Jessica Holden Photography » My Photo Journal

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Heritage Festival Choir Competition!

Earlier this month, Tom and I volunteered to chaperone the Middle School Band/Choir trip to Anaheim/Disneyland for their Heritage Festival competition. And we were so glad we did—I am not sure who had more fun, the kids or us!

When we started out it was still dark—we had to be to school by 5:15 am. And since we are not morning people, and since I was up ’til after midnight the night before finishing packing and getting the house and pets ready for our departure, early wasn’t easy. But the bus driver was super nice (he even let me borrow his iPhone charger!), and we got to sit in the front row for the whole trip, and I had a little place to set my coffee, and the bus even had wifi, so it was a pretty fun drive! Especially when their teacher put Disney movies on and it got really peaceful—LOL!

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I loved the little Wonder Woman mascot that was dangling merrily beside the driver the whole way:

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When we got into the park (the kids got to run off on their own, so it was our first time being there without Emily since before she was born!), Tom wanted to see the Tiki Room. It’s not my favorite, but since I know Emily and I will be heading down to Disneyland again in June with my sister and her eldest, it made sense for Tom to get to do anything he wanted on this trip!

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And when it was our turn to man the Chaperone Station, Emily and her friends brought us treats (there was also divinity for me, and chocolate and caramel-covered marshmallows for Tom!)!

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After our shift, Tom and I spent the rest of the evening on our own in the parks—on a date!

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The Grizzly River Rapids trail (slow shutter):

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“Shooting from the hip” during California Screamin’ (fast shutter!):

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And doing this? That thing where you hold up your camera facing you and take a selfie? This is A LOT more difficult with a gigantic dSLR, and even harder when that dSLR is set to back-button-focus. It took two of us—one to hold the camera, and the other to focus and click the shutter. Perhaps not the most flattering image, but we managed!

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After wandering around California Adventure for a while, we headed out to have dinner at the Uva Bar in Downtown Disney. It was delicious, and our bartender was just awesome!

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The next morning we were up by 6:30 to get the kids up and onto the bus in their band and choir uniforms to head over to Fullerton College, the site of the competition. We got to watch both the band and choir perform, and they were fantastic!

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Then we headed back to the hotel for lunch, and then into the park for a second day. The kids had such a great time being in the park independently, and though I missed my girl, we had a great time too! We did get her to ourselves briefly, though, while her friends wanted to do a water ride (Emily didn’t want to take a chance on being wet the rest of the night, so she hung out with us for a bit).

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That night, Disneyland hosted an awards ceremony for all the kids who participated in the Heritage Festival. Except for the announcer forgetting to list us at the beginning when he named all the schools in attendance so the kids could all cheer, it was a great show! Our school’s choir won Gold Second (they scored higher this year than last, though last year they won First Gold), and our band won First Gold. We are so proud of all the hard work they’ve put in this year—it definitely showed!

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What a wonderful event to close the kids’ middle school years with; I know they each made memories that will last a lifetime! And I am SO grateful that Tom and I got to be a part of it!

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