Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Family fun on the Fourth!

Well, now that I've finally uploaded all these photos, let's see if I can adequately describe the incredibly fun weekend we spent with my brother's family! (I think the pictures do a much better job!) :)

We left early Friday morning, hoping to take full advantage of the day we had planned at the amusement park. Numerous stops along the way (including one to switch out our useless windshield wipers) put us there much later than we originally planned, but things still worked out just fine! Beautifully, really! We had a quick lunch, then headed to Cliff's, and, although it was already nearly two o'clock, a thick cloud cover made for very pleasant weather; we never once felt uncomfortably warm! It had been a couple of years since our last visit, during which Caitlyn had not been at all interested in the rides and Meghan was still much too young, but this time, they had such a blast! Our Meghan is just fearless! We started in Kiddie Land where all the children (except Kristen) rode every ride (some more than once!) and then stopped for a snack break before hitting the big rides.

Kristen pretty much spent a large portion of our time there sleeping. That girl can sleep through anything! She had missed her morning nap and was quite tired by late afternoon. The big kids, in the meantime, had such a great time riding the big rides with Darren. Poor Meghan was so upset that she couldn't ride EVERYTHING! I was so surprised at how many scary rides Dylan wanted to try. He totally gets that from his Daddy! He actually rode a big roller coaster that I don't think I ever tried until I was like twelve...and even then I remember being scared silly! Darren and my sister-in-law couldn't wait to go on the most thrilling rides there; my brother and I just stood by and watched as our insane spouses had a great time riding upside down in (or hurtling rapidly down from) the sky!

One ride that has always been a huge hit is the Rocky Mountain Rapids. I followed my little family's "log" around the route trying to get shots from every vantage point! They loved it! After that we headed over to the Water Monkeys' Adventure to let them play in the pool and water games, but it was still so cloudy and the water was so cold that they didn't stay in very long. Meghan, in fact, kept going in and coming back out; I tried to tell her she'd be better off to either stay in or out! She finally got out and wrapped up with me in a towel...she was freezing! We were all happy to finally head home after a long, fun day to a delicious home cooked meal at my brother and sister-in-laws!

Saturday we rose bright and early and drove over to the home of my sister-in-law's sister, who lives in a neighborhood that holds an amazing annual Fourth of July parade and party! Neighbors set up games and prizes, snacks, and drinks in their driveways, and the festivities kick off with a fun parade around the neighborhood with kids on bikes, scooters, ride-ons, strollers, or on foot! The parade is led by a fire engine—so exciting!—which stays and provides, in small groups, rides to the children as part of the fun! Luckily, it was another cool, cloudy morning, and by the time the sun finally came out, we were ready to head to lunch, anyway!

Later that afternoon, my sister-in-law set up the kiddie pool in the backyard and all the kids had fun swimming and splashing for a while before dinner. Some fun rounds of horseshoes, swinging, and playing in the sandbox also helped pass the time before dark! We also lit a number of smoke bombs while it was still light out, and then went in for a bit when it started to rain! Luckily, it was short lived and we were able to situate ourselves comfortably on the front lawn to watch the display of fireworks set off by Darren and my brother. I wish I had photos of those, but by then I was so tired that I didn't even think of getting out my camera! I was having a hard enough time just staying awake in my chair! I never understood how anyone could actually sleep through fireworks—I think I found out this year!

It was a wonderful, tiring, fun filled weekend and I'm so glad we had the opportunity to spend it with family! My children already miss their cousins so much, but we'll be able to see them again next month when they'll be down here for a baptism! And, as a cute aside, I just have to add that I think one of the highlights for Caitlyn and Meghan was the opportunity to try on the beautiful ballet costume my niece wore recently in a recital. My girls had fallen in love with it when they saw her lovely portrait sent by my sister-in-law, and they couldn't believe they could actually wear it, too! It's all about the little things, really. :)

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