Family & Festival Feet

Lots of big events took place in the month of July. We closed on our house and assumed the daunting task of moving in. Painters transformed our kitchen into a relaxing gray-blue, our dining room into a calmer sea mist (versus the bold, navy striped walls that were there), and Hanleigh’s room into a fun aqua in just a matter of hours. Thanks goes out to all of our family who helped us move everything from the apartment and for the donations of beautiful furniture so we don’t have as many empty rooms! We still don’t feel quite settled yet as there are lots of projects around the house to complete and decorating/accessorizing to be done, but it will all get there at some point. We love the house and I especially love to see people’s reactions to our main living area when they enter the kitchen area.

We spent Independence Day with the Dunlaps and the kids had a blast watching the fireworks. Kendall and I went and saw “Magic Mike” (oh my!), Trent’s dad celebrated a birthday, I had a girls’ dinner out, and took a work trip to SC. We spent a Saturday afternoon with Dad & Barbara on the lake for his 60th birthday. Brayden rode the Big Bertha raft and was laughing hysterically for most of the time. We had a fabulous time and just as we were leaving, the sky dumped a crazy amount of rain on us. It was insane. We were on a little boat and were soaking wet by the time we arrived to land. It was an adventure and was actually pretty fun to experience that. I don’t think Hanleigh really knew what was happening! We had lunch with my friend, Susan, who I have now known for 22 years…it was so incredible to see her (I see her about 1-2 times a year). Mom had us over to her house with Kyle, Erin, and Cooper to celebrate the August birthdays one evening as well.

We’ve been spending a lot of time in our front yard working on cartwheels and somersaults. It is so nice to have a flat front and backyard now and once the heat cools off, we are looking forward to many evenings of sitting on the porch and enjoying the outdoors. We have met a number of neighbors and everyone is super friendly. There is at least one couple around our age (but who knows?) that we are trying to get together with. Once again, we have lucked out with a neighborhood with sidewalks and walking trails connecting a few cul-de-sacs. It is amazing how these walks a few times a week transform Brayden into a much more mature version of herself. It’s like a window to the future and is so cool to see how she recaps her day and just observes things from this “older” perspective. Sometime I wonder how that same personality can have the alter ego side that throws the crazy tantrums…but perhaps it’s one of those “phases” that we’ll soon exit and then begin a phase of another flavor.

Lastly (and definitely not least), Kyle, Mom, and I went to Floyd Fest. This was my first experience at a weekend-long music festival and although I was briefed by my festival-going friends, I don’t think I ever could have imagined how much fun I had. THIS GOES DOWN IN THE BOOKS AS ONE OF THE BEST WEEKENDS OF MY LIFE. Kyle and I gave this to mom as her 60th birthday present. Smack dab in the middle-of-nowhere Virginia is Floyd…a tiny, little town nestled in the mountains. Here you will discover a plateau of land big enough to be considered the center of the festival, which houses the main stage and lots of vendors. There were also many other stages which housed music ranging from folk and bluegrass, to hip hop and drum circles. We did yoga and contra dancing as well.

We camped in an area that was about a five-minute walk from the beer garden and met some awesome neighbors who have been going to Floyd Fest each year (read: festival aficionados that have two guys that set up camp for 21 people a day prior so they can all enjoy Bloody Mary’s, tasty breakfasts, happy hour, hors d’eouvres, and warm showers generated from a solar water bag). Since we were newbies, we did have a bit to learn. Mom brought the “Taja Ma-Tent”, which was nice and spacious, but unfortunately, not waterproof (and was also at a 30-degree angle, so during the night we would slide to the bottom in our sleeping bags!). Summer storms + non-waterproof tent = wet sleeping bags and clothes. But, it didn’t really matter. We hung up our wet stuff under our pop-up tent, let them dry, and went about our business. There was no raining on our parade here (literally and figuratively)!

We discovered new bands (Lizzy Ross…A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.), cover bands (Love Canon String Band…who doesn’t like to hear Toto’s Africa played with a mandolin, acoustic guitar, and upright bass?), and familiar bands (Sam Bush). We were “glamoured” (shout out to True Blood fans) by Chris Thile (of the Punch Brothers) on the mandolin and “susshhh’d” by his fans (now an inside joke of ours)…what a weird experience. Kyle and I enjoyed some happy music by Michael Franti and were separately sobbing during one tune where he talked about loving the people you are with (obviously, we missed our spouses!). There was no agenda for the weekend…just float between stages while keeping a tasty beverage in our hands.

The weather was great (except for aforementioned thunderstorm) and the evenings were magical. Where our festival-going experience was lacking in the tent department (not Kyle, though…he was dry and cozy in his tent), I made up for it in the earplug department. This may have been the most important thing I packed because even though I put them in both nights, it still didn’t drown out the jam bands and chanting at 4:00am (yes, there are people there that don’t go to sleep all weekend…interesting). However, had I not had them, I would’ve been a really unhappy camper (no pun intended).

The highlight of the weekend was seeing Matisyahu perform on Saturday night and we made sure we were as close as possible. He was such an amazing entertainer with a great message and funky vibe. It was nice to get a little hip hop/reggae vibe amidst all of the acoustic and string instruments. Sunday morning, Kyle and I swung on the trapeze (“why wouldn’t there be one here?”, you ask) from three-stories high as we knew this would be a rare experience (watch the video!). I’m always up for some adventure! Lastly, as we were standing in the three-hour long line to be shuttled back to our car, an “angel” by the name of Tony offered us a ride to our car for $20. His genius entrepreneurial idea directly benefited us as we were able to make it home that night to see our kids go to bed.

But, what was the best part of the weekend? The people. And no, I don’t mean the other 14,000 people that were attending the festival. I am talking about my mom and brother. Words cannot express how lucky I am to be related to them and how much I value our close relationship. We laughed, cried, and danced like no one was watching. We created memories that will last a lifetime. Each piece of dirt I gathered on my “festival feet” is one memory that was chalked up to making that weekend one of the best in my life…and I got to make those memories with you two. I am so thankful! We are blessed! I love you both so incredibly much.

Brayden-isms:

  • According to Miss B, she has “Three best girlfriends and three best boyfriends” at school. When she said this, Trent said, “get upstairs and brush your teeth!” (I don’t think he likes the “boyfriend” part)
  • One evening during one of her epic meltdowns, she told me (imagine screaming while sitting on her bed), “If you don’t give me a treat, you are going to make my life horrible.”
  • One evening, she stuck her head in Hanleigh’s room while I was tucking her in bed and said, “Can I ask you what could be a strange question? How old do you have to be to get married?”

Hanleigh-isms:

  • She just learned how to sing Happy Birthday and says the line “Happy Birthday to you” over and over and over and over…
  • The words “ice water” sounds just like “I farted”. Of course, between Trent and Brayden, they are constantly egging her on and asking her to say “ice water.”

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