The force of July love

We were the most patriotic lil gang we could be yesterday for Independence Day. When you have two little ones, you have to pat yourself on the back when you remember to dress the kiddos in red, white and blue. Mommy success!

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Aside from the blue-and-white polka dots and American flag T- shirt, we had grilled goodies, games, a trip to the local fair, a couple of innings at a Little League baseball game and ice cream at our little nearby dairy.

But the best part? Sharing it all with Cousin Dan and his lovely lady, Dorothy. We love them for a million different reasons, but perhaps most of all for how fun they are and how they’re always up for anything, from making a cat head out of the fur they find from petting one of the cats to spending their holiday with our little family.

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We had a lot of laughs and so, so much fun, celebrating America’s independence and our dependence and need for the bonds of family and love.

The best summer of my life continues…

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Homeland

Our first of two back-to-back weekends in Jersey with the two lil ones could not have gone much better.

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The kids both handled the four-hour trip so well, with us only stopping once on the way out for food and diaper changes and once on the way home so Daddy could pee. (he’s worse than the kids!)

Their schedule was a bit off and the Little Man gained a new tooth, but their smiles never faded.

We spent most of Saturday passing babies back and forth and chatting in the sunshine of my Dad’s blue-painted back deck. As heart-warming as it is to hear Janet’s soft Nana Voice and watch my Dad admire his youngest grandchildren with bursting-at-the-seams pride, introducing Addie to a few special people made any potential screaming in the car more than worth it.

My Aunt Alice immediately fell in love with her great-niece; I saw it in her eyes.

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And gathering three children between myself and my oldest friend, Allison, was a really special moment. Her son Michael as this huge, gorgeous smile. Watching her with her son, I replayed so many of the moments we’ve shared in 20-plus years… From Girl Scouts to high school track meets, weddings and bridesmaids and a few stories we will never tell the kids.

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And getting to show off both of my children to my grandparents who are not doing so well was incredibly bittersweet.

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I was so calm, so happy, so relaxed among all our loved ones. I loved hearing my Dad’s same old stories and having snippets of Girl Talk here and there. I loved seeing how big my niece and nephew have gotten, remembering how I once held both of them in my arms when they were Addie’s size.

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I watched Scott in his patient ways helping Zack move down the stairs over and over and over and listened as he talked to his baby girl early in the morning.

It was a great weekend and a nice, comforting warm-up for next week’s slightly longer trip to southern Jersey for more family and many, many more memories.

There really is no place like home…

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