July was a busy month as it was the peak of the summer for us. The girls continued with a whole bunch of YMCA based-camps, such as teen and cooking camp. We went to our annual family reunion to the Virginia Creeper Trail. Our crowd was smaller this year (about 23 people) than in years past, but we had an amazing time. The cabins that we rent are perfectly in a circle with a campfire in between and there is a little river where are the kids get on rafts and float down. We got there on Thursday, July 4th, and celebrated Independence Day with the typical dinner fare. The next day, the majority of us biked down the Creeper Trail. Right when we got to Whitetop Station, the sky unleashed with a crazy rainstorm and we all got soaked. The good thing is that it cleared up for nearly the remainder of the ride. We had a blast as always and ended the ride at the Kickin’ Chicken for a tasty lunch and beverages. After that, we all went back to the cabin for some shenanigans and tons of laughter. The next day, the four of us rode the Creeper Trail again and it sprinkled on us a little bit, but it was awesome. We ended that ride by going to Mojo’s for lunch after we wrangled up a batch of cousins to join us. After lunch, we came back to the cabins where dancing ensued on the cabin’s front porch. Then, by tradition, all of the first cousins went to the Damascus Brewery and played a game. Kyle even asked the bartender if she wanted to see his beaver. Funny story.
Brayden took a cooking camp that was themed after the Bake-Off shows, where she competed against other groups for best appetizer, entree, and dessert. Each team was encouraged to be as creative as they could and come up with their own recipes. The counselors would buy all the ingredients as long as they were under a certain amount. While she was in that camp, Hanleigh took a two-week Jungle Book-themed camp. The camp was for kids in elementary school, but you wouldn’t know that judging by how incredible the set design, choreography, lines, and dancing was. I’m always amazed by how well these kids do in the theater-based camps and the amount of work they can accomplish in such a short timeframe.
We enjoyed some great family time celebrating Wyatt’s 4th birthday at Abby and Justin’s house. We always have such a great time when we all get together. While Hanleigh was in The Jungle Book camp, Brayden took a visual arts and ceramics camp. She got to use the pottery wheel, paint birch trees, and do all kinds of other creative projects. She really has an amazing talent for art! July is both of our dad’s birthdays. My dad turned 67 and we were able to celebrate Terry’s 74 birthday in person with dinner at the new Duckworth’s.
We enjoyed an absolutely fabulous weekend at Aunt Patty and Uncle John’s House on Lake Tillery. The kids really enjoyed being pulled on a float, doing gymnastics on the splash pad, and taking a ride to the ice cream boat. Trent and I skied, but I was most proud of the fact that Hanleigh tried to ski and literally got up on the first time!!! She loved it. Kyle is the best instructor ever. I was such a proud mama. She skied both days and did great at it. I’m pretty sure next summer, Brayden will try it again. She was a bit hesitant, but after seeing Haleigh do it, I think she’s feeling more comfortable.
The camps continued with Hanleigh doing a movies alive camp and Brayden doing a two-week high School musical camp. This again was another example of us being blown away completely by how well the counselors work with the kids to deliver a high-quality production. Brayden is such an amazing actress and really does embody whatever role she’s playing. Brayden enjoyed an awesome playdate with two of her best friends, Ashlynn and Madilynn. Those girls are just the sweetest thing ever. During their play date, they recorded commercials on the iPad and they were absolutely hilarious. They are all so creative.
For the past six months or so, Erin and I have been working secretly to collaborate and plan a fabulous weekend for Kyle’s 40th birthday. I’m happy to say that we successfully pulled off a great party. Erin had some of his friends come to town unbeknownst to him and we went to the Whitewater Center for yoga, music, and beer on Thursday night. On Friday, a huge group of us went hiking to South Mountain State Park. We have never been there before, but it was absolutely gorgeous… especially the water falls. On Saturday, we spent the whole day preparing for the culmination of the weekend, which was a surprise party at our house. Erin told everyone to wear a wig and a costume to match. We worked with a private chef and her bartender to come up with a menu and have dinner prepared right in front of everyone. The food was absolutely incredible and I cannot say enough amazing things about Cherie Cook. I honestly have never seen a charcuterie board as beautiful as the one she made. The bartender, Amber, served up some specialty drinks that we nicknamed after lines in some of his favorite movies: the “shumanitutonka ob wachi”, and the “kinda hot in these rhinos”. We had so much fun dancing and laughing on the back porch, and everyone hung out for about five or so hours. This was such an amazing time and I know Kyle had a blast. What was even more impressive was how much everyone embraced the theme and literally kept their wings on the entire time! Even Warren, a two-year-old wore a wig.
Hanleigh took a two-week theater camp which was themed as Hogwarts. The counselors let the kids have poetic license to write the entire script themselves and develop the storyline. As always, we were very impressed! The month concluded with a fabulous dinner out with Samara, Heather, Brayden, Cora, and Marli. Those three little ladies are going to be friends for life. They are so good to each other and we love watching them grow up together. We started planning discussions for an 80-mile relay we are running with Leslie, Joe, and two co-workers of his in middle of October. This will be my first relay race, so I’m interested to see how my body reacts to running a half marathon, broken up into three different legs. Stay tuned as I bring you up to speed throughout my training. The month capped off with a fabulous dinner with some friends I’ve met through hip-hop.
- Brayden told Trent, “Will you stop getting up in my grill about it?”(in regard to us telling her to quit telling us to hurry up and that it’s time to go)
- She said she wanted a Chromebook for her birthday and then asked Trent, “How much is it?”, to which he said, “I don’t know.” Then she asked Brayden, “How much do you think that chromebook cost santa?”
- Hanleigh is so cute. She’s been getting upset with me because when she’s sleeping at night, I remove her eye pillow from her eyes. It weirds me out because I’m worried she will wake up in the morning with it around her neck. One night, when I was tucking her in, she said, “Mama, if you don’t touch my eye pillow tonight and it’s still on my eyes in the morning, then in the morning when I wake up, I will give you a gold star. I will make one in the kitchen and you can put it on your shirt and wear it all day.” Well, I didn’t touch her eye pillow and she gave me a hand-made yellow star the next morning that said “Good job!” on it.
- Trent and Hanleigh were in the car when she saw someone else in another car. She said, “Oh boy, you are bumping that stereo! I like that! Oh wait, you’re smoking a cigarette! I don’t like you anymore. Daddy, I liked that guy until I saw that he was smoking a cigarette.” Smart girl!!!