Grandaddy, Wild Animals and Perfect Weather

Happy Birthday to Big Tom!
I am a little late in this birthday wish since my father's birthday was last week. I thought we would be celebrating when my parents came down for presidents' day weekend. Unfortunately their plans changed last minute and they had to stay in GA so I am doing a belated birthday post with no pics of us all eating the cake I wanted to make him.
My dad is the most humble, unselfish person I know. His entire life is spent working for his family and serving others. There is not a pretentious or self serving bone in his body.  My dad can tend to be a workaholic, always staying long hours and working overtime on weekends.  In thirty years, I have never heard him complain once about going to work nor have I ever seen him take a sick day. And it isn't so he can pat himself on the back or buy a bunch of nice things--it all goes to his family. He paid his own way through the Citadel (I mean who does that, the Citadel?) to then go on to pay for my sister and me to go to college and last year he used his bonus to start Loulie's college fund. I'll say it again--UNSELFISH! 
Two weeks ago he finally bought a new (used) car after driving an old truck for 13 years. I called mom to see if he was enjoying it. 
"I don't know," she said. "It is still parked in the driveway." The new car stayed in the driveway for four days. When I asked my dad why he had not taken his new car to work yet, he told me he was embarrassed and then under his breath said he didn't feel like he deserved a new car. Again--HUMILITY!
Seriously, he is the best dad and I am so grateful for all the lessons he has taught me, for being the picture of what it is like to be humble before the Lord, for sacrificing so much so that I could have a better life than he did and most of all for putting up with a household of girls.

Despite the change of plans and my parents not coming, we had a really incredible weekend. It is just hard to not have fun when it is sunny and 70 degrees in February. We headed down to the SEWE Wildlife festival downtown. I have been going since I was a kid and I have never seen it this crowded. I don't know if it was the pretty weather or that they have added so much more to the festival or if it has just become more popular over the years but there were about a gazillion people in downtown Charleston. 

We started out viewing and attempting to feed the exotic (or exotic for the south) animals. This got a little confusing.

"Look Loulie, there's a zebra."
"No, cows moo. Zebras say uhhhh????"
"Look Loulie, there's a camel."
"Actually camels spit." Five seconds later I found myself apologizing to the girl in front of me and trying to wipe the spray off her back.

We left that tent after trying to feed the already full sheep and realizing that there is no way to explain to a 17 month old that not every animal has to make a noise and that you can't crawl in the cage with a porcupine. 
This is when we really got scared though...

Out of every booth and  dog exhibit and jump castle, Loulie broke loose and headed over to the band. And I'm not talking about some high schoolers strumming some tunes. As we approached, the fiddler was just refilling his cup with bourbon. Loulie stood in front of the band for the next 20 minutes with her hands in the air while her dad stood back sweating through his shirt.
"I just want you to know she gets this from your side" is what he leaned in to tell me as Loulie practically noodled and clapped for an encore. Pretty hilarious as long as this doesn't become a lifelong ambition. All Bert and I could think about was Penny Lane in Almost Famous. :)
We ended the day with a little snuggle from this guy. 

The rest of the weekend was spent bike riding, walking the bridge and hitting the playground. I actually got to meet my cousin, her husband, my sister and Bruce for brunch on Sunday. It's been a while since I have had an actual adult brunch and loved getting to catch up with everyone.
I really wish this was the last of the cold and that we could pack up the sweaters but I have a feeling we'll get another taste of winter. 

On a side note, American Idol is playing in the other room. Some of the contestants are saying they don't know who the Beatles are. "WHAT THE HELLO?" Have they been living under a rock? That should get them eliminated immediately. Not knowing who the Beatles are and/or auditioning with a Ke$ha song---automatic out--you clearly don't know good music!

Hope everyone had a good weekend!
Happy Hump Day! 

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