Monday, November 30, 2009

2009 Western Region Oireachtas

:::Edited at 3:59 PM (MST) on 11/30/09 to add the smaller video below that somehow didn't show up on the first publish.:::

I know, I know.....I have negelected my blog. I'm sorry. It seems to be a common theme around me, if you haven't yet noticed. And if you haven't yet noticed, then just look away. No need getting yourself all worked up over nothing.

So, like I said, I've neglected my blog, my house, laundry and even helping the kids with their homework. All due to sheer exhaustion. Anyway, since September, we've spent countless hours at dance, play practice, Oireachtas class and all the driving that all entails. Like my gas gauge, I'm frequently drained.

With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed the Thanksgiving break we had. Thanksgiving was wonderful and was spent with my mom & Nana. We were able to see "Old Dogs" on Friday, pulled out all the Christmas decorations, cleaned up a bit and just relaxed. Oh yeah, I played LEGO Indiana Jones II on Wii for several hours, too. The kids went back to school and I went back to work this morning. We are ready to forge ahead until the next break, which, luckily is only a few weeks away.


Once I get some photo's of Casey in the play, I'll be sure to post them. The play that my middle son was in, Bah Humbug, was amazing and we are so proud him. This was his second play and he did amazingly well in both of them. I am glad it's over. The driving to pick the kids up from school, then back to pick him up just a couple hours later was a little overwhelming after a few dozen times.


If you've been following me on Facebook or Twitter over the past week, you are aware that Irish dance is a huge part of our lives. I am, by all means, a Feis (pronounced "fesh") Mom and I'm proud of it. I have very talented Irish dancers and that happens to be the thing I am in charge of around these here parts. I make sure they get to class, practice, performances and I also volunteer a ton at the school. I also try my best to keep up to date on all-that-is-Irish-dance. This is not an easy task. Do you know how many rules and regulations there are? Not to mention trying to keep up with with your own dancers when they progress so quickly. Not that I'm complaining. I'm not. I'm excited and embrace all the newness surrounding us.

The 2009 Western Region Oireachtas which was held November 21-23 in Denver, CO. We flew in to Denver on November 19 and stayed in a beautiful hotel that my awesome mother paid for. Thanks mom!!!

Christmas decorations filled our hotel lobby. I loved feeling festive.

We left without the new dress for Chloe and prayed that her dress would be finished in time. We had a backup just in case, but it was not something we felt would be appropriate for Oireachtas. Styles change and this was an older style, for sure. Around 6:30 PM that evening, a group of our Crawford friends arrived with the dress in tow. We were estatic and relieved.

To celebrate our arrival at Oireachtas we went to a local Italian restaurant and the kids carb loaded.

Chloe and her dance friends.

Then we headed back to our hotels for the night. It's hard to fall asleep when you're nervous about the next day and how it will go, but thankfully sleep came easy for the three of us.

The next morning I awoke about 5:30 AM to shower and get ready. Rob and I got Chloe up and I began the long process of putting on her wig and make up. She was a trooper while I pulled and tugged her hair into four minature ponytails, then topped the top two off with bath puffs to give her wig some height. When the wig was snug and taut with bobby-pins, I placed her headband carefully around her ringlets and began to weep. She looked like a Champion dancer and I could no longer contain my emotions.

At the venue, we were able to put her dress on for the first time (with her wig). It was the complete package, part of what she is judged on along with her dancing skills, and again.....I began to cry.

Haha. There isn't one competition we've attended where Chloe hasn't pulled a face for the camera. It's just her way. I think it's her way of rebelling when I say, "Be sure to smile! Show the adjudicators that I don't force you to dance."

Chloe was at her second Oireachtas and so much was at stake for this little girl. If it didn't work out, that was okay. We would come back the next year and the next and the next until she didn't want to do it anymore. However, on that day, she was ready to show the adjudicators what she had worked so hard on since Oireachtas 2008.

First was her hornpipe, a hardshoe dance. I clung to my husband as our daughter approached the stage. My stomach was in knots and I was filled with emotions I cannot explain. I couldn't take my eyes off of her and at the same time I prayed that me watching her wouldn't make her nervous.

Standing in front of FIVE adjudicators, these three girls (out of 51 U10 competitors) danced their hearts out. All three of them wanted a recall. Wait, all fifty-one wanted a recall. Maybe some of them wanted to qualify for the North American Championships and others, perhaps, dreamed about qualifying for Worlds. Chloe, she just wanted to be one of 26 that would be recalled.

Then came the soft shoe portion of her dance, a reel. The one dance she tripped up on last year and the one I know she was worried about.

Girls leaving the stage (after bowing to the judges and musicians).
Chloe's group waiting.

They started the U10 hardshoe competition at 8:00 AM and we were done with both dances by 9:30 AM. Then we waited for what seemed like an eternity. Would Chloe get the chance to dance her "set", Hurry the Jug? We wouldn't know until we heard the recall numbers.

While the girls waited they stole my camera and decided to have some fun.

Can you have more fun than this?


Apparently so.

We were able to steal her away for a family photo. I'm so rarely in a photo because I prefer to be behind the lens, but I figured it was a special occasion and should you (or I) need proof that I actually do exist, well...there you have it.

My "Pack Mule" RULZ!

Finally...around 11:30 AM we just happened to be walking into the ballroom when I heard the number eight. Sure, we could have stayed in the ballroom and waited for two hours, but we don't roll that way. Chloe needed to do something besides freak out and I needed to stop worrying about how to comfort her if she didn't recall. We stayed in the back listening intently as a TCRG (certified Irish dance instructor) called out the recall numbers. There was a slight delay in the reading of all the numbers because that TCRG flubbed big time. BIG time.

"...16, 18, 20, 21, 22..oh, wait..21, 24....." ACK! Are you kidding me? A loud groan came from the audience as she took out #22. I felt so sorry for that little girl. I wanted to cry for her. Can you even imagine how that little one must have felt, for just that moment? Terrible fauxpaus.

Then she went on and called out #31! I shrieked and grabbled Chloe (raising her off the ground), we were both crying. Our TCRG came in to the ballroom a little late and saw us crying, but had not heard the numbers. She wondered if it was a "bad cry or a good cry". It was a good cry, Jill! Definitely a good cry!

That evening, as we waited for the award ceremony to start, Chloe started to feel sick. She was nervous and it was starting to get to her. The only thing that worked was a lot of "Daddy Love". I love the fact that my daughter isn't too embarassed to get some snuggles from her daddy. I hope she never loses that.

And then it was time...........

Sorry about the screaming! I almost fell off the chair I was standing on, but my pack mule saved me. Thanks babe! If you want to know what I am screaming at, you'll have to listen closely to the announcement.

Chloe receives her crystal vase and a certificate for the NAC's.

She doesn't even know what is going on! It wasn't until she was standing back in line, while the other girls were called, that she was reading the certificate and started to wonder if she was qualified for National's. She really didn't know for sure until I told her after she came off the stage. Once I told her, she burst into tears and this is a tiny bit of video I was able to get after she found out.

After U10 was finished we all went out into the hall to celebrate, wipe away happy tears, and take photo's.

Clare WQ, Moira WQ, Chloe NQ & Jill (TCRG)

I just love this photo.
The Crawford Oireachtas girls all in one photo with their amazing instructor.

We had a great time in Denver. I enjoyed watching our Senior Ladies team.

Obviously, they aren't actual "seniors", as in 55+, but that's what they are called here in the Irish world. We actually had two teams. One was the Adult Ladies, which could be 55+, but none of them are. This is the first time Crawford has brought teams to Oireachtas and everyone was so proud of them. I was sad to miss the Adult ladies team compete. We ran from our hotel and missed it by just a few minutes. They started early and I guess we cut it too close by hoping they would stick to the schedule. Hmmmph!

Before we went home on Saturday evening, we were able to hang out with (almost) the whole gang for a bit. They were all starving, so we headed to Chipotle.

I have never been to Chipotle, to actually eat, but man did this place look yummy! Unfortunately, we had lunch just an hour before so we just enjoyed the company. I guess I'll just have to try Chipotle another day.


  1. OMG that must be so exciting for her!!! I started crying when I heard she qualified for Nationals.

    I will also be going to my second Oireachtas this coming up weekend. It is actually my 4th Oireachtas, but my second for solos.

  2. Anonymous,

    Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! I am so excited for you! If I knew who you were, I would definately watch for you and cheer you on! We'll be doing that this weekend for you anyway though! Come back and tell me how you did. Good luck with your Oireachtas team and solos!

  3. Thanks. It won't let me put anything besides anonymous. :( haha. im following you on twitter. im irishdancer7513.

    its letting me put a name now. :)

  4. Another striking feature of these dances is the costume. The dresses are elaborate and involve use of elaborate designs that are inspired by Irish culture. Check Irish Dance Funding website for more details.