4th of July Weekend, 2015

Today was my first day back at work after a nice long four-day weekend. Before we reached the weekend however, we had to go out for dinner on Wednesday night (July 1) to celebrate making it through June, which we affectionately dubbed ‘Health Month’. Jessica and the kids picked me up from work that day and we headed straight to our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner. Not surprisingly, dinner was delicious, but all that greasy cheesy food didn’t do my stomach any favors. For the rest of the evening I had a stomach ache, but I wasn’t going to let it stop me from enjoying the concert we attended after dinner, or the frozen yogurt we had later on for desert. The concert, ‘British Invasion Rock ‘n Roll’, was the first of the Wednesday night Summer Concert Series at Mill Creek Town Center. The band played a variety of hits by groups like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and several others. They actually sounded really good, and the girls had a blast dancing and running around throughout the show.

After dinner we picked up frozen yogurt at a place near our house, then headed home to sit in the front yard and enjoy our sweet treats. The yogurt certainly didn’t help my stomach ache, but it did taste good. I was a bit jealous of Jessica, who wasn’t affected at all by everything we ate, but this is my new reality. Afterwards I went onto my Fitbit account and logged the foods we’d had. When I saw that I had consumed more calories in just those couple hours than I had in any entire day throughout the month of June, I couldn’t help but feel a bit down about it. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with going out and enjoying yourself from time to time, but when it makes you feel like crap you can’t help but wonder if it’s actually worth it. No biggie either way though, we had a lot of fun that night and plan on attending more of those Wednesday night concerts throughout the Summer.

Saturday, which was the 4th of July, turned out to be a really fun and busy day. When I woke up that morning and came downstairs, Rick was already sitting at our kitchen table having a cup of coffee. He and Chris flew into town the night before and will be here until tomorrow afternoon. Since it was Dana’s birthday we called her and had a nice chat; definitely looking forward to seeing her at Elise’s birthday party. We wanted to get the kids out to play that day so we went back to Forest Park in Everett, which is where we went last year for Rick’s 4th of July visit. Grandma Chris came to join us shortly thereafter and enjoyed watching the kids play in the playground while Rick and I played frisbee in the adjacent field. Later that evening we were joined by Butch and Carol, who came over to enjoy the neighborhood holiday festivities. There was a big barbeque in the early evening, then we all settled in to watch the fireworks, which were being shot off in every direction. Rick grilled up some beautiful steaks for everyone to enjoy, and there was no shortage of Dungeness crab to chow down on since our neighbors had been out on the Sound two days in a row filling up their pots. Another highlight of the evening was when my neighbor Mike took Rick, Butch and I down to his garage to check out his beautiful 1957 Chevy, which he recently finished rebuilding. It was a long day, but tons of fun.

Sunday was a day I’ve been looking forward to for several months because Michael Don Rico and I had tickets to the Van Halen concert at the White River Amphitheater down in Auburn. We wanted to make a full day out of it, so I met up with him in Seattle at 12:30 and we just headed south without much of a plan. We ended up going to a park on Lake Tapps and hung out there for a few hours swimming, playing frisbee, and catching up. It was super hot that day but the water was perfect, and you’re so close to Mt. Rainier that it feels like it’s just looming directly over you. I’ve never been to Lake Tapps before but it was beautiful. After picking up food at a nearby grocery store we headed over to the concert venue well before showtime. The concert was everything I wanted it to be and we had an awesome time. Kenny Wayne Shepherd band, which was the opening act, was really good, and Van Halen played every song I wanted to hear. The people-watching throughout the crowd was pretty entertaining as well.

After the show we decided to take our time in terms of leaving. We had heard horror stories about the traffic getting out of there, mainly because you’re stuck on a two-lane road for 5 miles with 20,000 other people. By the time we got to the car we decided to pull out the lawn chairs and relax while everyone else fought to get out of there. Michael had brought a cigar to smoke, and I didn’t have to work on Monday, so we just hung out for an hour or so talking about the show and eating snacks. Unfortunately there was one downside, which was that my phone must have slipped out of my pocket while I was sitting in my lawn chair. I didn’t realize it was gone until the following morning, which meant that for the first time in my life, I had lost my phone. I was pretty disappointed about it, mainly because I never do that sort of thing, but it was an honest accident. Luckily I have insurance on my phone, so all I had to do was file a claim and pay a small deductible to get a replacement. My phone was nearly two years old, meaning they don’t make that model anymore, and I’m not very happy with what I’m getting as a replacement, but I just need it to hold me over until the new iPhone comes out this fall. All things considered it was no big deal; losing my wallet or wedding ring would have been much worse, so I decided not to dwell on it. I’m just glad we got to have such a fun day together.

While I was off reliving my youth on Sunday with an old pal, the rest of the family decided to go downtown and take the kids to the aquarium. The following day I heard plenty of exciting stories from the girls about all the creatures they saw. Ava was playing with a toy Orca whale she got at the gift shop, so I commented on it by saying “hey that’s a nice little whale you’ve got there Ava” and she replied “it’s not a whale daddy, it’s an orker.” Monday was my final day off, but it turned out to be pretty productive. Rick and I had to get back to work on the dog run because Bella has been getting out again. She even managed to break the fence! With Rick’s help we were able to build a new gate, as well as reinforce the loose fence post by pouring concrete. At this point it’s like a fortress over there and I’m (mostly) confident that Bella’s jailbreaking days are over. Only time will tell though.

Today, while I was at work, the rest of the family spent the day at Woodland Park Zoo. I’m looking forward to hearing about it once I get home. As usual, the long weekend that you’ve been looking forward to for so long ends up flying by in the blink of an eye. Thank you to Rick and Chris for coming out to visit us and making it such a memorable holiday. July is going to be a very busy month for us, so this was a great way to start things off. Next up we’ve got Madi coming over for another sleepover on Friday night, then Saturday we’ll be doing a small birthday party for Elise with Kristy, Madi, Jim and Brenda. Should be a lot of fun. Here’s a few pictures from our holiday weekend.

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