2023,  Birthday,  Brayden,  Charlotte,  Family,  Hanleigh,  May,  Vacation

Birthdays & Bottlerock

May was an awesome month, celebrating with a bunch of friends and family in town and on the other side of the country. We kicked off the month by having Kendall over for dinner when Alison was stopping through on her way from Virginia to Atlanta. I gave Kendall her belated birthday gift, which was two pairs of socks with photos all over them of our infamous Rho Chi skit characters, “Becca & Red Bone”. When she was opening them, she laughed so hard she snorted, which is a sign that it was a good gift! Alison spent the night with us before heading to Atlanta the next morning. We always have a great time when the three of us are together! Brayden took her AP Psychology exam in order to hopefully place out of a college credit course. We will not know the score until this summer, but I’m sure it will be a good one! In the meantime, she continued with her bi-weekly field hockey practice and I enjoyed an awesome ladies night at Amy’s house.

We’ve also recently switched financial advisors to a new group that some of our family members use to manage their money. They flew here from Kentucky to visit with us and we had a very productive meeting, where we provided them with a list of our goals and how we envision our budget being distributed. We are looking forward to hearing from them about how to achieve some of our goals in life! Trent participated in the Waxhaw Trail Fest, which is an outdoor trail run with his F3 friends. Hanleigh had a soccer game in North Charlotte, so while she was warming up, I jogged around the sports park until her game started. What I love so much about her team this year is that most of the girls seem to be completely new to the sport and even though they weren’t prepared or really even understood the rules of the game, they kept their chins up the entire time and played with passion.

We enjoyed watching the Kentucky Derby and celebrating a birthday dinner at Terry and Fran’s house in honor of Trent and Uncle David, who actually share the same birthday! Two nights later, for Trent’s actual birthday, we celebrated by having dinner at Juniper Grill, which is one of our local most delicious and new restaurants. We met with our amazing travel agent, Shannon, to secure more details for our summer vacation and Hanleigh had another soccer game. We celebrated our neighbor’s son’s (Ben) first birthday at their house with a fun get together followed by a delicious Mother’s Day brunch at Flying Biscuit (with Terry, Fran, Uncle David, and my mom) the next morning (with the requisite mimosa or two) before heading over to the Matthews Sportsplex for an Ambush field hockey play day. Brayden’s team did awesome that day and they are looking really good. This is a club sport that she participates in, so the spring season is actually quite short, but it does keep her in shape and in the right mindset going into the summer with all of the workouts and tryouts. Brayden and I began spending more time researching the colleges that she is interested in applying to next year by watching virtual tours, understanding how their in-person campus tours work, and just noting all of the other factors they consider when reviewing applications and admitting students. We are keeping our fingers crossed that it will be relatively easy (from a scheduling perspective) to visit multiple campuses in one day so that we can use a few long weekends to tour all of the colleges versus spending our spring break on numerous airplanes flying all over the place. It’s really hard to believe that we are already to the point of looking at universities. I seriously don’t know where the time has gone!!! I began acupuncture treatment to hopefully prevent my lovely hot flashes from returning. So far, it does seem to be working, but fingers crossed that it lasts. Erin and Cooper spent an awesome day with us watching Hanleigh’s soccer game and then coming back to the house to play pickleball and cornhole in the driveway, followed by dinner at Margeaux’s in Pineville (Brayden went to her friend, Emily’s, to celebrate her 18th birthday). We had a blast hanging out with them, as usual. I went and got a pedicure in preparation for a really fun trip that Trent and I were taking…Bottlerock! Thanks to the grandparents for making this possible!

In 2018, the Dunlaps, the Ferrells, and Trent and I attended the Bottlerock Napa Valley wine & music festival and it was incredible. It was a festival that we would definitely do every single year if money were no issue. So, we waited until this year to do it again and had the best time! We flew to San Francisco on a Wednesday, rented our car and drove to Sausalito for lunch at a restaurant on the bay that faces the downtown skyline. We actually ate there the first time we went to the festival and thought it would be great just to go back again. We made our way to this adorable cottage we rented in downtown Sonoma, did some grocery shopping, and made our way to the champagne bar, Sigh, where Kendall and I have gone every single time we visit wine country. Andrew and Trent went to a really cool bar right next to where we were and then we met them there afterward. That night, we went to dinner at Layla, which was tasty, but a bit bougie in terms of small portions at very expensive prices. We walked home from dinner and had an awesome time back at the house. The next day, we had arranged to have a stretch limo pick us up at our cottage and take us to three wineries in Napa. Our driver, LaMonica, was awesome and full of sass and spunk, and just so happy. Our first stop was called Porter Family vineyards and we had a completely private tour of the grounds and the cave, which is where our wine and cheese pairing occurred. It was such an awesome experience in a unique setting. A few tastings later, we had signed up for their wine club…something we had never done before. Our second stop was at Ashes & Diamonds, which had a 1950s art-deco look and design to its property. It was a bit chilly outside, so I had brought this shrug to go over my shoulders that buttons in various places. Too much hilarity, Andrew put it over his shoulders and buttoned it up right before we were greeted by our sommelier, who was way too serious for our crowd. We already had the giggles and I don’t think he had time for that. Andrew shook that guy’s hand and introduced himself as Andre. It was so hard to contain ourselves, but we decided to roll with it and called him Andre the entire time we were there. It was hilarious. The food was incredible and the wine was okay, but we did not join any wine club there. It was a little too pretentious for us. After leaving that winery and make it a quick pit stop at the infamous Napa wine country sign, we ventured to our last winery, Peju. This winery was recommended to me by a friend from the gym who works for the parent company that owns that winery. The property had funky little trees that looked like they belonged in a Dr. Seuss book, and the French-inspired grounds were full of beautiful, nude stone statues. The whole place was completely charming, even our sommelier, Claudy! She cracked us up. We loved that place so much and joined their wine club as well. We made the trek back to Sonoma, dancing our faces off the entire way home. It was so much fun. After some naps and snacks back at the house, we walked to dinner at Girl & the Fig, a very popular restaurant in downtown Sonoma. As usual, it was delicious! But, we probably had no business out to dinner that night. Ha!

Friday was the first day of the festival, so we took an Uber to downtown Napa and had lunch at a place called Napkins. Then, we made our way towards the entry gates where we would go into the VIP line. We had decided after our first experience at this festival, that we would splurge for VIP if we were able to, so we did. As we entered the VIP area, we were overwhelmed by the number of specialty food options, the VIP stage, and bathrooms dedicated just for this ticket level. The best part about it was being able to stand as close as we wanted to the stages since they had dedicated areas roped off for us. I don’t think we can ever go back to doing general admission now that we’ve seen it from “the other side”. From Friday through Sunday, we saw tons of bands, including Bastille, Caamp, Leon Bridges, Lizzo, Post Malone, Duran Duran, Lil Nas X, Tove Lo, Wu-Tang Clan, Joey Valence & Brae, The National, The Struts, Airborne Toxic Event, Sheryl Crow, The Alive , White Panda, and much more! I was definitely in my happy place…music, great food and wine, and amazing company. The perfect recipe for a fabulous experience where we created lifetime memories!!! We can’t wait to go back again!!!

Some unsolicited notes from Hanleigh’s teachers:

  • Email from Hanleigh’s drama teacher: “This is just a quick email to let you know how much I enjoy having Hanleigh in drama. I appreciate her enthusiasm, kindness and how respectful she is of everyone in the room. Hanleigh is a joy and I am fortunate to teach her.”
  • Science teacher: “Hanleigh calls the disruptive kids the “problematic children”. She says science is hard, but she loves it. Oh, Hanleigh! I am going to miss her next year!”

Becca-ism (story from Mimi): Mimi told me this story from when she and I went to London in 1987. Apparently, we were at a dinner with the rest of our tour group and this obnoxious man in the group (who was being a jerk throughout the trip) put 10-year old me on the spot during dinner and said, “Do you want to say the prayer little girl?” to which I said, “How about I sing it?” Take that, buddy!

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