It’s hard to believe another year has passed us by. This year has had its share of major ups and downs, but we’ve managed to power through. I think the feeling that best sums it up for me is gratitude. I try to embody that mentality every day and while it is a challenge, it’s always something to strive for. Being grateful for the people in my life and encouraging others to be grateful for the precious moments and people in theirs. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the negativity and wishing “you had more”, but that is a glass half-full mindset that I don’t subscribe to. Some people may call me idealistic (which I totally am), but I’d rather be an eternal optimist and appreciate all of life’s blessings than have an attitude that is the exact opposite.
So, that brings me to December. In continuing the theme of gratitude, I am thankful for everything in which we were able to participate. Hanleigh was recognized in her class for the leadership award of “putting first things first”. This means that she prioritizes her work and does the serious stuff first. The school had a breakfast to honor those who received the award and she was so proud of herself! Trent and I attended the south Charlotte F3 Christmas party on a Friday and had fun dancing and catching up with his exercise crew. These guys really do a wonderful job of serving the community. Specifically, all toys donated went directly to help the foundation of an F3 brother who lost his child recently. We did another Lowe’s Build & Grow, scoped out a pet adoption event, and attended some more kids’ birthday parties. Trent and I continued training for our half marathon and got our last long run in (12 miles) in preparation for the big event! I spent a few days in Raleigh for a work trip (thanks, Momo, for letting me crash—and laugh—at your crib!) and hung out with some neighborhood ladies for an ornament exchange.
The big weekend finally came, after months of training, injured backs and knees…it was time for the Kiawah Half Marathon! We ventured to Kiawah Island and geez, that place is swanky. We ate like kings and queens and stayed at an adorable bungalow with some other F3 friends. When it came time for the race, the weather was actually perfect for running: 34 degrees, sunny, and not windy. In any other situation, that would be horrible weather to be outside and for someone who hates cold weather, that’s a pretty bold statement. Trent and I ran the entire race together and even held hands crossing the finish line (yes, I know that is cheesy, but anyone who joins you for all the training and endures all the injuries is gonna get their hand grabbed at the end!). We ended up beating our previous half marathon time by NINE MINUTES and finished in 1hr. 49 minutes, which equated to an 8:22 per mile pace. We were so incredibly proud and after hanging around the post-race festivities for a bit, we headed home to get cleaned up and enjoy an absolutely beautiful lunch at the Ocean Club with a huge crew. That night, we went to dinner at a delicious seafood restaurant and headed home Sunday. Thanks, Nana, for watching the kids!!! Half marathon #3 in the books!
Hanleigh had her gymnastics performance and earned yet another medal. I love seeing the grin on her face when she’s proud of herself. She sticks her tongue out in the side of her cheek and gets this shy look on her face. Adorable. We enjoyed our annual Christmas luncheon at GG & Dadaw’s place and had a great time watching all the kids open presents. Brayden received a handmade Harry Potter scarf from Abby and was so excited! This was the first year we did a white elephant exchange and there were some hilarious gifts given: bacon band-aids, stick-on fake mustaches, and glow-in-the-dark rave/light-up gloves. It was so great having the entire family together for such a fun afternoon.
After that concluded, the four of us went to scoop up our new family member, the soon-to-be named Myers Turkleton Jones. We wanted to name our new puppy after something that holds a dear place in our hearts…one of those places naturally being the Caribbean. When we thought about some of our favorite memories while traveling to the Caribbean, many things stand out: scuba diving, conch fritters, sailing, and painkillers (among others). For those of you who haven’t experienced a painkiller, it is the most delicious drink and has Myers dark rum, Coco Lopez, pineapple juice, a splash of OJ, and nutmeg gracing the top. So, Myers seemed to be the perfect name. His middle name is an ode to our favorite island chain in the Caribbean, the Turks & Caicos. Myers is a rescue—the first for all of us. A family found a litter of puppies underneath their deck, abandoned. They believe Myers is a lab/pointer mix and we agree. He looks like a scoop of cookies & cream ice cream (my favorite, by the way). He’s is 100% pure puppy and eats everything (the brick on our house, the tile in our bathroom, shoes, etc.). Sometimes I think we adopted a goat instead. Looking forward to when those razor-sharp baby teeth go bye-bye. Speaking of teeth, Hanleigh is now without her two front teeth, making slurping spaghetti quite fun!
One night, I got together with a bunch of girlfriends for a wood-working workshop to make shabby-chic items for the home. The project turned out awesome and is hanging in our entryway. Mom hosted a holiday dinner at her house one evening as well and we had an absolute blast there, too. Moving to Charlotte to be surrounded by family was such a great decision. I know our kids enjoy growing up with that support system around, too.
We continued the holiday festivities by going to the annual Mantak oyster roast, a Christmas Eve church service at St. John’s with Dad and Christel, and then woke up to spend Christmas morning at our house. It was a pretty low-key day as far as presents were concerned because we did purchase a new all-in-one computer/monitor for the family. We took in a ton of movies over the break as well: Manchester by the Sea, Sing, Star Wars, and Passengers. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep in all of those movies except Manchester and that’s only because I was sobbing like a baby throughout it. Oye! Since we decided not to travel anywhere for the holidays, we put the girls in a full-day and two half-day cooking camps. They had a great time being little chefs while Trent and I had three days in a row of exercising, trying some new restaurants, and just enjoying spending time together. Note to self: do this every year until they are too old for camp. We had a date night with the Farrells and spent New Year’s Eve with the Mayers eating some yummy Italian food and having a party at their house.
So, people are constantly saying to me “How do you do it? You work full-time, travel all the time, and are always busy.” Yes, it’s hard. Yes, I tend to run a million miles a minute. Yes, I’m a busy body. But, I thrive on surrounding myself with people I love, adore, and cherish. People who make me laugh until I pee my pants, until my stomach aches as if I’ve done 100 sit ups. These are the people who fill me up with gratitude and who I hope do the same for them in return. I will take this hectic life everyday if it means that I am blessed with knowing beautiful, kind, and most of all, REAL people with incredible souls. People who let you into the core of who they are, share their pains and joys and who know you are there for them no matter what. La Vie Est Belle!
- She was reading a joke book about horoscopes and pronounced Gemini, “Gem-eee-nee”. Trent said, “Do you mean Gemini?” which was followed by laughter.
- On the way home from school one day, she says, “I like being sick because when I sing I sound like I’m from Tennessee” (referring to her scratchy, Southern voice).
- We were at the Christmas Eve church service taking communion and she looks at the cracker and says outloud (amid a very quiet sanctuary), “This is burnt!!!”. Fast forward a couple minutes later and she asks me what the grape juice is for. I tell her it symbolizes Jesus’ blood and by drinking it, we become as kind and wise as he was (give me some credit, I had to break it down in six-year old terms). She responds with, “We are drinking Jesus’ BUTT?” (she misheard me, apparently).