We kicked it all off on Thursday as soon as DW got home from work. I had us all packed and ready and we headed to meet my family at a lake house my parents had rented for the long weekend on Lake Weir. It only took us about an hour to get there, and these little cousins were sure excited to see each other when we got there.
Mom found a great house, with plenty of room and the perfect outside set up. The view was gorgeous – Lake Weir is huge and from the deck it was like looking out on the ocean.
Down by the lake, there was a sandy beach area and the water was clear for a long way until it got deep and you hit the grass. It was the perfect depth for our little kids and they loved being able to run and splash and float and “fwim” – Maybree would crawl around and say, “I fwimming, wook at me, I fwimming!”
We woke up Friday morning and had a big breakfast and then got sunscreened down.
We played in the water for a few hours – we floated, had some water gun fights, watched the ski boats zoom by and even had a flyover from an old US Army plane.
After a few hours, we headed up for some shade…and some lizard hunting. (When Uncle Beau is involved you can bet there will be critters involved, too).
Yes, that’s a baby lizard in her hands…
After the hunt, we snacked on patriotic rice krispy treats, red white and blue dirt cake, and of course a summer staple- boiled peanuts.
The rest of the afternoon was full of naps and relaxing (except for my mom who cooked what felt like all afternoon)- it was worth it though, because that evening, we piled our plates high with an Independence Day meal that we called “a Granny supper” –
My dad smoked ribs, and we had all garden fresh (my Granny’s favorite) sides to go with it…fresh acre peas, creamed corn, & sliced tomatoes. Mom added in some macaroni and cheese for good measure- and the kids.
This was DW’s plate- mine wouldn’t have had tomatoes on it (gag) ;)It was excellent and I started waddling after dinner for sure- just kidding- I’ve been waddling for what feels like months now- LESS THAN A MONTH to go!!!!!
My favorite peepsWe all sat around the deck listening to old music and laughing our heads off while my Mom DJ’ed and did some dancing with her granddaughters. No song compared to “Dancing Queen” to Mamie, who kept asking to hear it again over and over. I’m not sure my Mom’s ever been more proud.
At one point mom said, “Don’t yall love this?” (I think she was referring to the Mamma Mia soundtrack – to which my Dad replied – “not really, but we love you...” There’s something really sweet about knowing your parents love each other. :) (and for the record, I love the Mamma Mia soundtrack, too). There were even a couple slow dances thrown in, that will be filed in my heart and memory forever.
We caught some more lizards, because that seemed to be Garrett’s favorite thing to do… (apparently Mamie likes it, too)…
The kids were all up for some more water fun, so DW & I took them back down to the lake.
Watching them splash at sunset was pretty spectacular.
When it was dark, the booms started and we sat and watched for well over an hour as everyone around the lake shot off their fireworks.
Uncle Beau & Aunt Kristy
They were fantastic – and it was so neat to look out across the water and see them all the way around. Our contributions to light up the sky were glow sticks and giant sparklers. We cater to the little crowd in our family. :)
Saturday morning our little crew grabbed our overnight bag and headed for Daytona. The race weekend is a long standing 4th tradition. We made it to the condo around 10:30--- in time to get our sunscreen on and head to the beach. This year we were missing Van’s crew who were out of town, but we added Parker!
Sweet Parker’s first 4th & first beach weekendPappy had set up the tent and grill and we had our standard 4th meal on the beach.
After some sun, surf and lunch, Lauren & I headed up with Maybree and Parker. The rest of the crew stayed a little longer and AB got some swimming in the pool in with her Daddy & Uncle Adam before the rain hit and everyone had to head back upstairs.
That evening for dinner we headed to Red Robin.
Pappy, Nie-Nie, AB, Mamie & ParkerThe rain changed our plans AGAIN and the races were postponed, so instead of the usual (the guys go to the races and the girls hit Krispy Kreme and Super Target, we all gathered back up at the condo. Pappy & DW saved the evening with a 9pm Krispy Kreme run though. :)
Sunday morning we started packing up. The plan was for Nie-Nie to drop the guys off at the rescheduled races. The girls and I hit Super Target on our way out, because it’s just second nature to stop there while at the beach and then we headed back to the lake.
We had birthday lunch for Dylan, who’s birthday is next week.
After lunch, Mom & I took the kids back down to the water for a couple hours.
The girls and I headed home before the afternoon rain set in and we ended up pulling in at almost the exact same time as DW, who’d brought home a race prize for baby brother.
Last night, after our bags were unpacked, the laundry was washed, and I’d washed the lake and salt water out of the girls’ hair, I took a deep breath and propped my cankles up. Family fun takes work- and when kids are involved no vacation or little trip is as relaxing as you think it’s going to be. In fact, they usually don’t even turn out like you think- because there are things beyond our control- weather, other people, etc…but in the end, if you’ve spent time with the ones you love, then it was a success.
We are so very blessed with parents and our children are blessed with grandparents who spoil us – not only with “things” (and believe me, they do plenty of that) – but with TIME and EXPERIENCES and MEMORIES. This weekend the efforts of Pop, Grammy, Pappy & Nie-Nie were not wasted on any of us. Everyone had a great time, Pop didn’t get a sunburn and Pappy can still walk after sleeping on the couch. That’s a win in the books for some more family fun. I sure love (and appreciate) them all and I’d drag my 9 month pregnant self back and forth across the state to do it all again. :)
Happy Birthday, America – we sure celebrated it up this year!