Happy 4th of July!

I hope everyone is enjoying the three-day weekend, and takes some time to appreciate what Independence Day is all about.

My family does the same thing every year over the 4th of July: we congregate at my grandmother's house out in the country, set off fireworks, camp out in the fields around the house, eat lots of fantastic food, play volleyball and enjoy the time we have with one another. I'm lucky that my family is so close; my cousins are like sisters, my aunts and uncles are like extra sets of parents {7 extra sets on my mother's side, to be exact}. The 4th of July is one of the holidays when everyone is finally in one place at the same time, and we sure do make the most of it.

This year we changed things up a bit. Instead of staying at my grandma's house all weekend and doing all of our activities there {the house is on 40 acres of land - fields and lots of woods in the country, so we're able to do just about anything there}, we decided to take Saturday afternoon to swim at a pond that's owned by my cousin's in-laws. It was a gorgeous afternoon that was perfect for swimming, and everyone had a fantastic time.

Swimming in the pond, with the island in the background

The rest of the weekend was spent back at my grandma's house doing all of the usual things mentioned above. When I stay at the house, I usually sleep on the couch in the living room, because the temperature is controlled the best in there, and more importantly, I can't hear bats scratching in the walls like they do upstairs. Haha. But I also get to wake up to the sunrise through the big picture window, which is one of my favorite things. It's peaceful, and it perfectly sums up my time there.

The view through the living room window

It takes me about an hour to get from my house in the city out to my grandma's house in the country {it's also where 90% of my mom's side of the family lives, so I drive there a lot}. But the drive is always worth it.

Every time I get back from a holiday gathering with the family, I tend to reflect on how lucky I am to have such a large, happy, healthy family to spend time with. Not everyone is as fortunate, and I count my blessings daily. I grew up living about 4 hours away from the family until I was 18, when I moved closer to the extended family to go to college. So now that I live closer, I try to take advantage of every opportunity to see the family that I always missed so much in between visits when I was growing up. My parents and brother still live down south, but hopefully not much longer, and then we'll all be together, with the extended family, like we've always wanted to be. Every time I've had friends travel with me to visit my extended family at my grandma's house for a holiday, each one of the friends mentioned how awesome it is that the family is so close, and we have so much fun together. Outside of the holidays, the extended family gathers at my grandma's house every Friday night — it's been a tradition since before I was born. Just a time for everyone to see each other at the end of the week, to catch up and enjoy each others' company. Yet another things that makes my family unique. *smile*

So I'll stop bragging about my awesome family, and tie up the rest of this post with one more picture. We have bonfires and cook over the fire every night, and then last night {July 3rd} we set off fireworks. It never disappoints. :}

I hope everyone has many things to be grateful for as well, and had a great holiday weekend with your friends and family!

Stay Fabulous!

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