Our Fourth

What a weekend!  Saturday we spent the day visiting with lots of extended family at my mom’s family reunion.  My mom has one brother and four sisters, so it is a big group. (Funny thing about this picture? There are about 2 dozen people missing.) It was great fun to catch up with cousins that I hadn’t seen in a long time, and fascinating to watch people I knew as kids now chasing their own little ones around.    It was also fun to chat with my newlywed sister who is now blissfully expectant, due in December.  God gives us such good gifts.

There were reunion festivities planned for Sunday as well.  But after some hard thinking– OK, outright agonizing on my part — John and I opted instead for our traditional at-home 4th.  With our children growing up and heading out on their own, it is feeling increasingly important to have some traditions that allow ‘just us’ to have fun together as a family. We want to make it fun for our older kids to come home.  We want our younger ones to benefit from their positive influence.  And frankly, John and I love seeing our children enjoying the company of each other.

The afternoon of the 4th was spent filling the all-important water balloons and preparing much yumminess for dinner. Dinner was eaten on the deck next to the pool.  There were BBQ’d hamburgers with all the fixings:  bacon, avocado, tomatoes, onions, relish, pickles, etc.  There was a vat of homemade guacamole and chips– a dozen avocado’s worth, and we ate it ALL.  Bacon cream-cheese jalapenos–yum!  Then there was watermelon and BBQ’d corn on the cob, with homemade ice cream later in the evening.  (I opted for chocolate raspberry ice cream.)  Oh, and the traditional 4th of July red,white and blue layered drinks.

After dinner came games.  First up was a new addition to our 4th of July lineup, the watermelon seed spitting contest. Some of the kids thought mom had taken leave of her senses to suggest such a thing.  Probably I did.  But it didn’t take long for most of them to get into the spirit of the game. OK, John and I did too. John turned out to be the champion of that event.  I stunk at it.  But lucky me, Israel happened to have control of my camera when I made my attempt, so it is now preserved for posterity.

After the spittin’ was done, then came the Water Balloon Olympics.  That afternoon we’d filled two coolers and a kiddie wading pool with five hundred water balloons, and the kids were more than ready for action. We started off tame, with the Balloon Roll.  Sounds simple, especially on our sloped driveway.  But the balloons are incredibly fragile, and a lot of the balloons only made it a foot or two before popping.

Next we went for distance.  The twist? Once you’ve had your turn, you get to stand on the spot where your balloon landed on the driveway.  Putting you smack dab in the line of fire for the next volley of balloons.  A mite unnerving, especially if the next contender happens to be a grinning brother.   Or husband. Our 12 year old boys surprised us with their arm strength compared to last year. What a difference a year makes!

This year we also did a relay race, using balloons and mixing spoons.  This one involved lots of laughing and cheering, and perhaps even a teensy bit of cheating by the two final contenders.  I’m pretty sure that at least one of them was cutting corners, and the other had a thumb on his balloon.  Best part of the race?  The grins on the faces of the girls as their daddy crossed the finish line.  The race ended up being a tie, as far as I could tell, and much fun was had by everyone involved.

Then finally, it was time for the water fight! Here are a couple of the kids primed and ready to go.  I enjoyed diplomatic immunity, since I was carrying the camera.

The war has begun!

And then, just in case they weren’t wet enough, at least half of the clan headed into the pool for a dip.  In their clothes.  Good fun!  Happy 4th!


  1. You all are hilarious! Fun pics!

  2. I never wanted a bigger family more in my life. Your fourth looks like the MOST fun!

  3. Looks like you all had a blast!

  4. Great post, terrific pictures. [:-)

  5. My brother is using crutches?!?! Why!?!?

  6. the pic with the cooler is priceless!

  7. Action! Looks like so much fun!

  8. LOVE the pics, Mary…and that first shot…of everyone…so wonderful. I must say, my favorite is of your youngest…running from the action. PRICELESS!

  9. What fun! Love those pictures – especially the ones of the water balloon fight!