Monday, November 23, 2009

Go Tigers

No, not those Tigers. The other Tigers. No, not the LSU Tigers either. The OTHER (non-SEC) Tigers. Yeah, the Clemson Tigers! Last Sunday, while enjoying an after-church meal at a local Meat-&-Three (Stax Original restaurant) with some friends of ours I was asked if Bailey and I would care to join my friend, Ryan, and his two year old son, Coleman, at the final Clemson home football game of the season. I haven't actually been to a college football game since before Bailey was born and she and Coleman are good buddies from school so it seemed like a no-brainer at the time. As the week wore on I slowly began to grasp the magnitude of what I had taken on. Seriously!?! I'm going to take my two year old daughter to a big time college football game...BY MYSELF...WITH NO HELP FROM MEL...OR MY MOM!?!

Luckily (and not surprisingly b/c Bailey is such a good kid) we both survived and had a wonderful time with the exception of a short run-in with a Clemson cop who apparently needed to validate himself by harrassing me b/c I was using a backpack as a diaper bag instead of a diaper bag as a diaper bag (supposedly, backpacks can conceal terrorist bombs but diaper bags are safe). Oh yeah, and the dual F-15 flyover 250 ft off the ground because it was military appreciation day nearly caused Bailey to crawl out of her skin and shred mine with her fingernails in the process.

DISCLAIMER: When Bailey is old enough to understand, we will explain to her why the SEC is far superior to all other conferences in the country.


Here we are the morning of the game practicing our "Go Tigers" cheer and proper shaker technique and etiquette. It turns out that the biggest difference I noticed between the Clemson game and Auburn games (I was told to look for differences since the two schools are so similar) was that hardly anyone at Clemson used these shakers during the game. At Auburn (and Alabama, for that matter) games, you can barely see the people in the stands when all the shakers are going.


Bailey and Coleman enjoying a pre-game tailgate lunch of pigs-in-the-blanket, cheetohs, and some Bojangles fried chicken strips and biscuits...YUMMY!!!


After lunch it was time to toss the old pigskin around. Hey, don't knock Coleman's throwing technique. Phillip Rivers has a jacked up throwing motion and we all know where it got him. Coleman may be onto something here!


Coleman cheesing it up for the camera.


Here we are at our seats inside the stadium. It took Bailey a few minutes to get used to the sights and sounds of the game and everything associated with it. The blue lollipop definitely helped. At some point late in the first quarter she spotted the Clemson mascot walking around behind the end zone and made it her sole purpose in life to spot him and point him out every few minutes thereafter.
Watchin' the Tiger Band perform as the sun sets behind the stadium.


By the time we made it home that night Bailey was pooped. I actually got carry her in the house, asleep on my shoulder, after a special day of fun with just the too of us (something I've always looked forward to doing). Great memories!!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

More October 09 Pics...Including HALLOWEEN Pics!

The first half of October was a busy, busy time for us. Included in our activities were a day trip to the Georgia Aquarium to visit with Papa and Grammy; a weekend with Pops and Gran here in Greenville, which included a trip to Sky Top Apple Orchard in North Carolina; a one night visit with Adam (my cousin); and a visit from Big Daddy and Grand-mama.

The second half of the month was more of the same. It has included a Fall bike ride in the mountains for me with my buddy, Kev-O; a trip to Denver Downs Pumpkin Patch near Clemson, SC, with our Sunday school class and ALL our kids; a Fall Festival at church; a little Halloween trick-or-treating; and some general horsing around.

Somehow, we've managed to find time to fit work and school into our schedules, as well.

Below are some pics (basically in the order in which they happened) from the second half of the month of October.

Bike Ride in the Mountains (near Brevard, NC)

I took the opportunity to steal away from Greenville for a few hours last Saturday for a bike ride in the mountains with a friend of mine. The leaves were brightly colored, the rivers were full of water, and the air was just crisp enough that I almost needed a jacket during the ride, but not quite. Next time I ride with Kev-O I'm gonna have to teach him how to wait until someone smiles before snapping the pic.

See...I waited for him to smile! :) This is Kev-O being a good Greenville cyclist and sporting his Hincapie Sportswear jersey. George Hincapie, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong's for all seven of Lance's Tour de France wins, lives here in Greenville and his brother runs a cycling clothing company that is doing quite well nationwide.

Whoever paved this road had to have been a cyclist. It doesn't look it but this was a pretty steep drop off the back of the second mountain we climbed as part of our ride. The sketchy part was all the loose, wet leaves in the road that I fully expected to cause my tires to slip out from under me. Luckily, the tires stuck and I had a blast snaking down this mountain.


Here's another pic I shot of Kev-O from the top of one of the lesser climbs. Like I said, the colors of the leaves were really great and having deserted roads all to ourselves made the whole thing that much better.


Denver Downs Pumpkin Patch

The day after my bike ride our Sunday school class and all our kids took a trip to a pumpkin patch near Clemson, SC, called Denver Downs. It was a really cool place with a TON of stuff to do including hayrides, corn maize, pine straw maze (for the kiddos), a hay barn with rope swings in it, various games, and even a place to get some bbq. Here we are on the hayride.


Bailey and her friend Ryan enjoyed climbing on the pine straw bales that made up the pine straw maze. Ryan is thinking about jumping off the top of this one while Bailey is excitedly urging him on.


AND RYAN TAKES THE LEAP!!!


Not to be outdone by a boy Bailey takes the leap, as well. That's some pretty good hops for a two year old!

Bailey also enjoyed riding in "Ginger", one of the cows on the cow train being pulled around by a lady on a tractor. Nice Jordan imitation with the tongue thing by the way.

The next few pics are of members of our class and their kids while on the hayride. We had so many people there in our group we actually filled up an entire trailer. Starting with the extreme left is Jenn Byford and her son, "Little" Pete; Riggs, Nate, Stephanie, & Will Manning; and Alison Lupo and one of her twin daughters (Macy or Lydia).

Again, from the extreme left is Kathryn Sinclair and her son, McCain (not named for John even though he was born during John's Presidential campaign); and Anna Kate, Pete, Jenn, & "Little" Pete Byford.

From left: Jason, Melissa, & Ava Grace Payne; Ben, Ryan, Leslie, & Bryce Owens; and Ally, Tommy, Kathryn, & McCain Sinclair.

Jason, Melissa, & Ava Grace Payne. We invited the Paynes on the trip despite the fact that they had never been to our Sunday school class before. In fact, they had just joined the church the week before and Mel and I were their mentors (meaning we simply stood at the front of the church with them when they joined). They accepted our invitation and have since come to class, as well. As a side note, we happened to run into them a few weeks before while eating bbq in NC after visiting the apple orchard with Pops and Gran.

From left: Ryan and Coleman Burnett and Deidre and Sydney Jordan. Ryan's wife, Stephanie, was just out of the shot to the left and Deidre's husband, Matt, was right behind her.

From left: Bentley, Anna, Scott, & Lucas Thompson and us.
Halloween

Our jack-o-lantern...it has freckles!
Here's a shot of us trick-or-treating at one of only two stops for the night (it was rainy). This was taken by our next door neighbor. Bailey is wearing an authentic Japanese kimono picked up by some friends of the family during a recent trip to Japan while Palmer is dressed as a frog (complete with webbed fingers).

Bailey and Palmer hanging out on the front porch by the jack-o-lantern waiting for more trick-or-treaters to stop by.

"WHAT!?! You mean we have to GIVE the candy AWAY!!!"
"Do you ever get the feeling you're being watched?"
"Is there a giant frog behind me?"
[Insert your own caption here.]

Bailey showing off her spoils for the evening.

Not sure what Bailey is doing here but it resulted in no harm to Palmer. For a second, there, we weren't so sure he was safe.

Random Pics

Palmer after one of his first high-chair meals. Some of it actually made it into his mouth, too!

Passed out after a big meal of rice cereal.

Bailey being Bailey.

Hanging out in the den. Palmer in the bumbo seat and Bailey in the wooden rocking chair Big Daddy and Grand-mama brought to us during their visit. This is the same rocking chair that I used to sit in at their house when I was Bailey's age and the same rocking chair, I'm sure, that my Dad sat in back in the day, too.

Again...Bailey being Bailey, but doing it in a cute dress.

video
Bailey's most recent favorite game is for us to chase her in circles throughout the house. The other day I did it with the digital camera in hand.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

October...FINALLY!!!

October…FINALLY!!!
October truly is my favorite month of the year. We’ve endured the heat and humidity of summer and are finally being granted a respite of cooler temps and crisp breezes. Unlike Mel, I LOVE the fact that it’s cool enough for jeans and long sleeves in the mornings and just warm enough for shorts in the afternoon.
So far, we’ve taken day trips each weekend in October with each set of grandparents and have had a really good time on both. The first weekend we drove to Atlanta to visit the Georgia Aquarium. This was Bailey’s first time there and she, along with the rest of us, had a blast. The second weekend Gran and Sugar-Pops (a.k.a. Paula & Paul) stayed with us and we all drove up to Sky Top Orchard to visit an apple orchard on a mountain top in Zirconia, NC. We followed it with a BBQ lunch at Hubba Bubba’s in Flat Rock, NC. It was good, but, as usual, not as good as what we’re used to back home in Alabama. Once again, all involved had a good time.
Georgia Aquarium


Williams family at the Georgia Aquarium


Bailey and Palmer had a great time with Grammy and Papa!

Bailey reaching to touch the rays and sharks.


Grammy giving Palmer one of more than a few hugs in front of the gift shop while Bailey and Papa were busy inside picking out the perfect stuffed penguin for a souvenir. It's funny, b/c I remember Dad used to try to avoid souvenir shops when Cassie and I were kids.


Bailey and Grammy (and baby penguin from the souvenir shop) looking up at the fish from the walk-through tunnel in the largest single aquarium in the world...almost 7 million gallons!!!


After our day inside the aquarium we spent some time in the park just outside the aquarium. The rain during the hours preceding our visit to Atlanta left the sky a beautiful blue color.


Atlanta is not my favorite city in the world (by far), but I have to admit the Olympic park (or whatever its called) is a really, really nice addition. Bailey had plenty of room to run her heart (and ours) out.


Another pic from inside the aquarium. This exhibit had actual waves that rolled across the surface of the water every few minutes so you could see what waves look like from underneath.


OUCH!!!


The main attraction. One of three whale sharks we saw in the giant aquarium.
Sky Top (apple) Orchard


I love this picture of Bailey.


Gran, Sugar-Pops, Bailey, & Palmer at the apple orchard in North Carolina. You may be able to tell that the leaves were just starting to change color up here.

Now its our turn to pose.
Bailey sitting on a pumpkin at the apple orchard.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Few Recent Pics

Palmer and I shortly after the AU vs West Virginia game started. AU was already losing 14-0 at this point so I was having to try hard to smile for the camera. Luckily, AU won the game 41-30.


Bailey playing in her tunnel. She and Mel wore Bama shirts yesterday while Palmer and I wore Auburn shirts. Next week, we'll switch...at least the kids will switch.

Palmer "playing" in the tunnel.

Palmer hanging out in the jumper seat.