Monday, April 22, 2013

Destination Imagination State Tournament Part 2

After shopping, we headed back toward the high school where the competition was being held because the main challenge scores were ready.  Unfortunately, they were not very good.  :-(  I had a feeling they wouldn't be, as I had seen their last rehearsal back at school and their performance here wasn't nearly as good.  But one thing I love is that the judges are so encouraging!  The judge who came and showed the kids the scores kept saying positive things, and they received these post-it note pages from their particular scoring judges:

You can imagine that this was well-received by Kendra!  :-)
Next was the Instant Challenge, which is the part that had essentially won the kids first place at regionals.  They absolutely killed it there, and they really grooved as a team so we thought they'd do the same.  This is the part that parents aren't allowed to watch, so we gathered as a group in the cafeteria area.  The conversation hovered around the possibility of them making it to Globals.  Most of us were really hoping they wouldn't qualify (the top four teams in each category qualify).  Two families had kids who were graduating from high school the same weekend, and some of us (me included!) were unsure if we could afford to go.  Our district didn't pay for any of us to be at State.  Our school scrounged money to pay the registration and for the teacher/manager's hotel, but the rest of us paid for our two night stays, meals, gas, etc. out of pocket.  The kids came back from their Instant Challenge and they were SO EXCITED.  Their teacher said that again, they killed it.  Seriously, they did whatever it was perfectly and gained extra points, too.  Worried looks crossed the table between parents.  What if the same thing happened like at regionals---we never thought they'd make it to state, and yet here we were!  Would we be Globals-bound?

It happened to be one of the teammates, Jacob's,  birthday on this day, too!  His mom picked up a cake and balloons, and she invited the girls to the boys' hotel to swim and have a small celebration.  The girls picked up a small present for him at Charming Charlie's---a robot key chain who was wearing a tie (Jacob enjoys tie-wearing!)

I feel like these are going to be life-long friends!

 It was time to clean up and head back for awards.  It was  LOOOONG day!  Awards didn't start until 9:00 p.m.!  We took the opportunity to take some team photos with their awesome coach/mentor/manager/teacher, Nicole Silva. 

Yep, that's a Flat Stanley.  Blake's cousin sent him to visit, so he came to awards!

Unfortunately, the kids didn't place this year.  :-(  We wondered if they might win the Instant Challenge award in their category, and when the scores came out later the next week we found out that they had come in 2nd for that!   Their main challenge just didn't pull off the way they'd planned.  But all in all, it was a fantastic experience,  the kids learned a ton (teamwork, problem solving, etc), and they are all great friends now.  Kendra told me on the way home that she doubts she would be such close friends with this group if it hadn't been for DI.  All six of them plan to be a team again next year!

Destination Imagination State Tournament Part 1

Kendra has been a member of her school's Destination Imagination team.  They competed in their regional tournament and won first place which secured their participation in the state tournament.  (You can read more about the regional tourney and what DI is here.)  So on April 12th, we took off from school early and headed south west to a 'burb of Houston called Katy, Texas.

The road trip was uneventful most of the way--sunny skies, loud tunes, a big ole Diet Coke, and views of Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes along the highway (quite stunning, actually!).  Uneventful, that is, until we were within minutes of our hotel.  We had not one, not two, but THREE navigation devices in our car and yet not one of them could successfully guide us to our destination.  NOT fun in Houston's metro traffic!  I stopped and called the hotel to be guided in--finally!!!

There are six members on Kendra's DI team--three girls and three guys.  As fate (and overbooked hotels) would have it, we couldn't all make reservations for the same place, but it ended up that the girls were all in one place and the guys in another.  Their teacher and team manager, Nicole Silva, luckily ended up with the girls.  :-)

The first night was a "mixer" in which the team came, their managers registered them, and the event of the night was pin trading.  Each region has their own pin and the kids come with a bunch of their regional pins to trade for other pins.  Kendra bought 10 pins to trade.

The regional pin--it lights up!

The pin trading crowd and Kendra
Her pin trades on her regional medal
Saturday morning was the big event.  They had their main challenge at 11:00 a.m. (they did the same skit they did at regionals, with some tweaks).    It was a little nerve wracking as the boys (who had ALL the props) left their hotel late and squeaked in just in the nick of time.  The performance room was a theater room, I guess, and the walls were completed covered in black curtain.  It made for TERRIBLE pictures, but I did get a few before they got in. 
Excited to go in!

The team In Disguise!

Not sure what's up with this here...  ha!
Our friends, the Rodgers', who moved away from here this past summer were also at the tournament because their son's team was also competing.  We were so happy to see them, but unfortunately due to hectic competition schedules we only saw each other very briefly.  They did come to see Kendra's main challenge performance.

Missie and me!

Randy, Reagan, and Kendra right before her performance
We also had another unexpected supporter!   Kendra's science teacher, Karel Stewart, made the five hour drive down to Katy and spent her own money on a hotel stay to come support the kids!  Can you say OUTSTANDING TEACHER????  The kids were so excited she came, and I know it meant a ton to them because it meant a ton to me as a mom!!!  Karel is one of a kind, to be sure.  Love her!

The kids with Karel!

Lunch at Jason's Deli between challenges.  This is Kendra's good friend, Cami.
After lunch we did a little shopping at Charming Charlie's, an accessories type store here.  The kids were crazy trying on women's dresses, jewelry and shoes.  I ended up with new pair of sunglasses as mine were scratched to bits!  For some reason Blogger is going wacko and won't let me do anything past this picture, so I guess this post becomes two!

Easter & New Beginnings

Easter was pretty low-key this year.  We almost forgot to color the eggs!  Sigh.  I guess that's what comes when your child gets older!  We had a lovely dinner with the Ballards and enjoyed a lovely church service where Kendra sang with a group of other Primary kids (she had a small solo, which she didn't want to do.  She is SO done with Primary!)

The basket's contents are becoming more sophisticated with time, too!

Gotta love a sleepy face!  Flip flops are Easter basket tradition around here.

There she is, all prettied up!  (But notice eyes are still tired!  We are NOT fans of 8:30 church!)

A Ballard/Zitzman sandwich!  Poor Sophie!
We also had Young Women's New Beginnings Night!  I'm a leader in our church's Young Women's program, and in July Kendra will be joining this program!  Each year there is a special evening to welcome the girls who will be coming into Young Women's in the year.  This year's theme is Stand Ye in Holy Places, so we did a "shoes" theme.  Each pair of shoes had a tie-in to one of the Young Women values we teach.  I am in the presidency of this organization with some amazing women.  They did all the decorating without me---they did it during the day when I work.  :-(  We had a lovely dinner of chicken salad croissants, fruit salad, pasta salad, veggies, and I made individual brownie parfaits for dessert.   The girls decorated sugar cookies (we learned how to "flood" them with icing) that were the take-away gift, and we also gave the new girls a pair of flip flops with value colored ribbons they could use to tie and decorate.   It was a very fun night and it has excited Kendra even more to become a Young Woman!