Monday, February 10, 2014

Victory Parade

Winning the Super Bowl was pretty exciting stuff around here.  Once the plans for the victory parade were set, we knew Jon and Caleb would go.  But then the girls didn't want to be left out.  So they all skipped school for the day (I still had to go, darn it), braved the frigid temperatures and overwhelming crowds to join in the celebration.

The plan was for me to drop my crew off at the train station early in the morning.  When we pulled up to the station and saw the lines stretched all the way out to the road, we knew the crowds were going to greatly exceed the expected 300,000 fans.

I was worried as I drove away.  I worried about the cold.  I worried about the crowd.  I worried they may not even make it on a train.  But thanks to Jon's commuter train know-how, they made it on a train and eventually to downtown Seattle.

Jon has a favorite regular breakfast/lunch spot near his office called Melange.  He's been a faithful patron for years and became friends with the owner, James.  James frequently asks about the kids and even sometimes sends treats home with Jon for them.  Before finding their spot on the street for the parade, the kids went to pay a visit to James.

The crowds were unbelievable, an estimated 700K! The parade footage was played live at our school and I continued to worry about my family as I watched it, because I knew they were standing for hours in the bitter cold.

Jon admitted to having worst-case scenario kind of thoughts that included, "What if this crowd presses forward and crushes one of my little girls?"

Caleb and Jon took turns holding the girls up so that they could see more than other peoples rear ends.

They waited for hours and it seemed like the parade would never come.  Natalie reached her absolute limit in cold temperature tolerance.  But she survived and the parade finally arrived.

Marshawn throwing skittles:

Sea Gals:

Pete Carroll:

The running backs:

And Russell Wilson with the Vince Lombardi trophy:

Legion of Boom:

After the parade they grabbed a quick bite to eat before braving the crowds at the train station.  They waited for about an hour before being able to get on a train and ultimately made it home safe and sound.

I asked each one of them if it was worth it to stand in the freezing cold for hours in an enormous crowd just to get a quick glance at our champions?  The answer was a unanimous and unequivocal "yes!"

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Beast Mode in the Desert

We weren't even in Seattle for the best Super Bowl in history.  That was a bit of a bummer, but we packed our jerseys and loaded my carry-on with Skittles to prepare for beast mode in the Arizona desert.  

The airport was all decked out in preparation for the big game.  So fun!

Jon had been in Delaware for a work training the week prior to our trip and he was scheduled to fly into Phoenix a few minutes after we were to land.  We couldn't wait to see him!  

Though Jon's flight was a bit late, we were soon enough reunited after a long week apart.  Natalie went running to him as soon as she spotted him from afar.  We picked up our rental car and drove to our dear friends, the Biddulph's, who were our amazing hosts for the weekend.  We love staying with them.

On Friday morning, we went to the open house of the new Gilbert Arizona temple.  It was stunningly beautiful!

The agave leaf is the theme seen throughout the architecture and decor.

After seeing the temple, we had just enough time to grab a quick bite for lunch before making our way to the Phoenix convention center for Natalie's competition.  The question everyone seems to ask is, "Did she do her floor routine?"  The answer is: Yes!  It continues to be her weakest event but she continues to push past her fear of going backwards.  Where she really turned on the beast mode was on vault and bars.  She has always been a great vaulter.  She got a 9.25 and placed second.

Saturday morning, I went for a hike in the desert with my friend, Tracy.

That afternoon, we returned to the convention center for Alyssa's meet.

We passed out Skittles to all of Lys' teammates.  Jon helped me make the cutest beast mode tag with the Auburn Gymnastics logo on it too.

Team AGC--level 9--ready to go Beast Mode:

Left to right: Julia, Kayla, Gracie, Maison, Alyssa, Ali and Sam

Lys told me after the meet that she ate some Skittles right before floor.  Good thing because she nailed her floor routine and scored a 9.5!  

That was good enough for first place.

She did a great bar routine (tied for first) and finally hit her beam routine for the first time this season (placed 5th).  Put that all together and you've got a third place all-around finish.

This is such a fun meet to go to and it's all the better that we get to also spend time with some of our favorite friends who live in Arizona.  And as an added bonus, two of Jon's sisters, Lucy and Jen, happened to be in town and came to support both of the girls at their meets.

In preparation for the big game, Natalie and Kennedy entertained us with their dance routine to "What Do Seahawks Say?"  I love that song.

While we were waiting for the Super Bowl to start, we picked oranges and made fresh-squeezed orange juice.  Yum!

At long last it was time to watch the game.  It looked great on Bryan's 80 inch TV.

Unfortunately, we had to leave for the airport at halftime.  Good thing we were winning handily at that point.  It was hard enough to leave as it was.

As we arrived at the airport, Alyssa sighed, "I like Arizona."

A great meet, great friends, time with family and an epic win for our Hawks.  Yeah, I like Arizona, too.  It was a memorable weekend, for sure.