Ice skating

Vail, Colorado

We’re back from the Vail Invitational. Alex competed in two skate events, compulsory and free skate. The whole experience left me with a somewhat sour taste in my mouth. Not from how Alex preformed, because I couldn’t be more proud at how she handled herself, but from how so many skate-parents behaved.

ice skating

A catch

Let me start with the good stuff. We stayed at the Evergreen Lodge because it is conveniently adjacent to the ice area. There is no A/C but they do supply a very noisy box fan with each room. The beds are hard as rocks and there was a stained ottoman at the foot of the bed (yuk). The hotel is old and in need of a serious remodel. I did say “the good stuff” right? Well, here it is: what the hotel lacked in ambiances it made up for with their great staff. The Evergreen staff was extremely helpful and friendly, always offering a smile.Because of Alex’s competition schedule, they so kindly allowed us to check out at 2 p.m. rather than at the 11 a.m. check out time. It was “no problem”. When you have such a courteous staff at a hotel you are more willing to overlook the downside.

It was a good thing the staff was so pleasant, because I couldn’t say the same about the rest of our experience.

ice skater

A lunge

Dealing with the skate-parents was a test in patience. Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut rather than start a skate-parent-brawl that will be uploaded to YouTube. I debated whether to discuss the rudeness we experienced by skate-parents at the rink. After sleeping on it, I have come to the realization that there are a lot of self-entitled people out there and my complaints would only fall on deaf ears.

Instead, I will share some common sense manners that I live by. At least, they should be common sense. When I am in someone’s house or, in this case, the hosting Skate Club’s house, I remember that I am their guest. I will say “please” and “thank you” with a smile, not with an attitude of entitlement because adding those words to something rude doesn’t make it polite.

I will clean up after myself. I will respect their things, and the things of other competing skaters. I will be courteous to their other guests, and I will demand that my children do the same. I will wait my turn in line, not cut in front of fellow skate-parents because I am in a hurry. {sigh}

The trip wasn’t all bad, I mean, once I got out of the ice rink…

botanical gardens

The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens was a highlight.

Saturday we stopped by the Gardens late in the afternoon and preceded to get drenched by rain. Then on Sunday, in between programs, we headed back over for a second look.

vail parks

I have to say that Vail has some of the best playgrounds I have ever seen! Its very unique and creative playground equipment made it difficult to pull the kids (and the big kid) away from. And scenic walking trails…they are everywhere. Kudos, Vail.

The garden stays in bloom so long because of the altitude and cool evenings the mountains provide. There was a hummingbird (or maybe more than one) that I was stalking to get his picture…but he wasn’t in the mood. I want hummingbirds in backyard now!

mountain flowers

And I need some Lupine in the backyard too.

colorado state flower

Columbine is Colorado’s state flower.

macro photography

This little bee was very cooperative to hold still.

Sunday night we headed home. Normally Vail is two hours from Denver, but (there’s always a but) it took us over 4 hours to get home. Why? I have no idea. There was no accident that we could see. CDOT stopped traffic at Eisenhower Tunnel in 20 minute intervals, so that traffic wouldn’t gridlock inside. And it was stop and go from there to Hwy 40. {ugh}

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She makes friends wherever she goes

My 5-year-old is a little social bug. No matter where we go, she makes friends. She is certainly not shy.

New Friend #1

New Friend #2

Practice, practice, practice..

“Mom, seriously?”

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Sports photography

I love macro and nature photography. Hubby says that is because it doesn’t involve people. He could be right…

This weekend Alex performed in the Skate Club’s ice show. I took my camera to hone my skills a little. And I had a friend who is a pro to get pointers from. Always valuable. Thanks Kat!

sit spin

Alex at warm-up practicing her sit spin

lunge

Alex during dress rehearsals

caydee denney and jogn coughlin

Parker getting her show program signed by U.S. skaters Caydee Denney (pictured), John Coughlin, Morgan Bell & Mariah Bell

figure skaters

Denney and Coughlin on the ice

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin are the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Champions and the Club was honored to have them skate in the show. As always they performed moves that were crowd pleasers!

In the end I really enjoyed trying to get the best shot of figure skaters moving at high speed, not to mention in low light conditions, but I think I will stick with non-moving subjects. I’ll keep practicing though because I have one competitive figure skater in the house and another who thinks she wants to join her sister on the ice. So, I will need to take plenty of pictures and practice, a lot!

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Welcome to the world of competitive figure skating

Alex had her first solo figure skating competition this weekend. She competed last season on a synchronized skating team but this is a completely different league.

The new competition skate dress. I spent hours gluing the jewels on this dress. I thought it was pretty good, but seeing on the ice, I think there isn’t enough bling.

Lacing up her skates and fixing her over-the-boot tights. She finally admitted that she had butterflies in her stomach. Her coach is awesome in helping her work through the butterflies and the pressure.

This photo was taken during warm-up. She skated to Naria’s “The Painting”. She placed 4th. Not bad considering this was her first competition; and against more seasoned skaters, many probably have been competing since they were 4-years-old. We were a little late to that party.

When Alex was 6-years-old  a coach approached me at the rink about private lessons. I laughed. After all, I wasn’t training an Olympic skater. I thought she was way too young to be pushed into competing. Little did I know that I would be knee-deep in the competitive skating world just four years later. If I knew then what I know now… Still, she may have benefited from having that experience earlier. I am eating my words now.

Alex was disappointed in her performance. She fell on one jump; a combination jump she never falls on. She wanted better. It’s something to work towards for the next competition in July.

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…And, we went to Rib City for lunch. Parker loves her ribs! She ate a kids rib basket, cole slaw, orange slices and chocolate pie…then complained that Rib City doesn’t give you enough ribs! And, yes, she cut her own hair…again. I am going to lock up the scissors.

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December Daily | Day 20

Alex started her big day out by vomiting up her dinner from the night before. It’s a big day because she has her holiday skate exhibition at the rink; this is not the way to start the day! Good news is she wasn’t running a fever. I went to work and then left early to take her to the rink. She said she felt fine by 9 o’clock. So, I am thinking it was just bad dinner or popcorn with too much butter that made her sick.

She seemed to be fine getting ready for the show. I could tell her stomach was a bit weak, but she insisted she could still skate. A winter storm starts to sweep the metro area and it is freezing outside.

Once we arrived at the rink we sat down in the bleachers to watch some other the other skaters perform. That is when Alex said her stomach really hurt and she didn’t want to skate. Really? I am not sure it’s so much her being sick as it is nerves that is upsetting her stomach. She is looking out over the large ice rink with lots of people watching…it’s scary. She said she isn’t feeling like she is going to throw up, it just hurts. Yes, her stomach isn’t 100%  but nerves can add to the discomfort. I think she needs to power through it because she will not always be feeling 100% on “game day”. (Call me a bad mother now.)

“Could you be nervous” I ask.

She reminds me that she has never been nervous. Ever. I know.  She has never had nerves before going out on the ice or on stage for ballet. She has always been excited.

We headed downstairs to find her coach. I am hoping she will give Alex a good pep talk to get her through it. She does. Alex performs and does wonderfully. Later, Alex tells me her coach said, “You’re stomach hurts now, but once you get out on the ice you’ll forget all about that. And when you’re done, your stomach won’t hurt anymore.”

Alex added, “And she was right!”

All smiles AFTER Alex performed

I am not so evil now am I? I know my kid. I could tell she was nervous even if she still won’t admit it. But this experience has her rethinking her figure skating competition plans. She has more guts than I ever had. I participated in the Flag Corps in high school and I just about lost my lunch every single time before we walked onto the football field.

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I’ve got two Christmas questions for you:

1. Do you known anyone who gathers around a piano on Christmas Eve to sing carols? Everyone in the family is joyfully singing “Silent Night”. Or, does it only happen in Lifetime movies?

2. Do you know anyone you has actually received a brand new Lexus topped with a big red bow for Christmas?

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December Daily | Day 9

What a busy day! I took the day off to do a little Christmas shopping with hubby. We went to the mall. We even had lunch together. It was so nice to be at the mall and not have to worry about where the kids are, or not to get half way across the mall just to turn around and go back to the food court to find a restroom because the 5-year-old has to go potty RIGHT NOW. It was actually enjoyable to be in the mall.

Then, Parker had her holiday recital at pre-school. At least this year she didn’t hit anyone on stage this year!

Waiting in line to see Santa. "What's taking so long?"

This is the second time Parker has sat on Santa’s lap this year. If she doesn’t get the Barbie she has asked for this year, she will begin to think something is up with Santa’s memory. Unlike Alex, Parker has no problem climbing up on his lap.

Alex had her first exhibition as a single skater this evening. It was outdoors and about 20 degrees at show time. Brrrrr! She said she wasn’t nervous, just excited. But she forgot her spiral. Her coach yelled it out at her and she did it. The most beautiful part of her routine and she forgot it…I think she was a little nervous. She took forgetting it well. Her scratch spin was awesome. She has been working hard on it the last few weeks.

"It's the Greatest Time of the Year" by Ally & AJ

Scratch Spin

Slide from "shoot the duck"...tada!

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