The poster was titled “Life’s Little Instructions” and on it was a list of things that you must do in life including ‘Feed a stranger’s expired parking meter’ (I know it’s illegal but I always feel guilty if I don’t push the free 20 minutes button on an expired meter!) ‘Have a dog’ (I full heartedly believe in that, I don’t know what I would do without my golden retriever, Sunni) ‘Never refuse homemade brownies’, ‘Strive for excellence, not perfection’, and one of my favorites ‘Make new friends, but cherish the old ones’.
It was so nice to be home and spend time catching up with them for a day doing one of my favorite activities. I was able to share with them my adventures I’ve had so far and the friends that I’ve made along the way, and managed to take home a leg full of bruises and scrapes and a nice little sunburn while I was at it.
Then it was off to Pocatello to make new friends and celebrate the crowning of Miss Idaho Falls and Miss Southeast Idaho.
My trip started at the Idaho Veteran’s Home in Pocatello where I was able to share my love of the piano with the residents. While there, I was able to engage in conversation with them as well and enjoy quite a bit of laughter, they were such a riot! A grandson who was seven years old was there visiting his grandma and grandpa. He told me his name was Hamilton and he loved hot rods and playing video games with his aunt. I told him he must have the best aunt ever then to play video games with her, and he smiled at me and then looked up at his grandma and said he had the best grandma too. The look on her face was priceless as I watched her little heart melt. He asked me to come over and play video games then and I told him the next time I was here we would have to battle it out over a game of WII dance.
As I was getting ready to leave, I heard a voice behind me cry out “Ohhh, well look what we have here!” I turned around to a spunky little lady in a red outfit and sparkly hat. She pointed to my crown and said “When you get tired of that crown, then you give it to me!” I laughed and said I had a couple back home and we may be able to work something out, or even better, we will just have to get you your own crown.
She put her hands together with excitement the way a little kid would in a candy store and asked “Oh, when? Tomorrow? Today! You all are here as witnesses so don’t you forget about my crown now!” I left holding my stomach in laughter as she walked off to her “second home” as she called it, otherwise known as the library.
I then drove up to Idaho Falls to visit The Adventure Center where I played some more piano and was able to hang out with the members. I was greeted by a group of young girls wearing crowns and everyone dressed up so nicely. There were many familiar faces from the Special Olympics back in July and one lady grabbed my hand, eager to lead me to meet all her friends.
One of the new friends I made was named Gigi, but preferred to be known as Miss Texas. She wore a beautiful blue diamond necklace, similar to the one from Titanic, and spoke with a sweet southern accent. She talked to me about how much she loved classical music and was incredibly enthusiastic about asking me to play more pieces. When I went to sign pictures, she told me she had a proposition for me.
She had drawn me the most gorgeous picture of a jaguar in the forest and said in return she just wanted an autograph picture. I found out later, that Disney had approached her about her artwork. I felt like I was in the presence of a celebrity!
Then came out the dance party again as they turned on The Cupid Shuffle, and they all had quite the dance to it! A 4 year old boy who I had met earlier and was too shy to talk to me, came up to me with his sister as they took my hands and started dancing with me. We spun around, laughed and sang as we tried our best to keep up with everyone else.
When I left, they presented me with a t-shirt from The Adventure Center that they had all signed. Definitely one of the best gifts I have ever received as each of their messages were so kind and sincere on it.
After that it was time to head to Miss Idaho Falls. Each year I look forward to watching this local because it is always entertaining and such a great production. And this year definitely did not disappoint. The talent included a beautiful ballet performance, very talented pianist and harpist, as well as a knife throwing baton twirler. Let’s just say sitting in the front row made me nervous for the very first time that night! But they all did absolutely phenomenal.
Our Miss Idaho Outstanding Teen, Melanie Ross, performed a preview to her talent for Miss America Outstanding Teen and it was incredible! Can’t wait to watch her perform it live next week! We were both interviewed by KPVI’s anchor Stuart Summers as he gave me a hard time about all the carrots I was eating backstage, they were so good though I couldn’t stop eating them! And it’s better than shoving my face with donuts! During intermission I went to sign autographs and test my spelling skills. I’m quickly learning that Abby, is now Abbie and Ashley, is now Ashleiee. Every name has e’s and i’s thrown in there randomly. One little girl who was around the age of 5, came up to me and asked for a picture. I knelt down and asked her what her name was. When she responded with “Mikaela” I immediately asked her how she spelt it, wanting to make sure I wrote down the proper spelling as I waited to hear how many silent e’s and a’s were in there. Instead, Mikaela took the sharpie from my hand and proceeded to slowly spell out her name on my picture. It took everything in me to remain composed, for she was so proud of herself when she finished spelling it. I smiled at her and told her she did such a beautiful job spelling it out as I signed my named with a heart around it below hers. I wanted to keep that autograph with her name written on it but I figured in 10 years her parents would get a kick out of the fact that she wrote it down instead of me.
Two very good friends of mine won that evening as they crowned Whitney Wood as Miss Idaho Falls and Tenisha Schild as Miss Southeast Idaho, a previous title I once had! I also was able to join in the moment of watching another great friend of mine, Kelsie Roper, give up her title and perform beautifully on piano.
The next morning I woke up to get ready to speak to the contestants of Miss Russet. I gave them some tips and some knowledge from what I learned, and am still learning, through competing. Then we practiced walking, and did we ever have fun with that one! The girls were an absolute joy to be around and I wish them the very best of luck at their pageant this next month. Hopefully I will see each of them at Miss Idaho one day!
On the way home we made a stop at Dairy Queen for Miracle Treat Day to help support the Children’s Miracle Network. I had a Reese’s Blizzard which put me right into a food coma for the remainder of the way home. When we did get home, it was straight to Gold’s Gym to work off my blizzard and then head to piano lessons with my wonderful teacher Mary Meade. Then I took the poster’s advice and had some quality cuddle time with my dog Sunni and enjoyed a peaceful evening. Just the thing I needed before preparing for another busy weekend ahead of me.
1. Put the final touches on my video for the People’s Choice for Miss America.
2. Attempt to not get sunburned or all bruised up when climbing this weekend.
3. Work on training for the Dirty Dash Run coming up in a couple weeks. Is there anyway I can have someone throw mud and obstacles at me while running this week? I’m sure there has to be a volunteer out there somewhere!
Let me know if I have any takers 😉
Much love and hugs!