Sunday, March 20, 2016

Starquest 2016 And A Weekend In Portland

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As we ventured off for the first out of state competition of the season, we had a list of amazing things to do in Portland and the outlying areas. From our usual hangouts of Peet’s Coffee and Powell’s Books, to our new found cool places like the Portland Saturday Market and Pine State Biscuits, our trip itinerary was filling out very quickly.

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Our trip down was very uneventful. We arrived at the hotel well before we intended to, checked in and were ready to go check out the dance venue. After spending a bit of time there, we decided to hit Pine State Biscuits for our first night’s dinner. After a careful perusing of the menu and a few questions to guy behind the counter, the Reggie Deluxe was on my plate and a side of sausage gravy fries was along side it. I finished off the meal by adding a gorgeous IPA to it. It was perfect. We ventured back to the hotel for the evening and settled in.

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On Saturday, we had the entire day to check out things around town. We started downtown in the Pearl District with Peet’s and Powell’s. Peet’s always delivers a decent cup of coffee, and Powell’s Books is one of the best places to go to find something to read. We grabbed a cup of coffee and a few books.

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Powell’s also had an amazing story time setup for Saturday morning. There’s a Giraffe in my Soup was the title of the first book. We didn’t have time to stay for the second, but the reader did a wonderful job of presenting the story to everyone, even in a noisy bookstore.

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From there, we moved on to the farmers market and a beautiful day at the Riverfront Park. The trees were blooming, the sun was out and the temperatures were in the 70’s. It was a perfect day to be outside. It was so nice out, we even took a bit of a detour to the Splash Zone of the park.

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Evie decided to get seriously drenched at the park, so before we had lunch, Ara snuck off to grab her a new outfit. Once we got dried off, we grabbed some lunch from one of the on-site trucks and ate. After that, we headed back to the hotel to change before going to catch some of the performances and awards for the girls that evening.

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Evie ran into a teammate and took some time to get a few selfies before we went in to watch some of the performances. After seeing how far ahead of schedule they were, we decided we better get dinner and get back before all the acts we wanted to see went on.

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Bistro 23 was where we ended up for dinner. Their burgers, pizzas and sandwiches all looked incredible. For the second night in a row, We had nailed our dinner choice. Even their Brussel Sprouts were great. If you’re even in the Parkrose area of Portland, you need to hit Bistro 23 for one of your meals. You won’t be sorry on that one. After we finished up dinner, we went back to see a bit more dancing.

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With Sunday morning now upon us, we were up early and in makeup and hair for the big day. Show time was 11:00 ish and awards were scheduled for about an hour after it. The girls did great earning a High Gold and nailing their performance. They were quite amazing! We then had the afternoon to watch a bit more dancing and finally shuffle off to Target so Evie could find her toy for the trip.

The evening ended with a trip to a sushi belt place, which isn’t even worthy of mentioning. It was back to the hotel for another night before we headed back on Monday. The trip was a huge success and we had a blast. We’ll be back on the road in a few weeks taking our Spring Break trip to Cama Beach again this year. Can’t wait to settle in and disconnect from things for a few days, but that won’t stop my blogging!

Friday, March 11, 2016

So, We Got A Second Vehicle…


Yes, it’s not glamorous or vintage, but this “manivan” as it has been dubbed is truly a blessing. First off, it’s in amazing shape, especially for being 13 years old. Second, it was dead in our price range thanks to an extremely wonderful seller. Third, we got in house financing on it from said seller that makes it perfect for our budget. It couldn’t get much better than that for our little family.


Now for the good part… I did some checking on this one, and the towing capacity on this model is 3800 pounds. That means that it should work for pulling a little trailer like an Rpod or something similar. Of course, we may not need that trailer since it’s been pointed out by so many that we can just sleep in the van.


To say am excited about having a car again would be an understatement. It’s not what I expected us to get by any means, but as I said earlier, this just worked out to being a great fit for us, both financially and comfort level. Now, Evie’s biggest problem is figuring out what seat she is going to be sitting in.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What’s Wrong With America: My Own Version


I cannot wait for the election to be over... I am so tired of people thinking that "free college" or "companies paying more taxes" or "closing the borders" will help this country. The facts are, we are no longer making our own stuff, buying our own stuff or taking care of our own stuff.

Most American's feel entitled to a better life without thinking they have to work for it. What made this country great was people that worked hard to build something that someone else needed. People that broke their own backs so their children could have it just a little bit better than they did, and that their parents did before them. It was a generation of people that worked to earn what they needed, not a group that does it on credit to pay it back later.

The problem with our country today is that everyone is looking to politicians for answers when they should be looking at themselves. What are YOU doing with yourself? How are YOU making this country better? What are YOU going to do to make today better than yesterday?

Sure, you might be struggling under college debt, but how nice is that car you drive? Sure, you might be having trouble finding a job, but how hard is searching for one from your iPhone at Starbucks? Sure, you might even be having trouble putting food on your table, but then why are you reading this on Facebook instead of spending this 20 minutes flipping burgers at McDonalds? Stop thinking life is unfair and tragic and start doing something about it.

We've become a generation of lethargic, self entitled, former Americans that are just out for our own good. The only problem with our country is that we think someone else has all the answers to fix what's broken, when all along, we are the ones that are broken. Free college won't fix us. Raising taxes on businesses won't fix us either. Heck, giving every American a million dollars won't even fix us. The only thing that will fix us is making the decision that we will work harder than ever to make today a better day than yesterday.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Dance, Dance, Dance...

Well, today was the big day. Evie's first dance competition, or at least the first one that she was able to participate in. The Energy National Dance Competition started bright and early with us arriving at 7:30 AM all made up and ready to go. Showtime was due to be 9:30. I wasn't able to snag a photo of their performance due to the 'no photography' rules, but they did very well and ended up placing 5th in their category.

As the day went on, we were basically talked in to letting Evie perform during the open dance improv, which is where about 60 petite and junior dancers joined about the same number of senior members to dance it out on stage. Evie not only did us proud, but she was the only petite to advance to the second round. She was amazing.

The day was just about perfect. Awards were fun to watch, and seeing them take 5th place was great. After a few quick shots in front of the Energy banner in the lobby and we were off for the day. Of course, we didn't just have to end the day there. It wouldn't have been fun if we didn't somehow make the birthday party that we didn't think we could becuase we thought we would be at the competition too late. We did make it though, and it was the perfect way to end the day.