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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

NC State Parents Weekend with a bonus!

 I had the best weekend!  I was only expecting to see one of my babies but I got to see them both!

This weekend was Parents Weekend at NC State.  Dan and I had plans to head to Raleigh on Saturday and meet up with Peter. But early last week, Sarah was texting with us telling us that her roommate and bestie, Gabi was going to be away from campus all weekend.  Well, technically, longer than all weekend. Gabi has an odd schedule in that she has no classes on Fridays and her first class on Monday isn't until 3:00.  This makes for an awesome long weekend for Gabi but a potentially not so awesome weekend for Sarah.

Gabi was leaving on Thursday evening and not not returning until Monday afternoon. Sarah didn't like the thought of that so she said she would probably come home Friday and stay until Sunday.  I told her that was all well and good except that we would be leaving on Saturday morning to see Peter.  She had forgotten this minor detail.

But alas!  I realized that she could just come with us so she started texting and scheming and a plan was hatched.

She came home late Friday afternoon. She ate dinner with us and then Dan made a fire in the fire pit.  It was perfect weather for it as it is finally starting to cool down here. We even made s'mores! 

We all got up on Saturday morning and headed to Raleigh. It was a perfect fall day. We went straight to the fraternity house where the brothers were hosting  a cookout for the parents. One of the parents cooked BBQ chicken and someone else smoked a brisket.  All the parents chipped in the with sides and we had a really nice time.  It was nice to see Peter in his element with his friends and it was  nice to get to meet and talk to some of the guys.

They had a big screen TV set up outside and we watched the Clemson/Wake Forest football game.  The cookout was from 2 to 4 and after that, the three of us headed to our hotel.  Thanks to me forgetting to make a hotel reservation when I ordered the football tickets, we were staying in Cary instead of Raleigh.  Not too big of a deal because it's still pretty close. I would have just preferred to be in Raleigh.  

When I made the reservation, I made it for one queen bed since it was going to be just the two of us and that was cheaper.  Once we realized Sarah would be joining us we called to see if we could upgrade the room.  They were booked solid so we had to stick with the room we originally booked. I didn't even bother trying to find another hotel because I knew they were all sold out thanks to Parents Weekend. So we took a sleeping bag with us. Dan was a good sport (and a good daddy) and slept on the floor even though Sarah said she would.  

We checked in to our hotel and then got ready for the football game.  We left Sarah at the hotel and headed to Carter Finley Stadium. NC State is pretty good this year so tickets sold out fast but luckily I ordered them as soon as they became available and wasn't scrambling for tickets like a lot of the parents on the parent Facebook page.  Unfortunately, I forgot to purchase the parking pass and we ended up parking at the Vet school which was a brisk 15 minute walk to the stadium. But it was actually a fun walk. We got to walk through the student tailgating section and it made me wish I was back in college again! 

Gabi (Sarah's roommate) was actually in Raleigh for the weekend visiting her sisters and babysitting her cousin so while we were at the game, she picked up Sarah and their friend Noah, (another member of the basement) who goes to NC State but didn't manage to get a ticket in the student ticket lottery,  and they went out to dinner.    

Peter, who also didn't get a ticket in the student lottery, had to buy a ticket from someone who had an extra one, texted us at the beginning of the game to get our section and seat numbers. He came over to try to sit with us but it was packed so he went back to his seat. 

NC State was winning handily at halftime and some of the upper sections were emptying out a little so we were able to sit with him for the last half of the game.  

NC State has installed a new LED lighting system and the light show  before the game was so cool. And they turned everything red every time they scored as well.

Dan and I had seats in the end zone and they were very close to the field. Not the best for actually watching the game but it was really neat to be so close to the action. After the players came out of the tunnel and on to the field, the all came to the end zone in front of us and kneeled down to pray.                                                  

(Look at that kid creeping into our picture!)


Here we are with the boy after we changed seats:

After the game, we made the long walk back to the car, dropped Peter off at his house and headed back to the hotel. We had a great time with Peter at the game and Sarah had a great time with her friends.  It was a good day!

On Sunday morning, we went to Mass at St. Michael the Archangel in Cary.  Last year we attended Mass at the Cathedral in Raleigh but this church was close to the hotel so we went there.  The church building is only 25 years old but they did a great job making it look like an older church on the inside.  The stained glass was stunning. There were a lot more windows but this is the only picture I got.  I love the blues!

After Mass we headed to Raleigh and picked up Peter and went to lunch at MoJo's Burger Joint.  It was delicious!  After lunch we dropped Peter back off at his place, hugged his neck real tight, said our "I Love Yous", and headed back home.

Sarah stayed with us until after dinner and then she headed back to Charlotte.  (I didn't get any pictures of her sadly, but it was so good to see my girl!)

But  never fear, I will get some pictures of her soon, because next weekend we are headed to Charlotte for UNCC's Parent Weekend.  The weather is supposed to be rainy thanks to the hurricane so I'm not sure how much of the football game we will actually watch. I'm already trying to think of an activity or two we can do if it rains. 

I'm happy my kids are enjoying themselves and their college experiences but I'm even happier when I get to see them in person!

Friday, September 16, 2022

September is Birthaversary time!

Happy Birthaversery!  It's September so it's that time of year where we celebrate our wedding anniversary and both of our birthdays!

This year marked year number 22 of marriage, Dan's 56th birthday, and my 53rd birthday!  Yikes!  We really are getting up there aren't we?  :)

We celebrated by taking a two day trip to Charleston.  I know, I know. We've been there a lot in the last 27 years - if my math is correct (the memory gets foggy now that I'm so dang old!) this is NINTH trip to Charleston together.  What can I say?  We love it there.

We stayed at the Elliott House Inn which is a favorite of ours.  We've stayed there a couple of times before and then they closed for renovations in 2009  for two years and then closed again in 2018 for more renovations. We were excited to finally get to stay there again.  

But, much to our dismay, they have stopped doing the morning breakfast service to your room AND they have stopped the evening wine and cheese reception.  We were so sad (and I'm not going to lie - a little upset) when we checked in and found out those things weren't offered any longer. I'm not sure why although I am blaming covid. 

We recovered from our shock and disappointment (sort of) and went to lunch right next door at our old favorite, Poogan's Porch.  Long time blog readers, might remember that that's where Dan proposed to me waaaaaaaaaaay back in 1999.  

After our late lunch we walked around the city.  We stopped in the Unitarian Church Graveyard because we are Cotells and can't pass up a good graveyard.  

We spotted the grave stone of a Mr. Charles Otis who died in 1794 at the age of 17.  The cool thing about this fellow is that he was originally from Barnstable, MA which is where our cape house is located!  This man's father was a lawyer in Barnstable so Dan feels certain that due to the small size of Barnstable in the late 1700s, he would have probably known the original Peter Cotell. This Peter Cotell was born somewhere in France around 1750 and  made his way to the Cape in his early 20s. Anyway, we thought it was cool that we stumbled on this stone.


 Some cool Spanish moss hanging on the trees in the Unitarian graveyard.

After our walk through the city, we stopped at Mac's Place to get a drink and watch a little football before our 7:00 tour.  We did a combination tour of the city/ghost tour.  Here's a selfie of us with our horse right before the tour.

Our horse's name was Cash and he let loose with a large gas storm about half way through the tour.  Of course we all started laughing and I couldn't help but to think of the episode of Seinfeld with Rusty and the Beef-a-reeno!After the tour we headed back to Mac's to watch more football because it was Sunday Night after all!

We got up Monday morning and went to Bitty and Beaus for coffee.  I had been wanting to get coffee at Bitty and Beaus for a while now.  Bitty and Beaus started in Wilmington, NC.  The owners have a child with autism and two children with down syndrome. As advocates for their children and others with intellectual and developmental disabilities, they wanted to start a business where their children and others with similar disabilities could work.  They have expanded and are now have 23 shops in 12 statesand employee over 200 people.

I got an iced chai latte, Dan got a regular coffee, and we split a chocolate chocolate chip muffin.  It was delicious!

After our coffee, we walked through the market and then walked over to the battery and just enjoyed the views.


Then we headed to Folly Beach for our next little adventure.  But first, we had lunch at Taco Boy.

Oh my goodness was this some good food! Dan and I split the chips trio (queso, salsa, and guac) and Dan had buttermilk fried chicken tacos and I had tempura avocado taco.  So yummy!  Plus, I got a side of elote.  It was delicious.  Fun fact: on our honemoon in Cancun we had elote for the first time.  They were celebrating Mexico's Independence Day and as part of the festivities had a elote for us to enjoy.  It was delicious there too!  

(I know it sounds weird, but the tempura battered fried avocado was so good with the Thai chili sauce and the citrus jalapeno slaw. I would definitely get that again!)

After lunch we headed for oour tour with Charleston Fossil Adventures.  The owner greeted us and the other couple who were on our adventure with us and told us a little bit about himself.  He is a paleontologist who graduated from App State with an environmental science degree.  We were going to be searching the beach for fossils and he was our guide. He spent some time explaining what we were looking for and how the fossils ended up at Folly Beach

And then we set out on our fossil hunt.  It was nice that our group was small because anything we picked up we could ask him about and he was right there to tell us "Yes!  That's a Megalodon bone!" or "Nope. That's just a piece of phosphate." 

We searched the beach for two hours and filled our pockets (or little aprons) with all sorts of treasures.  Afterwards he sorted everything out for us and told us about everything we found as well as the probable ages.  We have video of that but I am not even going to try to link it here because I think you would all find it boring.  

Here's a picture of us and the couple that went with us:

Their names were Lamar and Starliah and they are chicken farmers outside of Athens, GA.  They were so nice.  Going to different beaches and hunting for shark's teeth is their hobby when they aren't raising chickens.   The shark's teeth that wash up on Folly Beach are typically 3 to 5 million years old!!

Since Dan and I have never found any shark's teeth on the beach before, we got our picture taken to commemorate our first finds. We are holding a sticker that says "Sharks Tooth Club".

And here we are with some of our favorite finds of the afternoon:

And here we are with Ashby.  Ashby is the owner and tour guide and he has written a book on Fossils pictured below.  Which of course we purchased because now we are official fossil hunters!

After we were done, we headed over to the Morris Island Lighthouse.  Because in addition to enjoying graveyards, Cotells also love lighthouses! Morris Island Lighthouse is a civil war era offshore light house so we parked our car and walked about .3 mile to the beach where you can view the lighthouse.

We then headed back to Charleston and got ready for the evening.  We went to The Rooftop at Vendue and had drinks overlooking the city as the sun was setting.

I had strawberry basil lemonade with honeysuckle vodka.  I highly recommend!

Then we headed to Rudy Royale for dinner. I had the tomate bisque with crab mousse and it was so delicious.  Dan had the risotto and raved about it the whole time.  For dinner, I had shrimp and grtis because when you are in Charleston, you have to have shrimp and grits. And Dan had the fried chicken.

I had the banana pudding for dessert and Dan had the pecan pie. So yummy!

After dinner we went to Tommy Condon's to listen to a little live music before heading back to the hotel.

And then just like that it was time to head home, but before we left, we  had breakfast at Ruby Sunshine.  It was delicious!

Here are a few other photos:

We took a lot of pictures of St. Phillips Church!

It was such a great 48 hours together.  We missed the kids but we sure did have fun without them!  (Although we kept in touch the whole time via our group chat so it was almost like having them with us.)

22 years together (27 years if you count the 5 we were together before we got married) and there's no one else I'd rather see the world with and there's no one else I'd rather sit at home with.  💕