Happy New Year everyone! And my, what a year it’s already been. We kicked off New Year’s Day with a hike at a local greenway with our good friends, the Bryans. The kids loved running across the swinging bridge and viewing the waterfall! The kids enjoyed a few birthday parties, lunches with friends, and a very special lunch at the America Girl doll store with GG. It was so cute to watch Brayden & Hanleigh bring their respective dolls, Zoe and Emily Lolo, with them to lunch. They gave the dolls their own highchairs and place settings. The food was actually pretty tasty as well. It was so special to have a fabulous lunch with GG. I really cherish that time with her and know the girls do as well. We even did some shopping in the store afterward.
I traveled to Los Angeles for my company’s annual conference planning meeting and stayed at the JW Marriott LA LIVE. That hotel is pretty top notch and while we were there, the People’s Choice Awards were going on (our hotel is immediately next to the red carpet!) so we watched the stars arrive. That was a pretty neat experience! Trent participated (for the second year in a row) in the Joe Davis Memorial 10k run and had his best time yet for that length of a race! We had our parent/teacher conference with Hanleigh’s teacher and their assessment of her was very positive. She plays very well with others and is doing great with her writing and reading skills. One area where we need to focus more is having her memorize her entire address. She knows the street and her phone number well, but needs to focus on the street address and zip code a bit more. Other than that, she is completely thriving in school. We still have a big decision to make in terms of if we’ll enroll her in kindergarten this fall or next (her birthday is a few weeks before the cut-off date), but we have a few months to make that decision.
Trent went to Raleigh for work one week and then we headed to the mountains again with two sets of our neighbors for another activity-packed time of skiing, tubing, and ice skating. We actually put Hanleigh in an all-day daycare since she is too young for ski school, but Brayden participated in an all-day ski school and absolutely loved it. This was nice because all of the adults were able to enjoy about five hours on the slopes. I rented a snowboard this time (hadn’t boarded in about nine years) and picked it up again pretty well. I am actually kicking myself for throwing away my snowboard when we moved to Charlotte (I had owned it since I was 18). I am pretty sure the next time I go to the mountains I will have purchased a new board. All I’m missing is having my brother with me on the slopes. Kyle is so good about encouraging me to be a little more brave and daring when trying new things. I wasn’t willing to be too crazy on this past trip, though, because it was the weekend prior to our half-marathon.
Which brings me to our trip to New Orleans. WE. HAD. THE. BEST. TIME…for so many reasons! It was so nice to get away with Trent for a very long “weekend” (Wed-Mon) while Trent’s parents watched the girls. When we arrived, the weather wasn’t the best (cold, windy, rainy), but we managed to eat a tasty lunch then walk up and down Magazine Street, checking out the boutiques and other shops. On Thursday, it was also pretty nasty outside, so we went to see American Sniper. Why would we go see a movie on a trip to New Orleans without our kids? Because we can without getting a sitter lined up, etc. On Friday, we went for a three-mile jog alongside the river and market (a very windy day, too) and did some more shopping. That evening, we went to Cochon for dinner and it was, by far, our favorite meal in NOLA. That evening, we took a pedicab to Hotel Monteleone (home of The Carousel Bar) where we enjoyed live jazz music for the next four hours and met new people from all over the world (and Charlotte!). The next morning, our friends, Laura & Jay, arrived! We had a delicious brunch (notice a theme here of eating, eating, and more eating?), relaxed in the hotel some, and then went to a fabulous dinner. We had to get to bed early for the race, though.
Sunday morning, we woke up around 5:00am to prepare for the race. I took a picture of all the stuff I had to wear and bring and it’s a lot! I re-read the awesome, encouraging, and inspiring quotes my neighbor, Tonya, snuck in our mailbox the day before we left (they made me tear up). Not to mention, we strategically planned out how we were going to fuel our bodies for the race (pre-race energy drink, two GUs…one at mile four and another at mile nine). Once we got outside, the rain had cleared, but the wind was howling like crazy. It was pretty chilly (in the low 40s). Trent and I started off the race hand-in-hand and that’s how we ended it as well. It was actually pretty sweet and romantic. We both shed our gloves at mile four and then our long sleeves not too much further after that. We pretty much ran the first four miles, walked just long enough to remove our gloves, ran another three miles, drank some water, ran another three miles, drank some more water, and then ran the last four non-stop. By mile 10, my legs felt like noodles, but we managed to pull off the entire race averaging an 8:57 pace and finished in 1:57:10. Here are some of the stats:
- Finished In: 01:57:10
- Overall: 1313 out of 7699
- Division: 98 out of 887
- Gender: 460 out of 4920
- 5 km 27:20
- 10 km 55:06
- 10 mi 1:29:16
- Pace 8:57
- Clock Time 02:09:23
- Finished In: 1:57:09
- Overall: 1312 out of 7699
- Division: 127 out of 431
- Gender: 853 out of 2779
- 5 km: 27:19
- 10 km: 55:06
- 10 mi: 1:29:16
- Pace: 8:57
- Clock Tim: 2:09:23
I actually finished 13 minutes faster than my first half marathon and three minutes faster than our goal to do it under two hours. Needless to say, the fact that we both finished the race after all the injuries and rehabilitation we’ve been through in the past few months is pretty amazing. Running hand-in-hand with Trent occasionally throughout the race and crossing the finish line with him doing the same was pretty amazing. We supported and encouraged each other the entire race and I know that kept me going so that we could reach our goal. I love you, Trent Jones! Best race accessory ever (my medal isn’t half bad, too). Trent did an incredible job for his first half marathon! Way to set the bar!
We wrapped up the month with a family fun and games night at Brayden’s afterschool program where the kids participated in some soccer-related relay games and then that evening, Brayden’s BFF, Cora, spent the night. The next morning, Brayden was quite the selfless person and donated 10″ of her hair to Locks of Love! It was so long to begin with that when she had it cut, it still fell below her shoulders. She was so brave and was very proud of herself, as evident by the photos and video.
- Trent and Brayden were watching the NCSU vs. Duke basketball game and, unprovoked, she said, “In yo face, Duke!” That’s our girl.
- Brayden and Hanleigh were playing in B’s room and pretending they were going to give me keyboard lessons. Brayden said that they begin at 7:22pm to which Hanleigh replied, “Well, that’s officially complicated.”
- For some reason, she has a hard time saying the word “Hallelujah”. Instead she says, “Halle-yoo-lah.” It is so cute that I don’t want to correct her.
- We were headed to a friend’s house who has smaller kids and she was a bit reluctant to go because she said, “But my hands are too big for their toys.”