We decided that one of us would take Staley while the other stayed home with the two younger kids. Since Staley would require having her hair and make-up done, along with the fact that Zach gets motion sick on carnival rides, I was the chosen one. And what a fun, special week-end we had. I rarely get one-on-one time with any of my kids, so having all that time just the two of us was a really special experience.
Staley was extra excited because I got her from school early to drive down on Friday afternoon. We stopped for a special lunch and picked out a book on CD to listen to together in the car. We didn't get down there quite as early as anticipated because we made a new discovery...Staley gets carsick. She's never had any problems in the van, but apparently riding in the car is a different story. The good news was that we still had Adelie's booster in the backseat (so we had an extra), I had (at the last minute) packed Staley an extra change of clothes, Staley was quick on her feet and found an empty plastic bag to use right before getting sick, and our hotel had a laundry room AND a very helpful front desk staff that loaned me cleaning supplies. All things considered, it could have been worse. And we still made it to the hotel in plenty of time to get settled. Staley rehearsed with her group while I laundered and cleaned the car, and there was still a little time for swimming and supper before getting to bed.
Saturday was the big day. Although Staley is not a morning person, she popped out of bed early to get ready for her performance. There were only minimal complaints about the fact that she had to wear her hair in a specific way and she even tolerated the tights she had to wear. Oh, if only every day was competition day. :)
She was SO pleased about her dress, her curled hair, and the fact that she got to wear a little make-up. I just love this picture of her checking herself out.
Staley's group ranged in age from 6 (she's the youngest) to 16. She learned 4 complete songs and dances, along with where she had to move around the floor to get to different spots throughout the performance. She wasn't nervous at all and performed her little heart out. I was so proud!
(In the above photo, she's the smallest one on the far left, front row.)
As the youngest in the group, I loved how the older kids all look out for her. Staley has lots of "big kid friends" in the group. They swam with her at the hotel pool, made sure she got to where she needed to be, and always greeted her and included her when she was hanging around. It warmed my heart.
And her directors and helpers all make it such a positive environment and great experience for all the kids. Although it was a competition, the focus was on the experience and being the best they can be.
After the morning performance, we returned to the hotel to change and then spent the rest of the day at Six Flags. I had assumed Staley and I would just spend the day doing some of the smaller rides together. However, we rode the shuttle from our hotel to the park with 2 other little girls (and their moms) from her group (ages 8 and 9) who sat by Staley on the bus. The 3 girls started making plans of what they wanted to see and do, and we ended up spending the whole day with them.
Staley with her friends Kara and Zoey.
The girls included Staley in the whole day, and Staley had THE BEST time with them riding rides and hanging out. Staley rode the one roller coaster she was tall enough for, but the Thunder River water ride and the ultra-spinny scrambler were her favorites.
I had so much fun spending the day with Staley and her friends.
The day ended with an award ceremony where Staley's group received a first place trophy and a superior rating. (All the teams got a first place trophy with various ratings, so I'm not sure what the trophy and the rating actually mean.) Regardless, Staley was THRILLED that they won first place!
I can say "no" to lots of things, but I'm so glad I said "yes" to this experience!