Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourth Festivities (and loads of T.P.)

July 4 is our crazy fun family holiday with our crazy fun family. All my life, the cousins have gathered from the far coasts to Topeka to celebrate, reunite, and generally misbehave.
 There's always so much to keep track of! With back-to-school approaching next month, I wrote an article about getting organized, and thought I'd better take my own advice. Hence, the white board I framed and mounted on the wall, which came in very handy this week!
 We kicked it all off with the kids' drama camp program. Lorelei had the opening lines: All aboard! All aboard! We're setting sail!
 Lorelei, our performer, loves the spotlight! Gryffy, on the other hand, well...
 Now does that just break your heart into wee little pieces?
 Poor Po-boy. I couldn't take his frown much longer, because it kept getting worse. So after he got up to say his line (Sailors, what do we do?), which he couldn't even say at all, I knew what I had to do--I threw my boy a life saver and rescued him off the stage. He'd been up there with this miserable face long enough.
 But Lorelei knows the show must go on!  She gave drama camp two enthusiastic thumbs up; Gryffy gave drama camp two enthusiastic thumbs down.
 Here's Lorelei with her good friend, Adria, after the show.
 Gryffy got back on stage for pictures, bless him.
 A bunch of our family came to watch, including our Kentucky cousins and Grammy Great.  Isn't she cute?
 After that show, I had to drink! We enjoyed our libations at Howl At the Moon in the Power and Light District--this is a tradition we love! We had to fight through thousands of people to get there, not knowing there was a free country concert that evening just outside, but managed to sneak through another bar to arrive. Last year it was just Stephanie and Chris with us, but this year we convinced Daphne, Uncle Todd and his girlfriend who we all loved, Monica, to join us.
 Stephanie and I are enjoying a fruity drink.
 While we were out, Grammy and Aunt Cindy babysat Lorelei, Gryffy, and Cousin Zachary. Zachary fell in love with Lorelei. When she went upstairs to bed that night, Zachary kept reaching his arms toward the upstairs, and balling! They were inseparable.

 We needed some Connelly time halfway through the week, and had lunch with Daddy at Crown Center. Daddy and Mommy somehow switched keys, so Daddy was left at work without car keys--oops. So we took a second trip to Crown Center after we picked him up at work, and let the kids go wild.
 The kids loved splashing in the fountains.

 Friday night, we BBQ'd in North KC at Aunt Tenley's home. The girls all huddled up for a photo.
Silly faces.
 Saturday was Shower Day! First, my cousin Stephanie had her wedding shower at Aunt Jennie's home in Topeka, followed three hours later by Kelsey's baby shower, my high school BFF, in Lawrence. Below: Me, Stephanie, Aunt Jennie, Lindsy
 I was in charge of games. Lindsy's reading her teams mad-libs. My cousin Chelsey and her girlfriend Ally, from California, got in on the fun.
 Our favorite, the T.P. game!
 Mark was thrilled I had picked this game, because several months ago I'd stocked up on toilet paper from Costco, not realizing I had purchased an industrial brand, which I was able to finally get rid of. We prefer our t.p. quilted, thanks (although the quilted brand once landed me in the ER (not joking)--if you really must unravel this tale, you'll have to ask me off-line).
 Ally, Chelsey, Lindsy, Stephanie (the bride), Meaghan, Me

 Princess Di would be jealous of this fabulous train.
 The Eakes cousins put Chris through the wringer.
 Poor Chris.
 The happy couple dressed in white.

 Cousin Zachary playing in the scraps.
 Mom, Stephanie and I
 This is the second shower on Saturday for my friend, Kelsey. The high school "Care Bears" are all gathered round her, wishing love on that little baby girl. I think they're all just as adorable now as they were in high school.
 It's reunion day, July 3! We met at the Crestview Shelter House, the same as last year. Lorelei's climbing a tree outside.
 Gryffy's climbing, too. He's such a monkey.

 Cousins: Kai, Lorelei, Gryffin, Zachary
 Grammy Great welcomes everyone and makes announcements. Tears are shed every time!
 We all dig in to our food--lots of fried chicken and a pot-luck of side dishes.
 Last year I got a picture of the kids on this merry-go-round...
...This year, the merry-go-round's had a paint job, and the kids are a wee bit older...

 Climbing like a monkey again. He makes cute monkey sounds when he climbs: Eee-ee-ooo-ooo-ah-ah-ah!
 After a sudden gush of rain, we all ran inside for family games. Meaghan and Lindsy are trying to slide this cracker down their faces and into their mouths.
 We're getting ready to bounce the pencils into cans by their erasers.
 Todd and Lindsy trying to get the stick into the ring of toilet paper.
 Chelsey and I didn't have much luck--the t.p. was all scrunched up.
 How many chocolate cakes can Lorelei stack on her head?
July 4 Monday we mostly spent as a family. We took the kids on a long bike ride to the park, along the trail, and back home. Gryffy pedaled the whole time, and Lorelei rode past the top of the street for the first time, and then kept going... and going... After the bike ride, we cooled off at Orange Leaf with frozen yogurt, and then came home to watch Pocahontas and nap. That night, we had dinner and met up with our larger family at Grammy & BPop's house, just a short walk from Overland Park's best fireworks display. 
 Lorelei got a pedicure from Grammy.
 Cousin Stephanie added stars and stripes.
 Gryffy didn't want to be left out. He loves painted toes.
 We walked two blocks to the park, where I had set out our blankets and chairs and camping board games earlier, and got ready for the big bangs in the sky. While we waited, we played "Snakes and Ladders." I love this portable board game collection--it has all kinds of games inside it and stores all the pieces in a handy-dandy zipper tote. This isn't the first time we've used it this year.

 It's getting dark. Time to get the glow on.
 BOOM! There it is!  Happy Independence Day, America!

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