Wednesday morning we woke up bright and early to get ready for our day out in Chicago! First stop was the Botanical Gardens and then off to shop at Water Tower Place. This was the first day that we really got to sit in our groups and get to know each other. I was blessed to sit with Mrs. Kansas, Mrs. DC (Fellow Military Spouse of the Year winner!) and Mrs. Colorado. We had such an awesome time just getting to talk and share in this journey together. The Botanical Gardens were BEAUTIFUL as was spending the time with all of the other contestants. Then off to do what women love most… SHOP! Mrs. Virginia and I walked and talked through the mall, finding the comedy in EVERY person trying to sell us something. She is a wonderful woman!
|My mother in laws first 2 creations for pageant weekend - I LOVED my wardrobe and am so blessed to share this with her|
|End of shopping with some BEAUTIFUL ladies|
|Meeting some sweet princesses outside of the American Girl Doll store|
After our fun in the city it was back to the hotel, change and head to our first day of rehearsals. I have 2 left feet but a great attitude about it (Really, what choice do I have!) and bumbled through learning the opening number. Thankful for the women in GROUP A for making me feel less clumsy and making me laugh. We went through rehearsals until 9:30 and back to our rooms for beauty sleep and INTERVIEWS the next morning.
Being #1 has some benefits, not quite finding them yet but I am sure they are there. I had an 8am interview, the most important part of the pageant is interview. This is the first time the judges get to meet you, ask you questions about your platform and get to know you. My platform is not just something I woke up to one morning, my platform is my life. My platform came to be when I lost a friend in Iraq, then was solidified when I met my first Gold Star family. It’s been 5 years of love, passion, commitment and even a deployment with my own husband… 16 months of praying that he would come home. This was MY opportunity to explain all of that to these 5 people. After 25 minutes I walked out feeling that I did my best and knew that it was in their hands.
OOH FOUND a BENEFIT! Kara and I spent the day shopping for new shoes because I didn’t have rehearsal until 3pm. After a short rehearsal it was back to the room, changing into my BEAUTIFUL gown that my mother in law made me and off to the official Meet & Greet. Also causing a smile on my face was that my family came into town that night. I couldn’t wait for a mommy hug and a husband kiss. I absolutely enjoyed the meet and greet. We met several local dignitaries and businesses and it also gave us a little more time to simply get to know each other. This is truly a wonderful group of women!
|Yes... she made these beauties too!|
|with the Lovely Mrs. International 2012 Sarah Bazey - a class act and wonderful woman inside and out|
|70 of the most wonderful, amazing and talented women in the world|
After the meet & greet I finally slipped away and saw my family. Hugs, kisses, tears, laughing and simply a bit of SMITH fun was in store. Grateful for their support I headed to bed to prepare for another day of rehearsal AND preliminary competition.