I have been waiting FOR-EH-VUH to tell you all about this wonderfully fab adventure that em and I had this summer! And let me tell you, it involves this magazine cover:
So, first, let me tell you. Em was not chosen for this cover because of her stunningly good looks (tee hee) or her ability to model (uhhhh, no.) She EARNED this opportunity. She worked for it. Hard.
It all began last spring (or summer?) I cant remember, but AG Magazine put out a contest. It was an essay contest about you and your best friend, and your unique story. As soon as she saw it, Emma told me she was entering the story about her and Isabel. I was all, "super! That will be fun! Go for it!", while in the back of my head, i thought "Yeah. Who ever wins those things? Probably NO ONE. They slap a cute model up there later and call it good.". (This bitterness probably stems from all the years of getting dressed up for Ed McMahon to arrive with balloons and a big check, only to be stood up. Even the year i stayed in a bathrobe and towel all day like the other winners. Just sayin'. )
When she gave me the story to proofread and send off, I sat down and read through it, and thought "good lord, what a sob story. The cheery American Girl Magazine won't touch that with a ten foot pole!, but I added some punctuations and capital letters (yes, Im aware i dont follow these rules when I blog), and sent it off with a photo of the two from the frame in her room (which I still have to replace, oops.)
Months passed, and the day I found the envelope slid under my front door (that has NEVER happened), I saw who it was from and KNEW it was a bill from our recent visit to American Girl Place in Dallas. I'm sure I didn't pay a bill or stole a dish from the cafe or knocked over a display and this was a summons to appear in court for payment. I had TOTALLY forgotten about the contest.
When I read the letter, i almost passed out.
WHO WINS THESE THINGS??
Is this for reaL??
Should I go grab her out of school?!?
I called Isabel's mom and we decided to let them open it together after school. I had them making learning videos for my pre-k class, and we would just pretend we needed them to make another one on mail carriers. Hubbs had the video camera rolling, and the reveal. was. hilarious!
Check it out HERE.
So the next month or so until the trip to Chicago was equal to about 20 years in Emma time. She was beyond excited. There were several mornings waking up to "I STILL can't believe its real! It's like a DREAM!"
The day arrived in June, and we boarded the plane to Chicago. It was my very first time away from Evan for so long. To see him reaching his little hand out as daddy carried him away brought huge tears of heartbreak to my chest. I'll never forget it. Luckily, Emma was there to hug me and drag me onto the plane.
When we landed in Chicago, we found our driver waiting for us. Sidenote: Riding in a limo all week: yes, please. Love, Emma.
|That's him! On the phone, while I forced the other 3 to stand aside before we claimed him. LOL.|
The girls had the BEST time on the 45 min ride into Chicago. They waved out the windows at all the traffic going by, and suprisingly, the Chicagoians were pretty friendly and excited to see them as well. :)
We arrived at our hotel in downtown Chicago, and met Barbara and Mary, who would be the brains behind the whole event, and who were so sweet and down-to-earth that I could have taken them home with me to have coffee every morning and talk about the weather. I have to admit, i was scared they'd be women power suits with slick backed buns and a tazer. whew! ;)
They showed us to our rooms, and the second we walked in, Emma ran squealing to her bed, where they had surprised her with gifts.
She spent the night (and every night since) playing with Saige (the doll she had been saving to buy) and all her AG books, which have always been her favorite activity books.
The next few days were full of photo shoots, interviews, and so much food that I felt really, really bad that I couldn't always finish, but somehow, I always ordered the dishes with the biggest servings! Also, our very first ever in life TAXI ride!
|(not blurry because of lack of focus, but because of lack of brakes)|
...aaaaaand, never again. I've gone on roller coasters that were less crazy! Thank goodness Barbara was there, or i may have bailed out the window! ;) Put us back in the limo!!
(see how badly we were spoiled??)
The photo shoots were SO fun to watch! The girls had a blast trying on all the clothes and jewelry and shoes and hats and, well, everything you could ever want! The photographer was AMAZING with children. It was a really great time seeing how other photographers work with wiggly, tired kiddos!
|all this for two little girls!|
|the whole crew!|
American Girl Place in Chicago was AMAZING. (Am i overusing that word yet??) It was huge, and beautiful, and estrogen filled.
The girls got to have their photos taken and put up on the big screen (and you can, too!)
The store manager was SO sweet and the girls loved meeting her. (But watch out, Jennifer, she's vying for your position in a few years, she says!)
In the mall adjoining AGPlace, was LEGO Chicago. I snuck out for a bit and looked abit like Gollum with his ring as I scooped up minifigs searching for Mr. Gold, to no avail.
Dinner at AGPlace with the whole crew. LOVED seeing Dan there with all the ladies in the pink palace of eatery. He is such a good sport.
We ended the evening in the hotel's gorgeous pool (on the 12th floor!).
|random hotel photo.|
The last morning there, we bid farewell to everyone that we had grown to love so much, and since we were the last to go, we wandered the streets of this great city and found our way to the Navy Pier.
|loved the foggy mornings!|
We decided to ride a speedboat tour of the city, and it was FAST!
It was so nice to spend time with em. after all the hustling and bustling and schedules and going going going, we enjoyed our slow walk back to the hotel to meet our driver for our final ride back to the airport.
|On our way home!|
|10 minutes later...|
We boarded our flight and made it safely home to a daddy and little by who missed us so very much.
Her next step? Forming a support group for kids of parents with cancer to meet and talk about their struggles, fears, and questions.
Emms, we are SO very proud of you. You took initiative, you used your creativity, your passion for writing and reading and you shone! I am so happy that others will be touched by your story, by your strength, by your friendship, and by your love.
You have been blessed with many gifts, and to see you share them with the world makes us all smile. Be proud of yourself, be confident. God made you special, and you are shining for Him!
We love you, baby girl.
The cover is up, and if you go to the top of that page, you can click on “Discover more about our cover-contest winners” and read the story