Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Selfies in Sacramento

Travel meets are about more than just gymnastics.  We get to see new places and make memories while having so much stinkin' fun!  This gymnastics season started in Sacramento, California.

We had a day to kill before competitions began, so we decided to visit Old Sacramento.  With its cobblestone streets, river boat, horse-drawn carriages, school house and endless historic buildings turned delightful shops, we knew we'd have no problem spending the day there.

I did a terrible job as photographer, only having my cell phone to use for pictures--and I don't think my phone takes good pictures at all!--so I borrowed these photos of Old Sacramento from the internet:

The girls had a blast shopping around and being silly.

But it was in the very first shop we entered that we found the item that would define the memories of this trip: the selfie stick.  If you're looking for the perfect gift for a teenage girl, let me recommend this little gadget.  Hours and hours of endless fun, I tell you.

Here they are trying it out for the first time:

And then...well, the selfies on a stick happened over and over again, all weekend long.

Alyssa was even willing to part with $10 of her own money to buy her selfie stick.  If you know her and her tight-fisted ways, then you know this was a purchase she must have really wanted.  She got her money's worth, that's for sure!

After being in that first shop for quite some time, we made our way to an enormous candy store.  I noticed that we'd lost Jon along the way.  When he met up with us later I asked where he'd been.

"Well, I set a new record for Pac Man," he replied.

He'd found an old time arcade with all the video games of our youth.  He went back later to set a new high score for Pole Position, too.

The girls put the selfie stick down long enough to swing on the swings at the historic schoolhouse.

That evening I did meet hair, lots and lots of meet hair--my own two plus three others.  While I was braiding, putting in curlers and coating the hotel lobby with a thick layer of hairspray, the girls were playing with teammates and taking more selfies.

Saturday was competition day.  Natalie and Alyssa competed on different floors but in sessions that started at the exact same time.  That made it stressful and tricky for their spectator-parents, but we managed just fine. 

Both girls have some kinks to work out as the season goes on, but both did respectably.  Alyssa placed fourth on beam with a fall on her new series and fifth on floor.  Natalie earned a gold medal for her first place vault!  (All of their routines can be viewed on my YouTube channel.)

These little teammates are just the cutest:

We attended a very nice sacrament meeting Sunday morning and then visited the Sacramento temple before flying home.

 We had to try the selfie stick at the temple:

Caleb held down the fort all on his own for a couple of days and then Grandma and Grandpa came to help him cheer on the Seahawks and take him to church.  We definitely miss him when he's not with us.  I'm not so sure the sentiment is mutual.

Sacramento was sure a fun way to kick of this meet season.

And I see many more selfies in our future...

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas 2014

Being the traditionalist that I am, this Christmas was pretty much like all the rest.  One major difference, however, was that Grandma and Grandpa Hatch celebrated with us for the first time ever!  We missed Grandma and Grandpa Seely, who celebrated with Great Grandma Burke in California, but we had a great holiday. 

Grandma and Grandpa Seely arrived on Saturday to watch Alyssa compete in a practice meet.  They went to church with us the next day and Grandma even sang in the choir with me.  They flew to California on Monday morning.

Here is our family the Sunday before Christmas:

Grandma and Grandpa Hatch arrived on Tuesday.  On Wednesday, Christmas Eve, it was time to get the festivities started.  Eating crazy amounts of food is always part of celebrating Christmas.  Here is our Christmas Eve spread:

Natalie requested her favorite: boneless buffalo wings.

The kids have fun with our Italian soda tradition.

 Look at these happy Christmas faces:

Natalie couldn't wait to open her Christmas pajamas.

Then it was on to our Nativity program.

 Once the children were nestled all snug in their beds, Santa came.

At 5:00 a.m., Jon startled me awake by saying, "Tara, what is that?!" As I came to, I could indeed hear "O Little Town of Bethlehem" blaring through the house.  After a few seconds I recognized it to be our Nativity music that had spontaneously and inexplicably turned on.  Remember the ghost in our house?  This was our ghost of Christmas morning, I guess.  By the time Jon could get to it to turn it off, it had moved on to "Away in a Manger."

Grandpa later said that when he heard the music, he just assumed that's how we woke the house up for Christmas morning.  Oh no, Grandpa, we're sleepers at our house!  We make no habit of playing music at 5:00 a.m.!  We thankfully all went back to sleep--except for Grandpa--and it was at least 9:00 before the kids stirred.  We had our usual Christmas breakfast and then could hold Natalie back from the presents no longer.

The Childers family gave Grandpa heads for his toothbrush.  He says these replacements should last him until he dies.

Grandma got a neck massager:

Mittens from Great Grandma:

Grandma Hatch made BYU pajama pants for all of her grandkids.

I got two of the exact same puzzle.  Oh I do love puzzles!

Grandpa got new belts from Sarah and then promptly took his old one off, demonstrating that it is split down the middle and he may have actually admitted that he needed a new one--something he doesn't do very often.

Caleb had asked for cash so I made him a money tree.  He loved it!

We all enjoyed reading the reunion book that Lucy made for everyone:

We went to the movies and then finished our day with a traditional Christmas dinner.

Then I declared that I was officially done baking and cooking and went to work on my new Christmas puzzles.

It was a very Merry Christmas!