Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Happy Birthday...America

Well we have made it through another successful holiday. I have always loved the holidays and more than that I have grown to appreciate the 4th of July. My father and several relatives served this country for several years and I feel that I am a very proud and patriotic person. Whenever the 4th draws near I am excited to see my family, go to the rodeo, and remember the sacrifices that so many men and women have made in my behalf. It seems more and more I realize what a beautiful place I live in and how lucky I am to raise my kids here.

I can remember when we were little kids going to the 4th of July breakfast in Woodland. I even remember being COLD at the breakfast. My mom and dad were usually putting on some type of a production and we had many friends and family there. My kids however will NEVER get that same experience because every 4th of July their mother is involved in a different production. We are washing cars, hooking up trailers, and doing hair all by 7:30 in the morning so there are no pancake and syrup memories for these girls.

This year Giselle and I had decided to run a 2 week dance camp right before the 4th so the dancers could be ready for the parade and participate but we would not have be committed to the whole summer of dance. It was a lot of fun but very exhausting at the same time. We taught 80 girls everyday from 9:30 am to 3:00 p.m. It turned out great and we once again filled up two trailers of girls for the parade and had some who were walking and performing. I love the 4th of July parade.

(Apparently Mia likes this pose)

Once the parade was over we headed to our house for a big BBQ. Olivia had requested gourmet hamburgers and I live to serve my guests. We had way to much food! But there is nothing better in my opinion that lots of family and lots of food. We sadly had to say good-bye to Aunt Giselle. She headed to the airport and the rest of us sat around and made some plans for the rest of the day. It went like this "Let's do something fun." Many people in agreement that we should go on a hike at Noblettes in the early evening, bathe the kids and get them in their PJ's, light off some fireworks, put the kids in bed and then the adults would have game night!

So we started on our hike to Noblettes. The scenery was breath taking and I was so full of joy to be in that very moment with my kids, my best friend/husband, and my siblings with me. We started up the trail. It was hard to let the kids run and explore the trail without being afraid they would fall or get hurt or even worse that a bear may come out of no where. However they kept up a good pace and got us going. As soon as I started up the trails I flashed back to the Butikofer reunion where I was attacked by mosquitos on a four wheeler trail. Sadly none of us had one ounce of bug spray with us and we were only able to get half way up before we decided the mosquitos had the upper hand. The dads and Mia and Noah stopped by a pond near the end to have a rock skipping competition. (Leave it to McNeils to turn everything into a competition!)

Once we returned home and bathed the kids it was time for the fireworks. A huge thanks to Uncle Rico for the patriotic music and fireworks. The kids loved it and Noah kept shouting Happy Birthday. (I think he knew it was the birthday of our nation) Mia managed to touch her back with the end of the sparkler. It didn't hurt her but somehow Ellie felt the pain vicariously from Mia (She is a bit of a drama queen). We were able to see all of the illegal fireworks all over the valley from my front porch. many people had made a trip up to Evanston, including our neighbors. Once the show ended and the kids were in bed I was expecting a fun night of games and friendly competition; I am still waiting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Apparently too many babies keeping people up at night and now everyone turns into pumpkins by midnight. For the record as long as I was the one having babies and getting no sleep I STILL participated in game night! (Where is my trophy?)

Saturday and Sunday we spent with family as well. Olivia and Rick and Allen and Patrice were able to bless their sweet baby boys together and we had one more dinner before everyone jumped in their cars and headed back to their temporary homes. I can't wait until we all lives in our big community and the party NEVER ends!