Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Riverbend 2011

I've told you the last few years about Chattanooga's annual Riverbend Festival (see Labels), nine nights of music in June for $30 (we went on five different nights - still a bargain!). All you have to do is get there and park, and enjoy the main act or any of a number of other musical acts on smaller stages. It's all about family and friends enjoying time together, and watching the teenagers walking around like peacocks strutting their stuff. I won't go into a lot of detail again here, except to say that this year we went to see Miranda Lambert (Melody and I went by ourselves and spent most of the stormy night sitting under a bridge and only saw 30 minutes of miranda before the lightening closed her down), Alan Jackson, the Beach boys (with John Stamos on drums!), Kellie Pickler, and Huey Lewis and the news.

The most fun part for Conner is always the children's playground.

But this is what he escaped into during the music ... his DS.

The first night was unbearbly hot, so Garrett enjoyed the misting machine.

Garrett is into bracelets, and his old hippi g'parents were proud of his choice!

One of our favorite things - the sundown view of gathering boats.

We tried to control our eating this year - settled for sharing some chicken-on-a stick. Delicious !

Garrett and Pawpaw sharing a grin.

Melody and my favorite(only) son-in-law.

Since the festival is actually in downtown Chattanooga, the kids get to enjoy some of the activities like the pipe fountain and 'swimming' on the steps and under the bridge, a regular summer attraction.

Fireworks on the last night ...

This is most likely the last year he get's this special treatment!

Can't wait to see who'll be here next year! Whoever it is, we'll be there ...

(A final note ... I AM SO FED UP WITH BLOGGER!!! I have spent more time than I care to admit with one frustration after another trying to do this post, including slow movement and pauses from one spot to another or one letter to another, and just now when I published it, it came out with miles of space between photos and paragraphs! Seriously? Every time I came back from being in drafts I had to go thru this same thing, and it's just pissing me off! Is anyone else having trouble? And we won't even talk about the commenting thing ...)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Garrett's 8th Birthday, Feb. 16,2011

(I was going to put this in its proper spot in February and just do a link here, but blogger won't let me do that, so I'll post it here and then move it later! If you haven't read the previous post, I missed some postings this last six months for one reason or another, and want to back-track and get them on here.)

February 16, 2011, my first born grandson, Garrett, turned eight years old. Conner (the five year old) and I made the cake, with him doing the sprinkles (which, as you can see, all went on one spot!), and we had the usual small family dinner on the day.

My daughter Melody and I have always had a pet peeve about those elaborate, expensive parties that have been the trend over the years, and she swore to never do one. Until this year. For some reason, she decided to do what Garrett said he'd like to do for his birthday...go to one of those bowling alley/arcade games places (the name escapes me) like Chuck E.Cheese. So off we go with eight little boys (and about ten adults) for a couple of hours of fun. I don't know if you've ever been to one of these places, but they're a huge warehouse affair with rooms for different activities, each planned down to the minute and guided by an appointed host or hostess. And between the screaming kids and the pings and musics of the games, they're very noisy!

The table they provided was really cute, and a nice touch was that they had all the guests sign the bowling pin for the birthday boy to take home.

The pizza was delicious, and luckily (and happily) there was enough for the adults as well, as we were starving! The snack bar was outrageously expensive, and you wonder how some families can afford it these days (much like going to the movies).

They had only bowled a few minutes when the hostess rounded everybody up and said that they had to get to the other activities, but could come back to the bowling later.

You can't go wrong with bumper cars! But they were only alloted maybe five or ten minutes, so by the time they got the hang of it, it was time to move on.

I'm not sure what this was - oh, Conner says laser tag, but for some reason I thought they had real nurf balls or something, but what do I know! (Or maybe I've got my photos confused, and this is actually from the next game...)

You definitely can't go wrong with laser guns! I had to take an extra seizure pill to go in here to take photos, but it was worth it to be able to watch the hunters (though I will admit that I had to leave after a few minutes as I got so sick to my stomach that I had to sit on the bench outside and hope I didn't throw up!). Conner has tried to explain both of the games to me, but all I hear is bla bla bla ...)

Back to the bowling alley, the boys ate cupcakes while Garrett opened his gifts, and here he is reading his card from us which said that I would take him to buy the skate board he's been wanting. He was so excited, even after I told him that it wouldn't be one of those $200 fancy ones! ( I had a photo of him looking excitedly at me with a huge smile, but forgot to upload it and don't know how to add it in the middle of a post!)

Would a birtday party be complete without a game room? Apparently not! So noisy that you want to run screaming from the place, but that would be showing your age, and the kids don't seem to notice. In fact, it seems that louder is better to them (as demonstrated when they turn the volume up full blast on their ds and online video games, with a 'tune' that plays over and over and over ad nauseum).

More guns! Good grief! (And that's my husband, David, in the background.)

This is the aspect of this whole arcade thing that DRIVES ME CRAZY (that's Garrett's friend Jake above), as I'm sure it does many adults. You pay something like $10 and more for tokens to play these games. The kids will be over the moon when they score on a game and get TICKETS (which,basically, you already paid for), lots and lots of tickets. Then they excitedly take these tickets up to the counter, eyes shining bright with the anticipation of what things they will 'buy' with these tickets. They totally don't get that they (you) paid the $10 or $20 (or, good grief, $30) to play the games that produced these tickets...only to be able to trade them in for a 5 cent plastic something that will end up in the recycleables a few days later (if it lasts that long), or a piece of candy that will be gone in seconds. Well, just call me Mrs. Scrooge!

I guess the important thing is that the boys had a super good time, and this sculpter of an elk(?) outside in front of the store next door just topped it off! I'm sure he'll not soon forget this special celebration of his birthday, nor will mom and dad soon forget how much it ended up costing!

And the skate board - picked out with care and still being enjoyed. He looked on the computer to read about the care and feeding of his new possession, and went to a skating park to learn the rules and some techniques. His goal is to be as good as Tony Hawke someday, and our hope is that he doesn't break any bones along the way! If only we could wrap them in cottom batting on this journey thru boyhhood...

What is the most elaborate/expensive birthday party you had for your kids, or that your kids went to, or that was your own birthday celebration? Do you have a party in your memory that stands out as one that has stood the test of time?