2014,  Birthday,  Brayden,  Charlotte,  Family,  Hanleigh,  May,  Vacation

Forty and Fabulous!

The theme of this month was definitely parties, parties, and more parties. And, what better reason to celebrate than the best guy in the world turning the big 4-0! More on that later. The first weekend in May was my first attempt at a mud run. We joined a handful of our good friends and kiddos for a morning of getting down and dirty at the Montessori Mudstacle in Hickory. From slip n’ slides, tree stump hopping, and diving into mud pools to scaling walls, navigating on innertubes across a pond, and trenching through thick ravines of mud where you risk your shoes coming off, it was incredible! Brayden and Trent ran the kids’ version and had a great time. If she was nervous, she sure didn’t show it. The before and after picks of the two of them are night and day in terms of their clothes. The adults divided up into girls and guys…we just thought it may be more enjoyable that way. Maybe next year we’ll switch to co-ed teams. We returned to the Mantak’s “farm” to get cleaned up (there’s nothing like the smell of caked-on mud being washed off. GAG!) for a Derby party. Filthy by day, swanky by night. It turned into quite the soiree! Between the zip line, chickens, bees, and treehouse, the kids love hanging out there and so do we! Thanks, Betsy and Jason! That weekend capped off with some time at the Wells Fargo golf tournament.

As May 8 approached (Trent’s big day), I knew I had to go big or go home. Trent’s mom flew in town and was my accomplice as we secretly snuck out late in the evening prior and put some stakes in the ground announcing “Lordy, Lordy, Trent is 40!” and a banner on the front porch for all of the neighbors to see. Trent saw it when he left the next morning around 5:15am to go work out. That evening, most of the extended family gathered for dinner to celebrate. We were taking some photos of everyone at the conclusion of dinner and when everyone was ready to head home, Trent gathered everyone together and said some of the sweetest words I’ve heard him say: “You know, I was doing some thinking today and I realized that my 20s brought me this person right here (Becca), my 30s brought me my two girls, and I can’t wait to see what my 40s will bring.” It made me tear up. I mean this with all my heart that I am truly married to the best husband and father in the world and I am so incredibly happy and entirely in love with him. To see his handsome face each morning makes my day (I need to save some of this sappy stuff for the Father’s Day post, geez.). Afterward, I gave him a card with nothing more than a hint indicating he needed to pack his bags the next Wednesday as we were going on an adventure. He was definitely very curious about what was in store! The girls continued their gymnastics, we enjoyed a date night out that weekend (thanks, Fran!), had a wonderful Mother’s Day brunch at the Buford’s house, and I got to have dinner with my longest childhood friend, Susan!

A few short days later, the surprise trip had arrived! But let me back up…a couple weeks before this, I sent this email out to all those I had told (bad, Becca!): “First of all, thank you all for doing such a great job of keeping Trent’s 40th birthday present a secret. Believe me, I know how hard it’s been to keep my mouth shut for the past four years about this and there have been so many times I’ve wanted to tell him, but I’ve restrained myself. In the spirit of that continuing, I just wanted to send a gentle reminder to everyone that he will not actually receive his gift until Wednesday, May 14. So, please continue to keep your lips sealed until I have made it public what is going on. He knows nothing. For all I know, he thinks I’m getting him something off his Amazon wish list and I want him to continue to think that is what is happening. He also thinks I am still going to the beach with my girlfriends May 15-18. I am not giving him his gift until we are actually there, so he won’t even know on his actual birthday (May 8) what is going on. He is going to get a card from me and that’s it. I’m sure for a few days he’ll think I’m the worst wife ever, but that’s OK. Anyway, bring on the birthday wishes to him on May 8, but please no indications of anything else or I’ll hunt you down. Thanks and love you all!”

The morning of May 14, we headed for the CLT airport with a layover in ATL. During that time, Trent was trying to piece together where we were headed based on the clothes he packed and the weather forecast. He still had no idea. I mean, what do you get for the man that deserves everything? We then found an unoccupied gate in ATL to sit down and watch a video of the Porsche Sport Driving School in Birmingham, AL. For those of you who know Trent, Porsche is by far his favorite sportscar and for as long as I’ve known him he has discussed how one day he will own one (thanks in part to his dad, who owned a few while Trent was growing up). I knew buying him one wasn’t an option, but the next best thing would be to burn rubber and drive those babies fast as hell on a racetrack. Well, that’s exactly what we did. Over the course of two days, we drove the Panamera, Boxster, Carrera S Turbo, Cayman, Macan, and got to take the Cayenne off road. I may have been as giddy as him. We took the cars on slick pads (think driving on black ice…where I did a donut “unintentionally”), autocross (where our team won the fastest time for the relay), and of course, the Barber Motorsports Speedway. I think Trent was smiling non-stop for those 48 hours. This trip had been a plan in the making for the last four years when a colleague told me about it. I knew that would be his gift.

We stayed in CLT the rest of the month. Trent had some surgery on his back to remove a lipoma (everything is all good there), we helped mom move into her new condo (which is very nice!), attended a pool party with our neighbors, went to an improv night at Brayden’s school, she attended a movie night, and we had another date night. Whew. And that was May!

As for the girls, they are doing absolutely fabulous! Brayden’s teacher let me know that Brayden was accepted into the school’s advanced learning program, which makes us feel so proud! Apparently, the teachers are responsible for nominating children from their classroom to be part of this program (I am not sure of the official title yet), then the counselors at the school weed through the applicants and determine who makes the cut. Brayden, her BFF Cora, and one other child from the class are in the program. I think it begins in second grade. She has already been attending enrichment sessions in both math and reading ever since kindergarten, so it is so wonderful to see her thrive and continue to excel. We couldn’t be more excited. We haven’t told her yet until it is official and we don’t want to make a big deal out of it, either. We’ll address it accordingly when the time comes.

Hanleigh has been in the pre-school 2 class for about a month now and is doing great. She is very excited to participate in discussions, so much so that she often is found chatting to the friend next to her instead of listening to the teacher (reminds me of my “unsatisfactory” scores in talking when I was in elementary school). She is very sociable and vocal about her wants and desires, but doesn’t get upset too easily. Many times, if she does start getting upset about something, you can talk her back down into a more calm state pretty quickly. She is getting very excited for her swim lessons this summer (which aren’t until August, but she keeps talking about them) and likes to ask us questions about when she is going to the beach. We definitely have two beach bums in the family, which is more than fine by us!

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