Stone Mountain Highland Games and Going to Market

On Saturday we went to the Stone Mountain Highland Games in Atlanta.  The day didn’t exactly start off as planned.  We had decided to take the van instead of the Rover so that there would be plenty of room for shopping and the stroller.  We had been so clever, moving the seats and filling up the van the night before, only to pile the kids and all our stuff into the van and discover that it would not crank.  A quick look under the hood and we discovered a faulty battery cable.  A quick trip to the auto parts store (which is a funny story in and of itself) and a quick jump off and we were good to go, albeit an hour or so later than anticipated.

This was the first trip to the Games for the boys.  We didn’t go last year and so it was with great excitement that we entered the fairgrounds.  There were vendors set up as usual and pipers practicing all through the woods just like always.  And most gloriously, the weather was very cool.  It was perfect.

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Jim and Dandy watching the bands.  Dandy LOVES his kilt!  

So anyway, Jim ended up taking Sophie to the parade grounds to watch the opening ceremonies while M and I raided the vendors. 

M got me a new hair comb from Crafty Celts for my birthday present.  I hung out at their booth for a while demonstrating the hair pins since I was trying out the different ones.  I end up doing this every year!  Seriously!  Last year Jim got me the horsehead pin for my birthday and I had ever intention of getting the plain hair fork this year, but I can’t resist a horse-head comb, especially when it stays in so well!

Dandy scored a bracelet at the Crafty Celts booth too.  He’s been wanting a bracelet like the one Jim wears and they luckily had one small enough for his little wrist.  He wears his all the time, just like Poppy, except he takes it off every night before bed.  I wish they had the bracelets on their site as they are quite lovely in their simplicity.  It’s a thin piece of silver that’s been twisted in different directions (much like the hair pins).  Totally simple, very nice for a guy to wear.

Anyway…

In other shopping: we went a little mental at the DBE booth, but who can resist British tea cookies and cakes?  Seriously!  It’s that good!  This year we brought our own tea in thermoses which was much better than paying $2 for a tiny cup of tea! 

I got into a brief (and thankfully short-lived) dispute with a vendor (he was English… I think he was stressed) who would not let me look at the foot of a pair of kilt hose that I wanted to get for Jim.  I ended up tossing the hose down in disgust and storming off to find another pair at a different booth only to discover that he was the only vendor with that particular pattern and they were quite lovely.  So Jim bought them.  Of course then I discovered that the same a**hole vendor was selling Smarties.  Ugh.  M ended up saving me from having to deal with the man again once she spied he was selling Curly Wurly!!

We picked up a few other things and had a good time watching the band practicing.  We lucked up on a local band (the one that Jim started playing with before he went back to school) practicing before their competition.  We watched them play and personally I think they were really good. 

So after we watched a couple bands compete we decided to leave.  We walked all the way to the car, changed the kids clothes (kilts and car-seats aren’t a happy combination), loaded them in and you guessed it… the car would not crank.  Again.

So Jim pulled out his tools and started working under the hood again.  There weren’t gobs of people leaving just yet, so the odds of finding a kind soul to give us a jump was pretty slim, but Jim worked and worked and finally a kind family came by that offered to help.  And with that we were off!  Again!

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This is the way to the markets!

Since we don’t go to Atlanta all the often we usually try to do as much as we can when we do go.  So while we had gone to Atlanta for the Games, we decided to hit the farmers markets as well and most especially the Dim-Sum place. 

When we arrived at the market we made the observation that it would probably be unwise to turn the car off at that point, so Jim stayed with Sophie and Beckett in the car while the rest of us ran in to do some quick shopping.

**Aside- yes I know letting the car run while we shopped was environmentally unsound and y’all all know how I feel about that.  I also don’t like being stranded with my kids in a not exactly brilliant part of Atlanta either so I took the lesser of the two evils**

M and I shopped as quickly as possible, piling the buggy high with fresh produce!  It was fabulous!  I just wish I could always get plantains that good.  Seriously, they were awesome!  We were also able to restock our Chinese/Asian staples which were at a critical low!  We did get a good many looks, mostly because our buggy was a combination of Mexican, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian things, but Dandy was rockin’ the cute factor too and was flirting at anyone that would look at him.

So anyway, by the time we finished up there we were ready to eat!  So it was off to the Dim-sum restaurant where we did turn off the van, only to discover that it would not start AGAIN!  Arrrggh!!  But, we were determined not to worry about it and into the restaurant we went!

We noticed right off that there was some kind of a to-do going on, all kinds of nicely dressed people walking in with boutonnieres and bouquets.  Turns out there was a wedding reception and they had most of the place closed off for it.  Unfortunately there was no dim-sum because the wedding party was there, but still the menu was expansive and the food was delicious (can you go wrong with duck?  seriously, can you?) but watching the wedding reception was the best!

I never saw the bride, but the parents of the groom made a frantic appearance in our side of the restaurant (there were great giant panels blocking the wedding party from our side of the room).  Seems the MoG busted her zipper when she sat down.  Not a happy woman, I tell you!  Her husband was able to fix it, sort of, but from the frantic expression on her face, I could tell she was trying to figure out how to sew herself into that lovely pink silk dress she had on.  Anyway, our whole meal was like a dinner theater production with various “cast-members” floating by our table periodically.  Plus the food, as always, was divine.

We did have one less than stellar moment when our waitress asked if Beckett was ours.  We said yes and motioned towards Dandy saying that he was our son as well.  The waitress couldn’t resist touching Beckett and playing with his curls and cooing over how cute and wonderful he was, but she totally cold-shouldered Xander.  It was a little awkward as Xander did notice the slight, but luckily he thought it was due to Beckett being a baby.  This has happened a couple times before when we ate at a Chinese place in G’ville. The waitstaff go mental over Beckett (last time they gave him a balloon and a toy and never stopped petting him, while totally ignoring the other two, who were a little miffed over the balloon thing).  I’m not entirely sure how to handle it as I know part of it is a cultural thing.  I don’t want to downplay Beckett just to make Dandy feel better, but I don’t want Dandy feeling less valuable either.  Luckily this doesn’t happen often, but I still think I need to work on my “game-plan” since it looks like it’s starting to register with Dandy and I can’t be caught out unprepared.

Anyway!  We finished our meal and made the trek out to the van.  We loaded up everybody, turned the key just to see and…. nothing.  The lights didn’t even come on.  UGH!

So out came the tools again and Jim started his male version of showing some leg.  And he worked and he worked and he worked.  I noticed a couple guys smoking outside the restaurant, they had noticed our predicament and there seemed to be some movement between them to come our way… when Jim gave M the go-ahead to try one more time and SUCCESS!! The van fired right up!!  Hurrah!! Hurray!!  We were all singing Jim’s praises for a good minute and half as he did a happy jig in front of the van. 

So we were off again, headed towards home (and in the process we discovered a “short cut” and happened to drive by where the wedding had taken place, at least I think it was as the decorations were exactly the same, down to the colors of the balloons).

Half way to home we decided to stop at Commerce super quick (we pulled in the parking lot at 9:45 and the stores all close at 10).  Again Jim stayed with the car and the kids and M and I made a mad dash into one store in the hopes of finding warm fuzzy pjs for the boys and a couple gowns for Sophie and YEAH! they had them!  Plus undies on sale too!  And then totally on a whim we raced into another store where I got my winter “go-to-town” clothes which were desperately needed and greatly appreciated!!  All before they closed!  I suppose Jim was feeling a little left out so we sailed into a Starbucks just for him which turned out to be a good thing as it was a good place for another potty break! 

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So finally we got home, tired and exhausted and then we still had to bathe, dress and bed down the kids AND put up all our groceries, which would’ve been difficult had M not remembered the auxiliary refrigerator was empty!  It was a seriously long day, but we had such a good time and I’m so happy to have a full stocked kitchen to work out of right now!  So many options!

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