Dear Camille, You Had Your First Beach Trip!

AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Incentive Trip

Dear Camille,

You had your first beach trip! It was the AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Trip and it was a blast! I’m sorry that you didn’t get to actually go ON the beach because of how hot it was outside, but at least you got to hangout in the cabana at the pool. The ceiling fan in the cabana was a nice touch. We were so blessed to spend time with 249 other families that we love and the best part about it was that we didn’t have to spend anything! That’s right, it was FREE! We’ll have to pay for Disney World though when we go, but that trip will mostly be for your mom. She’s a Disney fanatic. I’m sure you know that though since she plays Disney tunes for you every day. I’m sorry about that.

It was a 5 hour trip total, but we broke it up into two 2 1/2 hour trips since we got to stop at Nonnie and Papa’s for a weekend. You slept the entire trip there and then to Destin only waking up once to go potty. I still can’t believe it. You are an awesome traveler!

Out of the 250 families on the trip, there were over 300 kids and out of the 300+ kids on the trip, you had to be the most famous. Everyone loves you little angel. Not that you needed any help looking cute, but your bathing suit only added to your cuteness factor. Oh, and that flower hat… adorable! Here’s a pic of you climbing all over mom under the cabana and another when you were pretending to be shy:

AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Incentive Trip

AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Incentive Trip

 

You even made room for a snow cone… well, it was snow cone unflavored ice. You appeared to like it though.

AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Incentive Trip

While on the trip we had a chance to hangout with some pretty famous people. We got to see Trevor Bayne who drives the AdvoCare #6 car. I hope to God that you are never in a car that is even possible to go as fast as he drives. 🙂 He ate lunch with everyone and then played beach volleyball with us.

AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Incentive Trip

 

We also spent a good bit of time with one of our dear friends, Ron Reynolds. One day I’ll be able to explain to you how much this man has changed our lives and your future. He is the reason your mom and I have eliminated over $141,000 of debt in under 2 1/2 years. Here’s a picture of you with Ron. You blinked when I took the picture. 😉

Ron Reynolds debt buster AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Incentive Trip

One of our favorite parts of the trip was the pajama party movie night where we watched “Despicable Me.” Although that movie is pretty good, I think the best part was hanging out with you and mom in our pajamas.

AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Incentive Trip

AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Incentive Trip

Don’t worry that you slept through most of this trip because there will be many more trips like this my little one. You are a blessing to us and to everyone that knows you. Your smiles are contagious and your laughs are even more so. We love you so much and cannot wait until our next trip with you. Until then, there will be many days of lounging around the house in your little lounger with your mom playing Disney music and me reading you books.

Love you sweet angel,

Dad

P.S. Thank you for not pooping in the car when we changed you. I REALLY appreciate that.

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Orange Beach Incentive Trip

IMG_4909.JPGAnother weekend… ANOTHER TRIP! This time we had the pleasure of hanging out with some incredible friends in my parents’ very own backyard in Orange Beach, AL! We stayed at the Caribe Resort and if you’ve never been there then I highly suggest you vacation there ASAP! It was amazing! The weather was beautiful the entire weekend as you can see in the pictures below. You’ll also be able to see God’s handy work and how beautiful his painting skills are.

We spent time at the pool, eating at some great restaurants, and even cooking in by having a shrimp boil on Saturday night to fellowship with some of our friends. AdvoCare has blessed us in so many ways. So on this trip we brought seven of our teammates with us to enjoy the fun in the sun!

The shot below is a panoramic view from “part” of our balcony. I stress the word “part” because if you look at the bottom left you’ll see that it wraps around the building!

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Here I put it into perspective for you by having Mariah stand at one end of the balcony before it wraps around so that you can see how long one side of it is. For those of you that know her, you know how tall she is. She’s so far away that it makes her look short!

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This is a shot from the portion of the balcony that wraps around. It’s of the bay right behind the condo. We were surrounded by water and as you can see, the weather was amazing!

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This shot is from another portion of our balcony. You can see the miniature putt-putt course, the lazy river, and one of the many pools all on the second level of the condo! When i say this place is awesome… I MEAN IT!

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This view is from one of the couches inside our 4 bedroom – 3 bath condo! VERY COMFORTABLE!

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Mariah and I decided to take a picture the first night we were there from the balcony. The views of this place at night are almost as beautiful as they are in the daytime.

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I snapped these pictures on our way back from dinner the first night. This is one of the many pools they had there. You should be able to see the slide on the right.

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All of the trip hosts went to dinner on the first night we were down there at Cobalt. The Caribe is amazing enough, but add in this restaurant and then it’s beyond words! Cobalt has some of the BEST FOOD I’ve ever had!

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The shot below is another shot from the balcony on day #2 of the trip! It’s a panoramic shot that exposes the full beauty of this side of the condo.

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This shot is of the beach in front of the condo. As you can see, there’s nothing blocking our view of the beautiful beaches of Orange Beach, AL!

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I posted up to read on the balcony the first morning as we waited for our friends to arrive. No doubt… one of the best reading spots I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

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These next two shots are from one of our team’s other condos on the bay side. This view is just as beautiful!

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The day before we left, we ate at The Gulf restaurant… ANOTHER amazing restaurant right by our condo. Quite possibly the coolest beach atmosphere I’ve ever eaten at in my life. I can’t believe I’ve never been there!

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We ate there with some of our good friends and teammates Eddie and Sara Wilson! If or when you eat there… GET THE HUMMUS!

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We were also joined by the newlyweds Justin and Michelle MacKay!

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The food at Cobalt and The Gulf restaurants was amazing, but this might just have taken the cake! Our friends, the Butlers, and us co-hosted a Saturday night shrimp boil in our condo with my grandfather’s recipe! IT WAS AMAZIFABULOUSIFICENTLY AWESOME!

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My First Chicago Trip – New Year’s 2014!

Chicago Trip / New Year's
Chicago Trip / New Year’s
Top Notch Beefburgers
Top Notch Beefburgers

Chicago… what an amazing city! Although it felt like the cold windy air was constantly slapping me in the face with a sheet of ice, I had an amazing time! This was the first time I met Mariah’s family AND the first time the “L-bomb” was dropped. <– More to come on that event.

I flew in early in the morning for the New Year’s Eve weekend. Mariah invited me to spend New Year’s with her family since she spent Thanksgiving with mine. I was picked up by a beautiful woman who I hadn’t seen in person since my random Louisiana trip for work…

(Quick side note on that and how God set this up: The first time we met was at Thanksgiving 2013 and when we were both leaving my parents’ house that Sunday to head back to Baton Rouge for Mariah and for me to Montgomery, we told each other that we wished we could spend some more time together the upcoming week and that we didn’t have to wait until we’d see each other in January at AdvoCare Regional Success School in Atlanta. Well, I NEVER in nearly 6 years of practicing law at that point have had to cross state lines for work. Well, that Monday morning I got into work and was told that I had to drive to Louisiana, of all places, to interview two witnesses. WOW! I couldn’t wait to call her and let her know and she was as blown away as I was when I told her the news and as equally as excited.)

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Back to the trip…We had a long list of sights to see and saw many that weren’t on our list as well, but before that we had to go get a rental car, which was da bomb diggity! We immediately fell in love with the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

From the airport we headed to Portillo’s for an early lunch. I was starving at the time because I had to get up at 3:45 a.m. to make it to the Birmingham airport on time. – By the way, at 4:25 a.m. a man at the gas station a couple miles from the airport opened my passenger door, began to sit down, and proceeded to tell me I was taking him to the airport too. Negative. Ain’t happening at 4:25 especially when he didn’t ask. – Portillo’s was awesome and “Chicago cheat meal #1.” We had the chance to catch up and plan out our weekend activities.

After dropping off everything at Mariah’s parent’s and meeting her family, we were still hungry. So we decided to have a late lunch too. Mariah’s favorite past time restaurant is Top Notch Beefburgers, A.K.A. “Chicago cheat meal #2.” 😉 It was worth it. We both ate very clean leading up to this hyped up event. All I heard about this place was how great it is, and it didn’t disappoint. It was delicious! After our meal I understood the story Mariah told me of when she ate an entire burger one time and then ordered another burger to-go “for her dad,” which she then confided in me that she devoured it.Snow on table

We weren’t there too long before it snowed… and when it started, it didn’t stop until we left. It was UNREAL! We watched the tables on her back porch stack up with snow each day. Driving in that snow was quite eventful. It was funny to see how everyone in Chicago drove normal with piles of snow on the road as if it weren’t there when people down south would’ve caused a 1,000 car pile up on the interstate from 1/10 of the amount of snow. We also unload the shelves of grocery stores down here when we hear there’s a chance of light snow because it’s clearly Armageddon when that happens down south. I also blame the snow for making my shoes wet, which caused me to slip at the top of the stairs taking both myself and Mariah out on the way down. #embarrassing That’s not a good way to impress your future wife.

Our first long trip through the snow was to see The Blue Man Group for a date night. If you’ve never seen them then you’re missing out. Whichever big city they’re performing in near, get there and watch the show. They’re incredible! They’re also hilarious! I saw them once in New York, but Mariah never had. It was a great date night!

The Blue Man Group
The Blue Man Group

Our second long trip through the snow was after we picked up Candice to head to the Chicago Cultural Center. Mariah’s Dad was working there at the time and brought us in to show us around. To sum it up… that place has some serious culture! The pictures below are all from the Culture Center:

Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center was followed by The Bean at Millennium Park and lunch at Ditka’s. The Bean was soooooo cool! It’s so big that it’s hard to take a picture and capture the entire exhibit unless you’re pretty far away from it.

The Bean at Millennium Park
The Bean at Millennium Park
The Bean at Millennium Park
The Bean at Millennium Park
Ditka's Restaurant
Ditka’s Restaurant

This all lead up to New Year’s Eve at Navy Pier! That place is HUGE!!! Once we got inside I felt like we were walking forever! Mariah and I went a couple night’s earlier to catch The Hobbit on the IMAX screen, but hadn’t walked through the entire building as we nearly did on New Year’s Eve. That was one of the best night’s of my life and was also the night that Mariah broke her near silence of her feelings for me. Again, I’ll explain that story later… you’re forewarned that you’ll want the tissues for it.

We had such an awesome night at Navy Pier with Candice and Blake and even hit up a photo booth before we left to head back to the hotel downtown. I couldn’t imagine the trip going any better than it did.

Photo Booth @ Navy Pier
Photo Booth @ Navy Pier
Photo Booth @ Navy Pier
Photo Booth @ Navy Pier
Photo Booth @ Navy Pier
Photo Booth @ Navy Pier
Photo Booth @ Navy Pier
Photo Booth @ Navy Pier
Photo Booth @ Navy Pier
Photo Booth @ Navy Pier
New Year's Eve @ Navy Pier
New Year’s Eve @ Navy Pier
New Year's Eve @ Navy Pier
New Year’s Eve @ Navy Pier
New Year's Eve @ Navy Pier
New Year’s Eve @ Navy Pier

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The Bean @ Millennium Park
The Bean @ Millennium Park

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