Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Birthday Raincheck

Because we were in Spokane for her state meet, Natalie missed Emma's birthday party.  This was actually the second year in a row that her state meet caused this conflict.  These two share all of life's milestones so missing a birthday just doesn't feel right.  Last year, Natalie got a private redo of Emma's party.  This year we planned a special birthday outing to celebrate.

First, they got their nails done:

Then they got lollipops and cake pops:

Then, the next day, I took the girls for some self-serve frozen yogurt.  They had both received gift certificates to our local yogurt shop for their birthdays.

Natty said, "It's the best day of my life two days in a row!"

Yeah, outings with Emma are kinda like that.  Like the best days of her life.

Happy Birthday, Emma!  We love you.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


It wasn't exactly the happy ending we had imagined.  A rather disappointing postseason brought Natalie's otherwise successful level five season to a close.  You win some and you lose some; it's not the end of the world.  But it may well be a turning point.

Several weeks ago, Natalie suffered a minor injury to her sternum that left her feeling major pain.  It was particularly painful on bars and nearly kept her from participating in her sectionals meet.  But we enlisted the prayers of our family and friends and after receiving a priesthood blessing, she was able to compete at sectionals (She placed 10th) and qualify for state.

Natalie and buddy, Morgan, anxiously awaiting the announcement of the state qualifiers.

The injury healed fully but something in Natalie still seemed off.  Whether it was a lack of focus, determination and/or drive we can't be sure.  But it felt like just as her teammates were hitting their stride, Natty was hitting the skids.  She once had to stay late at practice because her coaches just weren't seeing what they wanted out of her floor routine.

Her first and only fall of the season--on her cartwheel on beam--at the state meet only added to the disappointment.  It was difficult to watch her fall below other competitors that she'd been outscoring all season.  It just wasn't how the state meet--the biggest meet of the year--was supposed to go.  And she knew it.  Which is why she melted into a puddle of tears as soon as it was over.

So here we stand at a fork in the road.  Is her heart still in it?  Is it just too demanding of a sport that requires more hard work than she's willing to give?  Or will this setback only motivate her to refocus and rededicate herself to overcoming obstacles?  She really could be great.  But she has to want it.

Teammates: Carly, Morgan and Natty

Whatever her decision, we are very proud of Nat.  She has had many great reasons to celebrate this season--like two first place finishes!  And her team ended up being the state championship team!  It was crazy, really.  A deja vu of Alyssa's state meet.  Her team ended up tying for first and although AGC would've won the tie breaker, our gym's owner decided to share the state title--the exact rare and unlikely scenario that happened with Alyssa's level 8 team this year.

(I'll insert a picture of the state championship team here as soon as I receive a copy of one from a friend.)

Congrats on a great season, Nat.  Even if the postseason wasn't what we thought it would be, we still think you are pretty darn amazing.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Regionals 2013

 It really was quite the weekend.  Natalie's baptism one day, Alyssa's Regionals competition the next.

In preparation, each member of their team got a new workout leo.  Alyssa's had her eye on one of these since we first came to the gym a year ago.  It's tradition--even a right of passage--for regional qualifiers to be given a new AGC workout leo.  She wore it proudly on the last day of training before this, her last competition of the season.

Auburn Gymnastics Center Level 8 Team:

L to Rt: Clare, Gabby, Emma, Maison, Beth, Ali, Alyssa, Kati, Maddi, Trinity and Karlei

We love these girls.  They are crazy talented.  They work hard but they know how to have fun, too.  They are the best of friends and wonderfully supportive of one another.  There's a special sense of belonging that comes from being a part of this cohesive team that we had not previously experienced in Alyssa's gymnastics career.  How blessed we feel to have been a part of it this season!

Alyssa had quite the fan club at her meet.  Both sets of grandparents, Chad, Amy, Maureen and Sarah all joined our family in cheering her on.  And she did not disappoint. (I just regret not getting a picture of the fan club.  Many of them even sported team shirts to show their support.)

This amazing floor routine earned her a 9.625 which was good enough for 2nd place:

Region 2 comprises gymnasts from Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho and Montana.  Alyssa's age group had 31 girls in it.

She was ninth on bars and beam and her 37.125 all-around score landed her in 5th place.

It's a relief to have such a successful and memorable season at our new gym under her belt.  Lys has been very happy.  She loves this sport and is extremely excited to dive right into training level 9 skills.

Way to go, Alyssa!  We're so proud of you.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Natalie's Baptism

The clouds were thick and drippy, but that is the only thing that wasn't perfect about Natalie's baptism day.  

We thought she looked stunning all dressed in white.  

And when she saw her dad, also dressed in white, walking toward her in the hallway of the church, she said, "Daddy looks like an angel."

The service was wonderful.  There were two very age appropriate, short and sweet, talks on baptism and the holy ghost.  They were followed by the ordinances of baptism and confirmation.  Natalie thought the font was so warm and inviting that she wished she could get back in.

Her two grandfathers served as witnesses.  They also, along with Chad, Christopher and Jared, assisted in the confirmation.

We felt so blessed to have so many family members and dear friends there to share this special day.

What major life milestone would be complete without Emma by Natalie's side?  They are, as they say, friends since heaven.

Linsey and Alyssa wore the same dress to the baptism.  And they did not plan it.  They are becoming such beautiful young women, aren't they?

We enjoyed visiting with everyone at an open house following the service.  

On the way to the church for her baptism, I expressed to Natalie that I feel the greatest quest of her life will be to learn to recognize, understand and follow the Spirit.  That's true for all of us really, isn't it?  And this baptism and confirmation was the first step in that quest.

Congratulations, Natty.  Words can't possibly convey just how much we adore you!