My Reasons

My Reasons

This Is Where It All Begins

This Is Where It All Begins

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

nationals day competition

After Mary took a little nap and we ate some lunch, we headed off with our group of 19, to go check out the famous Forth Worth Stockyards.

It was 100 degrees with 35% humidity, but we braved the heat, and it was worth it.

We had a blast! The stockyards were so cool!  It felt like being back in time in an old cowboy town.  Mary and I went in so many shops and looked at so many neat things.  We bought souvenirs for the kiddos at home, and Mary finally found a lasso that she was so determined to find.  She cracks me up!

We took a fun train ride with everyone as well.  It took us in to Dallas, and it was so fun to see that city again.  We really did love Dallas.
The train made me miss Luke terribly!  If we come next year, we will try to find a way to get the boys here.  They would have LOVED it!

view of downtown Dallas from the train

After the train ride, we did a lot more sightseeing, and sweating.  We could have stayed there all day, and we pretty much did!

After the stockyards, we drove over to the Dallas Cowboys stadium.  As I have said over and over again.  Everything really is BIG in Texas.  The size of the stadium was unbelievable!  It was so cool.  We just missed the tour by 20 minutes.  Rats!
the three kids that competed at Nationals

We went back to the hotel for a while, and everyone swam in the pool, while another kid from our group competed.  I seriously think I about got heat stroke out there, so I let everyone swim while I went back to the room and called home to check on my babies.  I was missing them so badly.
By the time everyone was back together again, and we found a restaurant that served 19 people on a Friday night, it was 10:00pm.  We thought we were going to die of starvation!
We were so hungry, that Mary and I finally tried sushi for the first time.  I thought it was OK, Mary gagged.  haha!
We got back to the hotel at midnight after dinner, and once again crashed in the bed eating oreos and watching teen Disney shows.

It was a HUGE day!!!

The next morning we were up at 6:00am to start the trek back home.  It was a little crazy finding the car rental return and navigating some confusing airports, but we felt like pros after the 4th airport of the trip.

No to mention the AMAZING cinnamon rolls at the Vegas airport, and some fun sculptures that we knew Sammy boy would love.

We did have one interesting experience in the Vegas airport at our layover. 
How could he not notice!  Good thing he got bored of whatever he was doing on his computer and moved 15 minutes later. I thought I was going to be stuck there for hours!

12 hours after we left Texas, we arrived home. 

What an amazing trip. 

Way to fly Mary girl!

nationals day 3 - competition day: the competition

Once I had found my seat, and finished praying and freaking out from our insane morning, I took time to look around.

Mary was right, the place was absolutely amazing!

It was huge, professional, clean, and perfect for a National competition.  The vibe in there was so cool!  You could tell that some serious competition and some amazing athletes were there.

Mary was in the first group competing for the day, so it was quiet, and just starting to fill up when I got there.  The judges were starting to take their seats, and the feeling was pretty intense.  It was so cool!

And then an announcer with a booming voice welcomed everyone to the National T&T Championships and told us to stand as the athletes came in.
Line by line they came in, proud, nervous and excited.  The second I saw my little Mary out there, on the big stage, the tears started flowing...again.

mary is on the bottom right of this picture, to the left of the lady standing in the audience.
After having the athletes salute the judges, and one of the most proud National Anthems I have ever heard and felt, the meet began.

meeting and saluting the judges

Mary is the little one in the middle of the bottom group
Mary looked so little out there, but she looked confident and sure.  I was so, so, so proud of her at that moment.

Immediately after the opening ceremony, it was down to business.

They each had two warm up passes, and that was it.
warm up run down the floor

I seriously felt like I was going to puke.  I was so nervous for Mary, and so excited, and so emotional.  I just kept on praying that Mary would be doing much better than I was.  I just prayed that she would be able to do passes that she could feel good about and not regret, regardless of the outcome.

She looked completely calm and collected.  Her warm up passes were pretty good, but definitely not what she needed to do for the real thing.  Good thing she was able to work out the kinks.

Then, the big moment arrived, and Mary was up next to do her first pass.  She glanced up at me quickly after her coach gave her some pointers.  I gave her the I Love You sign and a thumbs up.  She just smiled and stepped on to the floor.

She did a beautiful first pass!  She completely stuck the landing!  She broke into a big grin after her salute to the judges, and then stepped off the floor to talk with her coach.
She got a 55.6 which was lower than her normal scores, and was a little shocking, but still pretty good.  We are guessing it was because she was a tiny bit slow in her take off.

Her next pass came up really quickly.  This was going to be the big one.  If she could stick this one, she would have an amazing meet.

I could hardly watch, seriously.

She looked cool as a cucumber.  At one point, she was snapping her fingers to the song that was playing in the background, as she waited for her turn.  ha!

She zoned in right before her turn, and then she went for it.

I have never seen her do a better second pass. She completely stuck it.  It was unbelievable!!  She got 9.0's straight across the board! She got the 4th highest score of the meet with a 27.0   She and her coach were all grins.

It was all I could do not to jump up and down and scream and yell.  I just did some fist pumps and squealed a little.

Then,  I just packed up my stuff and walked over to the corner where Mary and her coach were, where they show the scores and placement on the big screen.  I give Mary the biggest hug I could, and told her how proud I was of her for doing this big meet, and for just going for it.

Mary ended up getting third place in her flight, and was awarded with a bronze medal.  Getting in the top 3 was so awesome! I was very proud of her!
Mary getting her flight medal

We still had to wait for 4 more flights of girls (about 10 girls in each flight) to finish, before we knew Mary's overall placement.  There were 58 girls in Mary's division, and Mary was the youngest.  She was also one of the few that had never done Nationals before.  We were just hoping for her to get in the top half.  We thought it would be amazing if she got in the top 20.

We went and got some smoothies (finally, breakfast!) while the next flight went, and when we came back down, we couldn't believe our eyes.  The screen that showed the top 8 (the girls that get on the podium) had Mary's name on it! She was in 5th place!  We about died!  Her coach was so excited for her!

We watched 2 more flights go, and Mary was holding 6th place.  She was in 6th place with one more flight left.  We were absolutely blown away.  If she could stay in the top 8, she could podium!

The last flight of girls all nailed their passes.  The girls were older and stronger, and it showed.  By the end of the last flight, Mary was in 11th place.

It was really hard to get a taste of the fact that she could have made the podium, and just missed 3/10 of a point.   It took a while for that to sink in and settle.  In reality, we didn't even let the podium cross our minds coming in to this meet.  We were just hoping for the top half. 
I could tell that Mary was really disappointed, and I felt for her.  She is just young enough, that it is really hard for her to understand the whole scope of a competition like this. didn't take long to realize that Mary had just taken 11th place out of 58 girls at her first National Championships...and she was the baby of the group!   It truly is astounding.  Her coach just kept saying that over and over again.

Mary was quiet, and definitely inside her head.  She had just done some amazing passes, and had stuck them, at a National Championship.  She had just taken 11th place out of 58 girls.  The whole thing was just so amazing...but only if you understand what it all means.

To Mary, in every meet she has ever done, 11th place is not the greatest thing.  How could we just expect her to understand and know that all of the sudden, it is amazing!  It was a difficult situation, and I yearned for Mary to understand and know how well she did, regardless of her placement (even though that was beyond what we had even hoped for).

We talked for a while, and I think it started to make sense to her.  She did seem to perk up, and as time went on, and we had more talks about it, she became more and more proud of herself for doing her best, and for doing as well as she did.

No one wanted to leave the Event Center.  It was hard to believe that it was done so quickly.  Mary told me that she wished she could do it over and over again.  She loved it!  It lit a fire in her to make it back next year, and her goal is to qualify in tumbling AND double mini.  I really think she can make it happen.

We left the Event Center, and the events of the morning came back to haunt me.  I hadn't taken time to notice which parking garage I was in, because I was in such a hurry.  We took poor Bev on quite the wild goose chase, trying to find the truck.  We did a LOT of walking.  We finally found the truck and got back to the hotel, and I had left my key in the room.  Doh!  So, Mary and Bev had to wait while I went to the office to get a new key.  During the meet, I couldn't text Bev and stay in contact, because my phone was dying, and I had forgotten my charger, as well as Mary's warm-ups, and Mary was freezing in the building.  She ended up wearing Bev's jacket.  I felt pretty cool.  geesh!

We crashed in our hotel room for a while.  Poor Mary completely zonked and was asleep in seconds.

I couldn't help but watch her sleep and think about the amazing thing she had just done.  More than that, I just felt so grateful that the sweet, special  little girl in that bed was mine, come what may. 3 competition day: arriving

Friday morning, the day that Mary competed, we woke up to a loud knock on our hotel door.

It was Mary's coach, and she was coming to pick up Mary to take her to the Event's Center.

I flew out of bed with the horrible realization that

(insert scene from Home Alone where parents wake up in a panic from sleeping in)

I had set my alarm the night before, but I didn't realize that I had set it to go off on three days of the week.  Friday was not one of those days.

I threw the door open, and in a complete panic told Mary's coach that we slept in.

Her face said it all.

Shock, mixed with disbelief, mixed with complete panic, mixed with even more shock.

We were supposed to have been up an hour earlier, eaten breakfast, had Mary's hair done up, had her leotard and warm-ups on, and have time for her to mentally prepare, before her coach came to get her.


Mary threw on her leotard while I was frantically throwing her hair on her head and feeling so upset that we would not be able to do her cute hair do that she had all planned out.

While I was getting Mary's hair done, and Mary was trying to pull herself together, her coach was following us around trying to tell me how to get there, where I had to meet them, how I could get in, and all of the details that were extremely important, but that I was to panicked to hear. 

There was no time for breakfast, or a pep talk, or even for Mary to get her warm-ups.  I just gave her a fast hug and a kiss on the head as she ran out the door with her coach.

The door shut behind them, as I was frantically throwing clothes on and trying to do my makeup and hair.  I am sure I looked like a complete wreck, but I did what I could do in 5 minutes and flew out the door...leaving my hotel keys, Mary's warm-ups, my directions, my phone charger, and most of my mind behind.

I pretty much shouted to Siri into my phone to take me to the Events Center...NOW!  She casually took her time finding the place, and calmly told me where to go.  I felt like stabbing her eyes out, if she had any.

I peeled out of the parking lot, and drove like a mad circles.  Oh yes, Siri took me everywhere BUT the Events Center. 

By the 5th U-Turn I was crying, praying, shaking, and yelling at Siri.  I finally called Mary's coach, and by some miracle she answered and told me how to get there, and told me to hurry.  Believe me Bev...I was hurrying.

I finally found the event center, and then realized that I was going to have to find parking in downtown Fort Worth.  I literally hit my head on the steering wheel, and while I was there, I prayed for help.

I lifted my head up, and seriously, right smack in front of me was a sign pointing to the parking garage!  I flew into the parking garage, and by some miracle I was able to back in to a parking spot with the big, huge, Texas, pick up truck.  I didn't have time to wait for the elevator, so I sprinted down three flights of stairs, across the street and over to the building, where I was told to go around to the other side.  I sprinted to the other side, and to my horror, the line of people waiting to get in stretched around the building.  Then I remembered that Bev, Mary's coach, had given me a coaches pass, and it was hanging around my neck.  I took off at a dead sprint to the side doors, blew past a security guard holding my badge, and into the building.

I had made it!

I was a complete wreck in every way, but I had made it...with 3 minutes to spare.  I spent those three minutes praying and praying and praying that somehow Mary would be able to feel comfortable, calm and collected after our crazy, rushed morning, and that no matter what happened, she would feel confident and happy about how she did that day.  I immediately felt a huge rush of peace wave over me and knew that Mary was, and would be,  just fine.

God is good. 2

We went to bed a little after 2:00am, and my alarm went off at 7:00.

I felt terrible waking Mary up to get her ready for her practice.  She was a great sport though, and she was pretty excited to see the Convention Center and the set up where she would be competing. 

We got some breakfast, she got her practice leotard on (which is so cute, I didn't get a picture, but I will soon), and we got her hair up.  They have to have their hair up off their neck when they compete, and apparently, at the warm up session as well, for Nationals.

I wasn't able to go in to the building for the practice, so Mary's coach stopped by our room (they were in the same hotel, just a few rooms down), grabbed Mary, and they were on their way.

It was pretty crazy for me to watch Mary walk down the hall with her coach.  I am used to being the one to take Mary around for her meets, and to give her the little pep talks and extra hugs when she is nervous.  I felt pretty helpless, but I also realized how important it is that I have a great relationship with her coach, which thankfully, I do.  I had to completely entrust her with Mary, during her most nervous and emotional times, as far as competing goes.  That is a big deal for a parent to trust someone with.  It was really hard for me, but Mary seemed to do great, and was comfortable. 

While Mary was gone, I found a work out room, and tried to get in a decent work-out on some seriously ghetto equipment.

When Mary came back, her eyes were huge, and she was grinning.  She just kept saying how cool the place was, and how neat it felt, and how BIG everything looked and felt.  She was so excited.  It was really cute.

We got changed, and then headed out with her coaches and the other athletes competing, to do some sight seeing.

We spent almost all day touring downtown Dallas.  It was so flipping hot we were all just pouring sweat the whole time, but it was so awesome there, that it was worth it.

I totally fell in love with Dallas.  It is such a cool, clean, pretty, big city.  Everything was just so big...seriously!  Not only big, but just so cool.  Every building had it's own unique architecture and there were trees and rivers and just amazing things everywhere you looked.

We started walking toward a Hard Rock CafĂ©, and we were all starving, so Mary and I got all excited to eat there.  Instead, we turned right, and our group walked right in to Hooters!!!   Mary and just stared at eachother, and then at the restaurant, and then at eachother again.  I didn't know what to do!!!

I still don't know if I made the right choice, but I told Mary to just talk to her friends, eat food, and watch the TV's.  I told her NOT to look too long at the servers, or at what they were (or were not) wearing.  I also gave her a quick 2 minute talk about modesty and respecting her body and others.

So, there we were, eating lunch at Hooters, in downtown Dallas, Texas. 

I admit, the food was really, really good, and we were with great people.  There was also diving on TV, which is kind of like a sister sport to power tumbling, so we were all completely into it.  It really was fine, aside from what our server was wearing, but she only came by when she had to, and it was all good.

Good grief.

After our interesting, but tasty lunch, and drinking about a gallon of water, we headed back out to the oven.

We did a tour of the "6th Floor Building."  It is the building where the shooter was when he shot and killed JFK.  The tour was totally fascinating!  They had pictures, audio recordings, and lots of neat details about JFK, his presidency, and his assassination.
The tour was in that red building.  The shooter shot from the top right window.
The view from the window.  JFK's car was right where that taxi is, when he was shot.
Mary was completely fascinated with the whole thing, and she learned a lot.

After the tour, we walked all over downtown, and seriously sweated to death.  Luckily, we found a little water feature, and the kids went nuts over it.

The kids lying down on the water pipes, waiting to get soaked.
We searched all over for an ice cream shop, and when we finally found one, it was closed.  Mary was pretty sad. Can you blame her...look at all of those treats!!!

Everything is big in Texas

 We finally did find an ice cream shop that was similar to Cold Stone, and it was heavenly!!!

After ice cream, it was back to the hotel for swimming and pizza.

We called it a night around 9:30 after Mary's coach insisted that Mary get straight to bed.  We read scriptures, said our prayers, and watched Disney Teen shows and ate Oreos and Milanos in our big comfy bed until we fell asleep.

It was a great day in Texas!