Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Grateful. Nov. 9

Nov. 9 - Today because...
Today isn't November 9th. 
And I sure don't remember what I was specifically thankful for that day...
But today.
I'm grateful for perspective.
Because of the age difference of my "sets of children"
It makes it much easier for me to slow down, and breath in little moments with these guys. 
I know how gosh forsaken fast it goes.
It is beyond mind blowing. 
Today I am thankful for the moments that are maddening now, but I will miss terribly.
In like. a blink of an eye.
Which is so fast. 

The "do it myself" phase.
The naked phase.
The clothes changing a thousand times a day phase.
The juice phase
The nap phase.. Oh how I will miss you nap phase!! Please don't go!
The Dora phase.
If you wanna know a secret.. I was so happy to find out that Dora was still going strong when my Jack and SIEnna came along. 
She was just out as a wee explorer when Tatum was a toddler, and I miiisseeed her!
The Skylander Phase
Princess Phase
Lego Phase
Angry Bird Phase
Hello Kitty Phase
"Elka and Ana" Phase

I'll miss chanting everything exciting 
Well. Not even exciting things. Just mostly everything.


Those are just a few off the cuff examples that fly right off fingertips.
You can see.
My days are full of invigorating conversation
And organic food.

I'm also going to miss (maybe?) 
Bigger, Stronger.
Bigger stronger is a thing the babies do.
Every time we leave the house
Jack squats down, and digs his squatty fingers under the plastic seal of the garage door, 
 when I open it, he pretends strains, and lifts it up for as far as he can.
To the tips of his toes, and the ends of his fingers.
 And now that his sister has caught onto this fun game, he's not okay with it.
So, she has to do it with the other garage door.  
And now they have added a cute little circle run high five under each others door as they are going up dance, jig, number..
The whole process is extremely cute (annoying)
Especially when you are in a hurry.
Is strictly what I am when I am leaving my house.

What is EXTRA fun is when we all forget about bigger, stronger because we are in a level 10 hurry.
And I hold my breath as I push my car opener to open the garage...
And both of them start to scream.
Level 10 scream.
My kids are NOTHING if not creatures of habit.
So. I have two choices.
Get them out. And let them do it.
Drive my car off the nearest cliff.

Another thing I'm (more than likely) going to miss.
Is the "Calliou" dance party.
This takes place when Calliou starts. 
My kids have the best ears on the planet if it benefits them.
When they hear the theme song start, 
we HAVE to pause whatever it is we are doing
The Bachelorette.
What have you.

and go do a ridiculously ugly dance in front of the TV.
 Ryan has to do this when "Thomas the Train" starts.
AAANNDD when it ends.
So his is worse
He has to do it twice.
When this is requested (demanded) of us we have two options.
Do it.
Or drive our car off a cliff. 

A few others..

Hearing "I want that for my birfday" 
during every. single. commercial

Lifting Sienna in any which direction. 
Up or down.
and hearing an euthesiactic 
AA - Wwwwwwwhhhhhhhhheeeeeeee!

Not having 3/4 of my communication skills be deductive reasoning. 

What I'll miss about this girl is

(besides telling her to pull her shirt down
Get off her phone
and put her backpack away) 


Incessant music playing
and song searching.

5 Seconds of Summer stalking.


Details of a 7th grade day at school.

Funny vines.

Drives with Taylor Swift.

Waffle Love

Lemon cookies and Dr. Pepper from The Pop Shop

Meeting new girl friends

Crushing on a neighborhood boy. 

Insisting on small spoons and forks. (SO ANNOYING!)

Wrappers everywhere.


Of course,  

Not having 3/4 of my conversation skills be deductive reasoning. 

A wise woman once told me.

Love whatever stage of life you are in.
Because ..
Whatever it is.
You WILL miss it when it is gone.

And boy oh boy do I believe, and testify of that with all of my heart!!  

I am thankful for this perspective! 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Nov 5-8

November 5 - My spouse
First of all.
I am grateful that I am even grateful for my spouse.
Because these days that alone is an accomplishment.
But I really am.
I am very grateful for him.
He is..
Shaves his chest.
Loves us.
Works hard.
Doesn't pee all over the bathroom
Can beat me at everything. #sarcasm
A fun dad.
A loving dad.
A patient dad. #usually
A patient husband. Even when I don't deserve it.
Cannot keep up with me when we fight. #iguessiwinsometimes! Wahoo!
Is coordinated.
Has pretty eyes.
The worst driver with the best reflexes so we stay alive somehow.
Calls to check in with my family so I don't have to.
Let's my sisters live here even when I don't want them to.
Doesn't move in his sleep.
Loves his mama.
Is never disrespectful to me.
Hates his smart phone
Uses the talk to text function because he sucks at texting.
Wiggles his toes when he wakes up
Supports me with pretty much anything I want to do.
Loves being a dad.
Plays endlessly with the kids.
Doesn't hunt.
Or golf.
Or Anything that I can think of that takes too time away from us.
Enjoys a nice spa day as much as I do. #manly
Tips well.
Still wears cologne.
Puts blue cheese on everything.
Acts like a 12 year old.
The only song in the whole world he knows the words to is the Thomas the Train song.
And even that is questionable at times.
Wears a mask at least once a week for one reason or another.
Cleans up after himself.
Enjoys shopping.
Eats left over anythings.
Rarely if ever complains.
Turns on the fan.

I think that's about all anyone can ask for.

Nov. 6 - My child
Nov. 7 - My child's ability to..

I'm going to mix these two together.
I don't get it.
They seem like the same thing to me...
I am so thankful for Sienna's ability to just be.
She requires very little.
Is content on her own
She goes with the flow, and nothing bothers her much.
(except for cuddling and kissing)
She does her own thing.
Which is awesome!
Because sometimes there is a lot going on around here.
And her easy going self makes life a lot less complicated.
She sleep. naps. eats. travels. plays. talks. interacts.
She's nice to the cat, shares with her brother, plays with her baby, and quietly reads books.
I'm not sure that I have ever had to pull out a parenting book with this one.
She is such a funny little.
Content in a world of her own, and as happy as can be.
I love this little girl more than I ever thought possible.
I am grateful for my Sienna.

I am so thankful for Jack's ability to be constantly joyful.
While the parent book has been present more than I care to remember with this precious little boy he is such a joy to our family.
His happy go lucky demeanor, kind words, and tender heart make literal tears spring to my eyes.
Anyone who has spent any amount of time with Jack can close their eyes, and very easily hear his ear splitting scream of joy in their head..
He's always smiling, usually laughing, and often high fiving.
I am grateful that Jack is so full of joy.
Tatum Kay

I am thankful for Tatum's ability to take massive amounts of selfies on all of our cameras.


I really am grateful for Tatum's smile.
I worry and worry and worry about this child of mine.
I am scared almost to death about the years she has coming.
I have been saying that for years.
And still.
She smiles.
She rolls with the punches when they come, makes the most out of life, and smiles.
I can know something is going on at school, and think about it all day, and worry and stress and wonder.  I count down the seconds until she walks in the door so I can know what happened..
And she walks in.
Smiling. smiling. smiling.
Having totally forgotten about whatever it was that I was STILL stressing about..
Totally dumbfounded (read:annoyed) by my obsession of her life.
I don't think I could survive a sad child.
I hope all of my kids endure life the way Tate does.
Strong. Sassy. Sensitive. and Smiling.
It's the only way to go.

Nov. 8 - My spouses ability to...

It hasn't always been, and it isn't always so,
But I am grateful for Ryan's frugal nature.
He has had a plan in place since long before he met me about how he wanted his life.
And he has made deliberate steps and decisions to make sure that it executed.
 This was annoying when we were dating, and I was a very obvious check list..
*Nice to the waitress (check)
*Asks questions a bout others (check)
Clean house (check)
Kicks the snow off her boots before getting in the car (check)
Good credit score (i am not kidding) (check)
Debt to income in line (check)
On top of just trying to keep up with washed hair, shaved legs, and being prompt...
 I really brought my A game while trying to land this one.
And I am so glad I did.
Ryan is the best decision I have ever made.
He lives his life in a very simple way.
Wanting very little and needing virtually nothing.
Everything we have as a family is because he wants to give it to us.
None of it is for him.
He takes pride in working hard and providing for our family, and most importantly to me,
has made it possible for me to be able to stay home with our kids.
And not just Jack and Sienna.
Being able to be home when Tatum comes home from school means the world to me.
In fact, I believe that she needs me home even more than the babies in some ways!
It's a dream that I always hoped would come true.
I love being home with the kids.
Sometimes the hours are long, sometimes my boss is moody, and sometimes the employees are unmanageable, but every day it's my dream job.

 I am so grateful that my husband made it a reality for me.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Nov. 4 - Our health

Aside from the fact that I prefer 
chocolate to chicken
sprees to spinach
everything to egg whites..
I am very grateful for my health.
I think of it often.
Especially lately with the case of Brittany Maynard.
She's the young woman that moved to Oregon after being diagnosed with a stage 4 glioblastoma last January, so she would be able to legally die with dignity.
I don't write about this to be controversial.
I understand where she is coming from with this.
After experiencing the death of my Heather Jo..
I get it. 
To be totally honest, Heather Jo's last days were scary, and painful, and miserable.
 For her,  and everyone that loved her.
I can't imagine how terrified Brittany Maynard must have been after combing the googles, researching the variance of her last days. 
I am sure that zero of the accounts she came across were anything close to comforting.
I would say paralyzing terror would be closer to what she likely found.
So.. I get it.
But Also.
I don't get it.
Heather Jo had an identical diagnosis and lived nearly 5 years after it.
It wasn't a completely quality 5 years for her.  
A lot of times she was in pain, emotionally and physically.
But she fought for life. 
And it worked.
She extended her time and life quadruple what they said she would.
How tragic it would have been to have cut her life and experiences on this earth 1460 days shorter than what it ended up being.
1460 is roughly the amount of days that Heather Jo lived longer than Brittany Maynard.
I feel so sad for her friends, family, and for her that they could have had so much more time.
That's a whole lot of days.
A whole lot of really good days.

Had Heather Jo taken her life 9 months into her diagnosis..
She would have missed out on a lot of pain and uncertainty.
That's true.
There was a lot more that she and everyone who knew and loved her gained by her fighting spirit.
1460 days is a lot of time to spend with people you love when even hours are precious! 

The obvious part of this story is that HJo had kids that kept her alive for every hour that she was able to, and Brittany didn't have any.
That does change things a lot.
But it still makes me sad for that time lost.
That poor girl for even having to consider such a decision.
Cancer is the single more fear striking word to my ears.
I hate it. It makes me sick to my stomach instantly, and cry easily.
It's such an ugly disease.
I'm very compassionate to her and her family for what they have been faced with.
So awful. So sad.
Her poor mommy. 

I've said it before, me dying, and leaving my kids here on earth without my love and care is my most gigantic fear.
 Losing one of my kids is a close second, but at least I would be the one carrying the heart ache and burden instead of them.
I would fight every single second of every single day for extra time with my kids, and my hubs, and my family, if I were faced with such a tragedy.
No question in my mind, I would forgo a dignified death 
(which having seen it first hand. It's not dignified. Not in the way that that word is generally used. But when love, respect, and compassion are mixed into a special potion, it creates a very special amount dignity for the dying person that you love so much )
to spend every last second here on this earth with them. 
Every. single. second. 
I would never ever ever cash in my chips early.

I've never been there... 
So.. I don't condemn Brittany's decision..

But plus again.
 I'm personally kind of scared of God.. 
But that's just me.
He seems pretty in charge around here.
So I don't plan on stepping on his toes anytime soon..

That took an unexpected turn.
I never know where these blogs are going to go when I sit down and write them.
What I meant to say is..

I am grateful for my health.
That is a huge understatement.
I am so so so so so so so grateful for my health.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Nov. 3 - This moment with

 This moment, 
I am with these guys.
I am uploading the pictures that I recently had taken for my husband's very special 30th birthday.
Getting Ryan photos, as a gift, are my go to.
For two reasons.
1. He has everything else
2. We have very different opinions on spending money on photography.
It's the equivalent of him buying me a power drill for my birthday.
And I'm okay with that.
It's not my fault that the man is impossible to buy for. 
Or thinks he has secret photog abilities. 
(he doesn't) 

And anyways.
How can someone not tear up 
(he does)
 at the magic that 
constantly brings to her photo seshes.

In this moment.  
I am grateful for photography.
For capturing my kids as I love to see them.
Loving, happy, healthy, and together....

And the birth of my husband so I could have extra money in my monthly budget to get these pics. 
(birthday present)

Tatum - 12
Jack - 3
Sienna 2

Love them!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Nov. 2 - Smiles

A smile 

I mean. I'm thankful for lots of smiles.
My kids, my husbands, my family, my friends. 
Everyone I know. 
I'm always grateful to see the people I love smile.

But.  I feel that a smile from a stranger is one to be especially thoughtful of.

Sometimes I see pictures of myself, that someone has unexpectedly snapped of me, and I don't really love it.
I kind of have witch with a b face.  
When I'm not paying attention.
I blame my Mom.
This picture is from a few years ago.. But.  It captures what I am talking about.
My resting face isn't very nice...
And I can tell sometimes by the way strangers look at me,
especially when I'm deep in thought, that I look like a jerk.
(At the Costco. Will we really eat all of this pasta before it expires? Do people really consume that much Velveeta? Why don't I know what to do with coconut oil? Can spending 40.00 on toilet paper really be a great savings?  What should I buy here in case the zombies come? Am I okay with buying this carters pajama combo and risk everyone else at the baby shower buying it too?.....  Is that guy a stay at home dad?)
The Costco is nothing but B face for this girl.
It's so exasperating there.
When waiting in line to pick up my call in pizza order....
(What time is it? What time is Ryan going to be home?  Is my house dad getting home ready? What if he beats me there?  He will see the popcorn in our bed!  Breakfast dishes still on the counter! Crap!  I need to pick up Tatum. What is that smell?  Do I have a diaper in the car?  Where am I?  Pizza? What the hell?!  I put a roast in the crock pot this morning!)

My deep in thought face isn't really a mean face.
It's just got a lot going on behind it.
Just like everyone else.

All of this to say.
I am thankful when a stranger takes time outside of their own busy head, busy life, and busy self,
to smile at me.
To go out of their way to offer a simple gesture of humanity, and togetherness.
That we are all in this together.
It reminds me that two dinners, and Velveeta are not important.
And that kindness does not go unnoticed.
 and should always be a priority.

A simple smile from a stranger is something I am grateful for.  

Nov. 1 - Little Hands

Little Hands I am grateful for..

It's funny that this is one of the topics because my babies hands are my favorites.
The first memory I have as a mother are seeing Tatum's hands when she was born.
They were long, and slender.. And her nail beds?!  They were incredible.  
 Straight out of a hand magazine.
What is a hand magazine?
They were straight from heaven is what they were.. 
Worthy of jealousy at just one second old. 
And I was certain she would be able to palm a basketball before she turned 3.
While I know now that that will NEVER happen, 
I still know her hands.
I know how she holds a pencil,  a spoon,  a mascara wand, and a blush brush.
I know that she uses her fingernail instead of her finger pad to maneuver her i phone.
I know that her nails are always painted, and usually chipped.
That she hates her cuticles touched, knuckles popped.
I know Tatum's hands.

Jack's little hands.
My little JackJacks hands...
They have always been stalky and chunky..
Since his fine motor skills finally showed up, he has used them in a controlled, and concentrated manner.
They are as chubby and cute as little dirty boy hands can be. 
Which is the perfect combination when his favorite past time is face tickling.
He loves to draw the outline of my entire face, and the outline of Ryan's beard.
He would rather give you an affectionate cheek squish than a kiss. 
And his hands fit perfectly in the center of the cheeks of those he loves.
Fat and Firm.
He bites his nails, and his pointer finger knuckle when he's nervous.
His nails are below the quick of his fingers which makes them appear all the more stout.
And although I hate to admit his maneuvering of an iPad is as smooth, and quick as a grown man.
Although.. He uses his thumb a lot.  
Which is.. unique.
I love Jack's hands.

Sienna's little hands.
Sienna's hands are the brand newest pair of hand's that I have fallen in love with.
They are very similar to her sisters. 
Long, and slender.
They have very little interest in an iPad.
Thank goodness.
They are deliberate in their abilities, and as dainty as can be.
They are often painted (blue only)
and always clean.
"Dooty" hands are not okay with my little princess.
She loves to lotion and soap them, and does so with her fingers perfectly straight, and using only up and down motions.
Her fine motor skills are impeccable, and watching the concentration she has to pick a sticker out of a sticker book with no help is nothing short of impressive. 
She can pull an elastic out of her hair in record time, 
and when I close my eyes, I can perfectly picture how they tightly grasp her favorite pink sippy cup. 

I am so grateful for the little hands in my house. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Cheer Experience. Woah

So. Hi.
Since we moved to Salt Lake Tatum has been obsessed with being a cheerleader.
I had never heard of such a thing.
A cheerleader. 
Cheer leading is for high school girls.
And.. Maybe American Girl Dolls.
Because the sky is the limit for American Girl dolls.
But anyways.
Its a thing.
Our Steph and Lettie had been doing cheer at Elite Academy for a couple of years when we moved up here, and they were loving it, so we figured we could give it a shot. 
At Elite Academy.
Only Elite.
Nowhere but Elite would do for Tatum. 

When I say it's a thing, I mean its a real big thing.
Big. Huge. Insane.
It takes a deep commitment, and sacrifice from both daughter, and mom.
(and dad, and step dad, and step mom)
It's not cheap. It's actually quite pricey your first year while you acquire all of your sparkly paraphernalia. It is all so cute though.
You continue with your cheer experience.
Because moms of girly girls like cute things that sparkle.
You get a little fluttery feeling in your belly every time your daughter comes home and talks incessantly about every detail of her new team that she loves so much. 
The older girls that she looks up to, 
and the younger ones that look up to her.
Both very serious situations. 
And she talks coaches that influence her, notice her, and get to KNOW her.
About their boyfriends, roommates, backgrounds, and tumbling skills. 
You know.
The good stuff. 
And she giddy because she gets to play with owner of Elite's little girls during lloooonng summer practice days. 
And that means something. Ya know?

And then summer ends, and things start to get intense.
You find yourself being bossed around 20 something year old girls when you're daughter doesn't make it to cheer practice. 
Sometimes you forward those texts to your best friend with the huffy face emoji and say 
"WTH?  She had a birthday party"
But then.
You begin realize that it's because your daughter is important.
That she is part of a team that needs her. 
That it makes a difference if she is there or not.
And that makes you feel good.
For yourself, and your daughter.
Because being needed is nothing but a good feeling for everyone.
I personally can't think of another sport or atmosphere where every single person on the team is equally as important as the next. 
That's an accomplishment.
And it's worthwhile. 

As you get deeper into fall, and closer to competition season, you find yourself committed also. 
That's because you don't JUST receive bossy texts, you get encouraging texts.
And videos.
Video's of your long legged little beauty doing back walk overs, and back handsprings.
The same girl, who's god given height had seemed wasted when basketball and volleyball couldn't quite light the spark necessary to... well.... score. or anything that resembled it.
That now she is doing much harder things for her particular body type.
That her dedication to this new found hobby has busted through any stereotypes of what a tall girl can  and can't do.
So you commit yourself more to this crazy cheer thing because. 
Your daughter is thriving! and proud! and happy! 
And you couldn't even teach her to do a freaking cart wheel.
For reals.
Fist bumps Elite. 

So. Then.
You drive back and forth and do it some more, and put your weekends on hold for Saturday practices.
And you get to know the girls. and the coaches, and owners. and love them.
And feel endless gratitude for what they are doing for your daughter. 
On so many levels. 
Confidence. Joy. Learning. Friends. Family. 
And those muscles. 
You could bounce quarters off of those developing curves.
If ya know what I mean.

So then.
Competition seasons starts.
And you realize that your weekends really are over.
And your husband complains.
Until we actually attend our first competition.
And about fall over.

The atmosphere.
The energy.
The glitter.
Oh the glitter...
The squeals, the tears, the excitement, the build ups, and the let downs.
It's all so real.
It really is a sport.
A sport for girls, that maybe are not interested in sports..
Or for girls who are totally good at other sports.

And it's nothing you would understand, until you are a part of it.
It just seems like a piddly dance thingy.
But it's not. 
Until you experience it all.. It just seems like a dumb girl thing.
And you try to chalk it up to "just fun"

Until you find yourself sick on a Saturday morning from the second you wake up.
 And wonder if maybe you are getting the flu?
No? Not the flu.
Just internal diarrhea. 
And you are trying to maintain the "just for fun" persona for your girl. 
You know. 
Being a good mom and all that jazz.
So. You deal with your jitters, and watch all the other teams in their division.
You learn what to watch for.. Bobbles, drops, falls, stumbles, trips. 
or perfection.
However the cards fall for everyone else, doesn't matter.
Because your daughters team can come out on top no matter what the outcome of the others.
Or maybe not.. It's all so intense!
And then you hold your breath through the entire routine.
Literally. You don't breathe.
You know which parts of the music to zoom out of watching {just your daughter} and watch the stunt on the right side of the stage, because it's been struggling to hit lately. 
It hit.
Now back to watching your daughter.
Because she has a tumbling pass coming up.
And if she falls on her head.  
Clenched tights. Tight fists.
(you, not her)
No falls.
Everything is looking good.  It's feeling good!
It's almost the end.
And your eyes are burning with tears
because you KNOW.
You feel the energy in the air.
You see the confidence on every face.
The smiles, and the sass..
You can see the coaches going crazy, clapping along to the music at the end dance section.
Bringing the girls home. 
You know.. They killed it.
They know they killed it.
And so does the entire crowd.
When the music stops the girls will be jumping, and screaming, and hugging
Because they KNOW.
And it is so fun to watch.
You practically explode from pride at what those cute sweet girls have accomplished today.
Because you know how HARD they have worked to perform the way they just performed.
It is just sooo exciting. 
And relieving..

But ya know..
Sometimes, it just doesn't go down like that.
Sometimes you see a pyramid going wrong, so you cover your eyes, and look down.
And when you look back up, the girl that was on your daughters shoulders a second ago is now on the ground...
Along with a good handful of other sparkly little girls...
And there are scared faces, and sad eyes. and some tears.
And there is no jumping, and screaming......

But there is hugging.
Always hugging.
And sympathy for each other.
For the one that fell, the stunt that bobbled, orrrr.. 
The sweet little girl that was battling the flu alll day, but powered through.
And  maybe threw up a little on the in the middle of the routine.. 
There is unwavering sympathy.
And bonding.
There is lots of value in humility.
Sometimes sassy little cheerleaders need a bit of humility.
There is value in 2nd. or 7th.
There is for sure value in losing something that you have worked so HARD for. 
It's all so intense.
The days are long, and fun.
Win or lose
Good or bad.
It was always so fun!

I love cheer.

Ill tell you what.
Being a girl, that was raised and immersed in nothing but girl girl girl things.
And zero sports. 
I don't even know how to roller skate.
Baseball is extremely complex to me.
I'm something like 4 for 3457 in basketball shots.
Walking a chewing gum is an accomplishment for me.
Really. I'm not just saying that. 
I didn't know what a blessing it was being raised in a home with NO SPORTS CENTER!
And even now that I know a little bit about a little bit, having been married for a good amount of time,
I still can't pull it off.
I could never say "top of the 7th. full count" and sound normal.
It would be like hearing your very Mormon uncle say the F word.
It just doesn't flo. 
And sounds weird.
And you want it to stop. 
I'm getting off subject here.
What I am trying to say is,
I could not be happier to have found a sport that has a positive outcome, win or lose.
That I can encourage and participate in without feeling like a fish out of water.
A sport that has built mental toughness in my baby that I didn't know she had.
But has kept her soft around the edges, and dependent on her mommy. 

While we are on the subject of "sport"
Even Eric and Ryan got into it all..
Which. To be honest, there was some heavy eye rolling before the season actually started.
The energy buzz infected them too!
I mean. Of course Eric was into it with it being his little princess and all.
Tatum poops gold nuggets in his eyes.
But Ryan was a tougher sale.
He is the youngest of 5 boys after all.
And as much as I was raised doing all girl things, he was raised doing all boy things.
Times five million.
But even my Ryan totally got into the competitive aspect of it all..
"Oohh Tatum.. MAC is here.. You guys bring your A game today?"
He got familiar with our competitors, what levels do what, and dare I say, enjoyed watching not only Tatum's divisions, but the upper divisions that do crazy stunts and tumbling. 
And bonus ma Hayley was a cheerleader in HS, so it was right up her ally too.
We all really enjoyed the entire season.

I can't say enough about how fun this last year has been.
The growth in Tatum has just been incredible.
To see her committed so fully to something.
It's very encouraging as a parent.

And not just because she is a cheerleader.
But because she is a cheerleader at Elite Academy.
They are a smaller company, so they are personal. intimate. and invested.
They know each girl personally.
And the families.
The holiday parties, sleep overs, secret sisters, traveling,  the professional cheer pictures, 
and just the overall atmosphere of Elite Academy is unbeatable. 
There were lots of wins.
Plenty of firsts.
But, even without, there is no place we would rather be.
Elite has changed a lot about Tatum's life.
She spends a lot of time there, with people that can make or break her spirit.
That get to choose how to discourage, or encourage her.
I am beyond grateful that we have found a place that coaches my daughter as an individual, and takes their responsibility of treating her well seriously.
Tatum hurt her back for the last two competitions of the season.
Both of them were national competitions.
She was out with a herniated disk.
And we found out the evening before the comp.
She was beyond heartbroken, and totally stressed about letting her teams down.
Her 2 cheer coaches, the owner of Elite, and her tumbling coach were the best during that sad time.
They mourned the loss of her on their team, rallied and worked hard to train her replacement, and hugged her when she was standing alone off the stage while her teams were jumping around hugging each other at the end of their routines. 
Her tumbling coach still texts me at least a couple of times a week checking in, and offering to help.
And the other cheer moms.
Incredible. All of them incredible.
I really have met some great women.
With great daughters.
I love them.
Tatum loves them.
And they love Tatum.

I love cheer.

That's enough.
I'm babbling. 

Here are some pics. 
Ya know.
Just 1 or 2
Or 30.
It's fine.
Cute girls
Family family family

Denver comp with our bests.
So fun.

Creepy photo bomber..
Grand champs!
(highest score out of every single team at the comp.)
Dare Devils 
Trophy Lovers

Bests from other teams
She Devils
Sisters and moms

Cousins from other teams

Cheer pics

My poor little injured baby playing coach
Nationals in Anaheim.
So fun.
Even when injured. 

I love cheer.
I am totally converted.
And, I have wanted to write this post since our trip to Denver.
That trip didn't end in a win, but was one of the best experiences.
Tatum and I had so much fun, 
and she really learned so so much about being a team, and the balance of winning and losing.

I am writing this now, because try outs are next Monday.
And I feel like if this is something that would be a fit for you and your daughter, you should do it.
I wasn't asked to write this, and was not compensated for it.
I love Elite Academy.
It was something that my daughter needed.
And a great addition to our relationship.
Do it.
For reals.

Because you know,

I love cheer

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