The milestone birthday celebrations continued in June…this time, for my dear friend, Momo’s 50th birthday! For years she has been talking about wanting to go to Turks & Caicos to celebrate, so six of us hopped on flights to join her for a relaxing and fabulous trip to Provo. This was my fifth time to the island, which is my favorite place on earth, so I was off to my happy place. We had dinner outside every night, I went scuba diving one morning (saw a shark and chased after it!), attended the local Thursday night Fish Fry, paddleboarded, and sailed on a catamaran. We ate at Somewhere (best place ever!) and even met the owner. We stayed at the Windsong Resort, which was gorgeous and our room was an oceanfront suite that was about 2,400 square feet…it was massive. And, the price was very reasonable. This property is centrally located on the island, which meant it was easy to get around and walk from place to place. The highlight of the trip was our Island Vibes tour. We jumped aboard a boat complete with a slide and diving board, drinks, and sun. As we skirted the coast of Provo, the water was crystal clear to match the skies and we soaked in the sun! We stopped to snorkel for awhile, then went to a private island where we saw iguanas and made ceviche from fresh conch (we even tried the spinal cord, which is a delicacy). After that, we found the perfect place to jump off the top deck of the boat (see video) and be young at heart! It was incredible! It was awesome to share my favorite place on earth with some of my favorite people, too!
One of the rites of passage in fifth grade is sex ed. Nowadays, they call it RHASE (Reproductive Health and Safety Education). They don’t teach the kids exactly how babies are made and leave that up to the parents, which I agree with. In preparation for the RHASE course, the fifth grade teachers hold a parental education session where they show us everything the kids will see (slides/video) in advance. I asked for the teachers to share the files with me so I could show them to Brayden before she saw them at school and so I could answer any questions she had. We spent about three hours on the back porch going over all of the information and having a good time talking about it. When I broke the news about how babies are actually made, so rolled her eyes and said, “gross!”. I then told her that not every parent is going to communicate this stuff to their kids (or they won’t tell the complete truth) and that she should keep this conversation between us for now unless her friends were told the truth as well. I know there are MANY more conversations I need to have with her in the next few weeks, months, and years—but, what I wanted her to know more than anything is that she can talk to me about anything and that the lines of communication will always be open and honest!
The girls continued with swim team and got progressively better throughout the season. We are so proud of both of them and I’m pretty sure they’ll be interested in continuing it next year as well! Brayden had her fifth grade end-of-year party, followed by her promotion ceremony (for some reason, they don’t call it graduation). She seemed to grown up during that ceremony and I was a mess, fighting back tears (and letting them fall!). They sang Bruno Mars’ song “Count on Me” and I lost it. Her teachers in elementary school FAR exceeded any expectations that I had. I knew she was at an excellent school, but wow, were we lucky. This year was no exception. Ms. Sadler was the best teacher she has ever had and that says a lot. She was down-to-earth, encouraging, all while being stern and pushing the kids to do their best. We will never forget her! Brayden also received an academic achievement award because of her amazing grades! I love how much passion, dedication, and pride she has in her schoolwork and have confidence that it will continue throughout the rest of her education! We continued celebrating after the ceremony with lunch at one of her favorite restaurants, Yafo! The world is your oyster, Brayden!
The next day, the girls had a swim meet and we had nothing going on that day, so we took a spontaneous trip to Asheville for the afternoon and went to New Belgium and Sierra Nevada breweries for some delicious lunch, yummy beer, and great music. It was so fun just to pick up and go and the girls had a blast! Now that school was officially out, summer camps ramped up. The girls took theater (Broadway and improv), cooking, gymnastics, space trip, and American girl camps. We assembled the family together for a father’s day dinner at Brio and were joined by Mimi & Dadaw, Dad & Christel, Fran & Terry. We had a great time catching up!
Another rite of passage that occurred in June was Brayden going to an overnight, week-long camp at Camp Pisgah. This is traditionally a Girl Scout camp, which neither of our girls are members of, but anyone is welcome. One of her best friends, Marli, joined her for the week, which made it that much more fun. We checked her in, she got her hair checked for lice (which Trent initially thought was a braiding station and quickly had flashbacks to the cruise where the girls did get lice!), dropped of her stuff in her Yert (yes, a yert…how cool!), and then went on our way. She was kind of bashful when we said goodbye and it was odd not having her with us for the week—we missed her a lot. Not sure how much she missed us because she said she was never really homesick. We received two letters from her while she was there: one elaborated about the various types of food they were eating and the other one was about how she slept in her contacts and couldn’t get them out of her eyes because they were stuck and she didn’t want them to stay like that forever. Hilarious. While she was there, they had a shaving cream fight, went canoing, used the side of a hill as a slip n’ slide, and created lots of art (her camp theme was “Art Mavens”). She had a blast and said she wants to go back again next summer. The great thing about our girls is that they have gone camping numerous times (from roughing it to glamping) and are very adaptable to any kind of outdoor environment. I’m glad they are like that…it will pay off later in life.
Tonya and I spent a fun (albeit, rainy) evening at the Whitewater Center. Apparently, on Thursday evenings in the summer, they have River Jam, which entails yoga (there were about 150 people there!) under the sky, followed by food, a band, and Big Water (where they raise the water levels on the rapids and rafters have a more challenging time staying in the rafts). Even though the river was closed due to storms, we really enjoyed ourselves and I definitely plan on going back for more of the River Jam evenings! The next evening, we attended an adults-only get together at the Farrell’s, which was super fun, as always. The girls had their end-of-season swim banquet and awards ceremony, which was adorable. Brayden’s award was for “Most Spirited” and Hanleigh’s award was for “Fab 4” (because she met three other new friends during swim team). After the awards banquet, we went to Julie & Tim’s house for a Summer Solstice party. We met a lot of new people and had fun playing “college” games like flip cup. Very nostalgic and hilarious! To wrap up that weekend, we took the kids to see the Incredibles (very cute movie). I attended a one-day meeting in Redmond, WA at Microsoft to present and discuss our go-to-market plans with them. We met at their Technology Center where our company had set up a leak detection demo and I was able to check out some awesome gadgets, like a screen that had facial-recognition software and told you your mood and how old you were (it thought I was 28, so I loved it!). Lastly, we wrapped up the month with Kendall’s Dad’s (Bobby) 70th birthday celebration. He rented out this beautiful farm near Greensboro for about 100 friends, and we had fun celebrating over dinner and a bit of roasting. The stories we heard were incredible and made us laugh so hard (and aren’t appropriate for this post).