Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July Festivities

We had a WONDERFUL 4th of July weekend. It truly was one of the best weekends we've had in ages, and one of the best 4th of July weekends that we can remember.

It had all the makings of beautiful memories - great friends, good eats, plenty of fireworks, water play, boating, sweet and sticky s'mores, and most importantly laughter.

I have to mention here first, the weather couldn't have been more perfect. It's been hot here lately - stinking hot - but for some reason, a cool front came through - and we were blessed with temperatures in the upper 80's with very low humidity. That meant we could enjoy our time outdoors without gasping for air or sweating buckets.
Our good friends came into town Saturday afternoon to spend the weekend with us - and after a quick hello/time to unpack/make a last minute trip to the store - we were off to the first event of the weekend, a lake-front BBQ sponsored by Deonne's work.
It was lovely. Warm setting sun, Hudson's BBQ, boating, paddle-boating, plenty of lawn for the kids to run around and play, flags to wave in the air, a play-set in the yard to crawl up and down and up and down, a beach to splash and wade and swim in, sparklers, and finally, a great seat for viewing the annual Lake Murray fireworks display.

We weren't sure if we'd make it to the fireworks show or not - it was so late when it started and we had five kids with us age six and under. But somehow, the kids seemed to be doing well, so we temped fate, changed the kids into their jammies before the big show, and were able to stay. I'm so glad we did. It was the perfect temperature. We shared a blanket and sat with our children in our arms and watched as America's birthday was celebrated with a big and long-lasting display of fireworks.

The only 'down' was kind of funny - the party host has his own fireworks display following the Lake's show. We didn't think too much of it - and watched as his nephew started lighting them off....not realizing that these were the HUGE shells that go very high in the air and shower down - or that we were VERY close to where he was setting them off - all to say that as the fireworks began screeching and popping and exploding right overhead - we had five kiddies who also began screeching and clamoring to get away.

It was clearly time to go home.

The next day - we didn't have much planned - just to let the kids run and play in the yard with sprinklers and blow up pools. Deonne started smoking his famous ribs early in the day - so they were falling off the bone come dinner time.

We grilled hot dogs for lunch, had sweet cool watermelon - a lunch that just screams 4th of July.

The big event for the 4th came after dinner - I checked out the screen and projector from work and we set up a little movie theatre outside - with the fire going for s'mores, boiled peanuts (a true Southern delicacy) and patriotic cupcakes - you can't ask for more.

Well, perhaps, the two movies we'd selected didn't go over very well with the kids - but that's okay. I think the novelty of seeing a movie outside was enough to entertain. And Jack had a ball dancing around and around to the music of the films.

Following the movie (actually, we stopped it - the kids were losing interest and it was plenty dark) we had our own fireworks display. The guys bought an awesome selection of fireworks - and the kids delighted in them. They were way better than the stuff I had as a kid (mainly smoke bombs, sparklers, snakes, roman candles, and the occasional small fountain) and provided quite a show.

At one point, I looked over at the kids lined up in their little chairs, giggling and squealing and delighting in the fireworks, and realized that this is the stuff memories are made of. I remember clearly the fireworks of my youth - spent with my dad's brother and his family - where we'd stay up late to light fireworks and go to bed sticky from roasted marshmallows with smoke from the campfire lingering in our hair. I remember loving those family get-togethers with my cousins, the fun, the laughter, the silliness, and our parents letting us run wild.

I'm so thankful we have such dear friends that have become like family. I'm so thankful that our children are growing up like cousins - making the memories they'll recall later in life, hopefully with a smile.

Monday morning everyone packed up - our friends for their return trip home - and us back to the lake for the Long family get-together. We were so sad to see them go - but know that we'll get together again soon... for more memory making fun!

And the lake trip on Monday was another fun-fulled, sun-soaked day. The kids adored boating in the pontoon, and swimming around on floats. Even Jack got in on the action - and bobbed around with Deonne in his little baby float.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures - I think I was so tired from the whole weekend that I didn't remember to unpack it.

It was a wonderful, lazy day at the lake - again full of good food, good conversation, and a chance for the kids to play with their cousins (who they adore and look up to.)

I can't have asked for a better 4th of July weekend. The exception, of course, being how much I missed my mom. But I was able to talk to her on Sunday morning (thanks to my dear stepsister who called when she was having her spa-day with the ladies visiting their home for her birthday weekend celebrations.) And even though it made me cry because I miss her so very very much, hearing her voice amid the laughter of her friends and our relatives, was lovely.

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