Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 4th 2009

All I can say is WOW!!!

Since we opened the business in 2006 I don't think we have taken a whole family day trip... and that used to be something we did ALL THE TIME! But Faline and I closed the shop, gave ourselves the weekend off, loaded up the kids and headed out! It was mostly great, and we really have to do this more often!

We started this holiday weekend off with tickets to a pancake breakfast fund raiser. This was a treat for us since we usually can't afford things like that. The tickets were gifted to us this time, and we took all 4 kids and Gramie down to hang and eat. It was really cool to see many of our local business friends and some of our community friends and just hang. Nathaniel actually had a REALLY HARD time with all of the people, but there were enough "big" people in our family there that he didn't end up on my lap the entire time. This was kinda nice for me because it allowed me to enjoy being there, but still had him feeling safe. We simply passed him from lap to lap, giving everyone some Nat free time, but still having him feel safe.

While we were at breakfast my mom and I were talking about the next local store that is falling prey to the economy and how few days are left for it. I felt very sad, I am really going to miss Gottschalks! So, beings as Josie needed shorts for our trip, I needed new clothes for fair and my mom wanted to see what was left in her size we headed in to SLO for a quick shopping trip. It was very cool. First, with only 12 days left I did NOT expect the store to be so full still! When Mervyn's was this close a few months ago it was so empty... pretty much just the store fixtures left. But Gottschalks had a big selection left here. Second, I really needed that last journey through there, that is a store that played such a big role in my life and some really good friends were there too. One last journey down that memory lane for me.... AND they had their fixtures on sale!! As a CHEAP business owner that is cool to me! I came away with some really great finds for Butterfly :) Oh, and LOTS of new clothes for Faline and I!! It was pretty funny when Nathaniel called Faline on the phone and said "can Mommy buy you new clothes? Do you trust her to pick them out?" Ummm.... yea, Mommy knows what I wear better than I do, was the answer of course!

So then we loaded up the kids and headed out of town. Our goal for the day was Coalinga to see my grandparents. This is a trip that I used to take monthly. I would head over to see them very often, but over the last few years a number of factors have limited my trips. First, there is the obvious, I own a business that is open 6 days per week. I am always so busy there, so my one day off per week tends to be spent getting ready for the upcoming week, not traveling or even finishing my house :) Second, they can only handle Nathaniel in small doses, so I usually end up driving there and back in the same day, alone, with both kids. This is not exactly a relaxing way to spend your day off. And third, they come here so often now that I don't miss them like I used too! But I do miss their house and the sense of peace that I always have there. It has always been a place of refuge for me.

The trip over was pretty easy. The kids were good (thanks to the wonderful invention of the DVD player built into the car that allows them to watch movies while I listen to my music!). The traffic was bearable. And the no one really fought! Oh... and we saw karma in action :) Highway 46 tends to have some really psycho drivers on it... and this Fourth was no different. There were these two dark SUVs in particular that were being just plain reckless and unsafe. I don't like drivers like that endanger everyone else on the road! But they flew past us and on their way. Well, not to far down the road (like 30 miles or so) guess who was pulled over on the side of the road by a Highway patrol??? Yup, one of those SUVs and they did NOT look all that happy either! We applauded the CHP officer as we passed :)

Once we got to GGmama and GGpapa's house it was nice to visit with them. But the kids quickly got restless and a little bored. So we got out the water guns and soaker balls for them. They are on pretty strict water rations in Coalinga, but we figured two buckets of water would be ok. And since it was over 100 degrees outside, even though it was after 4 pm, I figured water guns would feel good to the kids!

Nat found it all great fun! He was happy to have permission to shot his sister and cousins!

And Josie was very playful with it! It was fun to see her playing, she has got to the sulky point usually... so this was a great treat to see her let down and play!

Look at the smiles on those girls! How fun!

And Nat was deadly with the soaker balls.... he has such great aim!

The playful ones out playing....

Faline was taking pictures so she was excused, and Bri was hiding. I think that was the one low point for me, Brianna was pouting that she had to come and so off sucking most of the time. I don't like the way that she thinks that she is old enough to get out of all family time. Teenagers....

After the water war, Faline and I BBQed dinner (remind me not to volunteer to BBQ in 100+ degree weather again...) and we all had a nice dinner. It's been a long time since we gathered around GGmama and GGpapa's table. It was fun! And the kids even BEHAVED! No spills, no vomiting, no fights, it was great! (And, yes, those are all common occurrences in our lives!)

After dinner all four kids headed to the local park to play while we waited for it to get dark. I think Bri volunteered this so she could escape and talk to her boyfriend on the phone, but I ignored that fact and let them go. It was nice because it gave the adults time to visit without being constantly interrupted by the kids. And it gave them more opportunity to run their energy off! It also brought back memories of my childhood... when I used to escape to the park in the evenings when it finally cooled down some :)

At dusk we loaded up the kids and headed up to the road that overlooks town to watch the fireworks. I am not a crowd person, and neither is Nathaniel, but we love fireworks, so this is a great compromise!

While we were waiting I could not resist a few pics of the area.... I love interesting pictures of nature! I actually saw so many places on the way over there that I wanted to stop and take pictures, but we were running late so I didn't. But here, while we were waiting I couldn't resist a few... Then the fun began. We could see fire works from the Coalinga city display, but also out on the horizon, the displays from two other towns as well! For a firework lover such as myself and Josie it was pure delight! A bonus was that both Nathaniel and Audrey enjoyed the display this year, neither of them scared like they have been before!

We were too far away for Mom's camera to really take pics, but I had to try...

After the great displays, it was back to the house. Because fireworks are LEGAL in the Coalinga city limits, unlike where we live!!! I *LOVE* setting off fireworks almost as much as watching them! And it seems Josie shares my enthusiasm! GGpapa bought us a nice bag full to set off and I felt like a child again! And all 4 kids were really into it. I was worried that it would freak Nathaniel out, but it didn't. And Bri was good at helping Audrey, which kept them both engaged.

Faline and I picked up two packages of sparklers because we love them, and it just isn't 4th of July without them! We are trying to teach our kids this too I guess! Josie really got into it without much prompting.... and Faline got some fun pics of Jo and I with our Sparklers.

Then we did some of the street works that GGpapa got us... and they were fun too.

Everyone went over the safety lessons before we began and were very respectful of the rules, so I was able to relax and have fun without worrying which kids was going to try to hurt themselves. It is such a relief to me that they are more mature now and can follow rules better.

This was one of our favorites.... it went on and on for a long time :)

Did I mention that I borrowed my Mom's camera? Well I did, because as you know, mine died a very sad death..... But anyways, since we had a camera that we were relatively unfamiliar with, Faline ended up with some interesting pics. We aren't sure WHAT button she pushed to get this, but it's pretty cool hu?

And here's another one...

The more we set off the more relaxed Nathaniel became. At first he wouldn't go anywhere near the, he just wanted to watch fro the chair. Then Josie was able to hold his hand and they did a Sparkler together. This is so sweet to me because Josie doesn't always have the most patients with Nathaniel, but they were so good together on this day!

By the end of the evening all four kids were out there with Jo & I doing Sparklers :) There is even one in Audrey's hand, not that you can see it well. And, no, it may look like Bri is setting Audrey's hair on fire, but they were actually many feet apart!!

Overall it was a very fun day and I am so glad we took the time and energy to go! We had so much fun, and the kids we so good. My only disappointment (besides the fact that Bri is becoming a sulky teenager) is that GGpapa snuck off to bed so fast I didn't get pics with him and the kids. But he is to be forgiven since he just had surgery two weeks ago and his body is still trying to recover.

The other really funny thing was the traffic coming home. I expected some traffic, but was I did not expect was the CONSTANT bumper to bumper traffic all the way from Reef City to Paso Robles, heading the opposite way as us! It was so funny... Faline and I seriously laughed about it the whole way home... and wondered WHERE IN THE HECK they were all coming from! It was so insane!!!