Big Birthdays & Relay Races
October was quite an active month, if I do have to say so myself. The girls continued with their field hockey, gymnastics, and hip-hop classes. Brayden’s field hockey team rounded out the season with way more wins than last season and Brayden quickly became even closer friends with a couple of girls on the team. We definitely got the carpooling down to a science with the help of some other parents, which was a huge help.
We attended the annual Whitewater Center’s Build Your Own Boat event, which is always quite entertaining and comical. We saw everything from a homemade toilet to the getaway armored car from the movie Masterminds, to Noah’s Ark where they were throwing blow-up animals to the crowd. There may have only been a couple of boats that made it the entire way without falling apart. Everyone seemed to get stuck in an eddy at some point and the event was super crowded but amazing. This is definitely one of my favorite events that the Whitewater Center puts on each year and this time around, Trent was able to go with us and he enjoyed it, too.
Hanleigh had her monthly Y Guides meeting and we celebrated Myers’ third birthday. Brayden’s cotillion classes continued and I attended my annual work conference. This year, it was in Marco Island, Florida, so not too shabby of a place. The weather was quite warm, but the conference itself was incredible. We hit it out of the ballpark and our attendees felt the same. This is one of those work-hard, play-hard events that I plan for all year long by spending countless hours to ensure its success. It is always extremely rewarding to see the hard work pay off and it takes a village to coordinate. While I was gone, Trent and the kids celebrated Fran’s birthday with dinner out and cake back at the house.
My conference ended on a Thursday, and Trent and the kids flew to Fort Myers where I met them at the Mazzola’s house in Naples. This all worked out perfectly because it was also Brayden’s 13th birthday!!! No better place to be than with our best friends! We went out to lunch to Tacos & Tequila where Brayden was adorned with an embarrassingly large sombrero hat. After that, we went back to their house, relaxed and then ventured out to dinner for some delicious Asian food, followed by opening gifts back at the house. The next day, we went out on their beautiful boat on the Gulf of Mexico where we saw tons of dolphin, soaked in the sun, walked around Keewaydin Island, and got some delicious drinks from Island Gypsy on Isle of Capri. That night, we took it easy back at their house as the next day would be quite an adventure.
Six of us adults had been training for the 80-mile Gulf-to-Gulf (Naples to Sanibel) relay race. This would be my first relay and Trent’s third (he has done two 200-mile relays, so this should be a piece of cake for him). The great thing about a relay race is that your training runs aren’t nearly as long, which helps minimize injury, especially to my poor knees. The race started at 6 a.m., which meant a 4:15 a.m. wake up call! We left the kids with Joe’s parents (thank you!!!) and met our new teammates and Leslie started us off as the first person to run. Let’s just say that the weather was less than desirable and that is a complete and utter understatement! The name of that bad weather was Tropical Storm Nestor. Yep, we ran in a tropical storm! Everyone’s first leg was five miles long. Each person ran by themselves until they were done and then the next person ran. I was second in line and it basically poured on me the entire five miles, where at one point (two miles in), I completely stepped into a huge puddle with both feet. That was fun. Our third female, Jessica, was awesome and this was her first race of any kind ever. She did amazing. Next was Joe, followed by Trent, and lastly Mike, another new friend we met. Luckily, Mike’s parents’ house was exactly on the route where we ran and we were able to stop there to put our shoes in the dryer, change clothes, and go to the bathroom. A total lifesaver. We also were able to stop by Mike’s house and do the same. Every single one of us got completely drenched, but the temperature was bearable. We all decided we would take those conditions verses it being scorchingly hot and sunny. At one point, a 40-gallon bucket of water in the trunk fell out and hit me in the shin. There was always some kind of excitement like that going on. Everyone’s second and third legs were four miles each…totaling 80 miles at the end. We placed sixth out of the co-ed teams with a time of 11 hours and 45 minutes. I would hands-down do a relay like this again! It was such an awesome experience being crammed into a minivan that looked like a bomb exploded in it, and smelled like sweaty feet and bodies, while perfectly timing bathroom and food breaks, and finding creative ways to change out of sweaty running gear in front of everyone, but was full of laughter and extreme encouragement. We had such an amazing time. When is the next one?
We celebrated our victory with everyone else who ran the race and received awesome sand dollars as medals. So creative! The next day, the weather was kind of crappy and there was a bit of red tide in the area, but we still ventured out to Vanderbilt Beach and had drinks at La Ritz per our tradition. We flew back home that night and as always, I teared up when saying goodbye to Leslie. She is so amazing and I love her dearly.
Hanleigh had a third-grade project which she did on family reunions. She got a 100 and talked about how the Spurlin family meets every July 4th to do something really fun together like the Virginia Creeper Trail or Asheville. It was cool to see her do that kind of research and create a display about such a fun topic. Brayden continues to excel in school as well. It does seem that the homework demands are increasing and between activities and homework, time management is a skill that we are all working on.
The next weekend, Brayden’s BEAM crew, and Cora and Marli came over for dinner and a slumber party to ring in her 13th birthday. Those girls are such a tight-knit bunch and I love them all so much. She really has a great group of friends that treat each other with respect. The next day, I drove to Atlanta for another work conference. This one was just to assess our future participation and unfortunately it did not hit the mark, but was good to find that out in person. We wrapped up the month with the annual Halloween party at Nina and Keith’s house, followed by trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. The weather wasn’t that great, but we took advantage of the small window of time without pouring rain and walked around the neighborhood. This year, Trent and Hanleigh were zombies, Brayden was a hippie, and I was a chick magnet.
- I was telling her about my upcoming work trip and said, “I’m going to have a really nice room at the conference because I’ve helped plan a lot of it.” to which she replied, “Really? What kinds of things will you have in your room? Champagne bottles? Copies of Boob City Magazine?”