Fourth of July this year was all about tradition. Doing things we do every year.
We look forward to them and it's part of the rhythm or our lives. Starting off with the LibertyFest Parade in Edmond.
Up early and ready for the parade!
It's 8:30 am here and it's probably already 90 degrees.
Top Left: Lucas and I at the parade.
Top Right: Leah with a sparkler at our friend Beth's pool. We always spend the afternoon and early evening there with friends. We swim, we eat, we let the kids play with fireworks. It's great!
Bottom: The day concludes with a fantastic fireworks presentation at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
A few days later, on July 9th, we hopped on a plane (a direct flight none the less! woot! woot!) to Newark, New Jersey to spend 11 days celebrating family. And it all started with these two.....
This is Richard and Dixie Galloway, Mike's parents.
They celebrated 50 years of marriage this summer and to celebrate all three of their children, plus spouses and all nine grandchildren, and one great-grandmother, all descended upon the east coast for a fun filled reunion. Mike's brother, Juan and his family live in New Jersey, but we came from Oklahoma (duh) and Mike's sister, Rachel and her family flew in from Alaska!
We all stayed at Mike's parents' house in Elizabeth, NJ for a few days, then we loaded up and headed to Long Beach Island for a week at the shore. It was just so, so fun.
Loaded up in the van and ready to go!We had to bring enough food to feed 18 people three meals a day for seven days.
Just let that sink in....it was a lot!
I loved the house we stayed in. It was built in 1890 and had 8 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and plenty of space for everyone.
But THIS. This was the best feature of the house. It was wrap-around porch heaven.
We spent most of our down time all gathered on the porch, talking, playing games, being silly.
We even hosted a talent show on the porch and celebrated two different family birthdays with cake and ice cream out here.
One day, I want a house with a porch like this. A girl can dream!
Each and every room in the house had a stained glass window like this.
I loved the simple color block pattern.
The window in the bedroom Mike and I stayed in faced east, so we had the morning sunlight streaming in different colors across our bed every morning.
At this time, it seems like a re-cap of who was staying here is in order. Starting from the top...
Grandma Velda: Mike's 92 year old grandma, mother of Richard (Mike's dad)
Richard and Dixie Galloway: Parents who started it all
Juan and Tracy Galloway: Mike's brother and his awesome wife
River: 19 year old niece
Hailey: 18 year old niece
Corban: 15 year old nephew
Connor: 13 year old nephew
Mike and Emily Galloway: The "Oklahoma Galloways"
Leah: 10 year old daughter
Hannah: 10 year old daughter
Lucas: 5 year old son
Rachel and Juan Martinez: Mike's sister and her Colombian husband
Velda: 7 year old niece
Rose: 7 month old niece
Hannah, Leah and Velda (the three amigas) playing in the Atlantic.
These three are so close and have so much fun together.
Why can't we live closer to each other!?!?!?
I loved that they had an entire week to just play and make memories together.
There was a lot of giggling in the house with these three (and they also shared a room together on the top floor of our beach house).
Another awesome thing about this trip was that I got to meet my newest niece, Rose, for the first time! She was born in Alaska on December 1st of 2014. She's everything I could have imagined and more: beautiful, chunky, smiley, sweet, cuddly, wonderful, yummy....
I love her.
Top Left: Building sand tunnels
Top Right: Sweet Rose
Bottom: Leah and I taking a walk through Beach Haven, the little town we stayed in.
Uncle Juan using his selfie stick.
We took all the kids to the local amusement park, Fantasy Island, one night and let them ride rides and play games.
Top Left: one of our nightly walks to get ice cream at Barry's. Coffee flavor is the bomb.
Top Right: Me at the beach on a cloudy, dreamy day.
Bottom Left: Lucas taking a contemplative walk on the shore. We saw a school of dolphins swimming by shortly after I took this pic!
Bottom Right: River and Hailey were in charge of our chalkboard menu every day. Mike crushed it will some killer kabobs one night.
Lucas buried and loving it.
This child managed to get sand in every crack and crevice of his body on a daily basis.
Lucas LOVES to play games, and this one was a big hit.
Mike and Lucas = killer team
Mike and Emily = comical losers
Mommy's not skilled with a frisbee.
While Lucas was busy building sand castles and playing games, the girls were busy boogie boarding!
It was their favorite thing to do and they spent literally hours working on their skills. They actually got pretty good. Lucas tried it too, but the girls were ALL ABOUT IT.
This is my favorite picture of Lucas from our trip.
My boy and the big Atlantic stretching out before him.
Our whole crew!
I married into an awesome family.
I love these people.
I love him.
The Five Oklahoma Galloways
Mike, Juan and Juan
Yes, Mike's brother is named Juan (Juan Carlos Ricardo Galloway).
No, Mike's brother is not Hispanic.
Yes, Mike's brother-in-law is also named Juan (Juan Pablo Martinez).
Yes, we have a lot of fun with this!
My wonderful sisters-in-law, Rachel and Tracy
After seven days, we came back to Elizabeth for two more nights.
One of those nights, we were able to jump on the train into New York City (it's a short 15 minute ride) for a double date night with Rachel and Juan. We ate delicious pizza at John's on Bleeker in Greenwich Village, then had coffee and cupcakes at Sweet Revenge. We were in food comas, but had a wonderful time.
Top Left: pizza place
Bottom Left: Freedom Tower
Right: Rachel and me
We flew home on the 19th and will always cherish the fun memories of that trip.
On July 24th, our Lucas Gabriel turned 6!
From six weeks to six years, this boy has brought so much joy to our family.
He is sweet, smart, athletic, a good friend, and still likes to snuggle with him mom.
He will have my heart forever.
Birthday Boy in his new Energy Hat.
Instead of a big party, he requested that we take him and his two buddies to an Energy Soccer Game.
Done! We had cake and pizza at our house beforehand, then headed to the game.
And the Energy won!
A few days later, he lost his very first tooth.
It was a big month for this boy.
July 25th we celebrated one of my bestie's birthday.
Nikki is truly more like a sister than just a friend.
We've known each other over 15 years and have laughed, cried, prayed, talked (and talked and talked and talked) together, and we never seem to run out of things to talk about!
A group of us met up at The Grand House in the Asian District of OKC and had a yummy dinner out. Later we went back to our house for cake and games.
Summer wouldn't be complete without a trip to a water park.
Our last weekend in July, we took the kids to Andy Alligator's Water Park. It's a smaller park than others in the city, but the kids love it and because of its size, we can keep track of everyone easily.
Having twins is such a blessing.
These two really do love each other.
Phew! I think that about covers July!