Saturday, November 28, 2015

Tournament and Thanksgiving

*Ducks head lower and lower* This post is way overdue.... 


Chloe, Christian, and I had our first speech and debate tournament, finally! And now you will finally actually get to hear- er -read about how it went.

After 5 hours of sleep, my day started at 4:30. I had to get myself ready, but then also be Chloe's hair stylist and makeup artist. I also really wanted at least a few minutes to read my Bible and pray. 

Mom and us older ones had to leave the house by 6:00 am to get there by 7:30 for check in. We competed at Irving Bible Church, which is a huge facility. On the way we, of course, stopped for coffee. Walking into Starbucks in professional attire we felt immensely slightly over dressed... 

Here is the schedule for the two day tournament. 

I watched Chloe and Christian's first debate whilst drinking my coffee and knitting. (I knit by the way.) They were well matched, and probably won the debate! 

Announcements were made in the common area (aka where everyone hung out in between rounds) and then, the first round of speeches began. 

Chloe and I were supposed to go last with our duo in our assigned room, but another team came running to us saying that no one was in the room and we should go first because the judges were all waiting. 

The room (a nursery) was full of people wanting to watch the ever-popular duo event. So we did not feel nervous or intimidated in the least. 

Chloe had been super nervous up until we entered the room, and then she was fine! Acting is one of her strong suits. If she is playing a character, she is a totally different person. People often can't believe it's actually Chloe they are watching perform. 

I was not nervous at all until I walked up in front of the judges. Then I felt really shaky. (I probably should have eaten more than just a yogurt cup for breakfast...) But my character was freaked out because she is going to be eaten by a tiger, so I was able to channel my shakiness into an incredible performance. 

We both felt really good about how we did. As far as I know, we only made one slight mistake, and the judges all missed it. 

After that, we got to watch other speeches and visit with our friends. 

Mom had judging duties, so I did not see her until lunch. Her favorite thing to judge was Lincoln-Douglas Debate, which is shorter than Team Policy, and is a value debate versus a policy debate. 

There was another debate round around noon, and then the speech pattern, in which Christian's persuasive speech took place. Then another debate, and finally the second round of speeches for Chloe and I. 

The same thing happened again. We were to go last and then got called to go first. I was less nervous this time, but my left arm and shoulder were sore from I don't know what. Anyways we both felt good about it. 

We were able to leave and go home a little earlier than we had expected which was really nice. 

Of course Dad and the others were very eager to hear how our day had been. 

A few more random things I got to do along with speaking and watching debates were, I got to drink coffee, visit with friends, meet new people, compare hand sizes with someone, laugh, learn, get startled, acquire swollen feet (from wearing heels which I never do), wish someone a happy 18th birthday, flip my hair in someone's face, cheer people on, and more. 


Day two, Chloe was happy to do her own hair and makeup, so I didn't get up until 5:30am. 

We got coffee again and were ready to go. 

Highlights of the day, or just notable things, I got to experience death by heels, watch an incredible debate and freak out the debaters because I looked like I was going to cry, get rescued by "drugs" (just a normal pain killer, whose name I can not spell, don't worry), and many of the same things as yesterday. It's amazing how fast the tournament went by and how close you feel to those you get to be stressed out and nervous and almost cry with.

I was wearing heels, that is the only reason I was the tallest.

For the first round of debate, I went to watch two of the advanced teams from our club go against each other. They did an amazing job! I kept getting asked who I would have voted for, and I honestly don't know. 

Because I was the only audience member, aside from the judge, I had no problem taking my high heel shoes off. 

My left shoulder began hurting so badly during the round, that I almost had tears sliding down my cheeks. After the round all four of the debaters were asking what they had done to make me look like I was going to cry while watching them. My explanation made them feel much better, and one of them happened to be carrying pain killer with him and offered me some for relief. 

Nana came to watch for a little while. Christian's second speech round began mid-morning, and I got to go watch him. He did a really nice job! 

The fifth round of debates started around noon, and then speech finals were announced. Duo Interpretation just had a third round instead of finals, so Chloe and I got to do it again. This time we actually did get to go almost last. I think the third round was probably our best performance yet. 

Finally the last round of debates began. Chloe and Christian hit another team from our club. I made it halfway through watching them before I had to leave to find more pain killer. My arm and shoulder hurt so badly that I stopped moving as much as possible. Even walking and turning my head hurt. I was so grateful that it did not hurt as badly while we did our last round of speech duo. 

We were pretty sure that Chloe and Christian, as beginners, were not going to be in debate finals, and speech finals were all over by the time Chloe and Christian's debate ended, so we told everyone goodbye, and left about 5:45 to go to church. 

By the end of the tournament, Christian was super excited. He had a great time, learned a lot, and made friends. He wanted to talk about all the different debates and work on improving their case as soon as we got in the car. He was tired, but energized because of all the time he had just spent with people. 

Chloe was mental and physically exhausted. She did not want to talk about debate, or our duo, or anything. The tournament was stretching to her in many ways, and whenever she could, she had escaped to a quiet table to read and recharge alone. 

I am so proud of both Chloe and Christian. They did an amazing job, especially considering it was their first ever tournament. Each of them handled stress differently, and neither method was wrong. They both learned a lot, and are looking forward to the next tournament and competing next year! 

Mom was worn out from the tournament too, but had enjoyed judging, watching us, and observing so many polite, respectful, well-dressed, kind young people to something that they truly enjoy. 

I thought the tournament was really, really fun. It wore me out just like everyone else, but energized me, because I love being around people and getting to be an encourager. I had fun competing, but my favorite part was just getting to be there to support my siblings and friends. Part of me wishes we would have started this when I was younger, so that I could learn more, and do more events, but I am really excited to get to continue to, at least, be involved because my younger siblings will be doing it in the future. 

We got to church before Dad and the other kids! Everyone there wanted to hear about the tournament, and how we had placed, but because we had left before the awards thing, we didn't know what to tell them aside from our own opinion. 

After the service we had our Thanksgiving potluck meal all together. 


Mom and Dad took Christian to Seven Mile Cafe for his birthday breakfast, and then they ran some errands. The rest of us slept because we were worn out from the tournament and the late night at church. 

Happy 15th birthday, Christian! I bet this is the last year you will be my "little" brother. You are an incredibly unique young man, and I am so grateful that God has placed you in my life. You are not afraid to speak your mind and stand up for what you believe and who you love. You are a protector. And you are growing more and more each day into the man God has created you to become. I love you!

Gramma and Grandpa came over around noon to eat pizza and other snacks and, for some, watch the Cowboy's football game. (The rest of us visited.)

The kids got Grandpa to help them with Christmas lists.

Christian likes food. Shocking, I know.

Did I miss something here?

 I'm not understanding what cutting into the plastic lid here is going to do...

Gramma helped me finally hang things up in my room!

And I got my desk set up. 

After the game Gramma and Grandpa headed home and the rest of us had a little down time. Then Nana and Aunt Cendei came for dinner and to watch "Max." 


I had work during the day. 

The others had a low key morning, and then all left to go to Six Flags for Holiday in the Park with friends. I was invited to join them after work, but decided that I would have even more fun at home. By myself. 

I got home about 4:30 ,and might have turned the music way up, so that it could have possibly been heard plainly from any room in the house, and then threw a party for one. That means that I tidied up the whole house, did laundry, and cleaned my room and bathroom. I was probably dancing and singing too. I don't sound like a mom, do I? Being excited to have the house to myself so I can do chores..? 

When the work was done, I got into comfy clothes and settled down with knitting and chocolate pie to watch "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." Yeah, I had just as much fun alone as I would have had at Six Flags.

The others had a grand time and got home late. Mia wanted to ride everything.

Dad, Mia, and Victoria ready to conquer the Runaway Mine Train.
Just ignore that photo-bomber. 


Everyone except me slept in pretty late. By the time I was leaving for a friend's house at 8:30 am some were beginning to stir. 

Those at home had friends over to visit and play.

I had coffee with my friend, and we took the little two year boy she was watching on a good long walk so we could visit more. 

A little before noon, I headed to meet Gramma at an Antique Mall for lunch and to look for a Hope Chest. We had a nice time together, but didn't find what we were looking for. 

On the way home I went to Walmart for Mom. 

I pulled dinner together and after we ate, Dad and the four younger ones went to get our Christmas tree and a fish for Ava.

Ava loves animals, just like Chloe, but she especially loves water animals. She has been wanting to get a fish for a long, long, long time and has been saving for a tank and everything else that she would need. Someone actually gave her a tank recently and some money to help pay for things. She is now the proud owner for a beautiful, blue betta fish. 

Dad may or may not have somehow stepped in a stinky pile of dog stuff. That'll smell up the car... 

While they were gone, I worked on composing a piano song while Chloe watched. Then the three of us watched some "Dr Quinn" episodes. 


Mom finished baking 12 pans of cinnamon rolls for us, and anyone else who ordered them. 

In the afternoon we had some friends from out of town come over to visit. 

Mom and Ava went out for dinner and to see "Pan." Gabe and Mia decided to watch "Pirates of the Caribbean" and us older ones watched "Parental Guidance." Dad worked so he could be off later.


Happy Thanksgiving! 

We all left at 9:30 am to go over to Gramma's house for the day. With us, we took two pans of cinnamon rolls to eat in front of everyone else to share with family along, with other brunch foods.

Our big meal was later in the afternoon.

Gramma set a beautiful table. 

Everyone worked together to clean up. 

In between eating, the kids played upstairs, and everyone else visited. 

There was a perfection tournament, and guess who won? Mom, of course! (I got second.) 

This is a game that makes jumpy people and small children scream. Dad, Uncle Dan, and I were the guilty ones. 

Gramma had also printed out some word searches. They were hard, but fun! We learned that it is much easier to find something when you know what you are looking for. 

Dessert was our dinner. 

We headed out close to 6:00 through the rain. 

At home everyone changed into pajamas and then Nana, Grandfather, Aunt Lauren, and Uncle Phil came over to watch "Elf" with us. 

I've Been Pondering 

The Herd: Quoted 

"I'd much rather you be taking them to their first speech and debate tournament then to get ready for one of them to walk down the isle to be married." -Dad as we were leaving for the first day of the tournament.

"I got up at 5:00 am and took a really nice 30 minute hot shower. That was a nice way to get good and awake before putting my suit on." -Christian 

"So basically you want to eat and watch tv." -Me after Christian described how he'd like his birthday to go. 

"Are we doing school this week?" -Mom
"No!" -All five of the other kids.
"I will cook and clean if I don't have to do school." -Christian
"Second the motion!" -Chloe 
"Okay, I guess we are not doing school!" -Mom 

"Gramma! Puppies! Awesome faces!" -Gabe when Gramma arrived. 

"I'll be in my room..." -Me carrying the Panara Bread Bagel container away jokingly. 

"Any idea what I should call that one? All my other ones are called 'the first song I wrote,' 'the second song I wrote,' etc..." -Me to Dad as I finished playing my new song.
"There is a reason that there are songs called 'Beethoven's Fifth.'" -Dad 

"I did not bring my wallet." Dad on the way to Gramma's. 
"Dad!!" -Everyone in the car. 

"Pretty soon you are going to be opening an orphanage, Lydia." -Gabe 

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