Tag Archives: July 4th

Summer Shenanigans

14 Jul

We’ve been having some fun this summer! It’s all Walter, all the time… as it should be!

IMG_20160618_181933Walter’s first movie theatre experience: Finding Dory. He liked it so much he says he wants to go see it every day. He’s not one for moderation yet.


Learning to throw water balloons with daddy in our new backyard. I love that you can’t see any other houses in this photo.


Lunch dates with mommy and the chips of course. Don’t be fooled, they tasted stale.


Doing art projects like learning to work with “paper ma-clay”.


Enjoying the new exhibits at the Atlanta History Center, especially the architectural model of Atlanta. He wants to build an exact replica at home.


July 4th sparklers! Our neighbors were shooting rockets off all night. Definitely going to join them next year.


Getting our swimming legs at a neighborhood pool with friends!


Having a great time with cousins visiting from Miami! I had to bribe him with M&Ms to get him to sit down for the picture.


This picture makes me laugh because he had a blast at the Botanical Gardens, especially going through the scary jungles with Nini.


Independence Day 2015

7 Jul

I love a good July 4th. July is my favorite month because 1. It’s summer, 2. It’s my birthday month (I was a Christmas-in-July baby), and 3. Do I need another reason?

This year we made plans to drive up to Chattanooga to visit Dave’s sister for the holiday. They’re very busy (a lawyer and a nurse anesthetist student), but the boys love seeing each other. Cousin W is only a year younger than Walt, and at this point it’s not super noticeable except for the verbal communication.

Dave started the day running the Peachtree Road Race in the pouring rain but had his best time in years. He’s been running recently and really enjoying it again. We met up after the race at his parents’ house for a Beer and Bagels event — they have a long-standing tradition of running and knowing lots of other people who run too. We took off after and headed up north to eat a late lunch of homemade BBQ. My sister-in-law’s in-laws were there too and that’s the greatest thing about extending your family. You can find lots of wonderful people in the process. The meal finished off with delicious banana pudding, and then Walt took the nap he forgot to take in the car on the way up.

We ate pizza and calzones at Lupi’s for dinner, then found some fireworks over Coolidge Park. We stayed out of the crowds but our view was perfect. It was probably better that we did because Walter kept asking to go back inside (we were at my brother-in-law’s office). Once we turned on some music he seemed to enjoy the lights and ignore the loud bangs. Dave said that because Chattanooga is in a valley it’s possible that the mortars are extra loud.

It was lucky that the rain stopped for our outdoor lunch and the fireworks, because it didn’t stop the rest of the weekend. Of course I don’t even own a raincoat for my son!

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Like brothers.

After a yummy Sunday morning pancake breakfast, we went to the Tennessee Aquarium.

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Walter is insane about bridges right now, and luckily for him, Chattanooga is filled with them, both the walking and driving kinds!

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These two goofy, sweet boys love exploring — and copying each other!

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Butterfly house, right before Walter promptly slipped in the muddy water and basically ruined the shirt his Mimi and Pop brought back for him from Italy.

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I shouldn’t have been, but I was surprised over how much Walter loved the aquarium from the first exhibit, nay, the first escalators, on. I guess it’s just another way he’s growing up, that he’s actually experiencing things now. We sat in front of the glass at many exhibits and just stared.

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The boys got a kick out of climbing in to the crab tank — over and over again. I thought it was awkward being that close to the giant spiders of the sea.

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Very cool jellyfish that light up throughout their bodies in rainbow colors. One boy didn’t think they were real. I think I liked these best of all, though I didn’t go through the river side of the aquarium. At that point I had a terrible headache from staring through all that thick, distorted glass. A headache that lasted several hours. I wonder how the fish feel about it. The animals don’t look as sad as the ones at the zoo do, but maybe that’s cause I haven’t watched Finding Nemo enough.

Sometimes I get this feeling like we’re not really taking care of the world and its creatures well enough. I don’t really know what to do about it though.

A reunion 90 years in the making

7 Jul

I am more proud of myself for flying alone with an almost two-year-old (when did airplane seats get so small??) than I am of graduating college. Twice. Some of you may know my previous debilitating fear of flying and would agree with me that it was probably harder for me to get on the plane without dying of panic than it was to go to class every day for six years. Walter had no problem, of course, and spent the entire hour opening and closing the plane window, despite my pleas to leave it open because it makes me feel better.

Not phased and ready to get on that plane.

The poor lady sitting next to us was sandwiched between us and another woman transporting a rather large Jack Russell Terrier. She informed me that a lesser woman would have had to take some Valium to get through that flight in one piece. I didn’t disagree with her. She also told me that she was a pharmacist, and it is completely safe to give small children Benadryl to tranquilize them for flying. I almost asked her if she had anything good for me.

The reason for our flight was to make it easier on myself and David (and I suppose Walter too) to get down to Bartow, Florida and back in one short three day weekend. Dave’s very sweet Granny turned 90 today, and the whole family traveled from near and far to reunite and celebrate this weekend. To be honest, I was not looking forward to so much traveling, but the weekend far exceeded my expectations and I spent lots of great time getting to know David’s family better. We received open invitations from everyone to come visit, and it made me wish David had more vacation time so we could go see family more often. I think we will find the time to visit either way.

Dave ran the Peachtree Friday morning, and we drove down to Bartow after lunch. Walter took the car ride in stride like a true champion. I was impressed with his ability to entertain himself and not cry the entire time like he used to do when he was younger. He only napped for 30 minutes a couple hours into the ride, and I thought for sure we were in for the worst. But he kept his good humor the whole way.

He loves his giraffe friend!

I love driving through southern Georgia. It is so beautiful and peaceful. Though cops like to give out tickets down there, knowing everyone on the highway is in between home and vacation, and they were certainly out in full force for the holidays. We drove about three over the speed limit just in case.


But we finally got to stop at the Lane Peach Farm on the way, which I’ve been wanting to do for the past two years. We browsed the store, saw them pack peaches in the factory, and bought half a bushel, which I can’t wait to eat.


 We arrived a little after 8:30pm, already Walt’s bedtime, and were greeted by numerous family members before we could even go inside. Walt was a bit shy at first, but he warmed up quickly and wasn’t shy the rest of the weekend. He enlisted family to help him reach the light switches, which he is currently obsessed with. He loved Granny’s house. Lots of chairs to climb, light switches to play with, and rooms and hallways to explore. After a bite of dinner, everyone headed out for fireworks. We were going to go straight to the hotel, but Jan rode with us and knew right where to stop to see them over the lake perfectly. Only in Florida with all the one story buildings is that possible. I thought Walter would be terrified, but maybe since “lights” is his favorite word and we kept pointing at the lights, he liked them. When we got to the hotel, he was so wound up that I think I fell asleep before he did.

The next day was easy-going and we napped in the morning, trying to catch up on Walt’s lack of sleep, and ate lunch at Zaxby’s. I ordered a salad and Walt demanded that I share some of it with him. What two-year-old loves lettuce?

I love the moss on Florida trees. This was on the driveway to Zaxby’s. Certainly don’t see anything pretty like that at a fast food restaurant in Atlanta. Bartow is such a small, quaint town, I immediately imagined myself living there.

Relaxing, playing with Mama’s purse, and putting on chapstick. I love this boy.

Granny’s party started at five o’clock and of course it was storming, so all our plans for taking awesome family photos outside was reduced to taking awesome family photos in the back of the church hall. But I had fun with it anyway since I love Photoshop.

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Look at this group! Not many folks missing from it.
What a blessing to have such a wonderful family.

The party continued at Granny’s house with an array of desserts, drinks, even more family, and more fireworks. Walt’s older cousin set them off (you could tell he was having fun at it), and we all stood around Granny’s back yard. Watching Walt’s delighted face and hearing his laughter was even more fun than watching the fireworks. Eventually, we finally took a tired little boy back to the hotel. He was such a trooper and a true party boy. He didn’t have a melt-down once until 7pm Sunday, when I attempted to put him to bed early after we got home. He was crying so hard I wasn’t sure he’d be able to fall asleep, but I calmed him down and he went to bed in five minutes. I fell asleep only a few minutes after him, waking when David got home to give him a hug and a kiss and go back to bed.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend, and a beautiful celebration of the family that Granny made. Happy birthday, Granny!

Granny and her older brother Tom.

Where there is a will…

5 Jul

Yesterday I ran the Peachtree Road Race for the fourth time. My husband and his family are all runners and athletes. My family enjoys things like good wine and conversation (OK, to be fair we like tennis and swimming and walking, and we’re good when we want to be, but we just don’t have traditions like running the Peachtree together for the last two decades). So when we first started dating and I said, “Will you go running with me?” and he said, “Yes,” I had to go buy some running shoes. He took me through a training program I found online and we ran a couple races that year including the Peachtree. It was hot and fun and I felt wildly accomplished when we crossed the finish line, especially since I was the girl in high school who hated being forced to run a mile and then get graded on my performance.

The second and third year we walked the Peachtree. I was 7 months pregnant this time last year, and it was a struggle to finish the race. We were very slow.

This year, David wanted to run it without me. I’m not sure I realized that when we signed up together, but it’s an expensive race, so I decided to walk it by myself anyway. I hadn’t really trained this year except when I walk a few miles with the baby either in a carrier or in his stroller. He gets bored when I take longer than that. So, needless to say, I was not quite in shape for a 10k.

There is nothing like the start line of the Peachtree. Everyone is excited, the announcer is loud, and there is music pumping everyone up. People are dressed up and some people are even drunk already. It’s Independence Day, and 60,000 people are waiting to join in on the great Atlanta tradition.

I ran the first half mile for good measure, then started walking, already tired. I was getting a little upset that I had no one to walk with and had so much longer to go, so I decided to put on my Janis Joplin Pandora radio station. Luckily, soon after that I found these older guys running/walking that were going exactly the speed I wanted to go. I was good until mile 3, when I thought I wouldn’t be able to follow them any longer and would have to fall back, but then the older guy needed a couple longer walk breaks too. I pushed myself to keep up with them until mile 4 at least. Then somehow the race got easier. You’re so much closer to finish line, after all! I think they noticed me obviously starting and stopping exactly when they did a couple miles in (I wasn’t too stealth about it), and around mile 5.5 we started chatting. We finished it in 1:30, my second best time, and gave each other high fives. The weather was perfect: 70 degrees, cloudy, with a bit of a breeze.

I felt better at the end of this race than I have at any other race. My spirits were lifted, I felt good about my work, I thought about incorporating running into my life again, and Dave cheered me on at the end.

The only two bad things about it were Piedmont Park (the finish line) was a huge mud pit because of all the rain that’s been falling in Atlanta and today my whole body has been yelling at me with every movement that I should have trained a little bit beforehand.

Little boy watched some neighborhood fireworks last night too, and cried a lot. Either from the noise or the fact that his parents hadn’t put him to bed by 9:30pm.

We did it!