Fourth of July

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer contains a lot of fun in vacations and graduation parties, and bedtimes that delay until the sun finally decides to go down - but as for our holidays, she's really only got Independence Day.

The fourth of July has been my favorite holiday for most of my life. I can't sing the National Anthem without getting choked up during the line, 'and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night, that our flag was still there.'  As hard as it feels right now to watch America, as a people, I still am very thankful for America, the land.  (I think America, as a people, could use a heaping scoop of humility and lovingkindness...but that's not a tangent for this post).

We had an awesome two-day long celebration for America's birthday!  We started by stopping by Gigi and Pappy's house after church on Sunday and hoping to get to see our Gilmore cousins while they were in town for a little bit.

And that little visit quickly morphed into a pop-up pool party!  The kids were thrilled to get to spend time with their cousins whom they love so much but we just don't live close enough to see each other more than a few times.  We all shared a big pot luck lunch with Daddy and Pappy at the grill, Reid and Greyson shucked all the corn cobs, and finished up with Gigi manning the smore station.  I had my hands free for quite a bit of the afternoon with all the family loving up on Rustin.   

It was a really beautiful day that was perfect for swimming - the kids were little fish all afternoon, Grey even- emboldened by his older cousin- took his first leap off the diving board sans floaties!  

After the pop-up party, we tossed the kids in the car and ran home for a minute to take care of the dogs, before heading back out Sunday night to the Altoona Curve baseball game (minor league) with Abba, Chum, and Aunt Uch.  Grey took his mitt just in case and Gemma, just like her momma, loved all the music and shimmied her way through the stands.  We got to see some baseball, I introduced the kids to cracker jacks, and we even got a photo with the team mascot, Loco - Violet's obsessed with our signed souvenir photo, hhaha.

They had post-game fireworks that were awesome and Gemma could not believe how much she 'loves this holiday!' and thanked me with hugs about a million times.  Violet was less enthused and spent most of the fireworks with her head buried in one of our necks while Greyson, the ever protective brother followed her around to hold her ears.  Besides the standard fireworks, we also noticed at least three kinds of fireworks that we've never seen before - they were all beautiful!  Rusty made barely a peep the whole time while he slept with his ear muffs on (haha, so much for witnessing the main event of his first holiday ever!)

We didn't get home from the game until almost midnight and everyone was totally wiped out.  So we let the kids sleep in on Monday, the fourth, before we sang Happy Birthday to America over sparkler candles on our toaster strudel (hah).  No photos because it was pretty hectic and then Violet touched the burnt out sparkler, so it was a bit of chaos there for a minute.

By three o'clock, our family had arrived to celebrate the day with us and despite the rain, we all still had a great time eating delicious food, potluck style again - and laughing as the kids played together with sheer delight.  We set up the canopies and lit a fire and made the best of the rainy, chilly weather as we could.  The big boys took the rain and mud as an invitation to get totally filthy and then use the hose to spray each other down in the middle of the yard.  The girls floated in and out of the house playing babydolls, and holding baby Rustin, and putting on shows for Lisa and I. Violet eventually just totally passed out for the night on the couch amid all the noise and movement.

By the evening, we had pulled out the sparklers and poppers and bottle rockets and the kids were high on silliness and smores.  Reid and Greyson even got to light some bottle rockets which made them so happy I thought Grey's face might break from his huge smile.

And to close out the night - the big boys participated in their favorite activity of 'horsing around' while the big girls snuggled up together, sharing a blankie.

Such a great weekend of family - who are also our friends.  So thankful, as I always am - but reminded especially so during holidays, that we are surrounded in love by family and friends.

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