One day a little while back,
 River came running through the backdoor handing me little pink slip of paper.

It was an invitation for her to participate in the first annual Little Miss Spanish Fork Contest.

And because her heart was set on it and also because of the encouragement from a certain school secretary
            (Thanks a lot Trisha)
River talked me into signing her up for the "Little Miss Contest."
I thought it would give me and my middle-child
some much needed mommy/daughter time.

I had some concerns though...

Concern number one...

 I didn't want to turn into one of those...


ya know...

And concern number two...

I didn't want to turn River into a big...


 ya know...  

And we all know it can happen very easily.

one minute we're here...
(sweet, loving, healthy mother/daughter relationship)

The next minute were here...
 (skip to 4:00 if you can't stomach the whole thing)

Riv and I attended all the workshops and practices with equal enthusiasm.
And after each event...we took ourselves out for lunch and discussed
how it really didn't matter if she won the title,
as long as we were having fun together.

River made lots of cute little friends.
Naturally the girls were too sweet and innocent to be catty or competitive with each other.
                               Thank goodness none of them were running around crying for their "ni-ni"!
 Right before the pageant started...the director handed out a goody bag to all the girls.
River was so happy, she was ready to pack it up and go home right then so she could play with her goody bag.
                However, the ultimate...coolest thing about the whole pageant for River was;
                           hobnobbing with the Beauty Pageant Celebrities.
                                                  River was totally starstruck...OK, I was too.
                              (Tiare Keeno, Utah's Miss Teen taught all the girls poise, posture and how to walk in outrageous heels...
                                                                                  ... I asked for a private lesson)
I think I overheard River asking Miss Spanish Fork to adopt her. It was as if River thought these girls were somehow prettier, younger and cooler than her dear old mom.  Can you imagine?

            And the beautiful Miss Spanish Fork 2010 Rebecca Johnson hung out backstage with all the little girls helping to calm their nerves...    (this one's for you fellas)
During the pageant, River was on and off the stage several times with a few wardrobe changes in between. I did wonder if there was something I was missing.
All the other mom's seemed like they had done this before.
 Forty girls and all their "handlers"crammed together in one small room with sequins and bobby pins flying and one large, hairspray cloud overhead.
I really had to pay attention to get Riv stage ready and not lose an eye. 
Actually, I'm teasing...everyone was very well-behaved.

River's talent was a "Calamity Jane" monologue. (stay tuned for that)
              and She killed it! (the teenagers said that means she did well)

After her talent, River had her moment in the spotlight again on the stage.
 It was all her. 
All I could do was watch from backstage with sweaty palms
hoping that she would remember to stop and smile at the judges. 

While most girls said they dreamed of world peace, the announcer said;
"River dreams of growing up to be a teacher so she can boss other kids around and eat at her desk."

Back stage, the excitement was building.
There was a lot of waiting - adding to the nerves...butterflies all around.
All of a sudden everyone wanted to be the one to win, or at least get Miss Congeniality.
Before they went out on stage for the last time,
Instructions were given to the girls on what to do if their name wasn't called.
But I gave River a wink and a smile cause she and I secretly knew she had this.
And then it was back on-stage for the moment of truth.

There she was, looking lovely and vulnerable. *deep breath*
drum roll.......

dramatic pauses........

holding our breath.......

The winners announced...
cheering, yelling, clapping,

flowers and tiaras given out.

Winners step forward, losers exit stage right.

As for my girl?

She got nothin.
She took it like a champ.
She didn't even cry...
On her own, River congratulated all her friends who had just won.
2.5 seconds after it was over...River was over it. No big deal.

Truthfully, It was ME that was left feeling the sting of not winning.

I felt like I had let my child down. I felt like a big failure.
I know it sounds silly, but I thought...If only I had picked a different dress,
If only I had helped her with her poise and walk more,
If only I had worked on her interview questions more,
If only I had her hair done up, darker makeup, better talent, bigger jewelry, taller shoes, teeth implants, botox, etc. (just kidding)
If only I had won Harvest Ball Queen back in High School. (me=loser)

Lots of family came to support River, and they left consoling me.
My brother Johnny texted me some good advice, and Brooke offered a better perspective.  (that last word left off  is "recognition- Abraham Lincoln")
My little brother Jared's reaction couldn't be published here.
 Something about "What the heck? lets burn the place down!"

Instead of doing that, we decided to just take River out to lunch.
Here she is telling Dean that she kind of has a crush on the kid that escorted her on stage. nice.

Right about here it occurred to me that I became way too involved in the whole winning thing.   
I was mad at myself and felt foolish for getting so wrapped up in it.
One minute River seemed unaffected by the loss, just happy as punch to be out with Dean and I. And then the next minute she asked "Do you think the judges just didn't like my crazy tooth?"
So we did what most girls do to make themselves feel better.
                                            Carb load!

Later that day, my little brother Johnny also texted me the following:
"Hil, we all know how great River is...
you don't need a judge to hand you a piece of paper telling you what you already know."
He was so right.
                                     So she may not be beauty queen material,

but yeah...she is pretty great. Crazy tooth and all.


p.s. i forgot to tell you...

The highlight of our "Sunrise" the other morning was when (per request) Lauren recited the  
favored poem of her Grandma Neves for all of us in the car just as the sun was rising.
This little poem by Emily Dickinson was first made memorable by Aunt Brooke years ago and Lauren recently memorized for her English class.

Lauren did a beautiful job reciting this beautiful poem. Although she did struggle through it just days after having it 100% memorized for school. Which just proves that my kids brains are full of mush in the summer losing brains cells rapidly every minute they are out of school.

wait...I've been out of school for years...huh...what does that say about me? 



School ended this year, the same as usual...

With adorable school programs...

End of days craziness...

A few "so longs" to beloved teachers...

A fond farewell to Junior High...

And an "oh so dramatic surprise goodbye party" for a BFF. 

"...like I am totally gonna miss you so much Kilie, I'll text you everyday, we so need to hang out at the pool, you are such a babe, I love you so much, this summer is going to be so legit, lets have our moms drive us to the mall and we can get some new clothes, and get some mani-pedis and some feathers in our hair, and like never help our moms out all summer...K? I think yes...TTYL..."  

So before I knew it, and before I really wanted it...
                                         Summer was here and my kids were all mine.
yep, all mine...

Just recently I was reading an article titled...
"100 things to do with your children before they're grown"
Number 52 suggested that we "watch a sunrise together." 
I actually couldn't ever remember sitting and watching a sunrise with my kids...
 So we decided that #52 would be a great way to kick off our summer. Simple enough, huh.
Yeah well, 5:00 am doesn't happen very often around our house.

A few days ago was the fateful morning.
We woke the kids up at 5:00 am, carried most of them out in to the cold, dark night and... come on, we just couldn't help ourselves- we decided to mess with them a little bit.

You should've heard their collective "YAHOO!!" when we announced that
we were all going to Disneyland!

It was only when we started to drive up a nearby mountainside that Brett looked up from his blanket and said; "what the heck are we doing?"

To ease the tension in the air as we sat in the cool, quiet of the morning and broke the news that in fact Disneyland was a hoax...I brought along some juice and apple turnovers for the kids to eat while they pouted.
We took the opportunity while the kids were held captive in the car to talk about having goals and ambition this summer and to not waste their summer away playing video games, and sleeping in.

As the sun peaked up over the eastern ridges above Rock Canyon, I declared our summer officially begun and announced our theme for summer 2011:
                                               "Carpe Diem"

                                         "Seize the Day"
It was a beautiful morning, made better only by the fact that we did it!
We watched a sunrise with our kids.
They may may never be able to say that they traveled the world, swam with dolphins, visited the Metropolitan museum, Golden Gate Bridge, attended a Major League training camp, or watched a Space Shuttle launch.
But at least we can cross # 52 off our list.   
We chilled in the car a bit, eating and talking and shivering.
I thought about our summer ahead...oh the possibilities.
Brett was still sulking about the whole "fake Disneyland" thing.
He was probably thinking "why couldn't I have been born into a normal family?"
Dean said we needed to hurry up and get our "Carpe Diem" on
before he needed to leave for work.
 So he kicked all the kids out of the car and insisted that everyone enjoy the moment before it's over, doggone'it.

We drove home shielding our eyes from the bright welcome of a new day.
I wish I could say that we went right home and followed our summer theme, cleaned up the yard and house, read books, made travels plans, planted a garden etc...
Instead, the minute Dean left for work, I curled up in a blanket...locked my door...told the kids to try not to hurt each other or at least keep it down and then I went back to sleep.
Seize the day indeed.


(a two minute video of the girl who needs to be everything)       So far my hobby has been micro-managing my kids and as rewardi...