Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Family Beach Pictures {2015}

So anyone who has been reading our blog long was probably thinking we forgot or didn't get a chance to get our traditional family beach pictures this year.  And I guess we almost didn't since we didn't get this one accomplished until October this year.  Thankfully, we were able to sneak a quick beach trip in before the cooler weather hit and so we have another year of these treasures.  I love seeing how our family has changed and grown through the years.  (See 2009, 20102011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.)

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Awe, Evan is such a big big kid now and can hold his baby brother standing up. 

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I liked this one.  Looks like Mattox is pushing Brody away.  Haha!  He just likes to touch, and Brody didn't want him touching his head. 

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My beautiful boys

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I just thought Brody looked funny holding his shorts up, and you can see his boo boo from his putt-putt injury. 

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Getting his toes wet.  He loved the water this time. 

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I know he doesn't look very happy, but the sun was really bright.  Plus, no one was close enough to make him laugh for these shots so he didn't know he was supposed to smile. 

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Daddy told them to jump together.  They wouldn't bend their knees so they could get higher.  They were probably afraid they would fall in the water and that I would get mad at them for getting wet.  Haha! 

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Since 2013, I have struggled with how to capture the essence of our family with a very important part missing.  Taking these picture without Mattie just never seemed right.  She was supposed to be with us.  I recently saw a photographer add a shadow of a child to some family pictures to represent a lost child, and I knew I had to try to capture what our family pictures may look like with Mattie in them.

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2013 - Baby Mattie was not quite 3 months old. 

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2014 - Baby Mattie was a toddling little 13 to 14 month old. 

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2015 - Baby Mattie is now a beautiful little 2 year old princess. 

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Me and all of my babies. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Myrtle Beach {2015 edition}

Well, it took us a little longer than usual, but we finally made it back to our beloved Myrtle Beach for a visit.  It has become a bit of a tradition for us.  It started in 2009 when Evan was our bouncing little two year old who was mesmerized by the ocean and very excited about his first game of putt-putt.  Our family has grown quite a bit since then.  We have enjoyed long weekend trips and even some week long trips, but we always manage to sneak in quite a bit of fun no matter how short the trip.  This trip was a short two night stay in which daddy was working for most of the time at his employer's annual meeting.  We got to stay in a nice resort hotel and have "fancy" dinners in a ballroom with dancing afterwards.  Even though it was October, the boys and I enjoyed some time on the beach and playing in the ocean.  And we all enjoyed a couple of games of putt-putt, of course.  We are always thankful for these special times together and special memories made.  The beach is definitely one of our favorite and most happy places.

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Our first stop of the trip was for lunch at the iconic Hard Rock Cafe pyramid.  I am not sure if it is true or not, but my friend who lives in the area mentioned that they may be tearing down the pyramid to build a newer design.  I remember when this structure first came to Myrtle Beach.  Everyone was so amazed and excited and lines were always out the door to get in.  The big blue planet of Planet Hollywood across the road was iconic as well, and my friend showed pictures of it being torn down the week after our visit.  Planet Hollywood will not be rebuilt because it has not seen good business even in the summer for several years.  I blame the location.  It was built on the opposite side of the main road from the rest of Broadway at the Beach, and most of the people visiting Broadway just don't want to walk across a busy street to dine.  They want to eat at places within the Broadway complex.  It is just so sad to me.  Hard Rock is still pretty popular, but I guess they think it is time for something new to drum up a new energy and excitement for the area.  

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Just some pictures of the inside of the pyramid.  I am so sad this may be our last opportunity to experience the cool pyramid.  It will be neat to see what they decide to do next. 

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Enjoying some yummy burgers and chicken tenders.  Brody is a burger eater, but we can't even get Evan to try one.  Sigh. 

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We played Captain Hook's Adventure Golf for Brody because he loves Captain Hook.  Seriously, that is who he pretends to be all the time! 
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Coincidentally, this is the first putt-putt place Evan ever experienced in 2009.  
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Both of these boys love to play. 

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Brody points out Skull Rock!  He was so excited in that middle picture after hitting his ball in the hole that he ran back to tell Daddy.  He didn't see the little hill on the course and tripped so we had a little casualty on the course. 

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Daddy was the parent participant on this adventure while Mattox and I watched. 

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We loved Captain Hook's ship, the Jolly Roger.  We spied that old Croc trying to eat one of the crew who was hanging on for dear life.  Evan tried to light a cannon.  Poor Tinkerbell has been trapped in that lantern for a long time.  It is a cool holographic image of Tinkerbell, and she is screaming and crying for help. 

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Daddy scored a hole in one and did his customary cheer.  
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Daddy's cheer from 2009. 
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I always love the scenery on these awesome courses.  I have stated before that Myrtle Beach is putt-putt capital of the world.  Peter Pan watched over our game from high in his big tree. 
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We had to take a picture in front of Skull Rock.  Daddy and Evan got put in the stockade again.  Haha! 

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At the hotel, we enjoyed the indoor pool since the outdoor one was a little chilly.  Mattox loves the water now and loves laughing at his big brothers. 

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Evan was making Mattox laugh so hard by making this big splash with his arms. 

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Mattox enjoyed his time on the beach so much more this time.  He could sit up and play in his little pool of water.  

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The boys played on the beach for a long time and didn't venture into the water until they had gotten really warm and were ready to cool off.  Then, the water felt nice. We dressed Brody in Evan's old wet suit.  It may not have been necessary, but he did look cute in it. 

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My cuties making sandcastles and playing together. 

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Oh, I love this baby!  Yes, he did get his first bruise on his head from falling over one day.  He is just like Evan was and will fall over to get onto his tummy.  You cannot leave him on the bed or couch because he will likely roll off. 
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I built Brody a little volcano for his dinosaurs...brings back so many memories of young Evan. I love baby feet in the sand and water.  
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Just a few beach beauties we saw.  The water in the morning was pretty calm so a gull was just floating out on the water.  I watched him take flight.  Then, I found this perfect conch shell, but I think something was living inside of it so I took a picture instead of taking it.  In the afternoon, I found an identical one in the same spot that didn't seem to have anything in it and brought it home.  I do wonder if it was the same shell. 

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Oh Evan!  He loves doing karate kicks and jumping in the waves.  They were having so much fun! 

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Evan got some air on those jumps.  They loves splashing one another. 

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The only evidence of my presence this time is this picture of my feet.  I was alone with 3 kids on the beach so no pictures of me.  Don't those boys look like teenagers heading out with their boogie boards?  

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They both managed to catch a few waves although they weren't very big ones.  

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I sat and watched them a long time and could have done that all day.

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I love those shots of Brody and Evan riding in some good waves.  Before we left to eat lunch, Brody built this little dam (he called it a wall) to keep the water from Mattox's little pool from flowing back to the ocean.  I think we may have a future architectural engineer on our hands!  
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After lunch, the boys enjoyed the hot tub and played some corn hole with Daddy.  Evan is a corn hole champ and stomped all of us.  He scored so many bulls eyes.  

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The boys enjoyed their "fancy" dinners in the ballroom both nights.  Who wouldn't eat with an enticing dessert sitting right in front of you the whole meal waiting to be eaten?  Brody did eat his salad and most of Daddy's and Evan's too. 

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We got this little vacation courtesy of the North Carolina Forestry Association and its members for their annual meeting.  We enjoyed all the displays of its biggest members.  

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The boys got some new forestry related merchandise from members like Weyerhauser.  
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These Goods from the Woods and Build Good with Wood boxes are a teaching tool supplied by the NCFA that contain lots of "goodies" made from wood products.  

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The meeting was well attended as usual.  On the last night, the President's dinner was held with a silent auction with lots of cool items for bidding.  Some special awards were given as well.  

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This World Help event was also being held in the hotel.  I thought Mattox needed his picture taken in front of their large sign. 

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Our final fun stop of the trip was Evan's choice of putt-putt.  He chose his favorite dinosaur place. 

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We saw T-Rex, Triceratops, Brachiosaurus, velociraptors, and of course, stegosaurus (Evan's favorite). 

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Apparently, Professor Hacker's ship crashed onto this dinosaur island.  Sounds like Jurassic Park, right?  We had to take pictures with T-Rex and Steggy. 

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Yes, I was the parent participant this time. 

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