The July 4, 2011 holiday weekend was a really nice one for the Party. Full of all things red, white, and blue ... patriotic decorations across the lake house screened porch, reading patriotic books about the history of our country, Uncle Sam, and Old Glory, crafting activities, swimming, boating, tubing, eating yummy summer foods, visiting with family, celebrating not one but TWO July birthdays, and of course, fireworks.
Fireworks were always my favorite part of the July 4 celebration. What kid doesn't love sparkly lights showering down from above, right? This year we braved the scary waters of Lake Murray at night and ventured down the lake to see the annual fireworks display. It didn't disappoint. Huge fireworks booming overhead set to patriotic music from a local radio station, reflections of the fireworks on the water, and a warm summer evening. The kids liked it (sort of.) The water was really rough from the thunderstorm that had passed through a few hours before dusk - and there were loads of boaters doing the exact same thing we were doing - so lots and lots of waves. And waves on a pontoon boat make for a lot of ups-and-downs. Meaning poor little Anna (who had spent entirely too much time in the sun all day) got seasick. Thankfully she didn't actually barfola over the side of the boat - but she was definitely green around the gills. She was happy when the show ended and she could curl up under a blanket at the back of the boat for the 45 minute trip home.
It was during the firework boat ride that we started to think something was awry with Jack - super grouchy, fussy, not wanting to eat or drink much - who ended up having a fever by morning - prompting a trip back to Columbia to the pediatrician's office that was thankfully open Sunday morning. A quick exam + throat swab confirmed strep throat. Thankfully something treatable - and by the next morning he was back to jumping and bouncing and being the happy-Jack we know and love.
Sunday afternoon Deonne's family arrived to celebrate the holiday together. It was really nice to see everyone together - and to see him have such a good time with his older brother. I don't think the two get much chance these days to just have fun, like kids themselves, as our visits are typically way too few and far between and much too short. But Sunday they could relax, and play, and go tubing and knee-boarding, and act like teenagers again. And, yes, act like t-total dorks comparing 'apps' on their new smart phones.
We celebrated two July birthdays - our nephews - who have suddenly become big teenagers - where did the time go?? - with cupcakes and a cookie cake and of course, singing Happy Birthday. Our kids love to celebrate birthdays - and adore their older cousins - so participating in their birthday celebrations was big news for them.
A sudden summer thunderstorm came up in the evening - causing the entire family to rush into the house. I have to admit, it was kind of nice to have us all together in one place (when said brothers started comparing and contrasting 'apps.') Thankfully it didn't last too long - and didn't dampen the spirits of the pyrotechnic boys of our family who lit fireworks from the dock - giving us a fiery and sparkly end to our celebration.
It was a really good weekend - despite the strep throat and the thunderstorms. I was exhausted by the time we made it home Monday evening - faced with mountains of laundry. That's always the hard part about coming home from a vacation or weekend away, isn't it? The reality of life with three kids and the incredible amount of clothing and towels they can go through in a 72 hour period.
I would be remiss to say that I didn't think about my own family quite a bit over the weekend - remembering the 4th of July celebrations we shared when I was a child - shooting fireworks in the backyard (with me, admittedly, cowering in the corner - too afraid to hold a sparkler - I liked seeing fireworks - not touching them) - or seeing them from my dad's boat on the Columbia River. I thought about my mom and step dad - and the annual 4th of July party they've instituted since my mom came home from the hospital following her stroke - and how badly I wanted to be there.
That's really the only word that comes to mind.