I hope everyone had a beautiful 4th of July with family and friends-like-family. We sure did! After a barbecue with the Matics-Lambert-Horne-Booth side of our family, we came home, did a few chores, and went to see the fireworks. Temecula has an amazing fireworks show at one of the city parks, and we have an awesome view from one of the smaller parks in our neighborhood. Our HOA brings in a DJ, cotton candy, and all kinds of activities; when the fireworks begin, the DJ tunes into the radio frequency the city uses. The kiddos danced and watched and cuddled last night, and we didn’t get to bed until two hours after their bedtime.

I’ve already been up exercising this morning, and I hope to finish this blog entry before they wake up!

Scenes from the 4th:

Happiness is being with the family. Yesterday was truly a  day to celebrate not only our liberty, but also our cousin Beth who is due ANY DAY with her baby Chelsea. We all had such a great talk about our family bonds and about lifting each other up. Aunt Donna said it best when she expressed that all of us in the room would take on a contraction for Beth if we could, even the men. I knew immediately that this was true: family would do anything for one another. With family, we are never alone. Little Chelsea is being born into a whole group of people who already love her and have her back.

We also established a family phone tree for when Beth goes into labor. It is beautiful how much a part of this so many of us feel.

Visiting on the 4th. Time with family is so precious. As we thought about our liberty, we thought about the liberty we have to choose each other and how much it means that we do. This time with my cousins, and especially my aunts and uncles, is a treasure. I know now how quickly people can leave us—and how much I would give to be able to spend time with my aunt, uncle, and grandparents who have already passed on. We must make the most of the time we have together. The memories and traditions are legacy.

Brandon and Kd

Sister and Brother—I love how her arm is so protective here. That is what I hope for them, always.

Playing at the 4th

Marsh and Beth…we all made predictions! I think by Monday at the latest… She has already dropped and engaged, and Mama is feeling full… As mothers-to-be, we always have a sense of when it is time.

Lovin’ on Rosie, such a peaceful, kid-friendly Golden Retriever

Eric plays with a water gun

Eric plays water gun with Daddy

Katie plays with Uncle George and Boppa. When Bill and the kiddos and I pulled up, Uncle George and Aunt Cheryl drove in right behind us. When Uncle George got out of the car, Katie ran FULL SPEED to give him a great big hug. She adores Uncle George (my dad’s brother) completely. I love that she has connections to the people I love so much. I love how unbridled her joy is at seeing them and how the years have forged that bond. I am thankful everyday for my parents and my aunts and uncles who have created this amazing family net.

What a great time we had yesterday! I grew up with both sides of my family getting together constantly, for birthdays or any kind of celebration big or small. Some of my best memories are laughing all together around Nana’s dining table or having huge all-family slumber parties at the Valley Center grove. I am grateful my children get to experience part of this, as well.

Scenes from my dad’s birthday:

My dad’s birthday was on July 1st. Normally we celebrate at my parents’ house, but they are in the midst of a huge remodel…so we had dinner at my house.

Happy Birthday to Dad!

Uncle David and Aunt Ashley came to celebrate.

Eric shows Boppa the card he made (Katie also made one). We cut letters out of magazines and the kiddos both spelled out “Happy Birthday Boppa” and then drew pictures.

We gave my dad some barbecue accessories for his new barbecue and some sparkly outdoor lights. (My parents’ remodel includes a new master bathroom and an outdoor kitchen/barbecue space).

Comparing tools.

A summer evening in Temecula

We all ended the evening building Legos all together, even the adults! Fun!

It was my Grandpa Mitchell’s birthday the next day, July 2nd, and Nana and I had a good talk on the phone when we called her to wish Grandpa a Happy Birthday. I always think of my dad’s birthday and Grandpa Mitchell’s birthday as being together. Grandpa would have been 96 this year. I miss him so much, and I cannot believe it has been fourteen years since he passed on. He was as cheerful and as good and decent a man as I ever knew, humorous even til the very end. He was a patient, loving grandfather who played with us, taught us cards, danced to the Chimpunks in the living room, swam with us, and came to our school functions and recitals. I never once saw him be anything but totally loving toward all of us. I wish Katie and Eric could have known him.

Scenes from daily life:

Hiking the hill near our house

Eric wanted to wear his Peter Pan hat from Disneyland the other day. Eric Pan, we called him.

The kiddos visit with Nana. This time with her is so important, and I am thankful we are having it.

Visiting with Aunt Jenny

Eric loves to sit with Nana when we visit. They truly have this special bond between them.

Katie and Eric walk hand-in-hand to the last day of music class a couple of weeks ago.

Percussionist Eric. One of his favorite new sentences is, “I sing. I sing.” Many mornings when he wakes up, I can hear him singing in his crib.

Class with some of our friends

Today will be a more relaxed day, getting some chores done around the house! I hear Eric waking up!