You can really tell when the holiday season approaches as social events start to ramp up and every weekend is bustling with activity with friends and family. This month definitely emulated that! Hanleigh spent the night at Mila’s, her best friend’s, house. But, the real excitement was the two days it took for Brayden to get her driver’s permit. Aside from the fact that I can’t believe she is even old enough to drive, our experience with the DMV just further perpetuated all stereotypes that one has of that organization. Brayden completed her driver’s ed classes earlier this year, but because Covid caused so much backup in terms of people getting their permits, she wasn’t able to take the test until early November. Not too bad considering her birthday was only a few weeks prior, so that wasn’t much of a delay. We had an appointment for 3:00 p.m. in West Charlotte. I diligently researched all of the required documentation that she needed to take with her. One of those sections was that she needed proof of a social security number. I must have collected three or four pieces of information that had just that on it, in addition to many other proofs of citizenship and residency. When we got to the appointment, we were told that none of those documents could count toward proof of a social security number, even though the website didn’t specify anything more than that. They asked us to come back the next morning, which was not an option because now we had to go to the bank and get her social security card and that DMV office takes 30 minutes to get to, but the bank doesn’t open until 9:00 p.m. Strike one! The next morning, we decide to go to the South Charlotte DMV location after we retrieved her social security card from the bank. We brought with us, once again, all the necessary materials, and waited in line for about two hours. When we got to the front of the line, the employee told us that we didn’t have the right carbon copy of proof that she completed her driver’s ed class. It was a carbon copy and they needed the white copy, not the yellow copy!!! This wasn’t mentioned anywhere! By this point, I wanted to scream. Strike two!!! We quickly headed home, retrieved the white copy and then made our way to the Monroe DMV, which we had heard was much more pleasant of an experience, albeit another 40-minute drive one way. After waiting in line at that DMV for three hours, she took the test, passed, and we all let out a sigh of relief. Oh, and did I mention that both Trent and I were working this entire time, so we are lugging around laptops, sitting on conference calls, and managing Hanleigh and her school work. What a crazy couple days, but it’s official! We aren’t quite ready for her to drive on a major highway yet (and neither is she), but we let her drive once we got in the neighborhood and she was so excited. Overall, she’s doing an amazing job, but does need a little bit of coaching on not hugging the right side of the road so much. She has to get 60 hours of driving in before she’s allowed to get her license next October. Again, how she is old enough to be doing this just blows my mind!!!
We had Hanleigh’s parent-teacher conference, which went really well. Her teacher praised her for her willingness to speak up in class, collaborate and help others. She is a great student, but sometimes she does do her work pretty hastily instead of checking over her answers. Overall, she has straight As and we couldn’t be more proud. Same thing with Brayden. They both kick butt in school! Trent and I attended a demo of our new Wolf range, which we have named Finley. It’s so awesome to go to the showroom and see a professional chef show us all the bells and whistles and teach us how to properly use and care for this cooking with piece of art! It’s definitely the centerpiece of our new kitchen.
Hanleigh enjoyed another slumber party with her friend Alexis, I had a great dinner with Kendall at our favorite place (Emmett’s), and Leslie and Joe flew in for what would be an incredible weekend in Asheville. We hadn’t seen them since spring break and the intent of this trip was our BVI warm up trip with them and Carolina & Craven, six months out. When Leslie and Joe arrived, she and I went to my kickboxing class and then came home to an awesome evening of dinner, wine and catching up with them. The next morning, after another workout, we got cleaned up and made our way to Asheville, where the Lowes would meet up with us at Wicked Weed Brewery. From there, we mozey’d it over to the Funkatorium, followed by Alchemist at Chemist Spirits. The cocktails were all delicious and, very quickly, our plans to have dinner out were squashed. We checked into our VRBO, which was absolutely adorable, but had some very comical/odd things around the house. This guy really like to use a label maker as there were labels on everything. Sounds great and organized, huh? While it was appreciated, the labels were more like rules about “do this and don’t do this”. Specifically, the hot tub (which the owner had a great view of from his house next door!) had hours that we were allowed to use it and other rules about max number of people, temperature, etc. We were joking that he was probably watching us from his house with binoculars. I swear that hot tub temperature started going down exactly at 10:00 p.m., when it apparently is closed. So weird and a bit overbearing considering that house is supposed to be our “home” for the weekend. Regardless, all those rules were the butt of the joke the entire weekend, so it was fine. We enjoyed a delicious charcuterie board and a bunch of laughter that evening. On Saturday, the ladies did a workout and then we made our way to the Montford rooftop for lunch and cocktails. After that, we ventured to the absolutely gorgeous Grove Park Inn where we talking the beautiful fall leaves and watch two weddings take place from afar. That hotel is so stunning, classy, and has such a history. I absolutely love it. From there, we headed back to the house and got cleaned up for dinner. We enjoyed a cocktail beforehand at Imperial before venturing to Curate, one of the country’s best restaurants! And, as usual, it did not disappoint. Those Spanish tapas and plates exceeded our expectations. But, the night did not end there. We headed back to the “house of rules” for an impromptu karaoke dance party. Let’s just say we were all laughing so hard we nearly peed our pants. When the six of us get together, we double over with laughter and all act like complete middle schoolers. We are talking about how our kids would probably think we are either totally awesome and cool or less mature than them! Craven kept saying how he was going to marry our tailgater speaker and that we better find a way to bring that on the catamaran next summer. I’d say it’s a little bit large for the boat! Let’s just say the videos from that night are not shareable on this post. Be aware, BVI…we are coming for you!!!
We attended the annual F3 Sons of Ballantyne holiday get together at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery one evening. It was great to see all of Trent’s exercise friends who I hadn’t seen in two years. On Thanksgiving morning, Abby had invited me to run the South Park Turkey Trot with her. This is a 10K and was my first time participating in it. She had her personal best time and we even took an apple pie shot on the racecourse. You only live once! For those of you that know me well, this was a very big deal as I am forever burned by anything apple pie-drink related. We had such a great time and decided that we will make this our annual tradition!!! Later that afternoon, we hosted family Thanksgiving at our house where 24 of us converged and celebrated each other. It was an easy decision to offer to host this year since our kitchen is finally done and we were excited to start creating awesome memories in it. I made some craft cocktails at the bar area, we prepared a turkey, and everyone brought food to share. This is the way our family has always done it, which makes it much more manageable for the hosts. The afternoon extended into the early evening when we played Rummikub, Tri-minos, and had an impromptu dance party…all the signs of a successful day! We love our family so much and are so incredibly thankful for each and every one of them.
We wrapped up that weekend with the annual UNC vs. NC State football game. And wow, was it definitely a good one…from the very-well-put-together tailgate (where everyone showed up) to the nail-biting ending of the game, which resulted in our fellow State fans rushing the field to celebrate. The girls kept begging if they could rush the field as well. We politely declined their invitation, but really enjoyed watching everyone else go crazy. Later that week, my incredible friend from college, Alison, came to visit on her way from Virginia to Atlanta. As always, it was so great just to see her face and catch up, but she wasn’t here nearly long enough. I hope I can see her again soon!!! We are really looking forward to taking some time off during the holidays and hope you do the same!