December 2018
2018,  Brayden,  Charlotte,  December,  Family,  Hanleigh,  Vacation

Christmas Time & Cruisin’

We kicked the month off with the final football game of the season against ECU. This game was a makeup game from the one that was canceled due to the hurricane earlier in the season. We brought out the tailgating speaker and had some fun singing along to some of our favorite jams. So many people showed up to the tailgate and it was an absolute blast. That weekend, the beam team got together for a white elephant Christmas exchange and heavy appetizers with everyone dressed in their PJs. The girls watched Home Alone while all the moms caught up and had a great time together. Of course, Pickles & Cucumber made their annual appearance at our house and continued their nightly shenanigans.

Brayden had her annual physical where we learned that she had grown 3 in as well as gained 14 lb in a year. She is now 5’1” tall (64%) and 83 pounds (29%)! She’s only two inches shorter than me!

Later that week, our neighborhood ladies had the annual ornament exchange. It was an absolute blast to watch people steal ornaments out of each other’s hands and get an idea of what people consider a good ornament. I can never be serious about anything, so the ones I bought for the exchange where the leg lamp from Christmas story and a three-pack of sushi ornaments.

After 192 miles of training, Trent and I ventured down to Kiawah Island for the half marathon the first weekend in December. We stayed at a huge mansion with about 10 other people. We joked all weekend that it was the crappiest mansion we’ve ever stayed at because although it was huge and had an absolutely gorgeous view of the sound and ocean, it definitely needed some TLC. Regardless, we had a great weekend, and the race went well until mile six when my knee decided to completely go out on me. I finished the race seven minutes longer than my personal record, but the point is that I finished. Of course now, I am restricted from running for a couple months until it heals and I build more muscle above my knee. This was, after an MRU, where I learned that I have an infrapatellar fat impingement. It’s basically an edema in my knee where fluid has built up causing it to be inflamed and be pinched. It was pretty excruciating for a week or so afterwards, but it’s slowly getting better. Although I’ve heard it is extremely painful, at this point I have not ruled out getting some sort of steroid shot because according to those who have had it done, it does work. Time will tell. Here were some of the funny signs I saw along the course: “Run faster, your beer is getting warm.”, “You thought this was hard…try growing out bangs.”, “I trained for six months to hold this sign. You can run faster!”, “The end is far.”, “You’re almost finished. That’s what she said.”, “Keep calm and don’t poop yourself.”

We decorated the house for Christmas, Hanleigh went to one of her best friend’s house for a birthday party, and we had our monthly selfish Club at Michelle’s house. We did a white elephant exchange for that one as well. We enjoyed one afternoon visiting family—specifically, my cousin, Katherine, has a daughter named Natalie who we gave our play kitchen to. She is two years old and I think she believes she won the lottery between the kitchen and the bag of princess dress up clothes we gave her. It’s so great to have family that we can hand down our girls’ toys and clothing to!

Hanleigh attended a birthday party with one of her great friends at Dish It Out and we went to an ugly Christmas sweater party at Rob & Heather’s house. It was really really fun and the sweaters people wore were incredibly entertaining to say the least. The next day, we had our annual family holiday luncheon at Mimi and Dadaw’s house. It was awesome to see everyone and especially watch the kids open their gifts to each other. As always, the white elephant gift exchange did not disappoint. Hanleigh had her holiday party at school and Brayden enjoyed a Christmas tea with one of her good friends. Trent took the girls to Inner Peaks with some friends one afternoon so they could focus on their rock-climbing skills. They are really good at it and enjoy it as well. During that time, I hosted a cookie baked with Tonya and Heather. The kitchen was a mess, but we had an amazing time laughing and catching up. The next day, the same group of girls and kids went to see Mary Poppins and afterwards had dinner at Southbound. The next day, we enjoyed spending time with Kyle, Erin, Cooper, and Nana at Kyle’s house. This included an awesome Nerf gun fight and just hours of relaxing and hanging out together. That evening, we went to the Mantak’s house for their annual oyster roast. And just like that, the next day was Christmas Eve! 2018 really flew by. I know that’s cliché to say, but it seems like this year went by in a blink of an eye. We went to the Christmas Eve service at the Unitarian Universalist Church and it was very entertaining for the kids. They always do a great job and are so creative.

The next day, we followed our typical Christmas morning tradition consisting of orange rolls, sausage, eggs, and fruit. Then, we return to the den to open gifts. Brayden got a Chromebook and Hanleigh got a Barbie dream camper. They were both very excited for their gifts, but the biggest gift was that we were taking a cruise two days later. We made our way from Charlotte to Jacksonville, FL on Thursday, December 27th, spent one night there and then woke up the next morning to continue our drive to Port Canaveral. Our cruise left on the 28th and we had an awesome time. The food was really tasty and we certainly enjoyed our time playing trivia on the ship…everything from Harry Potter to Disney songs. Our ports of call included Grand Bahama and Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s private island, both of which where we spent time on the beach. The weather was beautiful the entire time, sunny and in the 80s. While we had a great time as a family, we also learned that a short cruise doesn’t get us to the great ports that we love in the Caribbean. We also aren’t fans of all the cattle herding that is included with taking an excursion. Not to mention, all of the people gorging their faces on too much food and the germs. Bleck! We decided that we would take other cruises but not for a few years and those would be ones to Alaska, the Mediterranean, or maybe another Caribbean one that is seven days and leaves from somewhere like Puerto Rico, just so we can see more ports and spend less time on the ship itself. After the cruise was over, we drove to Savannah, GA to spend two nights, including ringing in the new year. It was a really cool city and we ate some delicious food. For New year’s Eve, we went out to dinner, then went back to the hotel to watch NC State in their bowl game, where we all fell asleep, and then woke back up just in time to head down to the riverside to ring in the new year. The next day, we rode on one of those pedal trolleys which gave us a historical lesson on Savannah. It was a bit of a party and the crew we were with were really fun! I think the kids really enjoyed it, too.


  • Books fell off her bed in the middle of the night, which startled us! When I asked her what it was, she said, “I knew it wasn’t me because I wasn’t on the floor.”


  • Trent said, “Hey Brayden, look Sears is closing.” to which she replied, “Are you surprised? Only Grandmas and Grandpas shop there!”

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