December 2021
2021,  Brayden,  Charlotte,  December,  Family,  Hanleigh,  Vacation

Covid, Cookies, & Christmas

The holidays are a special time of year and are bustling with activities centered around sharing delicious food and spending time with loved ones. This month was no different, but brought about some unexpected turn of events. Hanleigh continued to take gymnastics and spent the night at Nina’s house. They had a great time decorating gingerbread houses and hanging out. That’s when the normalcy stopped. A few days went by and Brayden started having a bit of congestion. This was followed by Trent feeling very similar. By Thursday, I started to feel the same, but none of us for once thought it was Covid. I’ll come back to that part in a bit. Then, my fabulous friend, Haley, visited us from Tacoma. The exciting thing was that I hadn’t seen her in two years and we were ready to have a fabulous weekend together. We cooked at home Friday night and just hung out, and went to the gym Saturday morning. When we came home, Trent noted that he could not smell the coffee he made, but I could. I knew when he started feeling bad earlier in the week that we should not have as much contact just so we don’t get sick. So, I thought I was fine. She and I went to lunch at Barcelona Wine Bar and wrapped up some Christmas shopping at an event in Southend. Trent had a test done that afternoon and when he got the results back, we were on our way uptown for a concert. Unfortunately, he was positive. I still felt relatively fine. She and I went to the Cellar at Duckworth’s for some delicious food and cocktails and then rocked out at the Jordan Davis and Kane Brown concert. It was so good, as I expected! She and I even learned that we were sisters in the exact same sorority in college. We always call each other “sisters from another mister”, but I guess we really are in a sorority sense. Too crazy. Fast forward to the next morning…I woke up feeling like crap and knew I needed to get tested as well. Yep, you guessed it. Positive. The girls were tested as well, but they were both negative (unfortunately, I gave it to Haley, but she ended up powering through and doing okay). And so began our 10-day isolation, beginning from the onset of symptoms.


For anyone who has been through a Covid diagnosis, coupled with isolation or quarantine when both parents have a positive test result…you know it is not fun at all—regardless of how you feel. All four of us remained in separate areas of the house at all times, with the exception of meals when we would rotate through the kitchen one at a time to get what was prepared. I organized nightly family Zoom calls for us to touch base and talk about how our days went and what was funny or eventful about them. Of course, the majority of the time was filled with us adding funny backgrounds or putting silly faces on each other or ourselves. Either way, it was a nice break each evening to see everyone’s faces and let them know we are getting through this together! Each of the girls had different parameters about what they were allowed to do with respect to going back to school. Brayden was fully vaccinated and because she tested negative and had no symptoms after we were diagnosed, she was able to go back to school with no issue. On the other hand, because Hanleigh was not vaccinated yet, she had to stay home from school for two weeks. That reminded us of the first year of the pandemic when it was nothing but remote learning. However, this was more challenging because her teacher sent home assignments for her to do by herself since there is no remote learning available now. That basically meant that we were constantly checking in on her and making sure she was doing her school work. It was hardly enough work to keep her busy, so she was basically on technology for two weeks straight, which of course, drives me crazy. At the end of all the madness, the girls were tested again and continued to be negative, while Trent and I finished up our quarantine (he finished two days before me) and moved on with our lives. Not sure which variant we had, but it sounds like Omicron may help you be four times more immune to getting the Delta strain. Who knows anymore?!? All I know is that it seems like I know more people that have it now than the total amount of people I knew over the last two years that had it.


The day after Trent was free from isolation, he took Brayden to a college coaching field hockey workshop near Greensboro, where she’s sharpened up on her skills and heard tips from local college coaches. Once I cleared isolation, I joined a bunch of the neighborhood ladies for what would turn out to be a very lively and wild holiday ornament exchange. We have done these over the past few years and they are always relatively tame, but this one got a little wild as there were shots taken at the beginning as well as Christmas sweater gingerbread cookie decorating. I think a few the ladies were feeling pretty darn good by the time the exchange rolled around. It was hilarious.


The next day, Erin and Cooper visited us for a fun day of hanging out at the house. We got lunch, they decorated gingerbread houses, and we checked out the gingerbread houses at The Ballantyne Hotel. It was so awesome see them and spend a solid day catching up. The next day, I hosted the annual neighborhood ladies holiday cookie bake. There were about nine of us making a mess of the kitchen, drinking wine, and having just a great time catching up and laughing. This annual tradition is always so much fun and benefits everybody by allowing us all to leave with a mixed bunch of cookies and treats!


As part of a gift from Nana, Brayden enjoyed a facial, followed by lunch with her. This has also become a tradition and getting pampered is one thing Brayden loves so much. However, this will not be good for our credit card, in general. The girls had two of their best friends, Cora and Madeline, spend the night one evening as well. Trent took me on a surprise date night to a restaurant called Kiki, which the food was tasty, but the atmosphere was quite lacking. We figured out that there is a very hip lounge on the far left side of the restaurant where they serve cocktails only. Our approach next time would be to put our names on the list at Soul Gastrolounge then hop downstairs for a cocktail in the funky part of Kiki. After dinner, we ventured to a local stomping ground, Bradshaw’s, to enjoy live band karaoke and people watch. It was an awesome evening. On a random note, we have a new member of the family, Marie. She is our new robot vacuum and saves us all a lot of time in doing chores. I honestly don’t know how we lived without her!


This year was probably one of the only years I can remember in a long time where we really just laid low during the week after Christmas. Trent and I both took off work that entire week and other than various meals with family and friends, we really didn’t do much. It was actually nice for a change. We went to the Christmas Eve service at the Unitarian Universalist Church. It was held outside, naturally. But, as always, the service is always very interactive and bring smiles to everyone’s faces. On Christmas morning, we did our traditional opening of stockings, followed by a tasty breakfast including orange rolls, and then back to opening gifts. Santa brought the girls a new cell phone, fairy lights, headphones, and other items. Trent bought me some quality time at the spa for a massage and pedicure along with him planning four upcoming surprise date nights. Time with him is what I treasure most, so that was perfect. I got him a pair of Brooks running shoes that have beer paraphernalia all over them as well as tickets to the inaugural Charlotte Football Club versus LA Galaxy game in March. That evening, we went to Fran and Terry’s house to enjoy a non-traditional Christmas dinner that was a Mexican fiesta! It was delicious! Olé!


We met up with Dad and Christel to watch the Panthers game at an awesome sports bar that we hadn’t been to before called Ed’s Tavern. This is definitely my new favorite place to watch sports. The food was absolutely incredible and so was the atmosphere! It was so great to see them and catch up. We always laugh like crazy when we are together. We followed the lunch by completing our bonus room couch shopping project. We ended up purchasing a sectional and ottoman from Crate & Barrel, which we will not receive until August of this year! Just like everything else, furniture is dealing with the same supply chain issues as most industries.


Trent and I both received our booster shots, which left me feeling a bit yucky the next day. I had a fabulous dinner with Tonya and Heather at the Gallery restaurant and we were so busy catching up with each other that we decided we needed to meet more often because we always have way too much to talk about and not enough time. Needless to say, we all were not feeling that great the next day due to enjoying a bit too much wine together! We had Mom and Jim over for dinner one evening and made them a Greek chicken and potatoes recipe. It was awesome to spend time with them as well. In other news, the NC State versus UCLA bowl game was canceled because UCLA’s team ended up getting hit with Covid. It was super frustrating because they didn’t even notify anyone until about three-to-four hours before kickoff, which did not give us enough time to find a backup plan or team to play. We took the kids to dinner to Margaux’s, which is one of my favorite places! We enjoyed lunch with GG, Aunt Patty, and Uncle John at Reid’s one day and then took Hanleigh to Alexis’s birthday party at Big Air, which was followed by a slumber party. We wrapped up the very bustling month with a New Year’s Eve party at the Farrell’s. It was awesome to ring in yet another year with our fabulous friends!!! Cheers to 2022!!!


Hanleigh-isms:

  • (she looks at my work computer screen and points) “Is that harder than college?” to which I responded, “Yes”. She said, “You need to quit your job and become an entrepreneur!” (she is wise beyond her years!). I agree!!!
  • We were watching the movie “Singles” with the kids. A scene comes on where Matt Dillon is a child at the doctor where he is explained EXACTLY how babies are made (note: Hanleigh will learn the details about this in a couple of months at school, but we hadn’t yet told her the specific body parts that fit together to make a baby). We look over and her face is beat red! I paused the movie and said, “Well…I guess that just happened. Do you understand what they are talking about?” to which she said, “I think so.” Then, we explained it to her as a grotesque expression slowly crept up her face. All in the spirit of showing the girls a movie with one of the best soundtracks ever…we get a bonus birds & bees educational lesson!

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