Friday, April 27, 2012

I’m a Pageant Mom

As a child growing up, I loved to watch Miss America.   The idea of walking across the stage in a beautiful gown to be crowned and presented a title and a large bouquet of flowers seemed to be a fantasy come true.   I knew that fantasy wouldn’t come true in my future, but as one who didn’t wish to be in the spotlight living vicariously was fine for me.

Last weekend I  was again able to live vicariously  through my daughter as she represented the little town we live in at the Miss Teenage California Scholarship Pageant.  I know, I know, good parents don’t vicariously live their lives through their children---but I must tell you it’s hard not to get caught up in all the pageantry and competiveness.
I’m the type of gal who gets her hair cut every so often, rolls out of bed in the morning worried only about which clothes are clean, and has never plucked or waxed any hair on my head.    I am a wash and wear gal with both my hair and my clothes.    I’ve tried to pass on some girlyness to my daughters---I take them to a make-up lesson when they turn twelve, but for the most part they choose to follow my example and go bare-face.  They all have long beautiful thick hair, but unless it’s a special occasion they don’t usually style it.   We do own a hairdryer and curling iron.   The hairdryer was purchased at a thrift shop 15 years ago, and I’m not even sure where the curling iron came from---turns out both are out of date!  Who knew that could happen?!

So how did my daughter end up in a pageant?   It looked good on paper—$10,000 scholarship prize to the winner and another $7000 to be shared among other positions.   Who could pass up that opportunity?    So we got the ball rolling and asked for and received a nomination which allowed A-M to enter the first level of competition through an application process.    She was accepted and received a local title which sent her to the state pageant as contestant number 87.
Next step was figuring out what she was going to wear for the various parts of the pageant.    A-M has attended many formal dances and has quite a bit of formal wear in her closet.    So she was set, right?    Well,  I must admit this is when the Pageant Mom in me started peeking out!   All the dresses she already owned had been bought at thrift shops—something that doesn’t bother me or her—usually.    I wanted her to have something special that she would feel confident in.    So after asking around, I found the shop to go to in our little town.   

Turns out pageant gowns can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars!   Who knew?    We found a beautiful dress for much less than the thousands of dollars but still in the hundreds of dollars category!   It flowed and sparkled!    And had to be ordered and altered!   And was beautiful and did I mention it sparkled?!  

Next came the search for the After Five knee length pastel dress that was required.   Not knowing what an After Five dress was, my relationship with the internet and all things pageant began.   Turns out an After Five dress is a more age appropriate way to say cocktail dress!    We looked and looked some more.   Needless to say after satisfying the Pageant Mom in me with the first pageant gown, my wallet dictated I not let out the pageant mom in me out when looking for this second dress.    We found it at a shop that is perpetually going out of business.  For $15 we found a cute little pink dress.   It had two stains on it!   But we figured it was worth trying to remove those stains.    $15 later---the drycleaner returned a sparkling clean looking like new dress.   Thankfully my inner pageant mom had been suppressed—for the time being. 

Now came the really hard part-- raising money for sponsorships.   Did you know it cost money to enter pageants?   And I’m not talking about a $35 entry fee.   No, pageants cost thousands of dollars to enter.  It is suggested one find local business that would like the advertising that is offered in the program.   And of course family is also helpful in this endeavor!   Thanks  Aunt T, Polly, and Grammy!    The sponsorship part of the pageant was the most stressful as well as  time consuming part of the pageant prep.  

Dresses ordered and altered. Sponsorships gathered.  Shoes bought.  Time to sit back and wait for the pageant.    Turns out not!   A friend who is quite girly and who has competed in national dance completions let me know about some last minute details I shouldn’t forget---accessories, eye-brow waxing, and a make-up and hair run through!   Now my Pageant Mom part of me wants to hide because she has no experience with any of these things!   Turns out my friend has already figured that out and is there to lend a helping hand.   Out comes her boxes of jewelry and we find just the right necklace and earrings.   Next she leads us to her bathroom and her tower of hot rollers.   I get a short tutorial on the mohawk theory of curling hair.    And last but not least, she emails me the name of the lady who waxes her eyebrows.  

In the car after her first ( and most likely last) eyebrow waxing, A-M tells me all this prep is just way too complicated.   To compete in a swim meet she throws a swimsuit, towel, and goggles in a bag and is good to go.   Why can’t a pageant be like that?    Yes, indeed—why can’t a pageant be like that?  

After thinking about that I had an AHA moment.  A-M does prepare for her swim meets by practicing over and over again for hours a week.   Pageant prep isn’t that much different.   It requires practice, practice, and more practice.    I’m sure there are lots of girls for whom shopping and accessorying is second nature—I’m sure showing up for a pageant is throwing stuff in a bag and heading out the door---because all the prep is just a natural part of their lives.  

Pageant weekend.   I go down with A-M on Friday night—the rest of the family will join us Saturday and Sunday.   Friday night is orientation—immediately after orientation A-M texts me a list of stuff she needs that she’s left in my room or in the car.   Right then and there I figured out part of being a Pageant Mom was to be at the beck and call of your daughter during pageant weekend.    I grumbled a bit in my head at that point because I had already changed into my sweats for a nice quiet evening alone in my hotel room.  I almost  grumbled  out loud when I got two texts before 7:00 AM the next morning about a pair of heels she needed that were in my room.   That is when I first questioned my Pageant Mom status.    Of course I had it easy as A-M’s roommates’ parents drove 4 hours  to retrieve a bag left behind that contained much needed eyeliner!

Late Saturday morning came the real test of my abilities as a Pageant Mom---time to do hair for the first time.   Before I share how things went---you must know that my hair experience is mostly about washing my hair.   I do flip my head upside down about twice a year in order to blow dry it.(Remember the afore mentioned hairdryer---this is when it is called into service)   To be fully honest here, I must tell you I usually get bored before my hair is fully dry so I flip my hair and myself back into an upright position with damp hair which then just dries as it usual would.   But to get ready for the pageant, I did pin lots of hairstyles!  And I watched several YouTube videos---and even attempted a few of them on A-M which caused her to privately tell my husband that I didn’t know what I was doing.   Which caused me to make an appointment for my daughter to get her hair blown out and straighten Friday before we left for our pageant weekend.   See what a good Pageant Mom I am—I admit defeat and call in the experts! 

So Saturday we again consulted YouTube to figure out a style that would work with the straight hair and not mess it up for the next day.    A-M pooh-poohed my YouTube dependence, but you know it was all I had!   And I think I did a pretty good job!

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Not super imaginative, but it doesn’t look awful—and
trust me that is an improvement for me!
She did her own make-up
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and wiggled into her dress and I sent her backstage.    That left me to take my place in the audience    Pageant Mom then came out full force.   I could say I didn’t judge each girl against my daughter, but that would be just a lie!   All the girls were beautiful and accomplished, but I just couldn’t help compare their speeches against my daughters.   I’m not proud that I did that—but I did!    And A-M got on stage and delivered her speech flawlessly!   She did her pageant walk with grace and a big smile.    I was so excited for her I had to hold in the tears!   I wanted to jump up and down and scream—That’s My Daughter!!!!   But I hid that Pageant Mom part of me!

Sunday was the big event!   Reinforcements were called in.  I just  couldn’t be trusted to do hair for the finals.
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You can see by the rollers in my sister-in-law’s hair that she knows what she is doing!   She even used the mohawk method  of hot curling hair without me mentioning it!   She also had lots and lots of hair products!   And A-M’s hair turned out beautiful—and big! 

We sent A-M backstage and went to our seats in the audience.    A-M came on and introduced herself!   This time I couldn’t hold it in and I did cheer loudly!   Turns out A-M did not make it to the top ten, but she did an awesome job every time she was onstage.    I must say the Pageant Mom in me was a little disappointed, but mostly excited to see  my daughter on stage doing a great job in the dance number and during her other onstage appearances.

The Pageant was a lot of hard work and a great learning experience.   I’m thinking there won’t be a repeat anytime in the future, but if I’m wrong and there is, I’ve learned that like most anything there can be a dark side to being a Pageant Mom as well as a positive side.   I learned a ton being a Pageant Mom and thank my daughter for the opportunity to learn so much new!   

And now I’m letting that Pageant Mom out just a little bit to share my beautiful pageant girl with you!

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Olivas Adobe Field Trip

Today, we were able to visit Olivas Adobe Historical Park on an awesome field trip! 
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The Olivas Adobe home is the only two story adobe house from the California Rancho period still standing.  In 1847 it was built by Raymundo Olivas after he received a land grant from the Mexican government for his service in the military. 

An excellent set of docents helped us

mix adobe bricks in the mud pit
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Learn about herbal uses and remedies. 
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Rope Ferdinand the Bull
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Learn about the trade of cattle and their hides
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And Take corn from this
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To this
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To massa
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So we could use tortilla presses
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To create super yummy fresh tortillas.
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We were also able to tour the house.  
 Though the house is quite large, the upstairs only has three rooms. 

A girls’ room
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The master bedroom
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And a boys’ bedroom?----Nope!  The younger boys slept on the porch while the older boys bunked with the ranch hands.   Instead of using the third room for a boys’ bedroom, the third room was used as a chapel.  
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  Which served this family of 21 children and around 100 Chumash Indians and other hired ranch hands.
The house was filled with charming little artifacts like this mouse trap
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and this charming chamber pot
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Many of the original plants still remain at the rancho.
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We had an awesome day and learned a ton!  
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Ever Wondered about Charter Schools?

If you’ve ever wondered just what a charter school is or how it might or might not work for your family, be sure to hop on over and read my article about charter schools at Latter-day Homeschooling.   Feel free to leave a comment with any questions I might not have answered in my post or experiences you’ve had with charter schools.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spring Break: Visit With Friends at the Getty

If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you know I’m a fan of The Getty. It’s one of those places you can visit over and over again and never see all it has to offer.  (and it is free!)

So when my dear friend who is visiting from quite far away asked if our families could meet up at The Getty, I jumped at the chance to visit some of my favorite people while surrounded by beauty. 

The Getty

We visited the Renaissance building.   After studying the Renaissance for the past few months I was excited to see some of the paintings we’ve studied.    I wasn’t disappointed with the entire gallery of Rembrandt and Rembrandt Workshop paintings.

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Look at the hand!  I can’t imagine being able to paint something this detailed!.

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Head of a Women by Micheal Sweerts looks like a women I might see walking down the street and reminded me that people don’t really change. People are people no matter when they lived.

The pottery surprised me.  For some reason I hadn’t thought about what dishes were used during that time period. 

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This plate was most likely produced for daily use.

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Where as this plate was produced for display.   It shows the Arms of the Vegerio Family. 

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This plate with grotesques, fanciful decoration of animals and fantastical creatures, produced in Venice around 1540 was meant to imitate marble.  

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This plate depicts the kidnapping of Helen of Troy. 

Keep in mind these plates have been around for 500-600 years!  And without a chip on any of them!

The Getty has a neat kids’ exhibit that allows kids to practice what they see throughout the museum.

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And A-M can now claim she has art work hanging at The Getty!

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We enjoyed spending the day at The Getty, but really the best part of the day was spending time with dear friends!  

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Some of my kids and my friend’s, Jen, kids

And my dear, dear friend Jen!

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and her wonderful husband—who was taking the pictures!

Great weather, excellent art, and good friends equals an awesome day!

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