Monday, April 3, 2017

Level 3 Girls Gymnastics State Meet and Mediterranean Eats

We drove up west of Chicago for Josie's last gymnastics meet of the 2016-2017 season. This was her first state meet since girls gymnastics doesn't have a state meet for level 2. We had to stay in a hotel since she needed to be at the gym around 8:30am and it is a bit over 2 1/2 hours from our house. I had looked up some vegan friendly restaurants for dinner, but once we got to the "downtown" looking area where the Thai Pavilion was supposed to be, it appeared to be long closed down or remodeling. Disappointed and hungry, we walked along the few blocks and found a golf supply shop, several antique stores, and an "adult romance products" store. We were about to give up when Rob noticed a Mediterranean place. Josie was sad since she had her heart set on Thai, but Mediterraneo Grill ended up putting a big smile on her face. It was one of those lucky locally-owned-gem finds. If you somehow find yourself in DeKalb, IL (home to Northern IL University), check this place out!
Spinach Pie with fries.
This Spinach Pie is a meal in itself. They describe this dish as "homemade dough filled with fresh spinach, sumac, Mediterranean spices, onion, olive oil, and topped with pomegranate reduction". The pomegranate reduction was a surprising addition to one of our favorite Mediterranean dishes. Rob and I had Lentil Soup with our sandwiches and Josie regretted getting fries instead with her Spinach Pie so I shared my soup. She shared her spinach pie because...look how big it is! Rob and I ate most of her fries because we're bad and she wanted some of my falafel sandwich and the foola, shown below, instead.
Foola, which is fava beans, garlic, onion, parsley, other spices, tomatoes, and in this case some pickles with tahini sauce drizzled on top.
I was expecting some ho-hum hummus and pita so I didn't think to take pictures until we'd already devoured the baba ganoush, which wasn't obscenely salty like a lot of restaurants or prepared baba ganoush can be, and it had just the right amount olive oil. The pita bread was the same pita all Mediterranean restaurants seem to have and it would have been better warm. The falafel sandwich was so good, I would go back to Mediterraneo just for that, sorry no picture. The falafel was perfectly spiced, toothsome, and not a bit oily. The veggies were fresh and flavorful. The tahini sauce added a bit of zing to the sandwich, but didn't overpower the other ingredients. I also didn't get a picture of Josie's lemonade, but it cannot be missed. They describe it as homemade orange blossom lemonade and it was perfection. Josie wanted to take a gallon home with us. We ordered way too much food, which was perfect since we had a refrigerator in our suite. Josie isn't big on eating before a meet so she was happy to have the leftovers after the meet on the drive home.
Rob is better at doing hair than I am, according to Josie. Getting her hair in a bun is not for the faint of heart.
Rob is a great help with Josie's gymnastics hair and he'll do what he has to do to get her unruly do in an up do. It sort of ticks me off that female gymnastics have pretty strict rules for hair, but the boys can pretty much do anything or really nothing with theirs. Double standard! I understand not wanting to get hair caught in a bar or stepped on, but I really don't get the bun. Not something I'm willing to fight.
Josie ready to head to the meet!
Kudos to Country Inn & Suites for a very nice clean room with king sized bed and pull out bed with a privacy door between, refrigerator, microwave, and pool. Most of the time the coaches suggest the kids not swim in the pool the night before or day of the meets, but Josie has been swimming conditioning for swim team all winter so I knew it wouldn't affect her gymnastics. When she got down to the pool after dinner, she quickly made friends with two girls from another team and they were all doing handstands and aerials off the side and into the pool. I quickly ruined Josie's fun since all I could think of was their little heads cracking open if their hands slipped on the wet side of the pool. Luckily, pretty soon Josie's teammate and her family came to the pool (we didn't even know they were staying in the same hotel!) and they also didn't agree with the gymnastics on the slippery poolside into the only four or five foot deep pool. I'm not the only mean parent. Josie and the girls still had plenty of non-coma inducing fun until it was time to go to bed.
Josie on the left and her teammate on the right waiting for their coaches.
She was a little nervous, especially since at state they are broken into smaller groups based on age so she only had one other teammate competing with her.
Level 3 Floor Routine at State Gymnastics Meet 2017. I think the judges gave her a 9.0125 
Level 3 Vault at State Gymnastics Meet 2017. Judges have her a 9.2 
Level 3 Bars Routine at State Gymnastics Meet 2017. Judges gave her a 9.150 
Level 3 Beam Routine at State Gymnastics Meet 2017. Judges gave her a 9.125 
Josie at the far right with 9th place for All Around in her competition level. Much better than we expected at state! 
Josie happy, tired, and a little sad that meet season is over.

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