May was quite the month in terms of travel! The first weekend, Trent took Hanleigh to the Virginia Creeper Trail with her Y Guides tribe. They had an absolute blast and many of the dads and daughters who went had never gone before. I’m pretty sure they will all be back. It sounds like all the girls had a blast riding the 17-mile trail, especially because they got to stop for ice cream and beers for the dads. While he was gone with her, Brayden and I took it upon ourselves to paint her room with the help of Nana. It looks so great. That evening, we went to the annual block party at Abby’s house which was really fun. When Trent returned, we celebrated his birthday by having dinner with the family and went back to the house for the requisite cake and ice cream afterwards. I can’t believe he’s 45! The girls wrapped up their school year with lots of end-of-grade testing, excellent grades, and we couldn’t be more proud of how much they are shining as students in school!!! Trent and Hanleigh attended a Y Guides masquerade ball on top of the Dowd YMCA. They recently renovated that entire gym and now have a rooftop green space that overlooks the downtown skyline. I know they had a great time dancing and celebrating together.
We celebrated Mother’s Day with Fran and Mom by having brunch at the Gallery restaurant. It was delicious, as always. Then, the renovations to Brayden’s room continued with us hanging wallpaper. This was definitely a learning experience and one that I think everyone should have to do at least at some point in their lives. It gives you a great appreciation for people who do that for a living. It is not easy and requires a lot of planning before you commit to sticking the paper to the wall. The end result is that it looks fabulous. The girls spent that evening at open gym while Trent and I enjoy some beers at a local bar around the corner.
On Mother’s Day itself, Trent and I spent the better part of the day at the Epicenter festival in Rockingham. Definitely different from your typical relaxing and calm Mother’s Day which normally involves pampering. Instead, we rocked out to bands such as Killswitch Engage, Live, Tom Morello, 311, and Foo Fighters. I hadn’t seen Tom Morello play since he was with Rage Against the Machine and although he doesn’t sing, he makes up for it with some amazing guitar playing. The audience took care of the singing for him. It really got my blood pumping. Foo Fighters was a band we had never seen in concert before and I will definitely see them again! They put on an absolutely incredible show. Since we had an hour and a half drive back home, we had to leave a bit early as it was on a Sunday evening. I will definitely keep Foo Fighters on my radar for all the concerts we attend. Absolutely epic!
The girls begun their swim team practice each morning now that school was out, and the swim meets ramped-up. Brayden shines at freestyle, while Hanleigh shines at breaststroke. I think it’s so great that they both enjoy it so much and they have also met some great friends there. They also continue taking gymnastics. We saw The Avengers movie and Trent went on his annual beer run with his F3 friends. This is where they meet at a brewery, have a beer, and then run to another brewery and repeat. They do this until they’ve gone to about five breweries. It’s a fun afternoon, but I’m not so sure my running would be that great after visiting breweries! We enjoyed a quiet evening at our neighbor’s house for a garden party and had lunch the next day with the Polowys at OMB. It was great catching up with them and I hope we can hang out more with them soon. Trent had an evening at Top Golf with some of his F3 friends. I still have yet to go there. Need to get that on the books.
We rounded out the month with the most incredible trip ever. The Dunlaps and Farrells joined us in California for a wine- and music-centric festival called BottleRock. We flew out to San Francisco on a Wednesday and slowly made our way (via a detour in Sausalito for lunch) to Sonoma where we found a champagne bar to kick off the trip, went to the grocery store, checked into our wine country home and had dinner at Girl and the Fig. This would be our most relaxing day. Thursday was dedicated to touring some fabulous wineries. We began the morning at Cakebread, which ultimately would be everyone’s favorite of the entire trip. They greeted each of us with a small pour of white wine while we casually strolled throughout the property, learning about the history of the vineyard and all of the varietals of wine. Then, we went into a beautiful room where they had plated four appetizers, each paired with the appropriate wine. Our tour guide and sommelier educated us on everything and we met another great family as well. Of course, this was our first winery and the drinking had just begun, so we were behaving ourselves for the most part. We next moved along for a quick bite to eat and then went to Caymus vineyards. The wine was delicious as were the grounds that we saw, but we were under the impression we would get a tour. This winery is actually a private residence, so we really were not able to see much other than where we first walked in, which was gorgeous. It was a very garden-like setting. After that, we moved along to Castillo di Amorosa, which is a very large castle-like winery. Here, we got a grand tour of the castle and even went into the cellar to sample some wine tapped straight from the barrel. By the time we got to this winery, things had gotten pretty interesting (aka, we were “confused”) based on the tastings we had throughout the day. One thing we joked about is how the sommelier told us how people ask if they can “revisit” a sip of wine. This basically means that you want more, but it just sounds fancier. Let’s just say we revisited a lot!!! Once we knocked out those three wineries, we had dinner at Hopmonk Tavern in downtown Sonoma. This was the perfect setting because it was lively, loud, and the perfect environment for us to conclude our day.
The next day would begin the start of the real reason we were in California…the BottleRock Napa festival!!! Having heard about this from one of my friends and coworkers, Chris, for many years, this was something I suggested as a fun trip when I turned 40. About 18 months later, the trip was finally here! It was great because some of our best friends decided to join us on the trip. BottleRock is unlike any other festival I have ever attended, and I’ve seen quite a few. I tend to frequent the more bluegrass or folk music concerts with my friends and family, where we stay in tents and don’t shower all weekend. This was the exact opposite. It was very posh, the food was incredible as were the drinks and fabulous music was everywhere you turned. From an indoor dance club and a silent disco garden, to five or six stages highlighting some of the best and most current, yet diverse artists of today (and even yesterday), this festival captured four of my favorite things: great music, good wine, good food, and incredible friends.
We took our time getting to the festival on Friday as the bands we were really interested in seeing didn’t start until around 3pm. Friday featured Anderson East, Lovely the Band, Neon Trees, Midland, and we capped the night off with One Republic and Imagine Dragons. Everyone was awesome! Our awesome friend from college, Alison, met us there for a good part of the day, too…which was so great! I love that girl! Saturday was probably the best day as far as a great line-up of artists. We all had so many bands we wanted to see and were bouncing back and forth from stages throughout the entire day. Some of the bands we checked out were Sir Sly, Elle King, Chevy Metal (which is Taylor Hawkins’ band from the Foo Fighters). They play all 70s and 80s heavy rock covers. We were really up close for that performance and it was both funny and rocked out at the same time. Cypress Hill also put on an amazing show. Before they came on stage, Mixmaster Mike (who did a lot of DJing for the Beastie Boys) cut it up on the ones and twos. That was especially awesome. We saw a Nathaniel Ratliff, Gary Clark, Jr. and then went to the silent disco. We were all interested in trying it, which may have been the highlight of the entire trip for everyone. This is a concept where there are DJs spinning tunes and everyone in the crowd is given a set of headphones that they tune to whichever DJ channel they want to hear. So, here you are rocking out with your headphones on along with a thousand other people…meanwhile, if you removed them from your head, it is completely quiet. I’m pretty sure people dance even harder during a silent disco than they do in a regular dance club. It was the most unique experience and I cannot wait to do it again. So freakin’ cool.
Sunday, the last day of the festival, was also awesome. Of course, it was bittersweet because this would be the last day before we all went our separate ways. We saw Bishop Briggs (twice…one time of which was acoustic and in much more of an intimate/smaller setting), Michael Franti, and Mumford & Sons. We capped off the night with a bit of the Crystal Method at the silent disco. as I write this, I’m realizing how many bands were performing that day that we did not even see. Probably because we were having too much fun back at the house each morning. The festival gates open each day and noon, but we never rolled into the grounds until around 2:30 or 3 p.m. each day. Thank you to Terry and Fran for watching the kids while we celebrated friendship, music, food, and wine. Our bank account is hurting, but we have fabulous memories to remind us of such a wonderful trip. I really can’t wait to go back.
Everyone flew home the next day with the exception of Mike and Tonya, who stayed in San Francisco for a few days, while I flew to San Diego for a trip for the rest of the week. This was our annual sales meeting, where I presented to many of our sales team members and got to celebrate our company’s success by the end of the week via an evening gala where awards are given out and everyone has a great time! I’m always so proud of our marketing team who puts on such an awesome event, really channels their creativity, and shows it off to our employees!
- “I want to be 50 when I first have my period. This is because when I have it, I want to go straight into menopause so it’s over.