Monday, May 30, 2011

I Love A Parade

This morning, Grandpa, Mum, the boys, and I got in the car and went to breakfast before heading out for one of the local Memorial Day Parades. This was a semi-planned event; Grandpa coming along was a wonderful last-minute bonus for us. We had hunted down where the parade would take place, which was a surprisingly difficult thing to do. The parades don't come as they used to come, you know? Lots of areas don't do one, or just do a ceremony, or do their parades earlier in the weekend. It depends, I guess. There's no central Pittsburgh parade; just a parade in one or two of the neighborhoods featuring neighborhood organizations and a few representatives from the city and area.

Breakfast was a difficult thing to find, considering that it is Memorial Day and nobody was really open. We finally went to Eat'N'Park, which is open 364 days per year or so. It's not ideal - the food is kind of cheap - but it's fast and the kids know that they get a smile face cookie at the end of the meal, so it's pretty good. Their breakfast bar is really decent, and it has lots of fresh fruit and the usual breakfast foods. The boys were quite excited over quarter-sized pancakes, and The Boy loved strawberries with strawberry yogurt dipping sauce.

We headed down to Lawrenceville, the neighborhood around the Children's hospital, to find the closest parade. The highlight of our search wa sa cop getting really cheesed off at us when I stopped to let Grandpa out of the car to go ask that same police officer where the parade route was so that we could get a seat! We found a nice spot in the shade, about a hundred feet from our parking spot, about two blocks from the parade origin point, and camped out and waited.

The boys then proceeded to go absolutely nuts during the 45 minute wait before the start of the parade. I mean, they went bonkers waiting: fighting with each other and us, trying to break toys, throw phones (not mine), just being cranky and grumpy children. We love them when they're good, we love them when they're not. As I keep reminding myself, when they misbehave, that's when they need our love most of all!

When the parade started, it was totally worth it. Little Bear sat on Grandpa's lap for the whole 40-minute parade, while The Boy sat on the curb right in front of me. They were entranced by most of it, particularly when different groups started throwing candy or handing out lollypops to the nearby children! It was also nice to see the mascots from the Pirates, Steelers, and Penguins make appearances and give high fives to the kids. (I wouldn't want that job. How hot are those costumes!)

The boys got little flags to wave from the Boy Scouts. I'm not thrilled by the anti-gay stuff by the Scouts, but they are usually nice people and helpful folks. The boys loved their flags and waved them at anybody that came near.

The best part of having little kids is the attention that the folks in the fire trucks and army jeeps and ambulances pay to them. We can usually get siren wails and honks and other cool noises. The motorcycles in the middle were a big hit, as the boys loved the loud engine noises. The girls on horseback were a huge hit for the boys, who think horses are pretty cool. (I feel bad for the lady carrying the shovel right behind them, though. What a crappy job.) There were two bands n the parade: the first was the bagpipers and drummers by the local Scotsmen, and the other was the "Letter Carriers Marching Band."

Not kidding. The postman marchers. That's just cool.

We played for a bit at home, and then everybody passed out in naps. We will probably go to the pool at the JCC family park when/if everybody wakes up.

Two pictures to share, which are in the early running for picture of the year:

Little Bear is expressing enthusiasm for a passing parade display while waving his flag patriotically. Below, can you tell that The Boy dressed himself this morning? The flag had been put down in favor of a two-fist approach to eating candy.

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