pick up our girls at 7:30 when prom ended and then meet up again in the lobby at 9 for their party bus ride down the strip.  she wasn't really hungry, so we headed up to the room to relax for a bit until it was time to go again.  the kids arrived just as we were getting ready to go down to the lobby, and then when the bean was settled with the team again we headed off in search of some food. we only had an hour, so we stayed at the orleans and hit up bailiwick, a pub-style restaurant with a live band.

we'd seen reuben eggrolls on some food network show, so we decided to try them out.  they were...eh.


the old lady went with the taco special, which she said was pretty tasty.


and i opted for the seafood roll sliders.  there was crab and shrimp in the buttered rolls, and they were surprisingly delicious despite the faces the hub made at them.


the bean came back a little after 10, and she was pretty tired.  and so while the hub took the kids out on the town, i went upstairs with her and ordered some room service while she got cleaned up and into her pajamas.  i think we were both knocked out somewhere around midnight.

not a bad way to close out our first day of our vegas weekend.
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