September 2023

Work, Weddings, Soccer, & School

September kicked off fall, which is when we are typically not taking too many trips other than heading to Raleigh for football games. Brayden began her hostess job, which she completely loves. They really helps her with her time management and I have to say, I think they have the best wings I’ve ever had in my life. We definitely need to go there more often, especially now that they are building an outdoor patio, which will be perfect in the fall and spring. Hanleigh spent the day at Carowinds with Alexis and then had a slumber party back at her house. Meanwhile, we went to the Whitewater Center with the Whitcombs and Farrells and had a blast, as always. Brayden kicked off her varsity field hockey season with games against South Meck (my alma mater) and Providence. Their team is doing really well! Hanleigh is now signed up for CSA, which is a local soccer association that is definitely much more structured than what she took last season at the YMCA. Her coach is given weekly drills and skills to focus on during practice, warm-ups, and the games. He has coached for many seasons and his daughter is on the team, so he just continues to coach her as she gets older. The great thing is that Hanleigh loves it so much. At first she was a little hesitant, but now she really looks forward to going to practice and seeing her friends. We absolutely love watching her play on the field. She can run so fast with those long legs and we see her improving with every game.

We had our annual girls Ocean Isle Beach trip over a long weekend and the best part was that Leslie flew up from Florida, where I picked her up at the Myrtle Beach airport. She was able to meet Julie, Heather, Tonya, and finally Kendall (it absolutely blows my mind that over the last 20 years, Leslie and Kendall have never met each other, which is insane considering they are two of my best friends…naturally, they totally hit it off and I nearly cried when they met!). I brought the One Chair with me and it got used by both Leslie and myself, while everyone sat around and laughed. We had dinner at Jinks Creek, rented a boat (with our own captain) and took it down to Holden Beach where we had cocktails at the Provision Company, went out in the ocean, got to watch a wedding take place in the beach which was absolutely lovely, and spent one night on the beach walking around and dancing and listening to music. In between all of that was the most delicious home-cooked food, amazing conversations, and non-stop laughter. We are so excited to go again next year! Thank you, Kendall for being so gracious and hospitable and letting us use your beach house in the off season. This is the best tradition!!!

Trent’s dad learned of some not so great news as well. He found out that he has Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This is from a mass he discovered on his left neck and shoulder area. He got a biopsy and found out the news, and has since begun chemotherapy about every six weeks or so. The doctors told him that it was stage 1 and 100% curable, which was definitely a sigh of relief. Of course, the side effects are that he is losing his hair, but other than that, he has fared pretty well. He does not have some of the typical side effects that others have and he is in very good spirits.

Brayden had a field hockey game in Asheville and then came back home and did a very quick turnaround early the next morning where she, Trent, Hanleigh, and Emory went to the  NC State vs. Notre Dame football game. The field hockey team also played Jordan that week as well…lots of traveling going on with the varsity team! Hanleigh had curriculum night at her middle school (I learned a lot about what her courses will entail this year) and she also began year two of Cotillion. Here’s to hoping this will continue to instill good manners and behavior in her as these are life skills that are important to have. She still has her braces and has the bi-monthly appointment to get things checked out, but they are not saying anything about when she will get them removed. My guess is another year or so. We went over to Amy’s house to celebrate Michelle’s birthday, so it was nice to spend time with some of my favorite neighborhood friends.

Kyle and Cammy’s wedding day was finally here and it was so beautiful. It was 100% completely their day with the perfect touches that represented their personalities and their union. They asked me to choreograph a flash mob many months ago, so I had spent time working on that and filming a video of Brayden and I providing instructions to everyone who wanted to participate. They were about 30 people that said yes and I was pleasantly surprised when we had our rehearsal right before the wedding and everyone had actually learned it (check out the video)! Everyone did such a great job during the ceremony and I’m wondering what others who were not part of it were thinking. It definitely brought a smile to my face! Of course there were tears shed as their kids read some beautiful passages and amazing quotes that were super moving from an emotional perspective. The venue was absolutely gorgeous and was the perfect mix of country chic. Kyle wore his heart on his sleeve and you could tell how much love he has for Cammy as we watched the tears stream down his face over that humongous smile. Cammy looked absolutely stunning and was glowing. The reception was really fun, the food was amazing, and it was great seeing a lot of Kyle’s friends from over the years as well. We wish them all the best!

Hanleigh had another soccer game and Trent surprised me with a date night where we went to Catalina Kitchen & Bar, followed by an evening of stand-up comedy by Daniel Tosh. He is extremely inappropriate and politically incorrect (both of which we love!) and we’ve seen him before, so we knew what to expect. There’s something so cleansing and fabulous about belly laughs. I also love a surprise date night because it’s so thoughtful. Thank you, Trent. Christel celebrated her birthday as well. Hope you had a fabulous day!

On a horrible note, we all experienced a very scary school day one afternoon. Here is my account of what happened: Well, today goes down in the books as the scariest day I’ve had as a parent my entire life. At 12:00pm, we get a text from Brayden saying her school is on lockdown. There were SWAT teams, police, firefighters, helicopters, ATF, and who knows what else at her school. We heard sirens going past our house and were getting sporadic updates from her, feeling continually helpless and not knowing what the hell was going on. The parent Facebook page for her high school was streaming with comments about how their kids were hearing guns and screams, but other comments were posted about how it was a hoax. I didn’t know what to believe. Kids are sending videos of cops coming into their building with majorly large guns, my friend’s daughter is hiding in the closet, and I didn’t know what the hell was going on. You feel like you’re going to throw up, you are shaking, and all you want to do is go rescue your kids and you can’t do a damn thing about it. It’s one thing to feel sorry and horrible for families that you don’t know who go through this when it’s on the news, but when it happens at your own kid’s school, that’s a whole different ball game. That was my experience today along with 3,800 other kids’ parents. Our other daughter’s school and another nearby school were also on a modified lockdown as a precaution. In the end, it turned out to be a hoax. Some assholes calling around to schools (apparently, this is a nationwide thing) and dialing 911 and say that there was an active shooter on the premises. The way the administration handled this was nothing short of perfect, as it should have been. While it turned out not to be anything serious, it doesn’t change the fear that you have not knowing if your kid is okay for two hours. When she came home, I burst into tears and told her I was so glad that she came home and I hugged her extra tight and for a very long time. There is a special place in hell for people who pull this kind of shit. Give your kids all the love and hugs you can, whenever you can. On the lighter note, once we knew everything was okay at the school and Brayden was making her way home, I looked out my window and like a beam of light coming down from the heavens, the FedEx truck was parked outside of my house delivering my semi-annual shipment of Napa Valley wines we bought when we were out there for Bottlerock! Thank you, universe!

That evening, Brayden and a bunch of her field hockey friends drove up to Lake James to spend the weekend with Sarah and her family. I think this is exactly what the girls needed after an extremely stressful day at school. It probably gave them some bonding time to relax and laugh, something that did not happen that day at school. Thank goodness for the camaraderie that that team has and the friendships that have formed.

Julie had Selfish Club at her house one evening because the original hostess was not able to do so. We had an awesome time and everyone just contributed by bringing appetizers to share. We played some fun games and laughed a lot. It’s awesome having a newer group of friends to relax with as well. One day, our family (the four of us) took a quick trip down and back to Athens for a campus visit of the University of Georgia. This was our first official college visit and we all fell in love. I actually wanted to go to UGA when I was in high school, but I wasn’t accepted because I applied specifically as a journalism major, not knowing they were ranked number one in the nation at that time. My bad. We had the most amazing student tour guides, who were both knowledgeable and comical, making it very relaxing for those potential students to get a good feel for academic and student life on campus. We had a delicious lunch before our tour and we’re there for about two hours checking out the campus. It was beautiful, we learned a whole lot, and Brayden was super impressed. I asked her if she was overwhelmed by the number of people or how big the campus was, but she wasn’t and said she loved it. Up to this point, the only major she has expressed interest in is something related to environmental sciences or marine biology. But, I saw her eyes perk up when our tour guide mentioned sideline reporting as a major in the communications college. She didn’t realize that that is actually something that you could study. So, who knows where this will go. We are trying to line up other visits to other universities in the coming months as well.

Field hockey continued with games against Myers Park and soccer continued with games against other CSA teams. Trent and Brayden drove up for the NC State vs. Louisville football game while Hanleigh stayed back in Charlotte and celebrated two of her girlfriend’s birthdays: with Riley at an ice skating rink and with Noor at a hibachi grill, both resulting in sleepovers. Brayden’s field hockey team played Charlotte Latin and she went to the Jonas Brothers concert with her four pack. They had definite nosebleed seeds, but had a blast. Meanwhile, while all this was going on during that last weekend, I flew out for very quick trip (less than 48 hours) to Spokane, Washington where I had dinner with Stacy and Angela (two of my dear friends from work) and then went to my beautiful friend’s (Haley), wedding to her fiance, Brandyn. The ceremony was in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and although it was very chilly, it was absolutely gorgeous, she was stunning, the food and vibe of the wedding was just breathtaking. I was finally able to meet many of her family members that I had heard so much about over the years and even spent some time before the wedding having cocktails with my coworker, Marc, and his family. It was a fabulous month, full of love.

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