Monday, May 23, 2016

another FLIPS performance

The human body is quite amazing.

Not only can it come to grips and survive two children graduating and leaving home in rapid succession (I, personally, am still working with that one, but I know it's possible:)...more on that soon), but it can also twist and turn and move in astounding ways when trained and practiced over and over and over again.

Claire had her last Flips performance about a week least her last for a while.  And I tell you, that performance always makes me tear up it's so good.  Claire's done this awesome program for a few years now and has loved it so much.  

Now it's on to junior high and club soccer and track and she won't have time to be in the performance next year.  So she sure sparkled through this one and made it her best.

We were so happy my mom could come be there for the big day.

...and Miss Grace who we miss performing in that great show with her sister (she gave it up a few years back when cheerleading took over).

These kids practice their hearts out for the big day.
(That picture up there is just here because I think Dave is handsome.  And I get to be married to him.)
 Check out that swirl of activity!
 ...and the amazing moves these girls are doing.

 So much motion up on one stage.
 These two, above and below, are Claire.
And they are extra special this year after kind of a rough road this last year.  She had this weird mental block come over her and suddenly got too nervous to do a lot of the things that were so natural for her the year before.

It was crazy.

It seemed that there was nothing she could do could will her mind into pushing her body into morning she couldn't even do a back handspring, which kind of freaked her out since she's been doing those for years.

We have this family friend who helped her so much, and she kept practicing her heart out.  So it was an extra big deal when she threw everything perfectly on the big day with a huge smile stretched across her face.
 Love that spunky girl.

Here's a video of her class's number:
Because they are a company class, they were in the opening and closing numbers as well.

Check out all those kids on one stage doing amazing things!

Here's a clip of part of one of the dances...wish I had grabbed my camera at the time they did ten standing back handsprings in a row.  It was amazing.

I love Theodore Roosevelt's quote about being "in the arena."

Claire was definitely there this year...sometimes her face "marred by dust and sweat and blood" (ok, not blood, but a lot of dust and tears and sweat) when she arrived home from a tough night of trying to force her body to do something her mind wasn't letting her do.

But she came out triumphant and we are so proud of her!

Go Claire!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

a college visit (to SDSU) and a college decision for Elle

So... I still haven't written about Elle's college decision.

And she's leaving in a matter of weeks.  

I'm telling this story with her permission, because it's kind of a personal one.  

One night a couple months ago all of Elle's friends who applied to BYU-Provo got their application results.  

Elle was at her friend's house with a big group of kids and when one of them realized the acceptance letters were finally online, it was like dominoes as they all logged in anywhere they could to see if they got in or not.  (Yes, a lot of kids apply to BYU from here.  Not hoards, but at least fifteen or 20 of Elle's close friends.  It is crazy.)

Amidst all the hoopla of all those kids who were accepted, Elle did not.

She was heart-broken.  

I don't know if it was sadness because that was her top choice (I hadn't realized it really was, and I think she didn't even realize it until they denied her), or because of the circumstances being surrounded by the swirl of joyousness that night in direct contrast to her rejection, but it was a sad night.  

Elle doesn't get sad often.  She generally rolls with the punches and keeps on going.  She's a no-nonsense no-drama kind of a gal.  So it caught me off guard how sad she was.  And although BYU was not my top choice for her (last year when we dropped off Max I had this pretty vivid impression BYU didn't fit Elle like it did Max), her reaction made me sad too.

Dave was in China and had been gone for a week.  I had had a few sleep deprived nights (which doesn't mix very well with my dang Hashimotos) and was kind of bleary-eyed.  There was a lot going on with the kids and right at that moment when I was ready to rally the troops home from all the weekend-night-fun so we could all go to bed, I got a text from Elle:

"I didn't get in to BYU."

For a moment I thought she was kidding.  Partly because how short her text was but partly because she is so qualified!  I knew BYU is kind of funny about who they accept so I didn't have my heart set there, but when I realized she was serious and also very heartbroken, it kind of hit me that I was mad.  How could they not accept her? She has awesome grades, has a pretty impressive resume, has done extensive service, has started her own photography business, is kind and good to the core...didn't they know how great my girl is??  Is it just the dumb ACT score she only did average on?  How can they base so much on one test?  That girl works her tail off and is the best, most conscientious student.  Did they know what they were missing by not accepting her?  (I know, I know, mother-bear instincts from an overly-dramatic mother.)

She came home and cried.  

The thing that broke my heart the most was when she said "I just want to talk to Max."  

Oh how I wished Max could be there to give her a hug and cheer her on.  And how it made my heart swell with missing him and also happiness that she thought of him as the one who could console her.  There's nothing like sibling love.

But Max was on the other side of the world...and so was Dave for that matter.  And all I could do was hug her, tell her it would all work out (because really, I knew it would), and be mad at BYU.

The whole thing kept me up mulling it around in my brain.  And woke me up a few times too. For a few nights in a row.

But you know what?  It's funny how that rejection letter has turned into such a good thing.  Just like how Shasta didn't realize sometimes the hardest things guided him to the better roads (two posts back), she was being guided on a different path than the one well-traveled.  I know this sounds romanticized, but I really feel like had she been accepted, she would have gone there.  And I really feel like God had a different idea in mind for her.  After some sadness, I think she feels that too.

So once that rejection came in, it leveled the playing field.

I don't know if I wrote about her Boston University application, so let me back up for a minute.  We had received an email a couple weeks before that they were missing part of her application.  We called to let them know that indeed it was all there, and found that we had somehow missed an important part, which made it invalid for review.  Boston was my first choice for her, because naturally I want her to do everything I did (HA!) and I had the best, most growing experience there, so of course I was pretty sad about that, but I was surprised how frustrated Elle was about it too.  

So when I say "leveled the playing field" I mean both my first choice and Elle's were off the table at that point.

With that newest rejection in the plot, options were San Diego State University (where she was accepted a while back), Utah Valley University (where she had received a partial scholarship), and BYU Hawaii (which she was still waiting to hear from).

We took a trip to the "Explore SDSU" Open House right after spring break, just Elle and me on a little mother/daughter date.

It was such a good little get-away and we both learned a ton.
We went to the first evening campus tour (caught the last few minutes, hung at the book store, asked as many questions as we could), then headed to walk Mission Beach which is close-by.

The next day we headed back to the campus and went to all kinds of little workshops on majors and scholarships and extracurricular things at SDSU.

That campus is pretty dreamy I must say.

After that we went on a little hike.
 ...which was pretty dreamy too.
 We walked down to the beach...
 ...and strolled along...
...until we ran into a completely naked elderly gentleman walking along opposite where we were walking.
...and then we ran into a little camp with another elderly guy sitting criss-cross-applesauce in front of his little make-shift tent.

Once again, completely naked.

And then we decided to turn around :)

So funny, not sure what was going on there, or if we just so happened upon a naked beach...

...made for quite the college trip experience.  HA!

I loved spending time one-on-one with this girl of mine.
 In this gorgeous spot.

We both went home armed with so much great information and feeling so grateful for what we learned, but both of us had kind of mixed feelings about the whole SDSU dealio.

We had gone to church in a very small little student ward there on Sunday and met some great kids.  We met awesome kids on campus too, one of whom was a football player and got so excited when he saw our license plate was from Utah (totally a coincidence since it was a rental car).  He had played football for the University of Utah and was so excited to meet us.  Thank goodness we actually did know something about Utah:).  We had the best time talking through different majors and Elle got her mind churning about what she really wants to do with her life.

En route to get back home, Elle wrote up a whole list of all the pros and cons of all three possible colleges.  They all had great "pros," but for some reason we both kind of just kept feeling BYU-Hawaii.

Which was interesting since that was the one we hadn't heard back from yet.  Ha!

Here's the short and condensed version of what happened after that: A week or so later we got a notification that she had been put on the wait-list there.  BYU-Hawaii has some kind of interesting requirements.  They told her she has impressive grades and academically she was very well qualified for what they were looking for.  But their campus is more culturally diverse than other BYU campuses and they want to give the majority of their available spots to kids with a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.  Which is one of the biggest reasons Elle wanted to go to school there.

We waited and waited, and as she waited her desire to go there grew even stronger than ever.  Finally she got word that she was accepted off the waitlist (remember this is the condensed version of a long wait and lots of emotions along the way), and we were pretty dang excited for her.

It has been another learning-journey figuring out the future with yet another child, and I have realized more than ever how true what my wise friend Sarah told me when we were trying to figure out Max's college path:  "college is a fit to be made, not a prize to be won."

I love that.

And the thought of Elle at BYU-Hawaii seems to fit like a glove.  I have this feeling she is going to thrive there.  It's so weird how life twists and turns to bring you to the right spot.  So glad we took her to go take a look when we were there last winter:

As much as we are dying that this girl is graduating TOMORROW, we are so excited for her that that as of August, after a couple months of other things (she leaves the desert indefinitely on the 30th of this month...yikes! can't talk about that right now), this will be her new home:
In my opinion even more dreamy than SDSU :).  They say kids go to class barefoot and then directly to the beach.  Not sure how true that is, but Dave and I are debating over who gets to take her to find out.

Yes, we are bracing ourselves for her being FAR away.  That part isn't going to be easy.
But oh boy, it will sure be a grand adventure.
Congratulations Elle Belle!

Monday, May 16, 2016

powder puff football

This year they decided to have an inaugural year for "powder puff" football at our high school.

And it was a pretty fun thing to add into the schedule.  

The football players from the regular season were the coaches and anyone who wanted to could play.

So Elle played.

This was her team:
She cracked me up trying to get to her practices between photoshoots and photo editing and all the other senior hoopla going on.
But along came the night and Dave and I went to cheer on our girl and her team :)
It was a gorgeous night, perfect for a night of football enjoyment.
My friend who is a teacher there and who helps with all the student council stuff saw me walking in with my camera and rushed me over to the field to help take pictures to document the night.
Of course I was happy to comply:)
You have to look close but check out Elle's determination.
This was serious business.
Some of the boys took on the cheerleading role and made up a whole {pretty funny} routine.
The white team made a goal right at the beginning so the coaches were on these girls' cases to get busy and get another goal.
Check out that moon up there in the above picture.  It was such a pretty night!!

In the end the white team won, gosh dang it!
But we (the black team) cheered them on anyway :)
These girls were good supporters.

Before I know it they will be out there playing their own powderpuff as seniors.
Love all these great friends!
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