Family,  Friends,  Holidays

The Fourth

Our Independence Day was wonderful, crazy, messy fun with sweet family and good friends and great food. Mom called me earlier that week to prepare the menu for our "event," as she calls our cookouts, and Mike spent hours trying to come up with a way to trick us all into playing board games with him after the fireworks were over.

Mom's menu worked. Mike's plans did not. (He did, however, convince a few good sports to play Monkey Ball with him, which is always fun.)

My mom's dearest friend Anne came all the way from Wyoming to spend the holiday with us, my sister Audrey and her family drove all the way from Dallas, and Bre and Josh and Kaia joined us from way out in western Nebraska. The only person missing from the festivities was my brother. We missed you, Paul!

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While Anne knows full well what it's like to be at a Kwaak gathering, poor Josh had not yet been introduced to such an experience.

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I'm never sure who the bigger ham is, when it comes to Mike and my sister.

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And then there's Bre (with her signature mouthful of ice cubes), pretending to be her dad (with his signature Hook 'em Horns sign)…

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I think Josh was looking for a quick escape…

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Baby Kaia was certainly the star of the evening, and got lots of love and reassuring hugs, since the fireworks had her a bit rattled…

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(My beautiful mom.)

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(I think my dad was in love.)

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Later on, we moved out front to shoot all the fireworks the menfolk had purchased.

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And the girls had fun writing things with their sparklers. It takes a lot of practice, and we usually run out of sparklers by the time the writing becomes legible, but here was one of our earlier attempts: Bre was trying to spell "I (heart) Cheese," which you can make out somewhat, if you look really closely. (Cheese is the nickname of her and Josh's favorite band, the String Cheese Incident.)

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(I think Bean was missing someone, but I'm not sure who…. I'll let you know, as soon as I find out…)

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There's my girl!

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Little Natalie, my niece…

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I love this picture of my mom and Sabrina chatting…

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My darling Bre…

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Sophie spent the whole night out in the street with her dad and Pops and Uncle Shaun, shooting one firework off after another, but she did take the time to come over and sparkle a heart for me…

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I'll leave you with this last family photo, and with any luck, someone out there will be able to offer up an explanation as to what Sabrina could possibly be doing in it.

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Poor Josh. Hopefully our event hasn't scarred scared him away for good.


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