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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New Orleans...The conclusion


Now our trip to New Orleans was especially hectic and busy the 1st few days. Not only did Gidget compete in Solo competition, she also competed in the teams competition on 12/1.  She was part of a 4 hand team. There were 62- 4 hand teams competing that day. The teams had to be down at the Ballrooms ready to go by 8 am. Now Gidget didn't have to wear her make-up(which takes about 30 minutes to put on), but she did have to wear her full wig, which takes about 30 minutes to get on because she has so much hair.
Now one thing I have learned in the 2 years we have been competing is everything moves along on "Irish Time". That means things usually are not on schedule and always running behind. The Team competition was no exception. Teams always start out with the 8- hand teams competing first. They competed one at a time, (in a regular competition they usually compete 2 at a time). The 4 hand competition started at approximately 11:30 or so. At this point we have been waiting around for 3 1/2 hours. My daughters 4 hand was one of the last teams to go on stage. Now at least they competed 2 teams on stage at a time. Her team did well, they were 2 spots out of qualifying for recall. 
I was one of the luckier parents though, some of the kids were dancing on 2 or three different teams. Next year Gidget will be dancing on more than one team as well. 
After her team was done dancing, we retreated to the quiet of our hotel room to take a nap. Though Gidget went back down to the ballrooms to watch the senior kids do their solo dances.These are the kids that range from 17-21. I did get to watch a few in earlier in the morning while waiting for Gidget's team to dance. The way the older kids dance is a sight to behold. They are unbelievably talented, and unbelievably athletic. 
Though for us, Oireachtas(ore-ock-tus) was now over. All the months of hard work, the countless hours of preperation and practice,and the anticipation and it was over. It was truly a wonderful and exciting experience. 
So now it is time for a quick breather as the kids get ready to take a 2 week break from dance for the holidays. Then they will return and it will be back to work, learning all new dances, preparing for a Feis in Stone Mnt, Ga., which is a wonderful resort, we attended last years Feis there. Although for Gidget she will practice everyday for probably 2-3 hours a day to keep her stamina up, and her muscles from going soft.
As for the remaining days of our trip in New Orleans, we did do quite a bit of sight seeing, and our last night there we went on a Haunted Tour of the French Quarter. Our Tour Guide Yvonne was not only super nice, she was extremely knowledgeable of New Orleans founding early history. She took us to some of the most haunted location not only in New Orleans, but considered the most haunted in the world. We did not see or hear any ghosts on our tour, but did get to see some of New Orleans oldest buildings, and it was a great history lesson for Gidget.
One of the stops on our tour was the Bourbon Hotel. We met an older women in the lobby who started talking to us, (she didn't know we were on a haunted tour) and she began telling us of her room being haunted and some incidents that had occurred the previous night. She said it was the ghosts of small children laughing and jumping on the bed while she was sleeping. That the incident had woke her up. Apparently there are many claims of small children being heard laughing, or running up and down the hallway. We also got to go to the ballroom which is said to have the ghost of a women from the 1800's in it, and also the ghost of a confederate soldier.
Another location was the old Yellow Fever Hospital. The building has been vacant and boarded up for at least 20+ years. The weird thing about the building was it was the only part of the street where the street light didn't work, and where the trees wouldn't grow. We also saw the 1st Pharmacy. It wasn't open, but due to the hauntings at that location, they only open 3-4 hours during daylight hours. It is a museum, and looks like it did back in the 1800's.
I would most definitely love to go back to New Orleans and go on the Staemboat, and see more of the sights. It truly is a wonderful place to visit. I recommend going if you get the chance.
I hope you enjoyed by mini series on our trip, I have a few ideas for the last few posts of the year. I hope you will join me. Until next time....

God Bless,

Looking out our Hotel room window

The Ballrooms for the dance Comp.

Gidget's 4 hand Team

The best Potato Chips EVER

Beautiful Architecture

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Bike Taxi's

They call him "Touch Down Jesus" in New Orleans

Gidget at The Bourbon Hotel

Me, on the Haunted tour

The Haunted Hotel Ballroom

The Haunted Ballroom

The lobby of the Bourbon Hotel

The Old Yellow Fever Hospital 

Another view of the Haunted Hospital

Our plane ride Home

Sunday, December 16, 2012

VLOG: 3 things I would tell my younger self


Hi All, I was going to finish the last Installment of our glorious trip to New Orleans, but am trying something completely new, and will wrap up our trip tomorrow.
Earlier I was on a blog I follow, Lil Blue Boo @  were she is hosting an amazing giveaway. Pop over and check out the giveaway. If you like to sew this is a really great giveaway. I just ask if you do, to please leave in your comment that I sent you over. Now I don't get anything for sending you over to her blog other than blog curtisy. While I was going through and liking the different FB pages and blogs, I came across Gussy Sews. She had a coffee date with her friend and fellow blogger Alissa from Rags to Stitches. The question was posed that if you could go back and tell your younger self 3 things that would help you out in your current life, what would you tell yourself?? 
Well I bit the anxiety bullet, and I made a vlog to link up and post to Gussy's blog. I have to say, it was much more fun than I had thought. I was afraid of sounding funny. Who knows maybe I do, but I thought I sounded ok and I guess that is all that matters.
I hope you will listen to what I had to say on the matter, leave a comment and possibly make a vlog  of your own and link it up here. I used my cell phone camera to make mine. I hope some of you lovely ladies will make a vlog and please link up. I'd also like feed back on my 1st vlog, the good, bad and the ugly truth of how I did. I can't improve if I don't know what I may be doing here it is my 1st EVER VLOG; Hope you enjoy. 
Blessings & Friendship,

Saturday, December 15, 2012

New Orleans: Competition Day


Competition day... The whole reason for being in New Orleans. We got a very early start. We were up by 5 to start getting ready so we had time to grab a bite to eat before having to be at Gidget's stage so she could check in.
This was our first time ever attending Oireachtas.(ore-ock-tus) Everyone says that the first time is really just for the experience. It's like a a Feis on steroids. A feis(fesh) is a competition that the dancers compete by their level of dance. The levels go like this; Beginner, Advanced Beginner, Novice, Prizewinner, Preliminary- Champion, Open- Champion. As the dancer progresses up each level, the technique gets more and more difficult. Dancers at the top are true atheletes. The degree of discipline and stamina that is required is truly remarkable. Dancers also compete within their age group at each level as well. Gidget is a U12 Prizewinner, but has 2 dances towards her Prelim level. Dancers advance through the levels by getting a 1st place in each of their dances competing at Feis's. Now that may sound easy, but it is anything but. At Gidget's age level and dance level a typical competition size is about 20. She attended a competition in Cleveland where there were 40-45 kids, in which case they will split the group. Are you still with me??? The higher the level, the more difficult your competitors get.
Now to attend Oireachtas you have to qualify. The dancer Must have a 1st place in each a hard shoe dance and a softshoe dance at the Novice level. Basically 1/2 Novice 1/2 Prizewinner. But at Oireachtas you don't dance by level, you dance by age group. So a Prizewinner will compete agianst a dancer who may be an Open Champion. So basically at this competition everyone is good. There were 115 dancers in Gidget's competition.
The dancer will dance 1 hard shoe, and 1 soft shoe. The top 50 with the highest scores of each group will Recall. A recall means you get to do your set dance which a hard shoe. Those with the highest combined scores of all 3 dances will either qualify to go to National's or World's. 
Gidget danced phenominally, but did not recall. She was disappointed, because her teachers thought she had a good shot at recalling, but it wasn't to be. Which is not uncommon for a 1st time. Her teachers did say she dance remarkably well though. It was a bit of shell shock though, because every dancer was good. Which is much different from a regular Feis where Gidget usually scores in the top 5. She is a really solid and a really consistent dancer.
Though training to go to Oireachtas was an experience unto itself. She practiced about 12- 15 hours a week for 2 months. All the kids from her school that went worked really hard. I  was in complete awe of them. These kids had blisters on blisters, their muscles hurt, their knees, ankles, and hips hurt, But they didn't complain, they worked even harder. They were all Champions in my eyes.
Now I know that was a lot of confusing information and I hope I explained it well enough. I have been in this for 2 years now and I am still learning, so don't feel bad if you don't totally get it. 
If I get any one point across is that I want folks to understand what true Athletes that these kids are. They work hard, in and out of the studio. They breathe, eat and sleep Irish Dance. They all strive to be the best. They carry themselves in that manner too. I admire every single one of them. I would be remiss if I did not mention the wonderful teachers who work with these kids 5 days a week. Sandra, who owns the school, Pam, Michele, Audrey, and Patrick. They are wonderful and awesome teachers.  
To be continued........ Tomorrow Ceili's (caylee's) (Teams)
God Bless,

Getting Ready to do her Wig

She has Lots & Lots of hair

The Hair "Donut" is on

The hair "Donut"

Ready for her wig

Wig & Make-up on Ready to Compete
Chloe getting some finishing touches

Bridget with her friend and fellow competitor Meghan

Ready to go
Looking Beautiful

Waiting for the Recall List

Bridget And Katelyn having lunch

Friday, December 14, 2012

New Orleans Cont'd......


Since we flew in a day earlier than most of the other families attending from our dance school, Gidget and I though we wanted to go out sight seeing, decided to hang around the Hotel and wait for our fellow dancers. We had breakfast in the Concierge Lounge, Then we went back to the room where Gidget had to do her school work, where instead she bounced off the walls with excitement waiting for her friends.
We did check out our hotel lobby where the cooks from the hotel had made and set up a Gingerbread Village. Which by the way was absolutely amazing. I have pics for you, but they don't do this Village justice. Then like a light switch organized chaos ensued.
Wow what a difference a day made. That Thursday 11/29 dancers and their families from all over the southeast descended upon the Mariott. It was crazy. There were kids everywhere. There were 1660 dancers that competed in the regional competition that weekend if it helps you to picture the craziness in the hotel on the main arrival day.
Being we homeschool allowed us the luxury of spending extra days in New Orleans. [Having that flexibility is what afforded us being able to buy 2 plane tickets rather than driving. It was actually cheaper to fly for us than drive. We got our tickets through, and they gave us an awesome rate. Our flight times were at the crack of dawn which kind of stunk, but other than that the whole experience was pleasant.]
We did finally start seeing kids from our school. We went to dinner with some friends at Huck Finn's. The service was stellar, the food was good, but a bit on the expensive side, and the Daiquiri's were very strong. I actually gave mine to my friend Diana to finish because it was so strong. Which normally I would enjoy, but with my pain meds I was catching a heavy buzz and thought it better not to finish my drink. Usually one drink is fine, but not that night. Made me feel like a light weight. Man I am just getting too old.
We made it an early night because we had a long day on 11/30. COMPETITION day. Before retiring to our room though, we did go up and visit all the vendors tables, and had to buy our Oireachtas program book. Veteran moms highly recommended that this book was a must have. They were right. Gidget also need new ghillies as her toes were blowing out of her old ones. Ghillies are their soft shoes. Normally it is not recommended wearing new shoes on a competition day, but ghillies are an exception because the are still tight and give the foot a nice arch and point. 
After jamming with her friends, and me dropping over $100.00 in less than 15 minutes, it was time to retire to our room to get ready for the big day.

Doing her school work

Unable to concentrate

Getting silly

Falling off the bed

Stuck between the bed & wall

Breakfast with a view of Canal St.

In front of part of the Village

The Gingerbread Church

Part of the Village

Dinner at Huck Finn's (Gidget & friend Delaina)

GB Village ingrediant List

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The Oireachtas HandBook

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wow, I have been Naughty........

I have been so very naughty..... I have been very neglectful of my blog. All those months of being regular, talking about wanting to get better and try and grow my blog just went....POOF!!!! Now I know I can get it back with some work.

It has been a very crazy busy few months. Gidget and I just went to New Orleans 2 weeks ago so she could compete in the Southern Regional Oireachtas (ore-ock-tus). It was her 1st time and though she didn't get a spot at Nationals this year, she still danced amazing. The trip was lots of fun. New Orleans was awesome. I would love to go back again. There were only 2 minor incidents while there that may have traumatized my 12 yr old for a while. 
After our amazing lunch at the Palace Cafe, and a very long nap, (our morning started at 3:45 am) we were walking about 4 blocks from our hotel to get something for dinner and she got to see her first drunk peeing on a wall. At this point she wanted to turn around and run back to the Marriott. After that shock subsided we decided to go into a gift shop and look around. It was called Voodoo. Sounds interesting, right? Just your typical over priced gift shop. Though not your typical wares. They had actual voodoo dolls, back scratcher made out of an alligator paw, (claws and all), they had decorative alligator heads, Beignets mix, Chicory coffee, t-shirts, post cards, ashtrays, shot glasses, coffee cups, Mardi Grais masks. and beads. 

Now some of these beads should be wrapped like the X-rated magazines, because we came around a corner and my 12 yr old ran into a rack of beads, and was presented with a 6" plastic penis hitting her forehead. Can you say AWKWARD. They look on her face, I wish I had my camera. We left. I then had to spend the next 15 minutes explaining why they would dare expose a penis in public like that. They had ones with the lady parts too, which she saw, but that's not what hit her in the forehead. Though as I sit here and recall this event, I am trying rather hard not to laugh out loud. It should not have happened, but how often will one actually ever tell or hear a story like this????

Outside the beads fiasco, we had a very nice time. We got our pictures sketched by a 79 yr old street artist named "Too Loose". He was a very sweet old man. He sketched us while were at a cafe having Coffee and Beignets. Which BTW are absolutely DELICIOUS!!! The birds would sit right next to us and eat right out of our hands. 

Our first meal in NO was at the Palace Cafe. It was amazing. I had the Fried Oyster Loaf, which is actually an appetizer, but eats like a meal. Best meal I have EVER eaten hands down. I also had the Sweet Potato and Lump Crab Chowder. A little spicy, but I loved it. I'm not usually one for spicy food either. Gidget went with what she knew, The All American Cheeseburger. That was not a typical burger. The fries were handmade and yummy.

Well that was day one in New Orleans, I will be back tomorrow with more of our trip and more pics. I'm glad to be back on my blog. Look forward to catching everyone up over the next week or so. Hoping this finds you all well.

God Bless, 
!st Plane ride. Had a small anxiety attack upon her 1st landing.
These beds were the most comfortable.

Palace Cafe

Palace Cafe

Fried Oyster Loaf...YUMMY!!!

Gidget and her Burger

In Our Hotel Lobby

At The Cafe Beignets

The Very Friendly birds at the Cafe

The sketch that old man did. There is some likeness, not a lot. Love it all the same.