Fourth of July 2015

    We were home this year for the 4th and gratefully, Travis was finally feeling back to normal. We had no grand plans for the day but we are lucky to have some great kid activities in our neighborhood that we were looking forward to doing together! 
Every year there is a kid's parade that lines up right in front of our house, complete with veterans leading the way! Sidenote, nothing makes me quite as teary on the 4th as veterans who carry the flag and pass on  their allegiance and service to country to the next generation. It's so moving that they come and do this for a group of parents and kids.  
The firemen come as well as some police officers too. That thrills the kids, mine included!
And then we jump in a sea of bikes and wagons and strollers, all sporting their red, white and blue while we walk through a few neighborhoods to our destination. 
Last year, Ava and Carter were at my parents' house and Trav and I enjoyed it all from the balcony with this teeny, tiny firecracker. 
 But not this year! We loaded up our big firecracker, got our colors on and joined the fun too! 
 Bikes, balloons and Walker's foot sticking up in their air, ha ha! 
 Ava waved like royalty to every neighbor who lined up to watch, she loved the whole thing. All those princesses and Disney park parades, means this girl knows how to work a parade route! 
 Walker, however,  took more of a "kick back and relax" approach...
 And Carter was never within range of my camera, he was just too busy and fast to lag behind with us! And of course Travis was a walking billboard for the Gospel  :) 
I love him.  He doesn't waste opportunities! 
 The cutest red, white and blue crew! 
 At the end of our ride is a neighborhood carnival with free food, bouncy houses, a petting zoo, face painting, magicians and lots and lots of people!
Ava was delighted to see so many friends from school and one of her teachers she adores. 
Carter also played with a neighbor and darted around to keep us on our toes, which is his usual mode of operation at these kind of things. 
 And Walker and I looked for shade and stayed cool.  Walker, I love you for that. The shade is my favorite and a baby is a great excuse to linger in it! 
Love these three!
 In the afternoon we went to a new swimming spot that we had heard about. 
 It's a great place for families and it features a man-made, filtered and chlorinated lake. Which was music to our ears after some of the bacteria scares in local lakes. We were sold immediately and it turned out to be a perfect day to be there. 

 Ava and Carter spent hours in the sand, digging and playing and running in and out of the water. 
 I, of course, attended these things as well but since I am the photographer and a mom in a swimsuit, I never made it into a photo. I'm not losing sleep over it! But listen kids, I was there! And I was the one packing, carrying, organizing and keeping track of allllll your junk, just so you know  :)  I also swam with you, so I'd appreciate some mom points for that someday! 
We knew these two would love it but we weren't so sure about Walker.
 Sand and swimming have never been his favorite things but he surprised us and happily played in both.
He even charmed the people behind us and "borrowed" their toy truck while he batted his big eyelashes at them! 
 And then we put our baby who screams at the top of his lungs over EVERY. SINGLE. BATH. into the sandy bottomed lake and because it just seemed right on a hot day and of course, he loved it! 
 Like really, truly LOVED IT! 
 Meanwhile, he has continued to scream at the top of his lungs for every bath since, but on this day he enjoyed a cold lake.  
 Oh Walker, there is no predicting you! You love to keep us on our toes  :) 
 Also, that face just kills us! 
 One of the other things that makes this lake so appealing for little ones is that the majority of it is only 3 feet deep and way in the back, behind the ropes, it's a whopping 6 feet. Perfect. 
Because he did so well, we spent the entire afternoon there and grabbed some take-out on our way home around dinner time. It was such a fun day and just a relaxing time together. It can be a little lonely around here with so many people gone to their cabins or enjoying family time, but the Lord gave us a sweet day and we needed it. Funny how He's good at that! 

When we got home, I hit a serious wall. I think the week of camp, Walker's first birthday and another week of running the ship while Travis was sick finally hit me. I love fireworks but at 7:45 I told Travis I absolutely could not stay awake and I had to go to bed! So Walker and I enjoyed an 8:00pm bedtime while Trav took the bigs to see fireworks with some neighbors. We are again blessed by our location because the city shoots their fireworks off at the lake behind Ava's school, at the end of the street. We have easy access and can walk over at the last minute. It was a fun day and I heard it was a fun fireworks show, too!  Thankfully I slept through the whole thing :) 

I would also be remiss if I didn't mention that the most exciting part of our day was our nephew Cooper making his grand entrance in the world! We woke to many texts and pictures of our newest family member from my sister Jennie and celebrated his precious life on a big day! He'll always have fireworks to celebrate another year! And so will our niece Emma, who was also born on this day last year! She turned one and it's been fun to see how she and Walker have hit so many milestones within days of each other. The 4th has become such a fun holiday for lots of reasons! 

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