Wednesday, January 30, 2019

you win some, you lose some

the bean's other team was in the afternoon/evening session of competition.  after team trust's triumphant win, she and her team headed back up to the coach's suite to have some bonding time while the hub, MIL and i decided to go back out to the strip.  they weren't scheduled to hit the mats until about 8:45, which gave us an ample amount of time to get ourselves into some trouble.

we decided to head over to the fashion show mall, where the hub could relax a bit at the cigar bar while MIL and i browsed through the shops and looked at a bunch of pricey designer stuff.  well, she was more focused on getting some steps in while i gazed longingly at the displays of red bottomed shoes and quilted handbags with chain straps and fabulous costume jewelry.  heh.  and when we'd finished walking every inch of the mall, we joined the hub in the lounge and chatted for awhile about all sorts of stuff before going out to walk the strip.

we ended up across the street at the wynn hotel.  they have lots of beautiful, colorful floral displays up that were fun to look at (along with the hordes of folks trying to get selfies for the 'gram).



hi, chanel store!  when i hit the lottery i'll come back and buy lots of things from you!


the hub managed to get MIL to sit down at one of the wheel of fortune machines to try her luck at the slots.  from what i could tell, she'd never done any sort of gambling before, so when she got to hit the "spin" button a couple of times it was fun to watch her reactions to it all.  she ended up ahead by almost $250, and she was a happy camper.


when we got back to the orleans arena, we snagged some pretty sweet seats thanks to one of my cheer mom friends.  we sat there for awhile watching other teams perform their hearts out, and then we scampered back down to the VIP area when team "believe" took the stage.

they absolutely nailed their routine.  you'd never know they'd been struggling during practice over the last couple of weeks.







when they were done, the hub and i went down onto the floor seats to sit with our cheer BFFs and the coaches.  it was funny to watch the hub bonding with the dads, laughing and dancing and joking around, and everyone was having fun and excited for the awards ceremony to begin.


unfortunately, when our division was called we learned that believe, our defending champions, had somehow been scored really low and took third place.  i know you can't win 'em all, but honestly, as the announcement was made we all stood there in a state of shock.  they'd nailed their routine and had had zero deductions from their score, and along with a couple of other parents and coaches from other teams we thought they would place higher than that.  it was a blow to all of us, but we tried our hardest to remind the girls that they'd performed their hearts out, killed their routine, did everything they were supposed to and that we were extremely proud of them no matter what.  the bean took it all in stride, just happy to have it all done, and still nursing her lip that seemed to be swelling up before our very eyes.  she hugged her coaches and her teammates and then we made our way upstairs to get her out of her uniform and headpiece and unwind from the long day.

in the end, it was one hell of a weekend for one dream cheer.  out of their five teams, three took home national championship jackets and the other two placed in the top 3 of their divisions.  i'd say that's pretty damn good, and now we're back home and focusing on taking their routines up another notch for our last competition of the season.  state championships are in two weeks, and everyone's ready to give it their all one more time and see if they can earn championship rings.

look out, bakersfield.  we're coming for ya.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

have a little "trust"

the alarm went off the next morning all too soon.  well, i'm lying.  i actually woke up a solid hour before it was set to go off, which usually happens when the day promises to be big and exciting.  as i got up and got myself ready, i wondered how the bean was doing down the hall a few rooms away.

when i got there, i was amused to find that she'd chosen the hawaiian breakfast from the room service menu:


they had a call time of 7:30 in the coach's suite, and we'd been instructed to have the girls fully dressed in their uniforms with hair competition ready.  the coaches would do their makeup, which really took a load off of me.  i think i do a fairly decent job of replicating the look they want, but if the coaches are willing to do it for us i'm not gonna turn down the offer.  and so we hopped into the elevator at about 7:25, excited and anxious for what was to come.


the girls were going to have a party in the suite as they all got their faces done and hung out together, laughing and chatting and bonding as a team.  before i left, i got her to stop and pose for me:


and when i left, i headed straight over to the box office at the arena to buy our tickets for the day so that we'd already have them in hand when it was time to find seats and watch our girls perform.  on my way i had to stop for a quick photo op.


i'd timed it pretty well and didn't wait too long in line to buy our tickets.



i went back upstairs, where the hub was still blissfully snoozing away.  we had several hours to hang out before the girls hit the stage around 11:45, and after he got up and showered and everything we grabbed MIL from her room and hopped into the car to find some starbucks.  on our way back to the orleans i got this from my team mom buddy.


while the bean looked excited and ready in the picture, my friend reported that she'd suffered a slight injury during warm-ups.  as they practiced their stunts, the bean's flyer somehow managed to fall backwards onto her face, causing her braces to cut her lip and make her bleed.  i asked her if she cried, and she said that she had but pulled herself together pretty quickly and was okay.  i know my kid, though - she really tries her hardest to be a tough cookie and not draw attention to herself if she gets hurt, and so hearing that she cried got me a little worried.  my friend assured me that she was okay and ready to perform, and we sent her this along with some encouraging words just before it was their turn to hit the mat.


i was wearing my lucky shoes - chucks with silver sequins that i'd worn last year.


and then the announcer came out and introduced them while we scampered down onto the floor into the VIP area in front of the stage, and it was showtime.



team "trust" was the first of her two teams to go on, and i was particularly excited for this routine because for the dance portion at the end my girl is featured front and center.  she'd earned the spot during a dance-off they'd done during practice a few weeks ago, and i was so proud as i watched her do her thing up there.







we had a good hour or so before we were due back in the arena for the awards ceremony, and went out to scoop up the bean for some lunch.  she burst into tears when she saw us waiting for her, and was in a good bit of pain from her injury.  i felt terrible as i saw it, because it really did look like it hurt like hell.  but we all told her how proud we were of how they'd all nailed their routine and how she'd sucked it up and went out there and performed like nothing was wrong.


we went to joe's at the forum shops at caesar's palace and picked up some delicious grub.  this was my crab roll that i basically inhaled because i had to get her back into the arena to join the rest of her team as they waited for the awards to be handed out.


we sat together for a few minutes, and she begrudgingly allowed me one selfie.


when she scooted up a few rows to sit with her teammates i met up with the hub and MIL, who'd stopped at the merchandise table to pick up a couple of things at my request.  i typically try not to buy stuff like this, because god knows the bean has enough stuffed animals.  but today was an exception because 1. i knew she'd love it and 2. i was looking for any way possible to cheer her up and take her mind off of how much her lip hurt.


it worked (although i think spending some time with her cheer BFFs as they danced and giggled together helped too).


it was finally time for the awards to begin, and i don't remember her name anymore but there was an "american idol" contestant there who sang a couple of songs and got the crowd all pumped up.  the streamers and confetti guns were a nice touch.


the announcer explained that there were 19 divisions during that first session of the day, and he would announce the top 3 out of each one including the first place winners.  he rolled right through a bunch of national championship announcements before he finally got to our division, and i think we all held our breath as the 3rd place team was announced.  the second place runner-up was next, and then he said the words we were all waiting for...our girls had taken the top spot.  they ran excitedly up to the stage, where they received their medals and posed for a photo.



they disappeared backstage, where i knew they were happily accepting their championship jackets, and then we all met up with them at the top of the arena.



one down, one to go!

Monday, January 28, 2019

on the eve of nationals

the weekend that the bean had been both dreading and looking forward to was finally upon us - jamz nationals in vegas.  even though this is her second go-round at nationals, she was still feeling really nervous and anxious about it despite our reassurances that she was going to do a great job.  the girls were scheduled to board a party bus that would take them to the "welcome to las vegas" sign while they had a dance party onboard before being dropped off at a local cheer gym for practice on friday.  it just so happened to be parent-teacher conference week at school, which meant that she actually had the day off and wouldn't miss any instructional time.  perfect.

with the meet time set for 10:45 on friday morning, we were packed up and making our way up the 15 freeway by 7am.


the drive to vegas is usually pretty long and boring, and this time was no exception.  the nice part was that it was so early that we didn't hit any traffic, with wide open roads the whole way.


although we'd sworn last year that we'd stay at a nicer hotel next time, we ended up staying at the orleans hotel because it was just easier to be on the same property as the arena for the competition.  and we pulled in with about ten minutes to spare, finding a big group of the girls and their parents already congregated near the front desk.  the bean was excited to see her cheer sister, who gave her a big hug right away.


and then it was time to say goodbye for a few hours while she went off for some kid-friendly fun before cheer practice.


the hub got us all checked in, and we headed upstairs to put our luggage in the room before heading out for a few hours of "us" time.  our room was nicer this year than i remembered it to be last year, with a view of the pool that's currently closed for the season.



on our way out, we stopped in the "high limits" slot machine area to try our luck.  the hub stuck a bill into one of the $5 wheel of fortune machines, and while i'm usually more of a quarter slots kinda girl, i figured it was worth a shot.  and as luck would have it, on my second try i got to spin the wheel...and it stopped here:


i went a couple more times before i decided to cash out.  not bad for 5 minutes of play, right??


we headed over to the new park MGM, which had previously been our old standby, the monte carlo.  that was the first trip we ever took together, so it brought back some pretty fun old memories for me.  they recently opened the vegas version of eataly just a couple of weeks ago, and that's where we decided to stop for some snacks.



 when i saw this, i knew we had to bring the bean back here later.


speaking of the bean...can you spot her in this picture?


before we knew it, it was time to pick her up from the cheer gym.  we knew she'd be hungry, and the hub decided to bring us back to the park MGM.  he dropped us off while he went to park the car, and on our way to the restaurant we saw this:


she cracks me up.

she was pretty excited to see that we were having sushi.


and she thought the way they folded their napkins was really cute.


i can't resist a good brussels sprout appetizer, and this one was really good - roasted and served with a really tasty honey-based sauce.


she was super stoked at the sight of this being brought to the table.


while the hub went off to pick up MIL at the airport - which was a surprise for the bean - she and i walked into the new york, new york hotel to pay the hershey store a visit.




we had fun walking through the whole store and checking out all of the goodies.






this statue of liberty is made completely of hershey's chocolate.


the bakery cases were full of all sorts of deliciousness that we somehow managed to stay away from aside from taking these pictures.






 but we didn't leave completely empty-handed.



this store looked like fun, and it was.


we had so much fun looking at all of the silly novelties in there.




while we were in there, the hub called to let me know that he'd picked up MIL and they were just down the street.  we went back to the spot where he'd dropped us off, and it was so much fun to see and hear her excitement when she opened the door and saw her beloved grandma sitting in the car waiting for her.  we headed back to the orleans to drop off her luggage, and while we relaxed in our rooms for a bit the old lady facetimed me with molly.


we caught a taxi that took us back to the strip for dinner, and with the crazy traffic we decided to save ourselves some time (and cab fare) and had him drop us off across the street from where we were going.



why yes, we did indeed go to eataly twice in one day.  we sure did.


the bean was stoked to have some prosciutto and burrata.


MIL opted for the rotisserie chicken with some brussels sprouts on the side.


the bean and i shared a huge porterhouse steak:


and the hub had a steak of his own, and brought us a plate of carpaccio to round out our meatfest.


the bean did have a nutella crepe for dessert, but i didn't bother to take a picture of it because while it was delicious, it wasn't very pretty.  heh.

she was so excited when she realized that she and MIL were sharing their own room, and with an early call time and a super long day of competition, they called it a night around 9:30.  the hub and i were ready for some fun, and caught an uber that took us to caesar's palace.  we hung out at the montecristo cigar bar, where we enjoyed some adult beverages, the hub had a cigar and we both played some video poker.


knowing that i had to have the bean ready and up in the coach's suite by 7:30 the next morning, we ended up back in our room before midnight.  long day, but full of fun and anticipation for what the weekend would bring.  ah, how i love the vegas.
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