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Nationals! (and Las Vegas!)

by Shawni

After all the anticipation, all the practices, all the other tournaments working toward bids, there we were at NATIONALS in Las Vegas.

Oh boy.

It’s always interesting to be at volleyball tournaments, especially Nationals. Those endless rows of volleyball courts and tall people roaming around, coaches watching intently with their clipboards filled up with information about the players they are seeking out.

I want to remember how it felt to watch my girl out there on the court. When she was playing well and when she wasn’t. All part of the game, part of the journey. Trying not to let my heart get too lost in it all, because really, it’s all just games. And learning. And teamwork. So interesting to think about all the dynamics and the life-lessons learned along the way.

Claire’s team is filled up with such a good group of girls and they are GOOD players. Claire started much later than most of them did, so it was fun to watch her hold her own on that court.

It was so fun to have Max there sporting his Suns shirt and a huge smile, proud of his sister:

And Lucy joined us for one of the games, cheering her heart out even though she couldn’t see anything.

At all.

I think I mentioned in another post that Abby stayed back for some work things before meeting us in California, and we missed her along with everyone else, but glad we at least got these guys!

We got to go to dinner with the team:

It’s been a weird season, of course, with Covid restrictions, but I’m so grateful I got to spend time at at least a few tournaments with these great mamas:

When the girls weren’t on the court we explored a little of Las Vegas.

Our Favorite Things to do in Las Vegas

Well, see that roller coaster down there?

That WOULD have been our favorite had we been able to muster up enough patience to wait in line for hours on end. Oh we had some high hopes of riding that thing!

But instead, we walked around…

…found a humongous Statue of Liberty made entirely of chocolate (above, yow!),

Found an even more humongous statue of a lion (Lucy’s favorite creature in the whole wide world):

And found M&M World.

I mean, what could be more exciting than M&M World?

Nothing, according to Lucy.

It was fun to have her so excited about this little serendipity find, and to follow her around a little. We bought a little bag of M&M’s and did taste testing as we walked to my personal favorite in Las Vegas:

The Bellagio Fountains

You guys, these fountains are so beautiful to me.

I think all my kids were a little annoyed we were trudging along for SO LONG in the heat of the night just for some fountains, but as that music turned on and the water started dancing, oh! They melted with love right along with me as I teared up watching.

(Didn’t hurt that it happened to be my favorite “dancing fountain” song: “Time to Say Goodbye.”)

The tournament didn’t end as the team had hoped.

They had a really strong start but didn’t do so well on the third day which dropped them down one, then two levels, so they came out at the top of the Bronze division.

Not so shabby in my opinion with all those teams competing!

Look at these awesome smiles from all the learning that was done on those courts!

Claire is on-again and off-again with wanting to play volleyball in college. It’s been a tricky volleyball world with Covid mixed in the last couple years and she’s trying to figure out the right balance for all she wants to do with the next few years. So we’ll see what happens!

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If you want to see more of Lucy’s fascination with M&M’s on our trip to NYC with Max, click here (and scroll down):

M&M World Adventures

Oh and there’s the REAL Statue of Liberty there too!

If you want to see more dancing fountains, click here:

The Dancing Fountains in Dubai

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