Universal Sonics Challenge

We are headed to Orlando in just over a week, I’m really excited for our gym and all of our athletes. Go Sonics! On Facebook we have a Summit Sonics Challenge; counting down the days until The Summit and reasons you like Universal Sonics. Unfortunately, I’ve got commitment issues and time struggles preventing me from playing along all week so I’ll pay my homage here. 

We’ve got 8 or 9 days until we head out (see, I’m a crappy cheer mom) and seeing as I’m making my own rules for this game I’ll just give you 10 reasons I LOVE our gym, Universal Sonics Gymnastics and Cheer.

1. Controlled environment, it’s priceless. The staff and the coaches know all of the kids, who they hang out with, if there are problems, and they encourage the athletes to look out for one another within our gym and in the community. I know my kids aren’t getting into trouble or put in situations that are risky. 

2. Universal is a safe place for the kids. If the athletes have a problem that they’re not ready to share with their peers/parents they have several adult options as they’ve established relationships with families within the gym and their coaches; we are a family. 

3. Respect. It is critical that children learn to respect other adults, adults you trust. I understand that the coaches will push my children to achieve their personal best. I’ve seen many different techniques from tough love to praise…each child is different and I’ve witnessed triumphs and failures as coaches learn as much as our children do. 

4. The kids earn their wins. If you’re into participation trophies this place isn’t for you. Everyone is not a winner. In real life our children will suffer through failures and understanding how to deal with failure is an important lesson, a lesson a lot of children missing out on with the whole ‘everybody is a winner’ sports. The athletes at Universal bust their butts perfecting routines, learning new skills, and pushing themselves to a limit they never knew existed within themselves. 

5. We are small but we are fierce. We live in a small town, we typically have less than a hundred athletes in cheer. Our coaches and our athletes like to be pushed to greatness, they want to compete with the best of the best! Our small town generates epic wins, I mean 5 of our eligible teams are going to The Summit. Holla!

6. Heartache. You’ve got to have some good to go with the bad. Having families who move away or watching athletes head off to college is bittersweet. I feel this is another lesson that can be carried over into adulthood, people come and go but they’ll always be part of your heart.

7. Accountability and teamwork. 

8. Traveling. It’s awesome to go places and make memories with your kids! 

9. Family goes beyond the gym setting, from facilitating carpools to organizing meal trains to help local families. Universal looks out for their families. In addition; our gym gives back to our community by organizing food drives for the holidays. 

10. Friendship and sportsmanship. The athletes have established a bond much like siblings. They fight often but make up quickly as they’re encouraged to rise above the petty stuff. No matter how angry the kids get they always pull it together for their routine, they respect their team. Our athletes also befriend other teams from all over the United States and display excellent sportsmanship. 

Done and done! 

And scene!

Our standard cheer season is complete! Our gym has 5 teams attending the Summit in Orlando in 19 days, our other teams aren’t eligible. Hello Disney World! Our last competition was in Las Vegas, all of our teams placed first with the exception of our mini team– they placed 3rd. It was an exceptional season and I’m proud of all of our athletes and coaches. All of their hard work made for a successful season, kudos! 

I’m excited to go on this trip with Biscuit, it’s a fun time for her and I to bond and have fun all while making memories. I enjoy the time we get to spend together because I know these times will soon be a thing of the past as she gets older and would rather be with friends than her weird mom. Biscuit has been fundraising for this trip and I’m proud of her for working hard, I’ve noticed it’s not something a lot of kids do anymore. Parents are burdened with huge expenses and kids often feel entitled; I expect my children to work for things in all areas of life.

Just as soon as this season’s ends another begins, it all happens quickly. It’s a blur. A lot of our coaches and athletes will be graduating high school and heading off to college, it’s bittersweet. 

Sonics news!


The bid reveal was really exciting for our gym!

Our Level 5R team, Odyssey, had already recieved a bid at a prior competition but the team was honored to be awarded again! And our Level 1 team, Secret, was absolutely ecstatic. AND Biscuit’s Level 4 team, Matrix, was awarded a bid too! The kids are all extremely happy and proud of themselves; as they should be! This means 4 of our gyms 7 teams have bids to the Summit in Orlando! Well, 2 of the teams aren’t eligible…Tinys and Minis don’t compete at The Summit. We need just one more of our teams to snag a bid at the next few competitions. I have faith in the kids on all of our teams. C’mon Junior 2!!

Odyssey, Obsession, Matrix, Secret! 

Summit bound, I am extremely proud of these kids!

It still blows my mind, our gym is in a small town primarily know for partying or geriatric folks. Our gym has under 100 athletes on our all star cheer teams. We win at huge events, like Duel in the Desert, and recieved bids! I am truly thankful for our coaching staff at the gym, they’ve taught my daughters self confidence and amazing skills. 

Now we prepare for The Summit!

Wait. Maybe you’re still trying to figure out what the heck just happened, what is the Summit? What is a bid? How does it all work? I’ve snagged a few excerpts from Heart of Cheer to help my readers clear up any confusion. 

What is The Summit, what is a bid?

The Summit is an annual event, and it is held by Varsity All Star. It was first introduced in 2013, and is also held in late April at Walt Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. This competition includes Youth, Junior, and Senior teams of all levels 1 through 5.
…competitions require teams to earn bids. A bid is an invitation to compete, and must be earned through competing at an event that offers them. A team cannot compete at either competition without earning a bid.

What type of bids are there? 

A Paid bid to The Summit… Expenses are paid for the team to compete, and it is not necessary for teams who earn these bids to compete in the preliminary round. Only the highest scoring teams at the largest and most prestigious events are awarded paid bids to The Summit, and getting one of these is a high honor.

At large bids, again, offer the opportunity for teams to compete at The Summit, but without any expenses paid. At The Summit, however, teams who earn at large bids do not have to compete in the preliminary round.

Wild card bids… are awarded at select one day competitions to the highest scoring teams. Teams that earn wild card bids must compete in a preliminary round to earn a spot in semifinals. Only the top teams in each division will earn the chance to move on.

I bet you’re curious to know what the teams win at The Summit, it’s a ring. But what’s worth even more than the ring itself is the experience! 

Congratulations to all of The Summit bid winners, we will see you in Florida this May. ❀

Duel in the DesertΒ 

The majority of the family, minus Blue because she wanted to see her family members over the weekend and Boychild because he loathes cheer competitions, went to Palm Springs over the weekend for a cheer competition. We all had a lot of fun. Prepare yourself for a l know of these photos! 

Jessa on Tiny Love, killing it with her jumps. 

Team Love. 

Bunny and her bestie. 

Biscuit getting zen.

Bunny and her bestie again.

Lex being a Smoed Fangirl. 

Lemon is a showstopper, naturally. πŸ˜‚

My gorgeous Biscuit just before her J4 team started their routine.

Mini Dream and Tiny Love placed 2nd and were D2 champions. 

J4 Matrix placed first!

Lemon, Bunny, and Ren are silly!

J4 celebrating their victory. 

Biscuit and her friend, so cute!

Getting Bids to the Summit has changed this season, they no longer distribute them at the competition on awards day. They now have a team of people who review stuff and they post the day after the competition on the Varsity website. Although, last night at Duel the did award 3 Gold bids.

We had a great weekend with friends and family. 

I ended up missing my cousins wedding on Friday due to some travel restrictions and I am SO bummed out. We had planned on going to Phoenix to catch the wedding on Friday night then head straight to Palm Springs…but when placement happens and you’re struggling to get everything in order…you miss some things. I will continue to make sacrifices for children as long as I’m on this earth; I know where I’m needed and I’m certain my family understands the constant push and pull of foster care. 

Update!

The Husband and I had a wonderful time in Chicago. It was a nice little retreat, it was deserved. We went on a treetop adventure course and zip lining and spent the rest of our time wandering around the city. We ate fancy food, drank lots of beer, and slept in. Best. Trip. Ever. 

Now we are gearing up for Minnie, Shy, and Bells to move out. Tomorrow is a big day, our sweet Bells and Shy are moving into their new home! We love them and we are estatic that they’ve got a forever home, their new home is amazing and their new family is exceptional. They will have a great life; I’m sure of it.  Minnie will be with us another week but she will be hopping back and forth between our home and her bio parents home. I’m really happy all of our foster babies are leaving and moving on in their lives. 

We’ve already got placement possibilities! I’ve got calls and emails, I love that we are already on the minds of case workers, licensing workers, and such. I love my community. I’m proud to be a part of something! I love being a foster parent. Speaking of being part of something…I had go to Chicago for 4 days and when I returned I had to take the girls to gym to practice. When I walked into the gym I was greeted by several girls who said they had missed me and wanted to know where I had been and what I had been doing. I was hugged a lot too. That is a beautiful feeling. I love, love, love, that I’m part of something. I am part of a family that’s pretty big and downright splendid. Guys, community is something that is irreplaceable and has such value; community is everything. I can only wish for everyone that they’re part of something, have a solid network of people they can count on, and feels supported and loved. 

We are gearing up for our trip to Knott’s Berry Farm, we leave tomorrow! Yay. The kids are excited and I’m happy to be spending time with them. Once we return from our trip we are going camping, Boychild is excited. Husband took Boychild’s dirtbike to be serviced today and it’ll be ready for the camping trip. The boy lives to ride, I love him! Speaking of Boychild, he is doing exceptionally well in school. He’s never been an A type of student, he’s a B and C kid. That’s okay with me, he does his best and it’s perfectly fine. Well, he pumped up his grades and definitely exceeded our expectations. We rewarded him with a TV and an Xbox in his room. For most people their kids have a TV in their room…ours don’t. We have only one TV in our home and it’s in the family room. This is huge! He feels really good about his hard work and we want to convey that excellent grades will pan out in a positive way. I’m proud of him, he’s doing good things and working on making good choices. I simply cannot sing his praises enough.

Holygeezebestnewsever!  In just 5 short days we will pick up Murphy, our dog! I’m excited, kid-on-Christmas-morning, excited. Husband and I had gone to pick our puppy 2 weeks ago, we were under the impression that there just 2 puppies to choose from but when we arrived there were 6 gorgeous silver lab puppies to choose from. We knew if we took all the kids we would have never gotten out of there…heck it was hard to get me out of there. Imagine this: 6 playful puppies rolling around in the grass, jumping, playing, biting. Now imagine yourself laying down on the grass and having those cute puppies all over you. Bliss, people, complete bliss. It took me about 2 hours to decide which puppy was mine. She’s got a big head and a dopey disposition. She bounds instead of running and she was circling the parameter. Even after I picked our newest family member…I stayed to play with the puppies. It was a dream come true. Technically, I was rolling around on the ground with over six thousand dollars. Ballin’! 

Don’t you just want to boop her snoot?! I’m in love; the kids are going to love her. 

Cowabunga Bay

Lemon and her BFF, they had so much fun!

Boychild taking a break from all the water slide action. His BFF couldn’t make it, he was vacationing in Seattle. 

Bunny and her BFF, these girls were wore out!

I’m glad the girls were able to go together!

It was a long, and hot day! I didn’t get any pictures of Biscuit at the waterpark as she was gone and enjoying herself! I’m going to go ahead and make this a picture post; these are random summer pictures of the kids. Enjoy!

Lemon, cheer friends and Bunny. 

Lots of cheer friends and my girls. 

Lemon and Bunny playing dress up. 

Lemon and Boychild, froyo!

Biscuit!

B and Boychild. 

Bunny and her BFF!

My biggest and my littlest. 

Ice cream with some Tiny’s!

My Biscuit. 

My Bunny!

Biscuit and Lemon.

Boychild and Jessa…more ice cream!

Boychild in the pool.

Me, my BFF and another friend at a Wedding in San Jose, CA. 

Me and the BFF in San Francisco!

Schools out!

It’s officially summer vacation! We are all pretty psyched about it. Lemon will go into a PreK3/4, Bunny advance to 1st grade, Bells may or may not advance to 3rd grade…it will be decided after summer school, Boychild will advance to 4th grade, Shy will enter 5th grade, and Biscuit will advance to 8th grade! I’m proud of all of my babies, they’ve done well all year. I’m most proud of my boys; they’ve matured quite a bit this school year and learned a lot of life lessons.

Boychild and Shy start Boy Scouts on Thursday, Biscuit, Bunny, and Lemon started the the cheer season, and Bells is still rocking gymnastics. Boychild and Shy need something to do, if they’re not busy they get into trouble. We decided on the Boy Scouts because there are several different things to learn/do and the boys will be in different groups based on age. I think Boychild mentioned wanting to do Crossfit in addition to the Scouts…we will see. Shy has commitment issues, he doesn’t want to commit to a season of any sport. We have told him that if he decided to do a sport/activity/class/camp he would have to complete it in its entirety; he’s not keen on that so he’s never really done anything. We have some really great trips going on this summer, it’s going to be fun filled and exciting!

Memorial day weekend was great, we farmed out the kids and Husband and I took a trip to California solo. Yes, we went alone…no children. Bunny went camping with our family friends, Lemon stayed with her BFF and her family, Biscuit stayed with her friends, Bells, Shy, and Boychild went to stay with my parents. We attended a cousins college graduation in Orange County, we drank too much, stayed out late, ate at amazing restaurants, bonded with family, went shopping, and slept passed 9am. We liked it so much we are doing it again in October, Husband and I are going to Chicago for the weekend.

Our summer is full of concerts, movies, trips to California, swimming, camping, friends, family, and most importantly fun.

Bells and Shy’s case is at a standstill. There is a court date set for next week, their attorney visited today but didn’t have much to share. Bio parents aren’t doing anything required by the state to assist with reunification, no one knows anything about anything, I’m still in the dark. It’s fine, everyone is in pretty high spirits and happy. We are living in the moment.

In other news, recently opened up another bed in our home for another foster child. The more the merrier, we say. Imagine it…7 beautiful children under our roof. I believe God has a very specific plan for me; this is my plan. I love kids and I have patience for them, I enjoy teaching and learning, I like controlled chaos and structure, I enjoy seeing children do/try new things, and this is how I’ll contribute to society. The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

I’ll end this with a few random pictures:

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We survived the move!

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Take a look at the view, it’s gorgeous. We have, what seems to be, a million boxes to unpack. We had several friends help us move, pick up kids/drop them off, and swing by with drinks and treats, and we are forever in their debt. I’m surrounded by loving, selfless, people and I love it. Now…we try and find the things we need. It. Is. Impossible. Our entire 3 car garage was stacked full of boxes, no kidding but now things have mellowed out. Now we have to wait a horribly long time for OLR to come and license our new home. Our new Licensing worker, Star, is absolutely amazing. She is constantly helping me and ironing out this entire move/license/inspection. I heart her.

Several weeks ago, an acquaintance who I work with mentioned reading my blog! Hey girl, you prompted me to update my blog despite being so incredibly busy! Kudos to you! Also I’m glad that you reached out to me about foster care!

In our new neighborhood we are very close to unhabitated land and that means more dirt bike riding! Weehaw! We are all pretty excited about that. We have all been busy so exploring the desert and playing hasn’t been a priority. Hopefully we can change that soon.

We finished up the cheer season at The Summit in Florida. Our gym, in our tiny town of Lake Havasu City, had 4 teams go. It was an invitation only event. Two of the teams that went were Biscuits teams, it was a crazy adventure between the ESPN center and all of the Disney World Parks. I’m proud of Biscuit and proud of our coaches and gym.

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In other news, we are still waiting for court dates and a final say in the case for Bells and Shy. Again. Everything is still up in the air…this is a slow, painful, process. It’s been over a year since they’ve been with us, they are absolutely wonderful. I love them. I rejoice in their accomplishments and feel their pain in their shortcomings.

We have also opened up another bed in our home for another foster child. Boy or girl aged between 6-13. Secretly I hope it’s an older girl but you never know what you’ll get! Things in our home are pretty normalized with our 2 foster kids and if they end up staying for the long haul they can be helpful or inspirational to the other children who will come to our home in the future.

I’m having a party at my house this weekend, it’s an end of the season party for Bunny’s cheer team. The team mom is hosting it here and I’m pretty excited to see all of the girls play together and swim! The tiny team has a great group of mom’s and despite the crazy drama that happened this year…we are still pretty tightly knit. The new season is approaching quickly, cheer camp starts this Friday. Check it out! You will love this investment into your child.

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Also, if you ever have questions about foster care, or anything on my blog, feel free to contact me! You can email me directly at fostermom at gmx dot com. I am open to help guide anyone along any path and solve any problems foster related or otherwise.

Insert expletive deletive

Here we go. We’re strapping in for a rollercoasters ride, things are changing…again. Naturally, you’d expect things to change when you’re a foster care provider…except when you’re pretty sure things are going to go one way and they go the complete opposite.

Building a house? Definitely on hold. If we go through too many changes, and hope to adopt our foster children, big changes can hold us up and potentially disrupt a placement and/or adoption. That. Sucks. So. Much. But, my heart says to hang tight and make different choices.

News on our current foster care placement has finally come through, unfortunately I didn’t get news from my DCS worker or an attorney, I was called by a transportation company and relayed news of visitation starting in a couple weeks. With that being said it seems pretty obvious what the judges ruling was. I’m really irked that no one called to let us know, the kids have been asking and we’ve all been dying to know what was going on.

Everything is in limbo. We are stuck playing a waiting game. I hope and pray that bio parents get it together and can parent Bells and Shy in a healthy way, I always want what’s best for my foster babies and I preach reunification relentlessly. If it were my choice I know my own selfishness would get the best of me. I love these kids, I’m proud of these kids, these are some exceptional kids and my heart aches with them. I want so badly for them to have normal lives and deep down I want to snatch them up and keep them forever. Obviously that’s the wrong way to look at things, you can’t take what’s not yours. I’m emotionally invested and as much as I would love to keep them forever but I could NEVER steal an opportunity from a bio parent who is actively trying to better themselves.

So. Many. Mixed. Emotions.

In other news; Biscuits cheer team received a bid to the Summit. That’s a big deal, it’s like the superbowl for cheerleaders. I’m proud of her and her team…now we fundraise relentlessly to afford the trip. I just had a sea of birthdays in our house and we are gearing up for parties. After many fights regarding Bunny’s hair we finally cut it short, there have been less fights since. Boychild hit a growth spurt and he is looking a lot less boyish. Bells is happy in gymnastics. Shy expressed an interest in playing football. Lemon is working on her tumbling in hopes of making it on a cheer team next year.

Husband makes my heart feel happy, he’s working different angles to help with moving, buying a house, and building a house. That man would move mountains for us; he loves our family. I’m lucky to have him, crazy lucky. He understands my passion for children, our community, and he pushes me to do more, do better, and do what pleases me.

Until next time…we wait.

I have a cheer hangover.

The girls attended Duel in the Desert in Palm Springs, California this passed weekend. Picture this; nonstop techno/hip-hop music, screaming fans, and 350 cheer teams trying to be number one. We are up at 5am getting ready and we finish up around 4pm. My girls go on and I shout, woo, and throw my hands in the air. I look stupid; manic actually. It’s almost like I’m reliving my early 20’s at a techno rave. Our other teams go on throughout the day and we all get rowdy for the teammates, our gym has seven teams; Love, Dream, Inspire, Believe, Moxie, Obsession, and Oddessey. That’s  seven opportunities to show our support, and…lose our voices.

‘Duel in the Desert Final Placements:
Love-5th out of 7 Teams
Dream-4th
Inspire-3rd
Believe-2nd
Moxie-2nd
Obsession-2nd
Odyssey-1st

MORE AMAZING ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
Super PROUD to announce that Sunday we had 6 out of 7 NO DEDUCTION routines! (meaning no fall, HIT routines)

MORE SPECIAL AWARDS:
Believe: Small Gym Champions!
Obsession: Small Gym Champions
Odyssey Small Gym Champions!

Odyssey-National Champions! Level 5 At Large Summit Bid Winners!

(96 programs, 350 Teams and only 10 at Large Bids were awarded to the Summit in Orlando Florida)’

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That Biscuit, she’s fierce. She takes cheer very seriously. Her facials are AMAZING.

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That’s Bunny, she’s too cute. She’s a happy go lucky cheer kid, sometimes serious.

After the busy weekend, I sometimes fall flat the following week. That is my cheer hangover.