I adore my nieces and nephews A LOT and love to take opportunities to do something special with them that we'll both remember forever. A few weeks ago, Andy and I are hanging out after dinner when I get a text from my 10-year-old niece, Ryleigh.
"Hi Aunt Charlie! Can you take me to see Chloe from Dance Moms in Troy?"
Even though this text was pretty abrupt and random, I knew of the show Dance Moms, so I said 'maybe, what day?' she said 'next Friday'. Quick peek at the calendar and I was miraculously free so I said sure! I called her mom to worked out the logistics of when, where and how and just like that suddenly Andy and I were having Ryleigh stay with us for a few nights!
The event in Troy was a Meet & Greet with Chloe and Christi. Andy and I picked Ryleigh up from West Michigan on Thursday and then high-tailed back to Ann Arbor so Andy and I could both get back to work! Andy works from home, which is the only way that this could work out so beautifully, Ryleigh stayed with him while I went to work downtown. For the rest of the afternoon I was getting tags on Instagram (@charlielbl) videos and pictures of Jules, ha!
After work, we decided to head to the park before going out to dinner...
Ryleigh talked me into getting on the merry-go-round after she had her turn. Did I mention I get insanely motion sick? I can't go on boats without putting a Transderm patch the day before, planes I can handle because fall asleep the second I get in my seat (it's awesome) and cars, I have to drive. Even then sometimes my own driving makes me sick! I made a deal with Andy that he would stop me immediately if I asked. I think I made it around 5 times before I tapped out ;)
^^ Swings make me sick too, HAHA!
The stomach settled and we went for a casual dinner at Grizzly Peak and then scored some candy for later and ice cream for now at Kilwin's!
The next day was the BIG day! But first we both had to take care of some business. I went to work and received this text from Andy...work hard, play hard :)
I took the afternoon off so Ryleigh and I sunned a bit on the deck before getting ready to head out to meet Chloe and Christi!
Ryleigh wanted to learn how to use my camera so we had some fun around the house...
Andy called us to the front of the house where he found a painted turtle, we affectionately named Turd.
Jules wanted to get in on the action but I think if we let him out he would never come back... He's a wild beast at heart.
We left early to beat traffic, and get in line for the event since the seats were general admission. We got front row and center!
We played around a bit...
Then got kicked out and told to stand in the hallway. The center seats were "VIP". Great.
Either way, we were first in line in the general admission line! And the seats ended up not mattering since Chloe and Christi walked around the whole time.
After some serious negotiations, I bought Ryleigh a t-shirt and put $5 in a raffle to win some boots Chloe wore in her recent Just For Kix photo shoot...
Everyone was holding their breath, anxiously staring at the door, quietly waiting for Chloe to enter....
There they are! All the girls screamed and cheered, it was pretty cute :)
And Chloe was pretty interested in her phone. Typical 14-year-old! (Actually, typical everyone these days...)
Ryleigh and I both got picked on to ask a question during the Q&A session so we got to talk to them both directly! And we both knew answers to the "trivia" session where Christi & Chloe asked the audience questions and we each won a Team Chloe bracelet. (I think Christi kept picking on me because we bonded over owning the same pair of heels!!)
Chloe seemed like a sweet girl, but a bit shy at times. When someone would ask a question that Chloe could answer with one word, she didn't pass on the opportunity. "Do you like your new dance studio?" "Yes." - NEXT!
Christi on the other hand was not shy - she was sassy and hilarious! Christi definitely kept the conversations going and would elaborate on her answers. She sort of made you feel like you were chatting with your friend over a glass of wine at home. Speaking of wine, she shared some Dance Moms gossip, including that the moms would drink wine out of coffee cups on the show to keep things interesting, ha!
Ryleigh won the raffle! She won the boots! I couldn't believe it! I think I was more excited than she was because I never win this kind of thing. When they called her name, she went up to get the boots from Chloe and she got to hug Chloe! A big moment for a 10-year-old, she got to hug a "celebrity" she looks up to! Hooray!
^^ The boots were signed by Chloe and Christi, and they were my size! I tried to get her to let me keep one, but she was not having it...
It was a torrential downpour when we were leaving the hotel so we sprinted across the parking lot to my car! Naturally, my shoe flew off so I made her stop and go back to get it with me. And I was wearing a white silk shirt...not my finest moment! Good thing we were just going straight home!
Another epic weekend with my niece in the books! She is growing up way too fast!