Friday, January 31, 2020

'cuz you gotta have faith

cheer competitions always hire professional photographers who get shots right up on stage from different angles and then you can buy the photos on a flash drive.  they're not cheap, because nothing is, and so most teams usually just buy the drive and split the cost amongst the parents who want copies of the pictures.  

i was a little bummed as i scoured through the photos from this last competition because since the bean is mostly in the back this year, there were only a few shots that i could actually see her in.  i could see a glimpse of her, but most of those pictures either didn't show her face or were out of focus.  bummer.

at least they take great group shots - including silly faces.  she's in the back row, second from the left.



and these are the best action shots of her i could find out of the whole set.



their uniforms are really cute, and she loves that they aren't doing those crazy teased ponytails anymore.  those french braids are much easier, and she's extra excited not to have to sport the heavy hairpiece anymore.  we've got a couple more competitions coming up and they're reconfiguring the routine so i'm hopeful that maybe she'll be a little more visible next time around.

i gotta admit though...i miss the big ass cheer bows.  heh.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

a win is a win, amirite?

on competition day, the bean didn't have to report to the coach's suite at the orleans until 3:30 in the afternoon.  they weren't performing until just before 8 that night, so we were able to sleep in and enjoy the day together along with MIL.  we picked them up and then headed out to find some breakfast somewhere away from the strip.

after a yelp search and some fairly confusing directions from siri, we finally made it to lulu's bread and breakfast.  it's located in the back room of a pizza parlor, which is a little confusing if you don't read the very helpful yelp reviews first.  and i didn't actually take a lot of pictures of the place, but it was pretty basic.


my caramel macchiato came with a generous helping of whipped cream.


along with her breakfast sandwich, the bean thoroughly enjoyed a freshly baked nutella-filled croissant.


both the hub and MIL opted for the breakfast burrito sans tortilla, so it looked like this:


and then we decided to head out a little further away, taking a really lovely drive out to mt. charleston.




we debated grabbing a seat in the little restaurant for some hot chocolate (it was pretty chilly up there), but we were all still pretty full from breakfast and so we skipped it.


just down the street we found a spot that was quiet enough to stop and let the bean get in some snow play.



 the hub decided to hop out and join them.


and because i hadn't known that we'd end up going to the snow (because that's not really something i'd normally associate with a vegas trip) and i had my lucky comp shoes on, i stayed in the car.


that's okay.  i was perfectly fine staying back and taking pictures.


they all scurried back and the bean and MIL turned on their seat heaters to dry off their wet butts.  pretty soon the mountains and snow were just a memory, fading away in the rearview mirror.


by then, it was time to head back to the orleans, grab the bean's comp backpack and head upstairs to drop her off with the coaches for hair and makeup.


with nothing but time on our hands, the three of us headed over to caesar's palace - the hub to relax at the casa fuente cigar lounge while MIL and i got our steps in walking around the forum shops.


when it was time to return to the orleans, we made our way straight up to the arena to buy our tickets and find seats inside the venue.  our timing was pretty good, because although we'd arrived a good hour before the team was scheduled to perform the arena was filling up pretty rapidly.  we secured some fairly decent seats and settled in to watch the various teams do their thing.


as i usually do, i made my way down to the floor when it was time for the bean's team to perform.  they started out looking great, but then disaster struck and we cringed as we watched at least one stunt didn't hit, almost dropping their flyer to the ground.  they recovered quickly, but they were all visibly shaken as they went through the rest of the routine.  it was pretty rough, and i knew the bean would be upset at the fumble.  but with only one other team in their division, they still had a shot at defending their title.

the hub found her upstairs when it was over, and i was fairly surprised to see her in good spirits and really not upset at all.  she had to sit with her team down on the floor, but she had her phone on her and so i was able to trade some texts with her to see how she was feeling.  she reported that a lot of the girls had been pretty nervous backstage, with more than one sporting a busted lip from practice and at least one or two barfing from the anxiety.  she said there was a lot of crying, but she was pretty matter-of-fact and figured that what was done was done and there was nothing that could be done about it.

when it was time for the awards ceremony, it was kicked off with a pretty splashy musical routine by the jamz staff and someone who'd been an american idol contestant.  i think she performed here a couple of years ago, too.


there were so many other divisions before the bean's that a good portion of the audience in the arena had cleared out by the time their results were read.  and so we made our way down to the floor and found seats right behind the coaches so that we could all be together to hear how they'd fared.  in all honestly, i really thought it was going to take a miracle...and then i was proven wrong.  the hub and i sat in shock for a second or two before erupting in cheers and screaming our heads off at the win that we really didn't think was going to happen.


once the girls received their medals and jackets, we all headed out of the arena to congratulate them all and take pictures before dropping the girls off in the front lobby for their annual celebratory ride down the strip in a party bus.



the championship jackets had been completely redesigned this year, so we were extra excited for the girls to take them home.


we grabbed some dinner in the hotel while they were gone, and the coach posted this picture as we were eating.


 check it out - three years of performing at nationals, three jackets earned.


she was feeling a little conflicted about winning that title, but i tried to boost her spirits.  i told her that their performance may not have been perfect - but they'd put in hours and hours of practice and went at it hard on the mat.  i'm not sure i convinced her, but she was pretty exhausted and happily fell into bed as soon as we cleaned off the makeup and undid those braids.

and now they're working on updating the routine for the next competition in phoenix over valentine's day weekend.  there's always room for improvement, and now they're working to earn a bid for competition at disney world in march.  let's do this, girls.  mama wants to go to florida!  heh.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

heading to the vegas for some jamz

okay, onto lighter topics.  i'm still really upset, but i've gotta shift to happier thoughts.  and there were lots of happy things last weekend to share, so there you go.

it was jamz nationals weekend in las vegas, and with the bean's team scheduled to perform on friday night we headed out on thursday afternoon to get checked in and settled for the hustle and bustle that always goes along with comp weekends.  it just so happened to be parent-teacher conference time, which had the bean at school for just a half day on thursday and off on friday.  couldn't have worked out any better than that, yeah?


of course, a stop at eddie world is a requirement on any road trip to vegas.


and of course, i fell asleep pretty hard about halfway through the drive.  you know i can't be in a moving vehicle without passing out at some point.  and when i finally came to, we were here:


we were keeping a pretty fun surprise from the bean - MIL was in town to help her brother with some things, but because he lives about an hour and a half away she'd been staying in a hotel nearby instead of with us like she usually does.  anyway, she wasn't able to wrap things up in time for us to pick her up on the way but had managed to book a flight that would get her to vegas by 7pm.  we'd decided to put the two of them in the room we had reserved at the orleans - not our favorite spot in vegas, but the most convenient for jamz weekend - while we booked a room for us at the nearby palms.  we headed to the orleans first to get checked in and take bags into the room.  and because it was thursday, the line at the registration counter was practically non-existent.



once we got everything settled in there, we went back downstairs to hop into the car and drive over to the palms and check in.  we found that our friends were parked right next to us:


when we pulled into the palms, the bean took one look and was all "WHAT this hotel is so much nicer, can't we all just stay here??"  heh.



apparently, billy idol is back?


the room itself was pretty nice.  a lot brighter than the orleans, for sure.



by then it was time to head to the airport and pick up MIL, who was really excited to be able to come and spend some time with us and see the bean perform at competition.  the hub had let it slip just a few hours earlier, so the bean already knew she was coming but was no less stoked to be with her beloved grandma.  and everyone was hungry, so we headed over to our favorite spot for some dinner - eataly, at the park MGM.



we dropped them off at the orleans afterwards, because they were both a little tired (although i also think they just wanted to have some bonding time together).  the hub and i headed over to the fashion show mall to hang out at the davidoff cigar lounge for a couple of hours.  the hub is a regular there, and the server recognized us both and welcomed us with smiles and hugs as we found a great spot on the patio.  we relaxed there for a while, as the hub enjoyed his cigar and i had a margarita, and then we returned to the palms to play some slots before going back upstairs and passing out cold.

party animals, we are.  heh.

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