The Trials of Tessa, Part 1


“I wonder when I’ll adjust to this new family, Cooper,” I say to McKenna’s Labradoodle. We’re sitting on the heart, bored. Cooper, because he hasn’t gone for a walk today. Me, because I have no idea what to do to entertain myself in this new house with my new family.


“Hey, Tessa!” McKenna calls, materializing next to me in that creepy way she does. “What are you up to?”


“Nothing much,” I tell her. “Just hanging out with Cooper.”


“Ohhhhhh,” McKenna sighs. “I see. You’re bored, you have no idea how to fit in with your new family, and you think we have nothing in common.”


“How did you know?” I ask, shocked. Can McKenna read minds in addition to appearing out of nowhere?


“Trust me, I’ve been through this with four other sisters. You would think I would understand the signs by now,” she explains.


“Oh,” I say. “So . . . they went through this too?”


“Absolutely. And the best way to cure it is to do something fun together. Hey, I’m about to head to the gymnastics center for open gym time. Wanna tag along? I have a gazillion extra leotards that would probably fit you,” McKenna offers.


I ponder this for a few minutes before nodding my head. “Sure. It’s worth a shot.”

It’s not like there’s anything else I can do.


“Watch and learn, sis,” McKenna says forty-five minutes later. We’re at Shooting Star gymnastics, and my sports-obsessed sister is about to show me a few moves on the bar that I’ll (hopefully) be able to do.


McKenna flips herself upside down, her legs reaching the bar.


In one swift motion, she’s on top of the bar. “That was pullover,” she explains. “The most basic bar move. Wanna try?”


That was basic? I think, as I step up to the bar. I replay what McKenna did in my head, hoping I can do the same thing.


A few seconds later, I’m on the ground.


“Um, maybe bars isn’t your thing so much,” McKenna says. “Why don’t we move on?”


We step over to the beam, where McKenna hops up and positions herself. “Watch this. It should be simpler for you.”


McKenna flicks her arm out and I step back. With just the right amount of sass, she begins to walk down the length of the beam.


A few minutes later, McKenna hops off. “Why don’t you try now,” she says. “Gymnastics have to look confident, and walking on the beam is the best way to practice that.”


I hop up, McKenna watching from behind. “Go for it, Tess.”


It doesn’t go quite as McKenna’s did. My legs begin to wobble instantly.


I fall off the beam, crashing into McKenna. “Owwwww,” we moan in unison.


“Ya know, Kenna? Maybe gymnastics isn’t my thing at all.” I say.

From behind me, McKenna says, “Yeah. Maybe not.”

-End of Photostory-

Did you guys enjoy the beginning of an informal little photoseries? I think it’ll be around three or four parts, once each week. Kind of illustrating Tessa’s journey in becoming a part of her new family. Sound good? Is there a specific sister you think Tessa should follow around in the next few parts? Just leave me a comment down below!

AGs in Alaska

The Glide Kip (A Photostory)


I skip briskly down the sidewalk, excited to be going to gymnatics practice.


“Slow down!” Grace pants behind me. “I’m not wearing my running shoes!”


“Do you even own running shoes?” I ask her, turning around. “Sorry, I’m just excited to be heading to practice. Coach Isabelle promised me she’d help me with my glide kips today. You know, to prepare me for regionals.”


“That’s exciting,” Emily says in her quiet British accent. “Though I haven’t a clue what a glide kip is.”

Fifteen minutes later, we arrive at Shooting Star Gymnastics. Crystal and Emily leave for the viewing area, and I head to the locker room to get changed.

Today is a private practice with just Coach Isabelle and me. We’re mainly going to be working on my bar routine.


“Hi, Coach,” I say, stepping out onto the floor.


“Hi, McKenna. Ready to get to work?” Coach Isabelle asks. I nod.


Coach Isabelle demonstrates a front kip for me and then helps me try it. I pull with all my strength, and with Coach’s help, manage to get myself up onto the bar!




“Why don’t you try it by yourself?” Coach asks.


I step up to the bar, swing my arms, and leap.


My arms make contact with the bar and I swing my feet forward. I use my stomach, arm, and leg muscles to bring my legs up to the bar, but . . .


I crash down. Ouch.


Coach Isabelle leans over me. “Are you alright?”


“Yep,” I squeak.


“Try again, then.”

I try the kip again and again and again. Finally, on what seems like my millionth try . . .


I get my legs all the way up to the bar!


“That’s one step closer!” Coach exclaims. “Keep working at it, McKenna.”


I try the kip again. My legs touch the bar. I pull, and pull, and pull with all my might. Finally . . .


I pull myself all the way up!


“Great job, McKenna!” Coach Isabelle exclaims. “You did it!”

Crystal and Emily clap from the viewing area. I curtsy. “Thanks.”



“With just a little more practice, you’ll be ready for regionals,” Coach Isabelle tells me. “Do you want to take your water break now?”


“Nah,” I tell her. “I think I’ll keep on working.”

I leap forward and attack the bar.

What do you guys think of that photostory? Sorry some of the pictures were blurry. I didn’t know they were until I uploaded them. I played around with a different flash setting, since the lighting in the room I took these pictures made the dolls look super weird. Please let me know what you think about this in the comments. I hope y’all are having an excellent week!

-AGs in Alaska-