Friday, July 5, 2013

Celebrating the Red, White, and Blue

The 4th of July was always my favorite holiday growing up.
It was usually spent at the lake soaking up as much sunshine as possible.
Our lake house was definitely my favorite place throughout childhood.
The week of the 4th was basically a week long celebration with the whole family.
Mattresses and couch cushions spanned the entire upstairs floor so all of us cousins
had a place to sleep.  Lunch time was spent eating sandwiches and chips as quickly and as quietly
as we could.  We ate quickly so we could get back down to the dock as soon as possible.  
That was our choice, but we ate quietly so my Grandpa could hear his soap operas.
That wasn't really our choice, but he never missed a day of his beloved shows
and it wouldn't have been the same without them on in the background.
Who would have thought that years later I would find myself watching one of the same
soap operas?  Silly, special, or maybe a little bit of both?
Being at the lake house also meant countless games of dominies played in the sunroom
with a certain cousin peeking under the glass table before picking his next domino.
Quieter games of 31 were also a good source of entertainment during the evenings
or on a rainy day.  Boat rides usually involved arguments over who was going to sit in the tip
and who was going to have to be stuck in the back with the adults.  None of us cousins
ever seemed to get enough turns on the wave runner and the railings of the dock
were always lined with towels, ski belts, and life jackets.  Many paddle boat rides were taken 
so we could sneak off and jump in the water without our life jackets on.  Yes, parents,
aunts and uncles, this happened on a regular basis.  Weren't we clever? 
Going to eat Mickey Mouse pancakes or to Shooters was a special treat, while trips
to Buck Creek (or Butt Crack as we called it) were a regular occurrence.
Adventures on the golf cart were just that, adventures.  If Grandma, Grandpa, 
or Uncle Jeff would have known how many times we got that thing stuck 
we would have been in so much trouble.  Tubing was loved by far more than skiing was.
The tube was often tied to the dock so we could wrestle in it and try to knock each other out
while singing "teeter totter, pee in the water."  Toads, lightning bugs, and sunfish
were caught and released.  Bigger fish were caught by Nick and Justin.
If not as many people were down for the weekend and a few of the kids were lucky
enough to get a room, we always wanted the duck room.  There were several attempted swims
across the cove or efforts to keep up with Aunt Jenni on her laps.  Pee island was our exit
from the Main Channel and the sign that our boat ride was coming to an end, 
which was sometimes a relief when it was the slow kind of boat ride when it seemed 
like all we did was look at houses.  My aunt spent ungodly amounts of money on fireworks
and my Grandpa made sure us kids picked up every last piece of trash off the boat ramp.

That was my childhood 4th of Julys and this is a glimpse of what 
4th of July looks like now that I'm an adult with a family of my own.

She can't go anywhere without doing the Hotdog Dance.

These pictures do not truly capture Emma's excitement over the fireworks,
but I will always remember her pure joy.  She absolutely loved the big splashes of color in the sky.
Every time the sky lit up with the magic of fireworks she clapped her hands and asked for more.
Her smile and happiness will forever be one of my favorite 4th of July memories.

As the pictures show, Jude didn't exactly share his big sissy's excitement.
He was less than impressed with the loud booms, but I think this mostly had to do with
the fact that he was really sleepy instead of the actual fireworks themselves.
I'm hoping he will find the joy in them next year.

I hope I am able to make the 4th of July as special for my kids as it was for me.
I want them to enjoy the family time, but also recognize and appreciate the true meaning
behind the holiday.  Here's to the first year of making that dream a reality.

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