Last weekend - what a weekend! A holiday, a birthday and a Big Event.
The 4th of July was a quiet one for us this year. We used to make a big hullaballoo and have a giant cookout and take the kids out in the mosquitoes and humidity to see the city's fireworks. We have been toning things down a bit these last couple of years and this year's quiet celebration was just right. We went to my brother's house and definitely ate well! My little nephew was so utterly pleased to have so much of his family at the dinner table - he was beside himself with silliness and laughter all night. We had a little package of sparkly fire things that we played with in the back yard too, which was of particular interest to Andrew!
Nolan watched warily from the porch. Pretty soon, though, he was loving the explosions.
Right after the fourth was Andrew's birthday. I mean, it's not like it moves around on the calendar or anything, but I'm always surprised to have one party so quickly followed by another! Now that he's a bit big for the giant theme parties we used to have, we have a tradition of taking him out for his birthday dinner to the restaurant of his choice. And I must say, our wallets and palates were all pleased with his choice of Chipotle this year.
After dinner came birthday cake (root beer float cake, no less!), homemade ice cream, and presents at Grandma's.
Aaaannnnnd after that? Well, our little family went on an adventure. As everyone-who's-anyone knows, the last space shuttle launched on Friday morning of last week. We took our kids to see it up close. Immediately following the Thursday night birthday festivities, we drove over to the coast, where a special parking space right by the water was waiting for us. Upon arrival, we could tell that we definitely had a great vantage point. The launch platform was so beautiful, lit up at night!
There were already so many people camped out, of course. We had intended to try and sleep a bit in our car, but it was so hot and humid and generally uncomfortable. We got out to stretch and walk a bit and stumbled on a perfectly-sized-for-a-family-of-four patch of grass. That's when we decided it would be better to just nab a great spot than to sleep. So we set out chairs and blankets and waited. The kids were able to sleep a little on the blanket and I had a chance to knit a little - something I haven't had nearly enough time for this year.
The crowds began to swell as the sun began to rise and I suffered from lens envy at every turn, feeling a little sheepish about my old tripod and 50mm lens. I borrowed a zoom from a friend, but it just wasn't behaving with my camera and, frankly, it still looked puny next to some of the other ones out there!
We managed to hold on to our precious bit of real estate comfortably enough. You could feel the excitement building as the launch drew near. We could see the ignition from where we were and the feeling of watching that shuttle lift off, bright and fiery into the sky - it was amazing. Emma and I both cried and cried. There was shouting and cheering like at the best of sports matches - fists pumping in the air and cameras snap-snap-snapping away. Andrew had observed a little patch of low clouds and had mentioned how cool it would be if the shuttle flew through it. We only realized after we were home and sifting through my photos of the day that it had done exactly that.
Because of our great parking space, we were able to get out of town so much more quickly than most people and we dragged ourselves home, trying desperately to stay alert. It took the whole weekend for Chris and me to feel rested up again, but it was so worth it!
And now we find ourselves in the thick of summer camps and such. Busy? Eh, not really. Just having some fun and doing some cool things. Summer. I like it.