The 4th of July has always been the annual commemorative celebration of my longevity.
Growing up the day would be spent with a holiday parade viewed from the curb of the street in a small Midwest town.
The 4th of July was all about BBQ chicken served in the Park, swimming at the community pool with cousins or friends, and time spent with family.
We watched the fireworks displayed over Lake Leota in the park after dusk and walked through the hometown streets where we returned to twirl with sparklers in the lawn.
With our own family, I'd always hope to recreate the same feeling of contentedness with my children - glossing over the whole longevity celebration. I just wanted them to feel what I felt on the 4th of July.
Ok so realistically that probably didn't happen.
We tried family picnics.
We tried parties in the backyard with friends.
We scrambled every year to figure out from where we would watch the fireworks when we weren't in the Midwest.
Every year I was asked "what do you want to do?"
Honestly I just wanted someone else to make that decision but I am the designated family 'Julie McCoy, Cruise Director'.
There were special longevity celebrations. Neighbors surprised me on the 4th of July with a 30 year party in our culdesac in Puerto Rico. I didn't even realize it was happening until cake was brought out for dessert.
Our children pulled off a 50 year celebration right under my nose with 50 black flamingos in our front yard and a BBQ, as well as watching the fireworks together in the park.
Often times we end up having a meal together, then going our separate ways. We'd opt to stay home from fireworks and avoid the crowd
Earlier this year I retired as family cruise director. Mike and I decided to take a road trip for the week of the 4th. I selfishly wanted to go back to Wisconsin and Illinois where I could hang out with my parents and visit my sister's family house on Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver, Indiana.
After Mike was chosen to have his own special summer adventure, I decided to fly back to Chicago instead and took an entire week off.
We had a fabulous weekend. Boating, tubing on the lake, fireworks on the lake, delicious food and lots of laughs. It was exactly what the doctor ordered for a week of rest and relaxation after a month of wedding travels, photo shooting and editing.
Road trip-Culver style. We hopped in the golf cart and drove over to the grocery store.
My sister's 'cool down' was spent walking 3+ miles with me. Hey - don't judge!
My nieces - Lauren, Mackenzie and Nicole; and oldest nephew Kevin
Culver is an adorable little town with friendly folks.
Time to spend the day on the lake.
My beautiful niece Lauren
The Culver Cadillac
Nicole, Lauren and Mackenzie
Nicole, Lauren and Mackenzie
My oldest nephew keeps an eye on his sisters.
Time for the 'old lady run' with my sister Di and friend Michelle.
Nicole, Kevin and Mackenzie
Getting a little air.
Nicole goes splash.
Always with a smile!
Kevin, Lauren and Di
Mike stays dry in the park.
On the beach
Lauren helps the dogs cool down.
Emma and Pez
Card games in the park.
My nieces cheat - BTW
Here's the scoop. If Auntie Deb tossed and scored it would be cancelled by someone else's near miss.
Thanks for a great weekend.
I love you all!