December was a very festive month! We had our annual ladies’ neighborhood ornament exchange, done in a white elephant style. I ended up leaving with a super cool jellyfish ornament that Tonya had purchased. It was awesome and a great way to get to know some of the new neighbors. I redeemed a birthday gift that my mom got me for a fabulous massage and facial. It was so incredibly relaxing and I need to make a better effort of booking relaxing services like that more often. Everyone loves to be pampered. Trent and I attended Samara & Mitchell’s annual Christmas party, which was really great. She outdid herself in terms of all the delicious food she made, as usual. I had some friends over for a holiday cookie bake where we drank wine and had lots of laughs and all left with incredible treats that would help us begin packing on the holiday pounds. While we baked, Trent and the kids went to Adventure Air to perfect their acrobatics! Hanleigh and Trent went to their monthly Y guides meeting as well.
Hanleigh was sent to the principal’s office one day! But, it’s not what you think. Her principal created a “Be Proud of Your Selfie” board where she honors students who show great character, attitude, hard work, and other awesome qualities. Hanleigh was super proud of herself and her teacher called her a role model. Go Hanleigh! Brayden had her 13-year old checkup where she ended up weighing 99 pounds and is now 5’ 2 ¾”. It’s crazy how quickly she is growing up. Soon she will pass me in both stats, which is pretty crazy. Hanleigh went on a school field trip to Discovery Place and had a blast and the girls continued to take gymnastics. Hanleigh loves her hip hop class, too! One weekend, we participated in a Y Guides-sponsored meal packing event which benefited children in Haiti. This is the second year in a row we have done this and it’s nice for the kids to get involved in activities that benefit those who are less fortunate. The intro video is always very touching and really helps to connect us to the mission.
Our neighborhood crew went to Foxcroft Wine company for a date night, which was incredibly delicious. It just opened near us and we had to check it out. After that, we all went to Porter’s House for a drink and rallied into the evening where we shut down the DJ around midnight at the Gibson. It was a really fun night. The next day, we had our annual Christmas lunch at GG and Dadaw’s club and then went back to their house to open presents with everyone. Brayden got the most beautiful chevron-patterned blanket that Aunt Patty knitted by hand. Hanleigh got all kinds of great arts and crafts, which she loves to do.
The girls and me went to Kendall’s house one evening to have dinner with her and her family, which included her mom and her grandmother. It was so awesome to hear all the fabulous stories that Goggi told us about how she met her husband and just growing up, in general. She is such a beautiful person and kind-hearted soul. Kendall and I have done an awesome job of always keeping a dinner date on the calendar, so we see each other more often this way. I don’t know why it took us so long to figure this out.
We attended the annual Mantak Oyster Roast, but this time had a stowaway in tow with us…Cooper. The kids had a great time playing outside with the whole gaggle of fraggles. The next morning, we did our annual viewing of the latest Star Wars movie. Trent’s parents joined us, as did Kyle. That afternoon, we went over to Mom’s house for an early Christmas dinner and enjoyed spending time getting to know Thomas, her boyfriend, better. Brayden attended her friend, Maisie’s, annual Christmas Tea Party, in which all the girls were requested to bring a toy to donate to a kid less fortunate. What a great way to repurpose a fun event into something even more positive and selfless! We went to the Christmas Eve service at the Unitarian Church, which is always very moving and woke up Christmas morning to open stockings, eat some orange rolls, and open presents. That evening, we went to Trent’s parents’ house for dinner.
One of the gifts we gave the girls was a day skiing at Beech Mountain (without putting them in ski school). We rented a VRBO, ventured to Banner Elk for dinner, and rented our ski equipment. We had no idea what a day of skiing would entail with the girls or how well they would pick it up since the last time they went was about four years ago. They blew us out of the water! Both of them we’re very patient and took it all in stride. We did two green runs and then went straight to the blue trails! When they fell, they didn’t complain. Instead, they laughed. Hanleigh did a great job of following our lead and turning when we would tell her to. Brayden looked like a little pro out there. They both asked if we could ski the next day, which we didn’t, but it does tell me that they are ready for a bigger trip where there’s more snow! On the way back home from that trip, we had lunch at Dad and Christel’s new house in Concord and spent some good quality time with them, Kyle, and Cooper. It was great to see how they decorated their beautiful home.
I got together with a group of girlfriends to have sushi and then go see the movie Bombshell. It was really good and it was the first time I haven’t fallen asleep in a movie, even after drinking two glasses of wine! Not sure what happened that night, but it must have been the topic that had me so entrenched in the movie. The Whitewater Center has a ice skating rink sitting above the upper pond with an airstream in the middle where they serve beer and hot chocolate. We took the kids there with Kyle and Cooper and had a great time ice skating. It did feel like it was a race track full of people that had never seen ice before and who were all over the place. I was a bit on edge, especially in the outer track. There’s some crazy kids out there that skate like bats out of hell! After we skated, we went hiking through the woods on a trail where a local artist had created light-themed sculptures, which were very very cool. We rounded out the month with a three-course homemade fondue dinner at home and then rang in New Year’s Eve at the Mayer’s house next door. It was a great way to end 2019!