Monday, July 16, 2007

July 4th!

If you ask my kids what their favorite holiday is they will tell you it is a tie between Christmas, and 4th of July. I must admit I share their enthusiasm for our Independence Day celebration. I love large gatherings full of tradition, and so, it would seem, do my children!

Our 4th looked rather dull for many years. I grew up helping my family in their business on Fisherman's Wharf, where the firework display insured a high volume of traffic. We stayed open late, and often watched the fireworks from the back office windows. These were neat times of camaraderie between coworkers, but nothing you can really implement with an entire family (and certainly not with Leah). Later, the 4th just happened to be whatever was going on, with no fixed destination or design.

Then in 2001 we went to the Monterey beach called Windows on the Bay with our church FBC, and spend the entire day having a blast. Hannah was 2, Bethany was only 6+ mos old but both loved the event. We had a big cooler with everything (and it's brother) inside, along with 11 thousand incidentals. Bethany mostly sat on laps, Hannah dug in the sand, and pretended to like the idea of getting her feet wet in the water. We were hooked. And somewhere in our hearts we knew we would make this day happen each year.

Some of the highlights since then have included: 2003, when Caleb was a mere 3 weeks old; and then in 2004 I was only 3 weeks from delivering Leah; 2006 gave Hannah a sharp pain, when she stepped on a piece of glass and sliced her foot right when the fireworks were about to start! But over the years we have never regretted the decision to trek down to the water for the entire day. In fact, we look forward to it with great anticipation!

Of course, being who I am, we can't just go without preparations. I have a detailed packing list that gets slightly altered each year (nursing newborn? potty training?) but overall it has held its worth in our home. This year the highlight was the portable potty that we borrowed from my mom. In the past we brought our little child's potty for inside the tent, keeping the trips to the nasty public porta-potties to a minimum for our small children. But this year I knew we needed something more. For reasons only God's sense of humor could fully explain my bladder has been as flat as a pancake since the pregnancy test came back positive. I knew I was in trouble. Two options unfolded before me: dehydrate myself to death OR pack the portable toilet. Since I am now writing this I think you can guess which option I chose. The funny thing however, is that everyone else in our group came to love me for the porta-potty too! It sits high enough to allow an adult comfortable use, and has sealed chambers to make management of it very sanitary. So, without naming names, we had several partakers of our tented bathroom... not to mention Leah some 25 times (and myself at 24).

Anyway! Christopher always gets to the beach at about 6ish to stake out our spot. Our pastor, and sometimes another die-hard man meet him there, and help him lug our stuff to the sand. This year his buddy Mark stayed with him during the early morning for company. I arrived at about 10:00ish with all the kids. The day was absolutely beautiful, and all the children enjoyed time in the water. We also got smart after too many issues with random burns, and forgotten reapplications of sunscreen, and bought all 5 their own swim trunks with matching rash guards. Had we really been cool we would have ordered them online, and gotten cute "girlie" colors for the girls. Nevertheless, they were a great decision for both modesty, and sun coverage. No burns this year!

We hope that you had a wonderful 4th of July. If you are looking for a little variety feel free to join us next year. We would love to have your company. Just beware - after a full day at the beach... EVERYONE is exhausted!

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