Just as we do every July, we kicked off the month with a fabulous family reunion with the Spurling side of the crew. Although we were supposed to have about 29 people this year, due to the pandemic, there were 16 of us that showed up. We still made the most of it and had an absolute blast! This is the one time of year that all of us get together to celebrate each other. We stayed in a beautiful house, with a huge yard (complete with wild turkeys!) just on the outskirts of Asheville. As we typically do, the aunts watched all the little kids one afternoon while all the first cousins did some brewery hopping. We went to Burial, Green Man, Twin Leaf, Bhramari Brewing, and Dissolvr. Everyone had to wear a mask when ordering beers, but you were allowed to take it off when you got to your table. We all felt comfortable doing this and had an amazing time catching up with one another. Each evening we would have a mean game of kickball in the field behind the house. It was so much fun acting like kids and playing such an old school game with everyone.
The next day, we went to tubing down the French Broad River. That was definitely an adventure. Getting 12 people together (and mostly children) to “casually” float for a few hours doesn’t necessarily exist. Here’s how part of the float actually went down: Edna fell off a raft on a portion of the river when there were tiny rapids, so getting her back on the raft when there was a little bit of chaos was a bit of a challenge and also slightly comical. Also, determining how in the world to tie everyone together so that we could all see one another was interesting. Throw in adult beverages, a bit of fussiness, and trying not to get knocked in the face with a branch on the edge of the river, and I wouldn’t say that relaxing would be a word to describe it. However, and with all that being said, it was absolutely awesome and so funny. A bit like a comedy of errors at times and I wouldn’t want anything else. At one point, we did find some rocks in the middle of the river to take a break on, play some music, and watch the kids frolic in the river. This included Kyle who dug down into the bottom of the river to drum up some algae and make wigs for himself. I know everyone will have such an awesome memory of that river float.
The girls continued to take camps throughout the month such as: Improv, Visual Art & Ceramics, Theater (Broadway Revue & Create a Scene), and Field Hockey. We are hopeful that Brayden’s field hockey season resumes in the fall. Athletics is something that is still up in the air right now, but I think it’ll be really beneficial to help the kids socialize and keep moving in a healthy environment.
In other news, we refinanced our house by consolidating our home equity line into our mortgage and were able to get some cash out to help remodel our kitchen. We are in the infancy stages of planning what we want it to look like as well as interviewing contractors. I’m sure this will be an eye-opening experience for us. We enjoyed a neighborhood date night at Ballantyne Country Club one evening and I redeemed a Mother’s Day gift to True Rest. This is one of those saltwater relaxation float pods that you climb into and it essentially is comparable to getting four hours of R.E.M. sleep within an hour timeframe. It was awesome and I ended up feeling very rejuvenated and relaxed. We kept the weekend off with lunch with Dad and Christel to celebrate his 68th birthday. It’s always so awesome seeing them.
Our annual Triple B’s trip was to Charleston this year. While only three of the seven of us showed up, we made the most of it. The house we rented was built in the 1800s and was absolutely charming! It was the perfect space for the intention of our trip! We dropped off our stuff and went to Folly Beach, which was way too crowded. I think we were there for about an hour or two and decided to just go have a drink at Loggerheads. We came back to the house and had a delicious low country boil, prepared by Becky. The next day, we woke up and went paddleboarding for two hours in Shem Creek in the morning. It was so beautiful and peaceful considering we went further into the marshland and stayed away from the high-traffic area where the boats were. Afterward, we headed to Red’s for a few cocktails and to watch the fun boat traffic on the river. We continued the party back at the house, got cleaned up for the evening, and had a Zoom call with the other four Triple B’s. It was awesome to see everyone during this happy hour and to toast to each of us. We even took the requisite toe picture! That night, the three of us headed to R. Kitchen for a delicious and unknown five-course meal. Heather and Becky had never been there before and I think they were instant fans. The next day, we went to Isle of Palms for the day and spent six hours there. It was much less crowded and we had an amazing time sunbathing, listening to music, reading, and laughing. It was such an amazing trip!!! While I was on that trip, Trent and the girls celebrated Terry’s 75th birthday with him!
We spent the last week of the month on our annual family beach trip and had a beautiful oceanfront house with a pool at Holden Beach. Mom, Thomas, Kyle, Erin, Cooper, and the four of us were together and had an excellent time. I made everyone painkillers once we got settled and Trent made a batch on the last day as well. In between those delicious beverages, there was crab hunting at night (which included the loud, high-pitched shrieks of most of us), a ton of stargazing, wrangling with a homemade Shibumi Shade, learning to surf, watching the kids get knocked over by waves while sitting in their chairs on the edge of the water, eating tons of delicious food, paddleboarding, boogie boarding, exercising each morning, and having some awesome in-depth conversations. I have to say that this was one of my my most favorite beach trips that we’ve taken in a long time. The weather was great, the company was great, and it was a well-rounded and much-needed trip amidst the absolute insanity that is 2020. Very grateful this trip happened!