Ever After



Have you wondered why the blog hasn’t been updated?

Or the laundry finished?

Or meals prepared?

Or why you can’t see my kitchen counters?

Or why The Littles (Tad & Vivi) watch entirely too much t.v. these days?

Or why Bryan and I have bags under our eyes?

It shouldn’t be hard to figure out why … if you use your imagination!

For the past several months, Bryan and I have helped oversee a little team of six 4th and 5th graders as they’ve prepared for the Destination Imagination tournament.

First a bit of background on Destination ImagiNation–“Destination ImagiNation, Inc. is an extraordinary non-profit organization that provides educational programs for students to learn and experience creativity, teamwork and problem solving. Every year, they reach 100,000 students across the U.S. and in more than 30 countries. Destination ImagiNation is an educational program in which student teams solve open-ended Challenges and present their solutions at Tournaments. Teams are tested to think on their feet, work together and devise original solutions that satisfy the requirements of the Challenges. Participants gain more than just basic knowledge and skills—they learn to unleash their imaginations and take unique approaches to problem solving.”

We formed a team last year as a chance for Bryan to play a more active roll in Ariana’s life and for Ariana to have an outlet for her bright, creative mind.  She didn’t qualify for the “Gifted and Talented” program at school, so Ariana and I saw this as an opportunity for her to do similar activities and exercises at home.

Last year, the team placed 6th at the regional tournament.  They had a lot of fun preparing and presenting but I think that everyone was shocked at the high caliber of the elementary school teams.

As Fall 2010 approached, half the members from last year’s team signed up again, and we recruited another three kids to participate.  They decided to tackle the “structure building” challenge:

  • Design and build a structure made only of aluminum foil, wood and glue
  • Test how much weight the structure will hold
  • Present a story about a character that is foiled
  • Integrate a team-written verse and a published verse into the story

Meeting one night a week (and then more frequently as the February regional tournament approached), the kids worked together to create the solution to their Challenge.  And much to our surprise, they took FIRST PLACE at the regional tournament and qualified for the state tournament to be held in Lubbock, TX.

The six-week period between the regional and state tournament was intense as our house and garage were turned into DI Central.  And even though all the parents were incredibly proud of the work and workmanship of the kids, no one could have predicted that the team would take home FIRST PLACE at the state tournament and qualify for the GLOBAL DI tournament in Knoxville, TN.

Texas is a BIG state!

DI is HUGE in Texas!

And our team should feel ENORMOUS pride about what they’ve accomplished!

Their tiny 8.78 gram structure held 465 pounds, and their skit based on the poem “Homework Machine” by Shel Silverstein was adorable.

When one parent told us last night that her child wanted to wear his medal to bed at night, Bryan and I couldn’t hold back the tears. Some schools only invite children from the “Gifted and Talented” classes to participate on a DI team. Most of the kids on our team are not extraordinary by the school district’s standards. Very few are or ever will be celebrated for their scholastic achievements. In fact, we’re very much like the “Bad News Bears” of DI, if you know what I mean. But I have no doubt that each child on our team will forever remember that they were a part of something special … even magical … and that through hard work, team work, and using their noggins they can accomplish the unimaginable.

Destination … GLOBAL!


  • Comment by Judy — April 4, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

    WAHOOOOO!!! THAT IS INCREDIBLE! WOW! Global. That is so exciting. I love that your district doesn’t require the Gifted and Talented like ours does. Never underestimate the Underdog!

    Question: What did Bryan promise them this time? How is the hair growing?

  • Comment by Eva — April 6, 2011 @ 10:37 am

    That is awesome!! Good job Ariana and the rest of the team!! Sounds like you had some great coaches:) Miss you guys!

  • Comment by Mar~ — April 7, 2011 @ 8:38 am

    WOW! Congratulations to Ariana and her fabulous team!
    Also, I love the look of your blog! I love, love, love everything about it. If I could do what you do, I would be very happy with myself!
    I have always wanted to be able to have scrolling photos…
    YOU are amazing!

  • Comment by Brenda — April 7, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

    That is amazing, you are such awesome parents to take on that adventure!!!! Congrats to Ariana and her team, what an accomplishment!

  • Comment by Gran — April 8, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    What a fun adventure you are having and what a wonderful accomplishment! Good luck in the next event.

  • Comment by Deanna — April 10, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

    Guppy – I’m so proud of you! What an amazing adventure – and what an amazing experience.

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