Benevolence, Big Birthdays, & Beaches

We kicked off June with the first swim meet of the season at the Lake Norman YMCA. Our girls are definitely becoming better swimmers as a result of the consistent practices and motivation to do well. Brayden’s specialty is freestyle, while Hanleigh’s specialty is breaststroke. After that swim meet, we had lunch with the Farrell’s at Hello, Sailor. This is a newly renovated restaurant right on Lake Norman that took the place of the Rusty Rudder. They did a great job with the restaurant in terms of decor and the menu is incredible. We ate outside and had a blast. The next morning, we went to uptown Charlotte to help feed the homeless through an organization called Church on the Street. Every Sunday at 8am, about 100-200 people gather and are served a very comprehensive breakfast. I think it’s really important for the girls to gain an appreciation for the simple things in life, like food and shelter, and also learn to be kind to others, even if they are different than you. I told them on the way there that the people we see that day may look different than them, but in the inside everyone wants the same things…to be loved, appreciated, and heard. They both made us so proud because they were so giving and welcoming to the people they served. Trent and Brayden were charge of pancakes and syrup, while Hanleigh and I were in charge of crackers, cookies, and bananas.

The girls wrapped up the school year with excellent grades and some end-of-year parties. We are so incredibly proud of Brayden…she took a test for placement into Math 1, which is 9th grade math. She was really nervous about it and said that if she got into that course, that she wasn’t sure she would even take it. After she took the test and received the results, she came home and was super excited to find out that she got into Math 1 and was very excited to take the class in the fall! It is a high school math class, suitable for 9th graders, and she will only be in seventh grade next year! This is a pretty big deal. I’m not really surprised though because she’s super duper smart. We are proud parents! 

We had another swim meet, Hanleigh attended one of her best friend’s (Morgan) birthday parties, we had a neighborhood date night at Barcelona Wine Bar, which was absolutely delicious and relatively inexpensive considering how much food we ate. We said “goodbye” to the G-series Mercedes toy car that the kids got from Grandpa Hall when they were little (it lasted a long time and created many wonderful memories!). I went to Denver for a work trip, which consisted of staffing the booth at a trade show and then attending a staff meeting.

When school got out, the girls began their summer camps. Brayden had Broadway Today Camp while Hanleigh had Taste the Rainbow Cooking Camp. They both had a blast and the theater performance was amazing. Hanleigh even came home with lots of really cool recipes. We celebrated Mimi’s 90th birthday at Aunt Patty’s house, where the whole family gathered to honor her. She was glowing and was so happy to be surrounded by family. We are so lucky that she is in our lives and it was an awesome day to celebrate such a wonderful woman. 

Immediately after her birthday party, we headed on the road for the annual family beach trip. This year we went to Holden Beach and had an awesome house right on the ocean with a pool, like we always do. We went with Dad, Crystal, Lori, Sydney, Kennedy, Kyle, Erin, Cooper, and the four of us. It was such an awesome, relaxing week full of waking up, working out, eating breakfast, going to the beach, eating a late lunch, going back to the beach, playing in the pool, making some drinks, eating dinner, and then repeating that same exact sequence of events seven days in a row. The first night we were there, we visited Provision Company for dinner and the rest of the evenings, each family took a turn making dinner for everyone. That process works so well and also minimizes having duplicate food around the house. We keep a pretty organized spreadsheet where everyone can sign up for what items they will bring which also minimizes extra items. We did learn to appreciate having two refrigerators, especially with that many people in the house. One of our favorite memories from the trip is when we were cooking dinner one evening under extremely crazy high wind speeds, and Dad was trying to light the grill with his head under a towel right over the grill. He never could get it lit, but we were on the deck above him watching with great amusement. It seemed to be a Darwin Award Honorable Mention in the making. Luckily, he was okay and we just ended up having dinner cooked in the oven. Thank you so much, Dad and Crystal, for such an awesome week. Can’t wait to do it again in a couple years! 

The day after we got back from the beach, we turned right around and headed west to drop the girls off at Camp Harrison for the week. This is their first time at a week-long camp there. They had been before through Y Guides, but just for a weekend. This camp is super nice and a lot more high-end than the one they went to last summer. Of course, the price reflects that as well. They had an absolute blast, met lots of new friends, and tried lots of awesome activities. Each of our girls went with one of their best friends: Brayden went with Kaitlyn, and Hanleigh went with Mila. We were not allowed to contact with them other than sending them emails or writing letters each day. Although, we did receive a postcard from Hanleigh and a letter from Brayden. I think they’ll definitely go back again next summer!

We wrapped up the month with a girl’s dinner out at Miro, the annual swim team banquet, and then a neighborhood girls dinner out at Cabo Fish Taco.

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