We had so much fun at the Pumpkin Patch this year! My parents wanted to come with us this time so we invited Robbie, Martha, and Will to come too. The boys had so much fun. We went to the Grand Ole Pumpkin Patch in Clanton. It's only about 30 minutes from our house and is actually a real pumpkin patch unlike some of the others that are advertised. We took a short hayride to the pumpkin patch and the boys took their time finding the perfect pumpkin. Bryson wanted a big one and spent a lot of time looking for the perfect big one (with our help of course). Will had his heart set on a small pumpkin. He kept searching until he found the perfect small pumpkin. Once the found the perfect pumpkin, they played in the hay until the hayride came back to pick us up. Once we got back to the top of the hill, we did a little exploring before heading back home. The boys had a lot of fun! I definitely think we will be going back with Will again next year.
As most of you know, we are huge Auburn fans and we love Cam Newton. Since he began playing for the Carolina Panthers last year there were 2 things that Robert wanted. A Cam Newton jersey and to go watch the Panthers play in Charlotte. For his birthday, I bought him the jersey. For Father's Day, I bought tickets for us to go to Charlotte to watch the Panthers play the Giants. (The tickets were his Father's Day gift but the trip was our 5 year anniversary gift). The game was on a Thursday night so we had my parents keep Bryson that Wednesday night through Saturday so we could head out early Thursday morning, stay Thursday night in Charlotte then not have to rush to head home to pick him up. We ended up getting back earlier than we had planned but we used that night to relax from our little mini vacation.
The drive to Charlotte was not that bad. Of course Atlanta traffic was crazy, then South Carolina was boring. I know that everybody here in Alabama always says "Thank God for Mississippi", but I think the people of Mississippi should say "Thank God for South Carolina". The roads were horrible and there was nothing there! It looked like a pretty boring state. Once we got to Charlotte, we checked into our hotel then headed out to dinner before the game. We stayed at the Aloft at the Epicenter so it was right there by everything! We had a ton of places to choose from. After dinner, we walked the 11 block walk to the stadium. We made it there around 6 and the game didn't start until 8 so we walked around and explored the stadium before they opened the gates for us to get in. It was a very pretty stadium. They had these awesome Panther statues at both entrances to the stadium and they were huge!
Heading out to dinner before the game.
They opened the gates at about 6pm. It wasn't too long of a line to get in since we got there so early. Once we got in, I suggested to Robert that maybe he should go get a good picture of the stadium since we had upper level seats. We walked to the entrance to the lower level and they told us that we were allowed down by the field until 7pm. We walked down there and guess who was practicing in the end zone? Cam Newton! He was right there! It was so cool. We took a ton of pictures. It got us so pumped about the game because he was practicing so well.
After we watched Cam practice a little, we walked over to where they were filming the NFL show for the night. It was so cool to see the sportscasters. I recognized some of them from TV but it was really cool to see Deion Sanders! I actually knew who that was!
After that, we walked to the other side of the field where the Giants were practicing and there was Eli Manning! I'm not a Manning fan at all but he's the Super Bowl Champion Quarterback! It was pretty cool too!
We still had some time before the game so we walked around some more watching the players warm up and practice. One of the Panthers players was warming up by using the goal post as a punching bag. It was pretty intense.
When it was time for the game, we hiked up to our nose bleed seats. (I now know that instead of trying to buy tickets through the NFL the day they go on sale, that I need to wait until they are on StubHub. They may cost more but at least the seats would be better). The seats really weren't that bad though. We could see everything. Unfortunately the Panthers played terrible and we left before the game was over. The highlight of the game was watching 2 drunken fights break out in the stands. After the game, we headed to the Epicenter to grab a late night snack and check out some of the bars. There were so many fun places there. I think next time we go we will take a few friends. On our way back to the hotel, we saw another drunken fight between a Panthers fan and a Giants fan. It was pretty funny. This is definitely a trip that I would like to take again or even maybe make it a once a year tradition. Charlotte is a beautiful city and I was surprised at how much stuff they had to do there. Even though our team lost, we had a great time!
Downtown Charlotte from the stadium
Beautiful sunset over the stadium
Cam's ready to play!
Fireworks to kick off the game.
Announcing of players
Whenever a players name was called they ran through these columns as they shot off flames.