Big Apple, Birthday, and Boo!

Brayden kicked some major butt on the CoGat scores in math and reading in her grade (she’s in the upper 99%!), which placed her in the school’s talent development program. Needless to say, we are proud parents! Go Miss B!

October began with a much needed trip with our best friends, Joe and Leslie, to New York City. It was a jam-packed four days, but we had an unbelievable time! On Thursday, we saw Jimmy Fallon’s monologue, Seth Myers live show, and met up with a friend for dinner. On Friday, we spent a few hours at the 9/11 Memorial Museum and there aren’t enough words to describe how emotional that experience was. The thought that was put into the design of the exhibits was incredible, especially for such a tragic day in history. It was so moving and I kept tissues very close to my eyes as I was crying a majority of the time. There were portions of it where I had to contain myself because I wanted to just sob like a baby. 9/11 made such an impact on the entire nation, no matter where you lived. The pictures in this post don’t do it justice. The museum is built directly underground where the twin towers were, so visitors are actually navigating the catacombs of the foundation that held these landmarks up for the Big Apple to see. To walk around the vast underground area that held them in place, see the thick metal beams twisted around each other from where the planes impacted the steel, and hear the voices of family members who lost loved ones that day and even the voices of those who parished really touched all of us. We were there for about three hours, but could have stayed there much longer. Outside, they have memorialized each person with their names etched in stone, flanking a beautiful fountain that flows into the ground. Afterward, we walked the Brooklyn Bridge and ate at the infamous Grimaldi’s Pizza. It was incredible! That evening, we enjoyed martinis while we waited for dinner at Gramercy Tavern and so began our wild night out (see photos). After a fabulous dinner, we went to the Gramercy Park Hotel bar, indulged, and then made our way to this random ACC-themed bar playing 80s music where we were out until 4:00am. It was an awesome night with our best friends. The next day, we did some shopping in SoHo, then nursed some hangovers with a tasty lunch at Joe’s Shangai in Chinatown. I’m not sure if it was due to the fact that our bodies needed some sustenance or what, but it was the best Chinese lunch we had ever had in our lives. They had these crazy things called soup dumplings that looked a bit like testicles (really, they did!) and were filled with soup and either pork or crab. Unreal! That afternoon, we took the Circle Line Sightseeing boat tour from the midwest side south to the Statue of Liberty. This gave us the best views of the city from the Hudson River, especially of the Freedom Tower. It was really magnificent. That evening, we went to another recommended restaurant called La Masseria and then ventured to a stand-up comedy cellar, which was really fun! We were so tired from the night before, that we went in a bit early that night. The next morning was our last day and we went to the top of the Empire State Building, which gave us a different perspective of the city. Another amazing trip with Joe and Leslie. We all travel so well together and can’t wait for next adventure!

The girls continued taking their tap, jazz, and ballet classes; we went to a few more NCSU football games; and celebrated Brayden’s 8th birthday. Her party was at a local bowling alley with all her friends from school. We spray painted the rock, had lunch with her at school, and went to her favorite restaurant for dinner. Beforehand, we took her (as a surprise) to get her ears pierced (she had been asking for awhile). I can’t believe she is already eight-years old. She is such an incredibly smart and determined young girl who knows exactly what she wants (and sometimes is sassy about her approach to getting it). She is a total rule follower and wants to please everyone. She loves Taylor Swift, singing songs on the radio (she may have my gift of memorizing songs after only hearing them a couple of times), and dancing. She doesn’t like most fruits, some veggies, and loves all desserts. Her and Hanleigh are best friends and I also see some lifelong friendships developing with some of her school friends. It is very cute. She is blossoming into a beautiful young lady. Grandma Jones had her birthday and I spent a week in San Antonio, TX at my annual work conference. As always, it was work hard/play hard, but probably the best conference we had in terms of networking, partner involvement, etc. Next year’s conference is in LA, which will be new for all of us, but very exciting!

We attended Hanleigh’s school’s fall festival, went to a Panthers game, and Brayden kicked butt at her school’s Boosterthon fun run. We finally hired someone to clean our house, after two years of going without. It was just becoming too much to manage, so we bit the bullet and did it. Hanleigh had her four-year checkup, weighed 33lbs, 9.6 oz (30%), and was 3’ 4.5” (50%) tall. We wrapped the month off with a Halloween party at our neighbor’s house, follow by trick or treating around the neighborhood. It was a great month. The weather is getting cooler, our half marathon training is really ramping up, and we are getting ready for the holidays. Hope you are, too!

Brayden-isms:

  • One evening, she was getting ready for bed and said, “I’m a geek” to which I responded, “What’s a geek?” She then said, “Someone who is really smart and pretty!”
  • Another evening, she said, “I am not cute. Cute is from one-to-five year’s old.” So, I said, “What are you when you are six?” “Six to 12 is pretty, 13-16 is beautiful, 16 and up is really beautiful” and then she looked at me and gave me a hug. So sweet.

Hanleigh-isms:

  • When talking with Hanleigh about how she can’t drink wine yet, she retorted with, “I got to drink wine when I was in your belly. And then my belly giggled.”
  • Brayden and Trent were talking about painting the rock and how they could get the rock anytime they wanted. Brayden wanted to paint “Go People” on it and Trent said, “What if someone’s mom called and said, ‘Aw, man I forgot to get the rock, let me get the rock and then realize that it had been taken by someone who only wrote ‘You go people’ on it? What is poor little Timmy going to think when he rides up that day and it sees that?” So, now, Hanleigh refers to “Little Timmy” when she toots or does many other things. Oh goodness.

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