Monday, February 7, 2011

Birthday, Banjos, Barbeque and Babies ...

The dust is finally settling here at the Raleigh Collins' Household after a very, very eventful Saturday. After competing in the annual Krispy Kreme Challenge that morning, Casey continued his birthday festivities with a party celebrating his favorite things: barbeque, beer, banjo music, and close friends.

Those friends, for the most part, also have babies. So Beatrice Kate may or may not have thought the party was for her (even if she did sleep through most of it). Friday night, Casey and Bea brushed up on their music skillz:
Caution: Has flute, not afraid to use it
Father-Daughter Family Band

But, first things first. Yes, we had planned to participate in the Krispy Kreme Challenge together as a family on Saturday morning. Casey has competed in it for the past few years and regrets it loves it every time. But, when we woke up on Saturday morning to an early rendition of "April Showers" in February, Beatrice Kate and Ashley elected to stay in the comfy confines of our house.



For those who aren't local and are wondering what "competing" means- well, basically, it's a fun-run (emphasis on fun) where participants run two miles (starting at the NC State Belltower) to the oldest Krispy Kreme in Raleigh on Peace Street, eat a dozen donuts (yep, as in twelve and also, a week's worth of saturated fat) and then race back another two miles to the Bell Tower. It's disgusting, it's fun, and it's the only place you'll see people running in costumes ranging from a guy in a full tuxedo to a guy dressed as Elvis. Each year, it seems that participants up the ante at coming up with the most ridiculous outfits. I honestly don't know how one runs in footie pajamas- but it happens! You can watch a video about it from ESPN here.  This year we were personally invested in the event, since it's a big fundraiser for the NC Children's Hospital.  The least we can do to help an organization who saved our daughter's life is to run four miles and try and cram sugar-coated fried dough into our mouths.

Anyway, Casey completed this year's race less than 47 minutes- but only managed to choke down 5 donuts before he caved to the weather and raced back to come home.  Costumes this year included Dog the Bounty Hunter, the four guys who always wear bodysuits, and of course, the ubiquitous mostly naked guy who thinks he's too cool for clothes.  Although, in our book, top prize should go to the guy who wore a complete Ghostbusters uniform, and ran barefoot.  Next year, we'll dress up the stroller and contribute what we can to the costumed hoopla.  (Links: Raleigh N&O photo gallery, various YouTube recountings)

Coming home was a good idea, considering we were expecting anywhere from 15-25 people later that afternoon in honor of his birthday. I think after all was said and done, we ended up with about 15ish not including the 7 or 8 babies. The Triplameds helped "tune" all of Casey's instruments:
With hair like that, he's destined to be a rocker 
Even though he plays it like an upright bass, Zev proved to be really good at strumming, and was a master of percussive banjo tapping techniques.  We think he may have discovered his own unique tuning style that makes a great basis for playing his klezmer-salsa-house-Shakira fusion sound.  Killer stuff man.



We enjoyed a late lunch courtesy of Cooper's (not our dog, though, he would have liked to think the barbeque was for him), with a spread of barbeque, chicken, collards, hush puppies, slaw, boiled potatoes,and delicious beer.  Thanks to the folks at Fullsteam Brewery, located right in the middle of Durham, we had some fresh beer.  Their stuff is not too expensive, available around town now, and comes in growlers, perfect for those get-together occasions.  We had the Carver sweet potato lager and Common Man, both of which exceeded expectations.  It didn't hurt that I got to meet the brewers on the way home on Friday afternoon.  Maybe they'll need some engineering services that can be bartered in the future.

After the feasting, Casey and Pat put on a little jam session:

The pint-sized groupies start to gather
The Birthday Boy himself
Potential Pow-Wow in Progress
Kind of like a Jam Band- only with no pot and less stale beer smell

We ran through a few tunes before some baby mishaps cut the music short, but we'll have to make a go of it sometime in the near future.  Maybe after a few fiddle lessons we can add that in too.  At the very least, we might be able to put together a Raffi tribute band for future child birthday parties.  I think we can make the big-time with the right clientele.


To all the folks who joined us, thanks so much for being there.  I hope you had as good of a time as I did.  Bottom line for this weekend was that it was awesome. Ashley worked so hard to make this week special for me and for all of us, and I can't remember when I had so much fun at my own birthday. Having a child of our own puts "downtime" in perspective, and it also makes each moment we get to share that much more special.

Even it it's just banging pots and pans, the ability to relax for a few moments and just enjoy life is more of a blessing than I ever imagined this week. I knew when we got married that I had found someone to share every bit of every day with, but even then I underestimated how strong and caring of a woman I had found.  Raising a child takes God's love and patience, but raising one while entertaining your husband's silly musical habits must be something that only a mother can do. I am thankful every day that I have a wife that makes our family better just by waking up. Twenty-eight years seems like such a short amount of time, and each day gets better thanks to my family.

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