November 2023
2023,  Brayden,  Charlotte,  Family,  Football,  Hanleigh,  November,  Vacation

Tailgating, Tours, Trips, & Turkey

As the holiday season approached, football season kicked into high gear, which meant lots of traveling back and forth to Raleigh. We made our way up for the NC State vs. Miami game and it was our turn to cook, so we whipped up a bunch of delicious chicken and beef sliders and some yummy sides to go with them. We had some help from Julie and Scott as well and the food was delicious. We got back late to the hotel, and unfortunately, it reeked of cigarette smoke, but before we checked out, Brayden needed to take her first SAT practice test. Regardless, she still did awesome on the test! We decided we could not stay there another night, so we checked out and then made our way to the Station at Person Street for a fabulous brunch with two of the Triple B’s: Kerri and Heather! It was so awesome seeing them. I always love time with those girls! We spent the night at the Stateview Hotel, which was much better.

The next day, we did a college tour of NC State. Of course, Trent and I are extremely biased, but it was awesome to get a tour from a college student and see what all has changed since we went there. The student center and the gym are pretty new and are so incredibly impressive! They do such a great job of providing students with areas to study, hang out, eat, and stay healthy. We were extremely impressed! NC State also has a major expansion plan over the years to create little villages scattered across campus where there are communal areas, dining halls, and fun spaces for the students to convene. Brayden is pretty familiar with campus, but it was still nice to hear the background and walk around. We do wish, however, that classes were changing while we were there, but they weren’t. We even drove down Fraternity & Sorority row to see the Sigma Kappa house and it was unrecognizable! New homes, tons of student activity…it was gorgeous and so nostalgic! College is THE BEST!

We then drove 20 minutes west to Chapel Hill where we had lunch at a Sutton’s Drug Store on Franklin Street. I had forgotten to take off my NC State shirt and got funny looks and comments from our waitress. I don’t think she spit in my food, though. After lunch, we began our tour of UNC Chapel Hill. Funny enough, Brayden actually knew two people on the tour from her high school. Small world! Their campus is absolutely beautiful with tons of trees and quads, and the campus was bustling with activity because we were there when classes were changing. However, we were disappointed once inside the buildings. I think there is such a pride in maintaining this traditional look and feel of the campus, but it’s at the expense of not maintaining the buildings. For example, everything seemed very outdated. The gym was pretty pitiful. It was very dingy and there were tons of students in there trying to work out, but because there was not enough equipment, they just waited in line for the machines. It was dark and dusty and smelly. Again, I know we’re biased, but when you compare it to what we saw at University of Georgia and at NC State, it was not good. Trent even read online that there are petitions for the gym to be updated and that it seems to be a common theme with them: investing a lot of money in athletics, but not in the students and their facilities. Regardless, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s an amazing school and very difficult to get in. I know she will end up applying there as well.

Brayden started her Princeton SAT prep course, which lasted the entire month of November and included three hours of class, two nights a week over the course of four weeks. She took three SAT practice tests over the course of the month and her score greatly improved each time. I am still in awe by how well she has done on this test. My SAT scores were horrendous, so it’s nice to see her do well in a test-taking environment! Get it, girl!!!

Right after we got back to Charlotte, I had a work meeting uptown, followed by a dinner at Dilworth Tasting Room with my colleagues. It was a nice break from being at home in my office. Hanleigh had her monthly Cotillion class, what she continues to enjoy with some of her best friends. Then, the next day, Hanleigh, me, six other friends of hers, and five other moms made our way to Ocean Isle to celebrate her 13th birthday, a few months delayed. She told me she wanted to spend time at Aunt Kendall’s beach house for her birthday, but clearly during the summer it is already rented out, and we really wanted just a long weekend with everyone…so, this was the best option and it worked out perfectly because it was over Veteran’s Day weekend. We made a delicious taco fiesta dinner for the first night and were blessed with the most beautiful beach day on Friday, where we could actually lay out in our bathing suits. Pretty crazy for November! The moms had a blast hanging out and the girls are self-sufficient enough that they just did their own thing. They did gymnastics on the beach and later that evening, they had all coordinated outfits so that they could get a beautiful picture of them all dressed up on the beach during sunset. It’s so awesome to see our girls form such beautiful friendships! That night we got Causeway Gourmet takeout for dinner and it was delicious, as always. The next day was the exact opposite in terms of weather…it was cold and rainy, which meant it was the perfect day for shopping, donuts, and playing games back at the house. We all had such a great time playing music, laughing, and eating delicious food. We made a baked potato bar and grilled chicken that night for dinner. Afterward, girls ventured out on a walk and came back acting super suspicious. They were upstairs in the kitchen with us and getting milk and bread from the fridge, but not saying anything about why they were doing it. After quizzing them, we found out that they had brought a cat back with them to the house (it stayed outside). We quickly told them to take the cat back where they found it. Oh my goodness. Overall, it was an awesome weekend and provided a great chance to get to know Hanleigh’s best, friends’ moms. We are even making plans to get together again soon!

Hanleigh decided that she would try out for cheerleading this year, which is pretty awesome because I didn’t know she was even remotely interested in doing that. She went out on a whim and attended three days of tryouts where she learned a cheer and a routine. Even though she didn’t make it, we are so incredibly proud of her for stepping out of her comfort zone and trying something she hadn’t done before. She did use her tumbling skills during the tryouts, which I know gave her some confidence. Perhaps she will try out again next year. Brayden continued working out and doing weightlifting for field hockey, even though the season was over. I think she knows it’s important to keep her fitness in check so that tryouts and the season are much easier when it arrives. Kendall and I had dinner in downtown Fort Mill at FM eatery. It was absolutely delicious and I love discovering unique restaurants with her. The Bartleys had us over for dinner one night with a lot of the other neighborhood crew, and of course it was an awesome evening full of laughter.

Brayden had her field hockey end of season celebration where they handed out awards of which she got the weight room champion because she went to nearly all of the workouts. Get it girl! On Thanksgiving morning, Trent and I woke up early and did the local Turkey Dash race, where we ran four miles and had a great time doing it. The weather was perfect for running! I love this tradition of running a race before we indulge in the rest of the days festivities. Speaking of, we went to Abby and Justin’s house for Thanksgiving where 22 of us gathered together to celebrate. As always, the food was incredible, but the company was even better. As the evening went on, we had ourselves a little dance party (no surprise there) and tons of laughter ensued. That’s what happens whenever you get Abby, Kyle, me, and our spouses together. We act like a bunch of junior high goofballs and it’s the absolute best!

We began looking for furniture for the pool, which we soon realized how expensive it is. But, you just have to suck it up and buy something nice so that it lasts a while. We probably will wait a little bit longer to buy something because we want to see exactly how we think we will use the space once the pool deck is installed. We have some really good ideas, though. We drove up to Raleigh for our last home game against the Tarholes (UNC). Dad and Christel joined us as well and we all had an amazing time tailgating. The unfortunate thing was that their tickets were in the lower level, but one of the last few rows, so their view of the jumbotron was blocked and their seats were basically in a wind tunnel and it was a very, very cold evening, so they ended up leaving early. Total bummer, but we at least had five hours of tailgating together, which was awesome. We left early the next morning and I met up with some friends for a ladies only brunch at Firethorne and later that week went to Raleigh for a work trip where I got to see some of my favorite female co-workers! The month wrapped up with Hanleigh going to her last cotillion of the year, which was a winter ball.


  • Her new high school just released its color palette, which includes gray, green, and orange. It’s really the strangest combination of colors I’ve ever seen. So, when she saw that, she said, “I’m not going there anymore. Those are the ugliest colors ever.”

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