40th Birthday Mountain Extravaganza Days 4 & 5

Sunday- recovery day.  We woke up and had breakfast then got dressed to go to town. I had a bit of a headache from all the moscato I drank the night before playing Cranium! CSP & I went to Harris Teeter & the Starbucks inside the Teeter to use their free wifi to set up my new iPad Mini!  LOVE it!  SO cute!   CSP picked up a few lunch essentials while I played with my iPad in the Starbucks.  We stopped by Lowes for a quick minute then it was back home.  After lunch Papa, Gigi, Momo, Sara, and Joey left for Charlotte.   The house was suddenly very quiet.  CSP & I took a nap with the pugs.  While we were napping Marc heard voices on the porch.  Thinking it was us he went outside to join us but it was 2 strangers!  They were chilling out in our rocking chairs just feet from where CSP & I were snoozing (we had the door open, but there was a screen door).  The dudes said they thought our house was part of some tour.  Uh, no.  It’s private property.  So Marc shooed them away.  After our naps there was more porch sitting, knitting, reading, hammock lounging, and BB gun shooting.  IMG_4108 IMG_4109 IMG_4105That’s my Peach Nehi CSP picked up for me at the Mast General Store.  He loves getting an RC cola in the bottle.   In the middle are Jacob, Marc & CSP setting up their BB gun targets.  At the bottom are two little pug loafs hanging out on the porch (Kiki & Molly).  For dinner Marc made us each our own custom calzone (a fun way to finish up all the leftovers from our trip!)

Monday we woke up, packed up, and hit the road for Charlotte.  Being Mountain Pugs can wear you out! IMG_4112

40th Birthday Mountain Extravaganza Day 3

Saturday was Birthday Day!!!

We woke up fairly early and had a light breakfast then got ready to go to town.  9 people and 1 shower means that takes a loooong time!   We went to Hob Nob Farm Cafe for lunch.   Hob Nob is SO good.  I had a crab cake and brie panini with plantains on the side.  Yum.   We had a yummy sangria too.  I wish I’d taken pictures at lunch!

After lunch we stopped by the kayak store so Papa could look at kayaks.  Then we headed over to Appalachian Mountain Brewery.  They weren’t open yet but they kindly let us in early. While we were waiting CSP & Marc went to Walmart to buy more BBs- 2200 of them!   Once the brewery opened we played giant Jenga and all the beer drinkers (not me) had one of their artisan beers. IMG_4097 It was such a gorgeous day and they have this big covered patio.  It was really nice.

We went home and hung out on the porch some more.  People watching, knitting, reading, and BB gunning.   For dinner Marc made pizzas for everyone.  For dessert since I’m not a fan of cake, Marc’s mom made me this gorgeous fruit pizza!  It was amazing!  They sang happy birthday and I blew out my candles then burst into tears.  I was just so overwhelmed by all that everyone was doing for me, to make me feel special on my day.  My heart just couldn’t hold it all in!  Even typing this now makes me tear up.  Maybe turning 40 makes you sappy!  Then it was time for presents.  I got totally spoiled by my family.  Turning 40 is apparently a big deal.   Next it was game time!  We played a rousing game of Cranium and laughed and laughed!  I love that game so much and it’s even more fun when it’s with your family!

We tired ourselves out and went to bed.  What a great day!

CSP turns 40! Third & final day of birthday bonanza!

Monday CSP & I met up with his parents at The Liberty Gastropub in SouthEnd for birthday lunch.  After lunch CSP & I went home to get Zoe then we headed out to his parents’ house for dinner, cake, and presents.  They had their tree all decorated.   Zoe LOVES going with us to her granparents’ house.  Usually it means lots of treats and a present or two, even though it’s her daddy’s birthday.  We had a lovely dinner then it was time for cake and presents.   Notice a theme?  Purple & yellow for the Minnesota Vikings, CSP’s favorite team.  Zoe helped open presents  then got tired and just wanted cake.   The big present of the night was a custom jersey with CSP’s name on it!  He was thrilled!    He had a wonderful 40th birthday.  People kept telling him he doesn’t look 40.  The waiter at Growler’s said the same thing.  He said “You don’t look 40.  And I normally save that for the ladies.” ha!  It was a fun 3 days.  Next up on the list of 40th birthday celebrations- our cruise in January!!!

CSP turns 40! Day 2 of birthday bonanza!

After Saturday’s lunch CSP & I ran some errands, took a nap, then prepared for Sunday.  Sunday at around 1 the parents of CSP came over to celebrate.  CSP bought 100 oysters!  He wanted oysters for his birthday so he got em!  We spent the day preparing a million different kinds of oysters.  Oysters Rockefeller, on the half shell,  stew, and grilled.    I don’t eat oysters but my honey was kind enough to grill me some chicken instead.  It took a good while to shuck all those oysters!  In the meantime we told all the shucking jokes we could come up with!

CSP turns 40! Day 1 of birthday bonanza!

Saturday CSP & I met up with Papa, Gigi, Marc, Sara, Jacob, & Joey at Growler’s Pour House in NoDa for CSP’s birthday lunch.  Growler’s is this cool pub/restaurant that CSP really likes.  I like that it’s next door to the Crepe Cellar.  Papa & Gigi brought the birthday hat and some presents for CSP.   Then much food was ordered.  Wings, beer cheese, pimento cheese, brats, paninis, the works!   We couldn’t eat it all and had to get boxes to go.  Such good food!  The boys came to lunch right after their first basketball games of the season.  Joey had his hair in a fun mohawk!   We stayed about 3 hours and had a great time! I snuck in some 40 candles and gave them to the chef to put in a brownie for CSP.  We all sang and clapped.  Not something you often see in a pub! 

Birthday Buffet

Tuesday afternoon we took Blanca to get a good wash and vacuum then went to pick up Papa & Gigi.  We drove down to Columbia and picked up Momo & Ian after a quick tour of their new digs.   Then it was off to Shealy’s for my birthday dinner!   Half the fun was just getting there as we somehow managed to pack 6 full grown adults into my little RAV4!   Can you see Ian in the waaay back?      Everyone got their fill of bbq and fried chicken.  SO YUM.   I think all the chicken gave Papa the crazies.  Look at this face!   I don’t know why CSP makes these faces, he knows he’s going on the internet!   We had a great time!  It was certainly worth the drive.

Part 3 of Momo’s 21st Birthday Extravaganza!

Ok, so now you’ve read about dinner and pre-club drinks.  Now it’s time for the main event!  We were the first to be let in to Howl at the Moon when they opened for the public.  I ran to grab a good table and snagged one right up front.  If you’ve never been to Howl at the Moon you are in for a treat!  And if you have been then you understand why it’s so important to grab a good table.  By 10 pm it is standing room only.  Howl at the Moon is a rock and roll dueling piano bar.  I’m not a bar girl by any means but when I first experienced Howl I knew that’s where we needed to celebrate Morgan’s 21st for a few reasons.  1.  It’s not a stand around nursing your drink kind of bar.  You get a show.  A great show.  2. They play songs everyone knows.  From rap to country to classic rock to top 40.  3.  The people are friendly.  Not just the staff, but the patrons.  4. The musicians are really, really talented.  5.  It’s just really fun!  Click on all pics to enlarge.

So we ordered our first round of drinks and I got my camera out.  We all ordered something called a Pink Passion becauseproceeds go to breast cancer research.  What they don’t tell you is how GIANT this drink is!    Look how big that thing is!  It’s sitting next to Shirlee, my purse, for scale.  It was SO good.  We would have drank those all night except we saw the bucket drinks and we knew we needed some of those.    They come with a handful of straws so everyone gets a taste.  Don’t worry, the alcohol kills the germs.  They are yummy!  Note how normal the first few pictures of the evening are.  After a few buckets and a LOT of singing yelling along with the band, the picture quality gets a littlejanky! 

Behind the bar is a big mirrored wall and for a dollar or two you can get them to write a phrase on the mirror.  We snagged the first free phrase.   You can request songs so we put in for Brown Eyed Girl and they called Momo up on stage to dance along for her birthday.    She pulled Ian (one of her roommates) up with her.  My camera got passed around and we took over 300 pictures that night.  Most were of people drinking from the buckets.    At one point this cute girl stopped by our table.  She was wearing a hat and a cute dress and was hugging everyone.  Then she started drinking from our buckets too!  At the end of the night we found out NONE OF US KNEW HER.  We all thought she was friends with one of us but she was just a stranger!  She hung out with us for a good while too!

  As the night went on and the crowd got bigger and drunker, more people ended up on stage.   Even Gigi got up on stage!    There were lots of characters there that night.  Quite a few bachelorette parties, birthday groups, and even some people out celebrating recent wedding engagements.

I haven’t uploaded all of the pictures for a couple reasons.  1. There are only so many pics of people sucking mixed drinks out of a bucket through neon straws that a person should have to see in their lifetime.  B.  Some of these pictures have been sworn to secrecy.  We are all fine, upstanding adults who don’t normally spend our evenings consuming large drinks via bucket.

I will share with you some of my favorites from that night.  First let me tell you, we learned some things about each other that night.  For one, after a couple cocktails Gigi goes from hugging you to ripping your face off.  Exhibit A.  Poor Sara!   Exhibit B.  Poor Allison!   What can I say?  We’re a very affectionate family.  I also learned that our self portraits tend to suffer the later in the evening it gets. Early on:    Post bucket drinking:   Another thing I learned is that we all have some dance moves that we should probably be ashamed of, especially me.   But we all had a BLAST and that’s what counts!  

You can see more pics here.  Coming soon…part 4.  Oh yeah, there’s more.

Part 2 of Momo’s 21st birthday bonanza

I had our evening planned down to 15 minute increments.  We were behind schedule from the get go but lucked out when we were  able to get seated and fed quickly.  We then headed upstairs in the Epicentre to Howl at the Moon.  A mean, tiny man with Subway sandwich breath came out and told me that we weren’t allowed in.

Me: But the website says you open at 6pm.

Shorty McSubway: We have a private event going on.

Me: Well when can we come back?

Shorty McSubway: 8pm.

Me: Can we reserve a table?

Shorty McSubway: No.

Me: When should we line up so we’ll be sure to get a table?

Shorty McSubway: Look Lady, I don’t know what to tell you.

Mind you, the events director I spoke with on the phone said they didn’t do private parties on Saturdays!  And from experience I know that you have to be at the door when the doors open to get a decent table because by 9 or 10pm it is standing room only. And there was already a small crowd gathering.  And it was almost 7 already.  Also, I’d been planning this evening for a very long time.  Momo is extremely special to me and I wanted it to go off without a hitch.  Shorty McSubway did not care about any of this. UGH.

So we decided to pass the time by grabbing a pre-game drink at Mez.  It looked pretty funky from the outside and it was just a moment’s walk from Howl.  We walked in and knew right away that we were totally not cool enough to be there.  The decor is super modern and moody.  We sat down near the bar.  It was semi-crowded.  Members of the waitstaff came near us multiple times but no one took our order.  Speaking of the waitstaff- the men were wearing all black- shirts and pants.  Pretty normal.  The women were also wearing all black.  But they appeared to be wearing swimsuits, jog bras, ice skating skirts, fishnets, panties on top of fishnets- all very Lady Gaga gone goth.  At one point a waiter came over with a big bowl and said “Shrimp penne?”  to which Sara replied “No, thank you.  We just ate.”  Bahaha!  He wasn’t asking if she’d like a sample, he was trying to deliver an entree!

Finally we were able to flag down a waitress.  They have some really cool sounding cocktails.  I chose the Lotus Blossom  and won the award for prettiest drink of the night.  It was very yummy!  And very strong.  Those people do not skimp on the booze!  We all had to nurse our drinks as they were super strong.  Everyone tried to make me eat the flower.  I ate one petal and it just tasted like bitter lettuce.  We had a really good time laughing at Gigi when she got a serious case of the giggles. I still don’t know exactly what was so funny!  When it was closer to 8 pm we settled our tab and headed over to Howl.

On the way there I snapped this picture of Morgan: Next up: our evening at Howl At The Moon!