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Theres NO Place Like Home

On April 29, 2011...we had a milestone happen in our family. It was my first time flying since I was 3 (I didn't remember it) and it was Kacey's first time flying ever! Imagine the excitement at 3am when we got out of bed to be at the airport by 4am. The nerves had hit me but Kacey was through the roof with excitement.

Once luggage was checked, it was time to deal with security. We had our doctor's note and all the diabetes supplies packed in her carry on but we were not sure what to expect with security. Can I just say....THANK YOU NEWPORT NEWS AIRPORT SECURITY for making this such an easy process! Kacey didn't walk through the detectors. We chose the pat down and she proudly showed off her insulin pump, CGM, and the sites to both. Her bag went through screening and she went through a very quick pat down. The lady was very understanding and she thanked me for making it an easy process for her. I was puzzled and she said most parents raise a fuss about the pat downs. Sad!

We boarded a plane bound for Atlanta at 6am. Kacey was over the moon with excitement as the plane took off. She ended up falling asleep about 30 minutes into the ride. Thankfully when we unloaded at Atlanta, we were only a few gates up from where we needed to be. After boarding in Atlanta, we arrived in Kansas City at 11:30am. Boy was I surprised when I found out that I wasn't able to pick up my rental car at the counter. We had to take a bus to the rental car place and pick it up there. Ugh!

By the time we got to the hotel, we were ready for a nap! The culinary team started to unpack the coolers and make sure everything was safe to check in since the coolers checked as "baggage" with the airline. (Don't ask!) The one thing Kayleigh feared was the eggs breaking. Three out of the four team mates needed eggs for their recipe. How the heck do you keep eggs from breaking in a cooler that is flung around? YOU DON'T! The eggs were packed several ways and Kayleigh even packed extra eggs just in case those got broke...out of about 10 eggs...ONE made it! The School Board didn't think it was necessary to rent a van for the team so guess who was running around getting the supplies that were needed? Me and another team Mom! Again, I won't go into all the details BUT you all catch my drift! After things were straight, it was time to go over for check in. From that moment on, the weekend seemed to fly by. Thanks to our State Coordinator, Kayleigh was introduced to some very cool and important people over the weekend. She got business cards and made some fantastic mentor contacts to help her further her career. We were blessed to witness some AMAZING talent at the competition and some FANTASTIC team spirit and support. It was great to see teams that were so together. The team that won was from California and the instructor from that team said that starting Jan 8th, they practiced every single day, sometimes more than once a day (with exception of weekends and holidays)...and that my friends is the reason they won! They were competing along side of us and I was mesmerized watching their team work skills and the dishes they produced could be in a NYC high class restaurant. FABULOUS! All that being said, Kayleigh got some great reviews on her dessert dish. They liked the "clean" look of it and they only wished there was a little more lime in the cheesecake filling. Well when we went to the state competition, they wanted it a little sweeter...ha! So it was a catch 22 on that one...but overall...she was 100% pleased with her plate. She finished 10 minutes early and she didn't even get on the burner til minute 16 and was off the burner by minute 30. So she rocked it!

Another obstacle she had placed in her way was...vegetable cuts. Part of the competition involves, 2 team mates cutting vegetables into the cuts the judges choose for them and 2 team mates breaking down a chicken into parts. Before the state competition, Kayleigh and I prayed daily for her to be chosen for chicken. At the state competition, they only chose 1 team mate to do the chicken and 3 to do the veggies. She got it! She rocked it! And she got 4 out of the 5 points awarded for it. So when it came time for Nationals, we were told they would be working on these skills weekly in class. Each time she had class, I'd ask her if they did the cuts and they weren't practicing like the schedule said they would. As it got closer to the competition, they practiced a little more but not like they should have been. I'm sure you can imagine Kayleigh's fear when we were at the competition and the judge said "You will do vegetable cuts." She knew her cutting skills were not what they should be do to lack of practice and proper teaching. She looked up at me with this look of "Oh crap!" and I winked at her and smiled. One of the judges stood right in front of her so I couldn't see if she was crying or smiling. As he moved to the side a little, I saw her smile and giggle and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. She rocked it...again! She was pleased with the cuts she was given and she relaxed when the judge talked and laughed with her the whole time. After it was all over, she came to me and threw her arms around me and cried. It was like that final release of stress. It was all over...and no matter what the scores were...she knew she gave 100%. She was upset because we prayed chicken and she didn't get it this time. As we talked more about it, I used it as one of those "teachable moments" that we, as parents, pray for. I hugged her and began.... You know, God doesn't answer every single prayer, right? We pray all the times for things but God answers them in HIS time, not ours. Why did God not answer your prayer this time? Was there a reason? Absolutely! Sometimes we have to be pushed out of our comfort zone to show what we're capable of. She was in a zone where she knew she could do that chicken perfectly but she was scared of attempting the veggies in fear that she would "mess up". God knew she could do it! He knew her abilities. He knew if she was shoved from that comfort zone that she would have to figure out a way to get through it. She did! Isn't that what life is all about? We pray for things, yet we continue to be shoved out of our comfort zones and somehow we learn, we manage and we do just fine. Sure, sometimes we fall on our faces when it happens....but you know what....ITS OK! We get up and we march forward. I wanted her to know that it was certainly ok to fail but as long as she learned from what she did and gave it 100% then she'd done all she could do. She smiled the rest of the evening. What a wonderful teaching opportunity.

The weekend events were certainly busy and by Sunday night, I was completely packed and ready to leave. I missed home. I missed my bed. I missed our dog. And most of all I missed my hubby! :(  Due to finances, he was not able to attend the trip with us (it cost me $1500 for just me and Kacey!!) so he was a bit bummed that he missed out on some exciting "firsts" for Kacey...like her plane ride and her excitement with the escalators. Most of all he was bummed that he missed out on his big girl competiting. You can watch the DVD and you can see pics but it doesn't take the place of actually being there and seeing her. So...School Board...I hope you're happy and can sleep at night because NOT approving the fundraising for families REALLY sucked!

That all being said....it was nice to spend that time with my girls and enjoy the weekend with a great friend/team Mom and an amazing state coordinator but...THERES NO PLACE LIKE HOME! <3

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