elek’s 3rd birthday party

IMG_2570This past week we had a few celebrations for our son Elek who just turned three years old. We sent miniature cupcakes to his class on the day of his birthday and made Mexican layer dish for dinner since he loves chips so much. That night he got to open a couple of presents including a soccer ball and a couple of books from Mama and Daddy as well as several puzzles from Diana’s sister Kristen. The next day, Elek got a bright red retro Radio Flyer tricycle from Gran. Grandaddy also made a visit from Beaufort, SC. He brought Elek a small fishing rod.
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Thursday began his party preparations for Saturday. Nana gave Elek a ball pit (pictured to the above) that was a hit at the party. We bought ingredients to make our own pizzas. It was a great success. We used premade crusts, mozzarella, peperoni, sausage, and pasta sauce. They were quite tasty and there are enough leftovers to feed an army. There were cupcakes and single serving ice cream that the kids just loved. Annabeth was nice enough to come over and play a few songs for the children. There are some videos of that on the previous post. Elek also received a brown horse stick toy that he can ride around from Gran. Elek loves galloping sideways. Mama and Daddy gave him a small piano like in Peanuts and a whiffle bat and ball.
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The next night we went over to Nana’s house to celebrate with their family. I think at this point Elek was sort of worn out, which is a good sign that he had a great birthday. Dave gave him a soft rocket launcher that shoots the rocket when you jump on an air pouch. Elek quite enjoyed this toy, though at the party he seemed a bit overwhelmed by how many people were there. He was also a little sick or maybe it was due to allergies just like his Daddy. It seemed like Elek really had a great time for his birthday this year. We hope in the future we can think of constructive things for his birthday that he will enjoy.

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elek’s 3rd birthday party videos

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snow patrol concert in nashville, tn

IMG_2429This past weekend, Oct. 2-4, Diana and I went to Nashville to see Snow Patrol. We left about 3:30 PM Friday and made it with time to spare to their 8PM show. Elek stayed with my mom (Gran) over the weekend and we prepared him for it by telling him a day or two in advance. To the left is a picture of the Tennessee River which is where traffic slowed down to almost a halt. We could not have picked a more scenic place for the traffic slowdown. It was beautiful!

IMG_2441We arrived in Nashville at 6:30 PM. We went directly to Jimmy John’s across from Vanderbilt to pick up our dinner. Our next stop was the infamous Frugal MacDoogal where they had Sailor Jerry (the best rum ever) on sale for $19.99 a handle. We obviously got two. At this point both of us are ravenous! We finally get checked into the hotel around 7:20 PM and made drinks/ ate our Jimmy John’s sandwiches. The Italian sandwich that I got reminded me of college.

IMG_2452We were ready to go to the concert at 9:45 PM. We stayed at the Millennium Maxwell House that we booked through Hotwire for about $59/night. I found this article on Lifehacker that shows you how to pretty accurately guess which hotel you will get on Hotwire using Trip Advisor, which was really helpful. That night we took the free shuttle down to 5th and Broadway where the Ryan Auditorium is. The Ryman is an intimate venue that is about 1/3rd or 1/4th the size of the Orpheum in Memphis.

IMG_2461We arrived at the Ryman right after the Plain White T’s finished, which was perfect. We were seated at the front right of the stage with a great view as you can see from the pictures. Snow Patrol was amazing. It was the best concert I’ve ever been to. The lead singer, Gary Lightbody, was more enthusiastic, humble, and funny than any other musician I’ve ever seen. He’s the type of person you would want to hang out with because you know you would have a good time.

IMG_2465Snow Patrol played from 9:25 to 10:50 PM, which was the perfect length. They came out for one encore where they played some stuff off of their new album. It sounded pretty good and I need to obtain their new album. Their use of piano and large four mallets was wonderful! They were equipped with two drummers, a pianist, the lead singer, lead guitarist, bassist, and an acoustic guitarist. During the show, the guy next to me who was very friendly (and intoxicated) gave me a hard time about not singing loud enough. IMG_2476He then befriended me and bought me a beer that I didn’t necessarily want (fat tire). I drank it anyway and it was great. He also returned my jacket that I tried to leave behind.

After the concert was over, we walked out onto Broadway and toward Decades where we met Dave and Ashley. Ashley has since moved in to Buckwild, which we did not make it to this trip. We went into the first floor of Decades with a $5 cover. I suppose this floor opens a little later than the upper floor. IMG_2480Last time we went to Nashville we were the FIRST people in the second floor of Decades and we were the ONLY ones there for quite a while. We played quarters for about 2 hours with Dave and Ashley. Good times. We had a good time at Decades and left a couple hours later to go home. We passed the trailer park bar, but decided against it and headed back to the hotel. The picture on the left is what the view looked like the next morning. B-E-A-UTIFUL! IMG_2491So beautiful in fact that we decided to eat breakfast/lunch at Noshville’s and head to Percy Warner Park. We were able to finagle some fries out of the cooks at Noshville’s with the help of our awesome 43 year old waitress Alisha. She is from Memphis and related to the Grisanti’s.

We drove through Belle Meade to get to Percy Warner Park. That street has the largest and nicest houses I’ve seen in Tennessee! IMG_2496Once we got there, we climbed the large staircase to the top where a wooded trail began. We started walking along it and came to a point where we asked a fellow hiker where it went. He said it was your standard 2.5 mile trail so we turned around and went the other direction toward the top of the hill/mountain. Once we were satisfied with walking along the trail, we decided to drive on the road that went around the mountain. It took us 30 minutes to get all the way around the trail, but it was so pretty! IMG_2499After we were done with the park, Chris came over around 5 PM to have a drink with us in our hotel. Somehow the topic of save a horse, ride a cowboy came up and I randomly blurted out “save a whale, ride a cheerleader”. Beats me. Afterward, we talked about where to eat and decided on the Rosepepper Mexican restaurant in East Nashville. Diana called her friend Cortney who met us there after we ordered. The food was great and you could tell it was at least somewhat authentic because there were a couple of Mexican guys knocking back some tequila at the table next to us. The portions were ample and the food was quite good. IMG_2504They brought out three different types of dip with our chips, regular, hot, and salsa verde. The dips were all very tasty though my favorite was the spicy.

After the Mexican food, we rode to Five Points in East Nashville and had a drink at one of their bars. Chris bought Diana and me a Bushwaker that was way too filling after Mexican. At that point, unfortunately, Diana and I had to call it a night. We went back to the hotel in utter pain and went to bed. The next morning ended our stay in Nashville. We headed back to Memphis at about 9 AM. Talk about a great birthday weekend! And remember, “Save a whale, ride a cheerleader.”

Also, below are two short clips that give you a feel of the Snow Patrol show. Enjoy.

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