Grandman Traithlon

On June 1, 2013, Mike completed his first triathlon. He was in a four month training class to DSC01221help him prepare for the race. The triathlon was held in Fairhope, AL. The swim was 1/3 mile, the bike was 18 miles, and the run was a 5k. Mike completed the race in 1:34. His goal was to finish before 1:35. To the right is a photograph of Mike and his friend, Brandon, who was also doing his first triathlon. Click on the photograph to view the entire gallery.

Orlando 2013

During the last week of March 2013, we went to Orlando for Spring Break. This was Brian’s last DSC01179spring break with us. Mike’s mom, stepdad and stepbrother met us in Orlando. We stayed at Vacation Village Resort, thanks to Mike’s mom and stepdad.

We had a three day pass to Universal Studios. With the exception of Brian and Ethan, this was everyone’s first time to visit Universal Studios. Brian actually went to Islands of Adventure the weekend before, as part of his senior class trip. To the right is a photograph that we took on our last day.

DSC01137On Tuesday, we visited Universal Studios. On the rock it ride, Brian’s eyeglass arm broke off. Brian was pretty bummed because it was his Oakley glasses he just got on his last birthday. While we were waiting in line at the Twister ride, Susan saw an eyeglass arm lying on the ground. The arm was Brian’s! The arm clipped right back in and was not damaged. What are the chances? Brian’s day was brightened. He didn’t wear those glasses back to the parks the next two days. To the left is Brian holding his glasses right after Susan found the arm!

On the same day, we all got stuck on the Mummy Ride. We were told that someone tried to get off during the ride. After waiting in line for about an hour, Mike, Susan and Aaron got stuck during the DSC01139first five minutes of the ride. Mike’s mom, stepdad, stepbrother and Brian got stuck on the very end of the ride. Since we were stuck, we received an express pass for one ride. We actually were able to use it for four rides. Here is a photograph of several of us stuck on the ride. This has never happened to any of, so we wanted to memorialize it. Some girl that worked at Disney World was also stuck with us.

We had a very nice time. This is the first time all of Mike’s family got together in about five years. We look forward to our next vacation that is just several months away! We will be going to Las Vegas in June.

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McGuires 5k 2013

On March 9, 2013, Mike and Susan participated in their second McGuire’s 5k. This year almost DSC0106517,000 people registered. That was not counting all of the Marines that also ran in the event. Mike and Susan just walked the route with their friends. They actually came in last place. To the right is a photograph of Mike and Susan right before the race. Click on the photograph to view the entire gallery.

Brian’s 19th Birthday

On 02/18/13, Brian turned 19 years old. It was President’s Day, so Brian had the day off of school.DSC01060 However, Brian did have to go to work at Papa Johns later that night. When Mike woke up he gave Brian his gifts. Brian got a pair of Oakley sunglasses, a bottle of cologne and some special headlights for his car.

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Myrtle Beach Marathon

On February 16, 2013, Mike ran his fifth marathon. Mike met  his friends, Bill, Melanie and DSC01010Shannon in Myrtle Beach. On Friday night, everyone had dinner at Mike’s condo, which was right on the Atlantic Ocean. The next morning (Saturday) was the marathon. Mike, Bill and Melanie ran the full marathon. Shannon and one of Bill’s friend ran the half marathon. The weather was great for a marathon. Slightly windy with temps between the high 40s and the low 50s. Mike was able to set a new personal record of 3:49:48. That was almost five minutes faster than his previous best time, which was DSC01021set at Disney. Bill, Melanie and Shannon also did well. All finished with respective times in their respective age group. Here is a photograph right before the race.

Before the race we researched silly signs for Susan to hold. We found a sign that said “Nipple chafing turns me on.” We knew that would be hilarious for the runners and spectators. Susan received a lot of compliments, even from the police at the race. Here is a photograph of Susan holding the sign on the course.

After the marathon we all met at a Thai Restaurant to refuel. After eating everyone went to the Beach Bar, which was by Mike’s condo. To top off the evening, it started snowing in Myrtle Beach! To the right is all of us right before we ate.DSC01041

We had a real nice time. Mike’s mom helped out a great deal. She booked the condo for Mike and Susan. Mike’s mom also cared for Brian and Aaron while they were away for the weekend.

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Mall Ball 2013

On 01/26/13, Mike and Susan attended another Mall Ball. The ball is a fundraiser for the local DSC00999children’s hospital. Mike and Susan were joined by their friends, Ron and Brandy. While at the ball, Mike saw one of his coworkers, Nicole and her husband, Eric.

We look forward to the Mall Ball every year. About 50 vendors come out and serve a broad selection of food. Here is a photograph of Mike, Susan, Ron and Brandy before they went to the Mall Ball. Click on the photograph to view the entire gallery.

Battle of New Orleans

On January 11, 2013, we traveled to New Orleans to witness a reenactment of the Battle of New DSC00929Orleans.  The reenactment took place on the original battlefield, which happens to be about a mile from where Mike’s mom lives.  The following morning we went to the Chalmette Battlefield to view several demonstrations related to the Battle of New Orleans.  The weekend was very informative.  Susan was probably the most excited since it is a topic that she teaches in fifth grade.  The photograph is a cannon demonstration. Click on the photograph to view the entire album.

New Years Eve 2013

For New Years Eve 2013, Mike and Susan rented a room at the Days Inn on Pensacola Beach. We joined four of the other friends at the beach. We ate dinner at Hemmingways.  After dinner we DSC00876went to Capt’n Funs Beach Club to ring in the New Year. We got to Capt’n Funs just in time to see Clemson beat LSU! Go ACC!

The boys celebrated New Years Eve in downtown Pensacola. Brian and Aaron watched the Pelican drop. Shortly after midnight, they joined us at the beach.

The photograph is of Mike, Susan and their friend Shannon at dinner. Click on the photograph to view the entire gallery.

Christmas 2012

For Christmas this year, we stayed at our home in Pensacola, FL.  Mike’s mom and stepdad droveDSC00821 over from New Orleans to celebrate with us. Mike had to work until 2am on Christmas Eve. Shortly after Mike went to bed, the boys got up to see if Santa came.  Santa must have made a very quick visit, but he did come. Brian got a nice camera. Aaron got the new iPod Touch, some video games and some clothes. Susan got a Coach purse, a box of goodies from Victoria’s Secret, some FSU clothing and a linen set.  Mike got some Bose headphones for running, a FSU cooler, some clothes to wear to school and some Vibram Fivefingers.  Mike and Susan gave his mom and stepdad tickets to DSC00868Cirque du Soleil. On the right is a photograph of Brian playing with Forrest and his stocking.

On the day after Christmas, we traveled to Mobile, AL, to see some of Mike’s family. We have not seen many of them in almost ten years. The day was nice. The boys enjoyed playing pool while the adults sat around and caught up. To the left is a group photograph that we took right before we left.

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Los Angeles

During June 2012, we packed up and headed west for our annual family vacation. We drove to New Orleans, LA. In New Orleans, we caught an Amtrak train to Los Angeles. The train ride was la1about 46 hours long. Amtrak was sold out of sleeper rooms, so we had to sleep at our chair. The train ride was very interesting. We saw many sights as we passed through Texas, Arizona and Nevada. The train stopped in San Antonio for about two hours (around 11 p.m.). We used that time to walk around and stretch a bit. Overall, we enjoyed the train ride, but were ready to get off after two days.

We arrived early in LA early June 13th. Mike thought our car rental was through Hertz. Probably because he recently rented Brian a car through Hertz. Hertz didn’t open on time (8 am), but Budget Car Rental was open on time. We waited almost an hour for Hertz to finally open. When Hertz opened, they were unable to find the reservation under Mike’s name. That was when Mike realized he had reserved a car through la2Budget. No harm though, since Budget didn’t have our vehicle ready for another 15 minutes.

Our first stop was the Reagan Presidential Library. The library was very nice. We enjoyed it more than the JFK Library. The library had Air Force One on display. Air Force One was the actual aircraft used through George W. Bush. We were able to walk through the aircraft. Outside was Reagan’s grave and an actual section from the Berlin Wall. Mike bought him mom a replica of the Berlin Wall for watching Forrest. Mike’s mom was born in Berlin.

After out visit to the presidential library, we checked into our house. For our time in Los Angeles, we stayed in a house in Hollywood. On the second day, Mike and Susan went to a taping of the la3Tonight Show. Penelope Cruz and Rick Harrison from Pawn Stars were on the Tonight Show. Mike and Susan sat in the first row for the taping. After the Tonight Show, we went to the Broadway show, Addams Family. The show was held in the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. The photograph to the right is Brian and Aaron right before the Broadway show.

On our third day we went to the Grove, which was a shopping district. While there we saw a la4taping of the television show, Extra. Afterward, we went to the Kodak Theater to watch the Cirque Du Soleil show, Iris. Before the show, we visited the famous Chinese Theater. To the left is a photograph of Susan and Brian with the hats they bought near the Kodak Theater.

After the Iris show we went to the Griffith Observatory. The Observatory was on top of one of the mountains. There were two high powered telescopes to use to look at space. The night we went, it was overcast and the telescopes were closed. We enjoyed an Imax movie la5though. Also, we went through the various informational displays. To the right is a photograph at the Griffith Observatory, with the Hollywood sign behind us. Notice the cloud cover that is visible.

On Saturday morning, we woke up very early and went to the studios of Warner Brothers. We did the VIP studio tour. We got to see the outdoor sets that have been used in many movies and television shows. We saw where la6Ellen’s offices were. We got to go inside two sound studios. The tour was very nice. We went through a museum that contained numerous outfits and props that have been used in famous movies. The boys highlight was probably the cars they had on display that were used in various films. Here is Brian and Aaron next to the Batmobile.

After the studio tour, we went to the Peterson Automotive Museum. The Museum was three stories and very impressive. There were many rare cars. Brian begged us to go there. Mike wasla7 impressed with the rare Apple matchbox car from the movie “Cars.” After two floors of “no touch” area, the third floor had various cars and experiments that guests could touch. Here is a photograph of Mike and Brian sitting in an antique car. An interesting fact was that the intersection in front of this museum was where the Notorious B.I.G. was murdered.

On Sunday, we went to Venice Beach. Mike started the day at the beach by running 6 miles. After the run, Mike and Susan rented a tandem bike and the boys rented bicycles as well. la8We rode on the bikes from Venice Beach through Santa Monica. The round trip bike ride was about 12 miles. After the bike ride, we walked along Venice Beach. The photograph to the left is Brian watching one of the street shows. Brian was actually a prop in one of the shows. The boys had some money they wanted to shop with. Almost every block there were “medical marijuana” shops that were yelling trying to get customers. That was pretty annoying. The water was too cold to go swimming. Surfers in wet suits were pretty much the only ones in the water. Since it was Father’s Day, Mike picked where to eat. He asked Susan to pick up some take out Thai food while he relaxed at the house after the long day.

On our last day in Los Angeles, we went to Six Flags Magic Mountain. This was our second visit to a Six Flags as a family. We arrived just as the park was opening. We had just enough time to ride la9every major ride once. We rode one ride twice. Susan surprised everyone by riding all of the rides with us. The boys named Six Flags Magic Mountain as their favorite amusement park that they have visited. After leaving the park, we stopped at Red Lobster, which was right outside of the gates, for a later dinner. The photograph to the right is Brian and Aaron waiting to ride one of the rides.

On Tuesday, we woke up, packed and departed for LAX Airport. The car rental return was the largest operation we had ever seen. Car rental companies lined the streets. Budget Car rental had about 12 lanes to drive into. We then caught our direct flight to New Orleans. On a side note, New Orleans did not have an available terminal for us. We had to wait on the runway for about 20 minutes for a terminal to open.

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