Thursday, July 7, 2011

Born on the 4th of July

Turns out that Utah Valley is a really fun place to live on the 4th of July. There were so many activities associated with Provo's annual Freedom Festival that I was beside myself knowing we couldn't do it all. (Especially watching the hot air balloons inflate at 6:30 am. with 25,000 other people. Whoa! That does NOT coincide with our summer schedule.) 

We missed it all and spent Saturday at Seven Peaks water park, our first time this year, and the kids had a blast. It was super hot, so it really was the best thing we could have done. That night, I managed to get some half off tickets to the infamous "Stadium of Fire" at BYU's LaVell Edwards Stadium. (I think I'm the only person in this valley who has never been.) What a patriotic event! Loved it all, from the jets overhead, to the hang gliders landing in the stadium, to the Stadium of Fire dancers: 
David Archuleta performed, but the headliner was Brad Paisley. I'm not a big country music girl, but he was a great performer and put on a fun show:

The fireworks were spectacular. Synchronized to music and just over the top:
Poor Brandon was on call the whole weekend, including Monday, and it was a beast of a weekend for him! His brother, Damon, and his wife Angie were in town, so we went to dinner together before the show, but then Brandon had to leave to do a procedure on someone, missing everything but the end of Brad Paisley and the fireworks. Here we are after the show:
Monday wasn't any better, with Brandon spending the majority of the day at the hospital, not getting home until about 3pm. The good news is that was right about the time everyone was planning to come over, the bad news is that meant I spent the day cooking and getting the house ready with four bored children underfoot who thought they were going swimming with Dad: 

 Mmmmm. Sea salt and fresh ground pepper on the tomatoes, rice vinegar and dill on the cukes:
Salad recipe courtesy of Our Best Bites: 
 Of course we grilled brats, dogs, and burgers too:
 I filled a cooler with Brandon's favorite soda:
 Brandon's youngest brother (by 20 years to the month) and newly minted BYU freshmen came as well:
Cutie patooties (bubble recipe here--use the ones with corn syrup unless you want to buy glycerin):

After dinner we all played outside on the bikes and boards until dark:
Did I mention it was Brandon's birthday? I made a cake for America and a cake for him, but the fridge was packed a little too tight, so this is what happened to his cake when he opened the door to get something else out:
Nice, huh? (You better believe I scooped some off the top for him to eat later.)

The kids made a treasure hunt for Brandon to find his birthday present (a new driver) and (with the help of their mother) got pretty creative with the clues. Here he is reading the clue that had been frozen in a cup of water in the freezer:
 The first clue was SO not with my help:
Right near the end of the treasure hunt, people in the neighborhood started doing their fireworks, so I don't think the little kids even saw what was at the end. (Because, you know, they would have been so thrilled to see that golf club, right?) This year in Utah, they legalized the big fireworks for any old Joe Shmoe to do in front of their house. That's what I like about the Wild West, as opposed to the politically correct and overly litigious West: 
Paige, Rachael, Elizabeth, Ty:
Time for the "Cul-de-Sac of Fire". Yep, that's what the neighborhood calls it. Only, we didn't know about the new law and the new fireworks, so this is all we had, but we had a lot. (You'd better believe Brandon is on board for Pioneer Day on the 24th, Utah's second 4th of July. As Brandon said, "Oh, they double dip in Utah.")

I was a little worried that the kids would be missing our 4th of July tradition in California of going to a big pool party in Pasadena at a home that overlooked the Rose Bowl fireworks. (Heck, we weren't even going to the fireworks at Thanksgiving Point since Brandon was on call and didn't want to get stuck in there if he needed to get out quickly.) But setting off our own fireworks (illegal in CA) was a huge hit with the kids--of all ages. (Like I said, Brandon is going to be ready for the 24th.)

Luckily, someone else on our street and most of the nearby "Cul-de-Sacs of Fire" had the big ones. We could see all the firework displays in the valley down to Provo from our neighbor's deck across the street:

So once again, due to the colossal cake debacle, Brandon shares his birthday with America:
He shouldn't mind in my opinion. He (usually) gets the day off, and everyone else is off work too, ready to celebrate with him. And he gets to eat brats!
I look like death here, I don't know what is going on with Kate's bottom lip, and Will is being, well, Will, but here's the whole fam with their favorite guy:

Brandon said he hoped he wouldn't have to go in later for an endoscopic procedure to look for glass shards:
We do something in our family called "hot seat" on birthdays or Mother's/Father's Day. It's something we picked up from our mission in Japan. Everyone goes around the room and says something they love/admire about the person of honor. We went from youngest to oldest and this is what we heard about Brandon:

Ty: (flopped on the ground)
Rachael: "Happy heart" (she says this every time no matter who it is)
Paige: (I can't remember now!)
Elizabeth: He always plays with me and takes care of me.
Will: He goes skateboarding with me.
Kate: He never stops working.
Brent: He's adaptable. He can talk to people of all ages.
Damon: He's a great big brother. Always a good example to all his younger brothers. (It was much more eloquent and sweet.)
Me: Even after a long day of work, he comes home happy and ready to help with the kids or around the house.
Angie: Admires how he works at having fun little hobbies and outside interests, and how much he loves his kids.

Right when Brandon and I finally flopped into bed around midnight, his phone rang and--you guessed it!--he had to go back in to the hospital for a woman with a kidney stone that was leaving on a plane for Hawaii at 6am the next morning.  (Kate really got it right this year . . . ) At least he got to be there for his party!

Happy Birthday Brandon and America!

1 comment:

  1. I have a lot to say:
    1. I love that you put lots of pictures on your blog.
    2. The fallen-out-of-the-fridge cake!?!? Were you able to laugh? I surely wouldn't have.
    3. The dinner sounds fabulous-and the salad looks delicious!
    4. Love that you recorded the stuff said at the 'hot-seat' birthday tradition--we've always done the same thing, but I've never thought to record what was said.
    5. I was glad to hear about the lady who needed a kidney stone removed before leaving for Hawaii--because call me a perv, or whatever-but I always just think of old men patients when I think of urologists!
    6. Your life is grand-this post is proof. Even though I KNOW the realities/difficulties we all face-it is posts like these that remind us how great life really can (and should) be.


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