Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fourth of July Weekend

Keith has become wise over the years and does not approach the beach on the 4th of July. Yes, the traffic is murderous, the parking even more so, and the noise doesn't stop all night. But the kids want to be there in the warm sun and the craziness, spending time with family members, grilling hamburgers on the deck, and watching several sets of far-away fireworks displays. We usually stay the night to avoid the two hours of traffic just to the freeway; we would have almost a three-hour drive home if we tried to go home after the fireworks.

(Jonathan tries to fix the gimpy eagle decoration on the deck)

So we arrived around 4 PM, and after unloading in the alley behind my parents' place, I was ever so thankful to find a rather tight parking space only a block and a half away. I had to jockey back and forth quite a bit, but I did make it into the spot, right against the curb. Perfect. Everyone was coming up from the beach to shower and get dinner ready, so the kids pitched in, carrying condiments and drinks up two flights of stairs to the deck on top of the second story. Before long we were settled with drinks and "doggie dip" (onion dip with potato chips - don't ask about the name). This 4th the party was rather thin: myself and the four kids, my brother without his two kids, and my mom's cousin Rick and his wife Tina.

(My parents fly both the American and Hawaiian flags from their deck)

After enjoying strawberry lemonade spiked with chardonnay, I chatted with Rick and Tina, showing off Keith's stained glass window photo which was published on the cover of a stained glass catalog. (That's another post!) We soon were chowing down on the obligatory hamburgers and hot dogs, fruit salad and potato salad. Delicious! After dinner exhaustion hit me so I crept down to the guest room (known as the Rosy Room) and read for a while, taking a short nap until it was almost dark enough for fireworks. We had some problems with motel tenants across the alley setting off illegal fireworks in a very dangerous manner, but once the big fireworks went off, we watched displays from Ocean Beach, Paradise Point, Mission Bay Yacht Club, and Glorietta Bay. The boys were getting tired by 10 PM after the Sea World display finished so we settled them on the deck in sleeping bags with my brother to keep them in line. Rick and Tina left after 11 PM, and then Elizabeth and I settled into the Rosy Room and my parents were off to bed. We could hear fireworks going off now and then all night long ... as usual.

(The beach, including Pacific Beach Pier, on Sunday)

The next morning my cousin Nikki and her 12-year-old daughter Kirsten were due in from Kansas City to stay with my parents for nine days. I needed to run out to church to see some missionary friends whom I could only see that Sunday, so the kids stayed behind to help Mom and Dad clean up after the party and get everything ready for house guests. I didn't make it back from church until 2:30 and went right down to the beach where the rest of the family were, including Nikki and Kirsten. Jonathan was boogie-boarding while the other two boys made quite a sandcastle. The kids and I stayed for dinner to visit a little with the family before driving back home and up the mountain, getting home around 8:30 PM, extremely exhausted.

Hope that you all had a wonderful 4th of July weekend as well!

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