Monday, October 15, 2012


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.

 Coin Toss

 Cam's touchdown!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Labor Day Weekend Part Two

On Sunday, we slept in some, then headed for a quick trip to the pool and the beach before going to Pineapple Willy's for lunch. Bryson wore himself out that morning because he almost slept through the entire lunch! He finally woke up as we were all finishing so he could eat his shrimp. After lunch, everybody (except me) wanted to go to the water park;  I wanted to go shopping at the outlets. Right when I pulled up to the outlets, Robert called and said that the water park did not have enough staff to stay open past 4 and since it was already almost 3, there was no point in going. So he met me at the outlets and everybody else went back to the condo to go to the pool and the beach. I got Bryson a few nice things at the Carter's outlet and some new shoes at the Croc's outlet but other than that, they didn't have much. Once we got back, Robert met Bryson down at the beach. They had buried Eli in the sand and Bryson thought it was the funniest thing. Once Bryson helped rescue Eli, everybody went in the ocean. Bryson loves going in the ocean.
 Playing on the steps of the pool again.

 He had so much fun being tossed in the air!
 Kisses for Lisa
 I love this picture of him and Eli. I wish Bryson would have been carrying his board too.

 After lunch at Pineapple Willy's

 Helping Eli out of the sand
 He was so amazed by the ocean.

 He loves the ocean so much!
Since we ate such a late lunch, we let Bryson stay out longer in the ocean and chose to eat a late dinner at Captain Anderson's. Bryson was doing good until it took forever for us to get our food. He started getting really whiny and he ended up falling asleep at the dinner table.
The next morning it was time to go home. We had been wanting donuts all weekend so Robert and Lisa headed out early to get some. That place was crazy busy so they got back almost when it was time to check out. We all scarfed down a donut and loaded up the cars. Bryson loved the donuts.
Before heading home, we stopped at the beach for a few family pictures.

We had to make several different stops for food, gas, etc. before we got out of Panama City. Bryson was so tired that he fell asleep in the car holding his kids meal box. He slept almost the entire way home! He didn't wake up until we stopped in Montgomery to take Robert back to his truck. Once we got Robert's truck, we headed to the Peach Park in Clanton for some yummy peach ice cream, fried pies, and boiled peanuts. We made great time on the way back and were home before dark. Thankfully we both took the next day off to rest and unpack. Ever since we got back, Bryson has been asking to go back to the beach. Hopefully we can make another early Spring trip with him before school lets out.