Tuesday, March 31, 2009

2009 Natchez Pilgrimage Pageant: Part 2

I borrowed this image from Torri who had this in her 2009 pageant album on facebook. Surely, she doesn't mind since she had it on facebook anyway. [I had tagged myself for the images.] We were sitting in the far righthand corner close to the stage...not a very good angle for capturing images of the dancers. So I glad I got this. I tried to wait to capture it at the end, but to no aveil, I don't think I got it. FYI: Cari (right back) and Alexa (front center--pink)
This is Natalie and her mommy, Brittany. I took it before the pageant started trying to get my camera setting ready.
I am really not that great at capturing images in the dark like this and I would probably do better to bring my whole photography set up like for a wedding or something, but as usual I was running behind as I was leaving. So just remember these are not professional images, but my candid memories captured from the audience.

An awful capture, but I still wanted to include (I think this was before I decided on all the settings that I was going to use too). But this is Cheryl Morace the President of the Garden club (who put on the pilgrimage pageant each year), one of the many hats that Cheryl wears, along with her escort.

Natalie is intrigued and loved every minute of it.

Cari and the other Fanny dancer as they came to the stage.

Mostly back angles, but still oh so pretty.

Cari did struggle some with the dance this time because she had to wear her new toe shoes that weren't broke in...

I just love capturing images of these girls on toe. It amazes me of the strength and agility to have the ability to perform dances like this. I never had the opportunity to take any kind of dance, but I truly respect and admire these girls who can!

Alexa had the lead. This is her coming out on the stage.

Alexa again...

and again. Alexa had been taking ballet for years. She took last year off, but missed it so much and came back this year. I am so glad since Cari is taking it too. It's so great for best friends to share things like this!

My last shot. I wanted some images showing all three girls. I wanted this one and I wanted the back view of the first images that appeared in this post. But this image was the last image that I could capture on my memory card!

To read more details of Natalie's experience through my eyes, scroll down to the next post. As you glance at it, it probably appears that I double posted. I did repeat some of the images. The next post was intended for Natalie's World. After I finished it, I realized that I had it here. Oh well...

OOPS...I was wrong one more image...this was the last one that I captured Saturday night. I thought I was at the last images that I posted. Sorry!

Natalie's First Pilgrimage Pageant Experience...

Saturday (March 28, 2009) was Natalie's First time to go the Historic Natchez Pilgrimage Pageant. And again she loved it. It was about like taking her to the Nutcracker (4 months ago). She was amazed at the dresses. She had tons of questions. We all love seeing things through her eyes. It makes everything so much more special.

Natalie and her Mommy...
[...posing for Mimi while waiting for the pageant to begin.]
She was mesmerized!
[She her holding the program book. She wouldn't let go of it. It was very important to her to hang onto the whole time. Another little insignificant moment that will remain precious to me because I captured it.]

We didn't have the greatest seats. We go more angles from behind than in front, but I am glad that I captured these from a different angle that the imags that I captured of her last time. Natalie's Aunt Cari is the one closest to the camera (right).

This one is all three girls doing Fanny. Alexa has the lead and again that is Cari closest to the camera (right on back row). Natalie loved watching her Aunt Cair and Her Alexa dance. She says she wants to be a ballerina too. So guess who will be taking her first year of ballet this upcoming school year?

I really didn't get very many images. I had to get myself ready and Natalie so I was running behind ("now what's new?") so I was on game when I grabbed my camera bag. I saw that it had a memory card in the pocket so I was thinking that I was good to go. The memory card only had about 10 imags left. Normally I just re-format the card and go, but I was pretty sure I had not downloaded the images on the card from our Saturday afternoon about 6 wks ago playing golf at the country club. It was another one of the precious fun days that I certainly don't want to forget. Without those images, I know I would forget some of the moments. Hopefully, I can find some time to go back and post them before I forget all the enthusiam that Natalie displayed that day. I am telling you, this girl has such a zest for life that I wished we all possessed!
I was just going to say that I was going th share the rest of the images on Worth Remembering when I realized that's where I have been putting this. It is way too much trouble re-doing this. So I will just add one image and do a link to this post on Natalie's World. Again this is the problem of having more than one blog!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


This post will be all words...no photos. I want to use the post to brag about my daughter one more time...not the last time I sure, but one more time for now. I don't have photos because I doubt any one took any photos of her at the Literary Rally this past Saturday a.m. If they did take photos, I am sure it would have been on the bus or something like that...possibly with some of them just being silly or something!

Needless to say, we are very proud of her! Monday afternoon she informs me that she didn't think she would go to state because it was the same day as prom. I quickly informed her that she would. Personally (definitely, speaking as a mom) I think it is ridiculous that they have prom four years. What happened to having it just your junior and senior year? So now we have to figure out how we can do both. I don't know if she has a shot, but I know from personal experience that winning first place used to entitle the winner to a scholarship. If anyone knows more about the current status of this, please let me know. My daughter is clueless. Cameron said it was the same as it was when I won over 20 years ago. I won $500 ($250 for the first and 2nd semester of the first year in college) for winning first place in Home Economics my junior year in high school. Surely with inflation, this has increased. Even if it hasn't I certainly think it is worth going through a little extra pain on prom day. DO YOU AGREE?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Okay, this isn't the greatest collage... not even close, but this was done several years ago...so I have grown and gotten much better...so I think. I wanted to include some cheerleader images...


This will be Cari's 3rd year as a cheerleader. She was a cheerleader in the 7th and 8th grade and for whatever reason...she didn't make the squad for her 9th and 10th grade years, but she DID TODAY. SHE WILL BE A HIGH SCHOOL CHEERLEADER HER JUNIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL! I am so proud of her and her determination. I would have given up after two years of not making it! She is so much braver than her mom! FOR THAT I AM EXTREMELY PROUD OF HER...it makes me feel like I've done a pretty job at being her mom!

On a different note: Cari recently brought home another perfect (all A's) report card! Can parents be any more proud than we are? I don't think so!


Monday, March 16, 2009

One-year ago today: March 16, 2008

We were less than two and half months from the wedding to officially unite these two beautiful people. We had done a few engagement photographs back in the fall at LSU near where Cameron proposed to Brittany. Then we did more at the same place with did bridal portraits, held the rehearsal dinner and formal wedding portraits on Lake St. John.
I love the way this little girl makes all of us laugh...often we laugh until we cry! What joy a child can bring into a family!

On a less humorous note, I would like to ask a prayer request for the family of a young man (kid) from Tallulah. We lived in Tallulah for almost 14 years. We didn't make deep roots there for some reason...sadly Tallulah is sort of one of those towns that's like that...I can't or just don't want to explain at this moment. So we haven't stayed in touch with anyone on a regular basis and often miss news or events such as deaths that happen to people we know there. We often see particular people once a year at various meetings/trips. Cari was still very young when we moved and has forgotten most children in her class. A few years ago when on a business trip that we combined into a family vacation because it was in Hot Springs. One of the family activities was a river boat cruise...though now that I think about it, I think it was actually a lake. Anyhow...during this family adventure provided by the association Cari became reacquainted with this is boy, Dylan, who was also Randy's ex-boss's grandson. He and his wife are from Tallulah and they had brought Dylan and his sister on this particular trip. She (we) had not seen him since then, but had stayed in touch with him from time to time through facebook.

Friday afternoon while I was doing some work here at my computer, I was listening to the news in the background. My ears opened and I ran to get the remote to turn up the volume as I heard the speaker say that a 15 year old boy from Tallulah had committed suicide. Cari just turned 16 and there are many children her age that are still 15. So I knew it could easily be someone she went to school. I yelled out my grief as soon as I heard it was this same child...the same child my daughter had hung out with on the recent vacation...the same child that his grandfather patted him on the back for hanging out with such an attractive girl as our daughter, Cari. I immediately called Randy. He had been trying to call me to tell me because he had recently heard and wanted to tell me.

Randy went to the funeral yesterday. His mom was distraught [She had to physically carried into the church and out...I am afraid that's how I would be] . His grandparents seemed okay...which surprised us, but I suspect that was a front to get them through the day.

This family truly needs your prayers. We moved here in 2009. Since we have moved here they've lost many family members...not grandparents, but young people. Their son-in-law died of a heart attack (not long after we moved here). I think he was actually already an ex-son-in-law, but regardless he was the dad of two of their grandchildren...so as far as I am concerned still part of their family. Then a few years ago their only son was killed in a wreck in Baton Rouge. And then we heard about this, Dylan, a few days ago [his dad was the one killed in the car wreck]. And as I stated earlier, we don't hear everything that has happened because when Randy was talking to someone who used to work with that still works at that gin to find out visitation and funeral details, he found out that his oldest granddaughter, who is approximately 6 months older than Cameron, lost a baby daughter at 3 months to SIDS [not sure when this was--you know how men are...they often forget to ask about details!]

I also remembered that when I had my home daycare [something I did when Cari was young to be a stay-at-home-mom] I kept Dylan part-time because his mommy worked part-time at the time. Even though we haven't stayed in touch with this child and his immediate family it really hit home. It is hard for me to believe that a child that I cared for, changed his diaper and cleaned spit-up off of me and him, has done something like this!

So while I think about the joy that our 3 year old granddaughter has brought into our lives, my heart grows heavy thinking about how this grandfather/grandmother will never even hug this grandson again. So please, stop whatever you're doing for just a few minutes and pray for this family or add them to your prayer list, but please give this family, all their extended families, the kids from school, especially his best friend, another 15 year old who spoke at the funeral some time in prayer. I had to take care of things with my family...so I didn't go, but when Randy told me who his best friend was that spoke, I was crushed. His mom had written me a long letter several years ago to tell me that her daughter had committed suicide. I was so crushed that I did not know and for her and her pain of this tragedy. So this poor child has lost a sibling and now a best friend by such a awful means of death.

Here I go again getting long-winded. I wanted to make a post requesting prayer, but I didn't feel right making an individual post listing their names for it to get googled when someone is doing a random search. I want to respect their privacy. So I included it with this post.

So it seems in my life, just when things seem so unbearable or too complicated to deal with, I hear of someone I know...or maybe don't know, that is REALLY suffering! It makes me shake off my "pity party" (a phrase my Sunday School teacher used when I was young person) and realize THAT GOD IS IN CONTROL AND ONLY HE HAS THE ANSWERS!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

2009 Natchez Pilgrimage Pageant: Part 1

Cari: on the right
I am titling this Part 1 because I hope to go to a few more performances over the next 4 weeks. When you're daughter does this four nights a week over a four week period, you can't make them all. Today I was still beaming with pride that Randy and I had last night over our daughter's performance.

Cari and I were discussing the last time that she performed ballet before an audience was the last Mini-National level pageant that she competed in the summer of '99 in Shreveport, La. A little background to those of you who didn't know us back then: We, I mean she, had competed in pageants since she was 8 months old, off and on. This particular year we decided to lay off pageants for a while..okay I decided...maybe she had input. She was still five when we made the decision.

So rather than competing in pageants, we competed in dance. [edited to add: I think competition can be very healthy for children.] Her dance school started back competing that year! So we decided to tried a new kind competition. She was supposed to do a little tap dance with another girl and two boys, but for some reason this dance did not work out. So Cari being the youngest performer in the group that was committed to performing, her teacher choreographed her a solo. I think...I would have dig out the papers to make sure, but I think her dance was called Tiny Ballerina. She competed in three different competitions in dance as a solo and in also at each competition she also competed in a very large group dance. This included all the children that were competing. I don't know exactly what the wins were on the group dance, but I know they did well. In her Tiny Ballerina solo, she won two first place awards and a third place. The third place had many kids in her age group. I was pleased with the third.

In the collage that I posted yesterday, you see five different costumes. After the competition, they finished getting ready for recital. At recital, Cari performed five different times. I still remember our first recital that I discovered then that the seniors get to perform a solo. So then I started looking forward to Cari performing her solo when she was a senior. So it was quite exciting that we didn't have to wait until she was a senior, she performed her group dances with her class and she performed the large group dance for competition. SHE ALSO PERFORMED A SOLO AT SIX YEARS OLD!

For many reasons, I was so glad that Cari was allowed to perform that solo at Debra Franco's School of Dance recital in Vicksburg, MS. Because less than a year later we moved to Concordia Parish and Cari has not had dance with Ms. Debra again.

I don't want to go into details because I am finding that I am already being too wordy...much more than I intended to be when I started the post. But this fall, after everything...I mean somethings, went back to normal after Hurricane Gustav, Cari began ballet classes again. This time at Natchez Ballet Academy. I really don't think her teacher thought Cari would be that great. Cari nor I didn't really know what to think...Okay...I felt like she would be good. Ms. Debra always said that Cari was a natural ballerina, but I just know how she is...if she wants to be good at something "you can bet your last dollar" that she will be. THAT'S MY CARI!
So who would believe that it had been 10 years before this child (young woman) had performed ballet before an audience? Apparently not any one who saw this performance last night! And even her dad and I, who knew this, could not believe our eyes.

Cari: on the right

Okay...I confess I am not very professional at this kind of photography...so I did black and white images of the ones w/red-eye...it's okay, huh? since this isn't my professional blog?
Cari: right (back)
By the way, Cari is actually just an understudy. She only been on point shoes since November!

She is actually committed to this dance...Can Can!
Cari: in the middle (front row)

I don't know how many of you who view this actually read the text or just look at the images. When I view blogs it all depends on my mood and the time that I have at the moment. If it looks really interesting and I just don't have time, I come back later to read the story behind the images. But just for your information: That pageant that she did her solo in August 1999. She won overall supreme age 3-6...accumulative score of many different competitions including photogenic (by mom, the photographer) and talent (her ballet solo). I was very nervous because girls that we had known for years in our age group had been getting very serious about pageants were taking voice lessons and such for talent (so I had heard through the grapevine...if that was today it would be facebook or someone's blog, huh?), we spent that time in dance competition. I was concerned that our judges wouldn't recognize her ballet as "real" talent. Since the pageant was in August, several children did recital type dances, but I (and our friends) could tell that Cari's dance was much more than a recital dance. and by the way...SO DID THE JUDGES! SHE WON TALENT!
And to those of you who don't know much about pageants and think that's it all superficial...well some of it really is, but it is a serious competition that a lot can be learned out of it, but at the same time I think if you stay in it too long, around "some" of those people too long, you get sucked right into it too. It's sort of like gambling, but with some "crazy" moms. Maybe I was one of them, but I don't think I let me myself go that far. As I often tell some people...I was like Jon Benet's mom, but w/o money. And in the pageant industry...no money can keep you a little more grounded/humble however you want to word it.
Okay, I did not intend to post so much info...but there I go again. I did, however, want to do something with these images right away. So often my stuff gets put on the back burner for so long that it really is old news.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Way Back Whensday...

Tonight Our Tiny Little Dancer is all grown up...well almost. Tonight she is dancing at the Natchez Pilgramage Pageant. Tonight (03.11.08) she is dancing in two dances. Over the next four weeks, she will be dancing 3-4 nights a week in the pilgramage performances. Tonight her daddy and I will see her perform ballet for an audience again for the first time since the year this collage was created. Excuse the less than professional looking image. I photographed the framed image in her room. I won't go into detail since I am knee deep in the middle of several different things, but she took ballet and other classes for years and then discontinued until this past fall. It seems our daughter is still a ballerina! Her teacher has been so impressed how a 16 year old who had not danced since she was 7 or 8 years old can pick up ballet as quickly as she has. Of course, I am paraphrasing and maybe stretching...but needless to say, we are proud parents are we are looking forward to seeing this performance.

Thursday, March 5, 2009



Now if I didn't have a Natalie World and only had this one for my family blog...this is definitely family related, but I started this one to have a place to post things that are family related, but not necessarily Natalie related. Before she moved to BR...almost everything in our lives involved Natalie too...almost!
I will try to do better next time!
~~Natalie's Mimi~~


BACKGROUND ON THIS POST: I know it has been a while. It looks like I may not get a chance to back track and post the holidays images...at least I posted "some" images this year through the fall and holidays(not like nothing like last year). I haven't felt well in weeks. I am actually feeling better...and I think if spring would come and more consistent weather, I could catch my breath and move forward. But in efforts of re-grouping and re-acclamating myself, I needed to do something for me, something for Natalie too. I don't know if I do this more for me and for her and I am not the best blogger, but these are our special memories and I don't want them to fade away w/o documenting some of the most precious days in our lives!
My cousin's daughter, Carlie, was born approximately 5 months after my first granddaughter. Yes, it is not the norm...my mom's first great-granddaughter was born in late July and my mom's older sister's (6 yrs. old) first granddaughter was born 5 months later (early January0. We don't get together as I often as I would like...life is very busy and we do live a few miles apart. Since Carlie's birthday was so close to Christmas, her mommy chose to have her party about 6 weeks later!
So without further adue, I will share this day with you: Carlie's 3rd b'day party at the Children's Musuem in Monroe.
Natalie loved brushing the teeth! (Gigi in the background)

Gigi and Aunt Cari visiting while waiting for Natalie to finish serving them at the "restaruant"!
Gigi wasn't feeling well and was tempted to backout of this little adventure with us. We picked her up in Rayville. She said she didn't backout because she so wanted to see Natalie. WE ALL LOVE THIS LITTLE GIRL SO MUCH! SHE HAS BROUGHT SO MUCH LOVE INTO OUR LIVES! THANK YOU, GOD FOR SHARING HER WITH US!

It was like the day after Christmas. Natalie ran from one thing to the next. She didn't know what she wanted to play with...the is the "big" sandbox. I love that concentrating expression her face in this image.

The lighting was terrible. I forgot my batteries and my flash batteries were dead. When I saw this place with these rocking horses with natural lighting coming from the window...I was definitely thinking...photo op!

another activity

"bluescreen background"

another one...

Final result...it was pretty neat!

Then Natalie talked Carlie into driving the police car with her. For some reason, I had a hard time keeping them still long enough to capture their enthusiam.

I have no idea what this is...but Natalie had to check it out too! Notice Carlie watching: I think she is a little shy like her mommy was when we were young. She's happy just being a spectator for this one.

Natalie is back in the restaurant (the kitchen area) cooking something special for Mimi!

And here it is, "Mustard in your tea?"

Carlie is a Dora fan too (I think this is one of the same toppers we had this year).

Before the cake cutting...Natalie posing for Mimi!
I missed a few images here. Carlie was excited about her cake and very happy with all the activities, grinnng from ear to ear, but at some point she got really embarrassed or something and cried...then she didn't want to blow out her candles.

As you can see in this next image, Natalie had no problem giving her some assistance!

Yes, yes...Natalie is pouting! She is mad because Carlie got the good piece of cake...you know the one with more icing. She finally got over it and at some cake.

Then she wanted to play some more...so I didn't make her stay to watch Carlie open her gifts. I did, however, make her take at least one cute photo with her cousin before she could go play. I know...I am such a mean Mimi!
They don't get much cuter than these....

I was very sick the day before...I knew Natalie was coming, we had plans to go to the party. So I spent all afternoon in the MD office patiently waiting to get shots so that I could get "my game" on...so that I could enjoy our time with Natalie and the trip to Monroe to go to the party! It was one of those special days that I want to always remember. Four generations (my mom, me, my daughter and Natalie) enjoying a simple day...a little shopping, a simple lunch and a birthday party for a member of our family. To me...life really doesn't get much better than this!
~~Natalie's Mimi~~