The annual Carlton and Family July 4th bash was moved to Michigan this year. Guy and Angie arranged for their wedding to coincide with the annual party in order to allow the "two birds with one stone" effect. As long as everyone is traveling long distances for a wedding, it might as well overlap with the 4th too.
We spent our first 4th of July with the family last year when Guy proposed to Angie. This year we all, including Jim, were looking forward to the gathering in Michigan. And what a perfect day it was for an outdoor party! Sunny and warm, not a cloud in the sky. We arrived while the food was still being prepared in the kitchen and on the grill.
Erin and I had not had a chance for a run on Saturday, so we brought our running clothes and asked Angie what the route was in her neighborhood. I had mentioned this to her in the morning at breakfast, so she was ready, but surprised that we were still planning to run in the mid-day heat. She gave us the turns to take and we were off for two laps around the loop. Nice and flat, we enjoyed the different route from home, and I even saw a pair of red-tailed hawks.
Erin, naturally, paced ahead, and after a few turns I lost sight of her. When I was finished I knew right where to find her- in Angie's pool! I went straight there, saw my daughter enjoying the lovely water, removed my shoes and socks and jumped right in! Hands down, the very best run ending thus far for me! So refreshing! We floated around until it was time to gather for the blessing of the meal, wrapped up in towels, and met everyone in the garage.
And what a meal- feast, really! Angie's Cuban family contributed roast pork, black beans and rice, arroz con pollo, and other wonderful treats. The Carlton gang contributed approximately 700 deviled eggs, potato salad, bean salad, and hot dogs and burgers. So many wonderful smells and tastes! Angie's brother-in-law gave the blessing and we began the feast.
The rest of the day was filled with fun. Volleyball, corn hole, pool, croquet, visiting, and more eating were available. We tried a bit of each. Our kids blended right in with the rest of the gang- no more awkwardness in sight. Isaac was running around with the Nelson boys, Rebekah and Erin were hanging out and playing with the Appel girls, and Kate visited with Stephanie and Jessica. But there was such an ebb and flow that really, they were all everywhere! Kate and I traded off the camera to capture a lot of memories, which you can see here. By the end of the day when the crowd had thinned and the fireworks were lit off in the back yard, we were all pleasantly filled with the warmth of a day well enjoyed.
Next year we hope to return for July 4th again. But first there will be New Year's at Gingers!