Flowers, hiccups and cowgirls

This morning I met the girls for a breakfast with their host dads at the beautiful Bellingrath Gardens, where many of them tried grits for the first time. I remember one year ago trying grits for my first time thanks to Bellingrath Gardens. We like to give our girls a full southern experience. 🙂 It’s been such a neat experience going through Nationals again, but this time in a different role and perspective. It’s amazing how many more things I’m picking up that I didn’t notice last year. I’m also cherishing the moments that I loved most even longer than I did last year. Grits being one example. What has been the biggest blessing though, is interacting with the girls. They are shining brighter than the flowers and I am so fascinated by watching their starstruck faces as they engage with each other and take in the sights of Mobile.

After the tour of the Gardens, the girls got a special tour of the Distinguished Young Women House or Headquarters. After lunch and orientation, Kathy swooped me up and we went on a few sponsor visits to tell our supports how much we love them and appreciate their dedication to our program. During one of our visits, I got the hiccups, (of course I would get the hiccups) but it was okay because I gave Kathy one look and our telepathic waves met and I proceeded to hold my breath, breathe deeply, drink water and focus really hard on making them go away. They didn’t. So I just hiccuped in silence for the rest of the meeting while precious Pam Patterson graciously carried the conversation along. IMG_0128

Then it was time for the Line Dancing Party on the USS Alabama Battleship. The contestants and myself (and my rockstar host sisters) boogied on the dance floor and unleashed our inner cowgirl. I was very impressed and entertained when all the host dads came out to join us. Thank you to our sponsors, Coca Cola, Alabama Power, and everyone at the Battleship for making this event possible. IMG_0719

I crossed one more iconic destination off my Mobile bucket list tonight when my host family took me to the famous Old Dutch Ice Cream for some of the best home made ice cream I have ever eaten. They truly are the best and I am so thankful for such a caring family to be a part of. IMG_0647IMG_0595

I can’t believe day 1 is already over! These 2 weeks are going to be over before I know it! We will see you tomorrow!

Love always,

Nicole Renard #dostuff #DYW2014 #DYWof America

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