Well, everyone else is hard at work trying to write their blog posts about the Newport Mansions (which were wild). But I realized that we’ve got a bunch of catch-up to share from the few days before Newport.
First, we were lucky indeed to spend a special Fourth of July with our cousins, who happen to live in Connecticut. My cousin Jessica and her husband Matt (along with their kids, A and J, who are similar in ages to my girls) graciously allowed me to invite us over to their house for the Fourth of July. They also invited Jessica’s parents, my Uncle Bill and my Aunt Emily. Uncle Bill was my mother’s only brother (she had five sisters) and he was one of her favorites. He and Aunt Emily met because Aunt Emily and my mom went to nursing school together. I recently was able to view and make a digital recording of my Bat Mitzvah video (I did it old school — I used my iPhone set up on a tripod to record the VHS tape as it played on my TV at home). So we watched that and got a lot of laughs out of everyone’s clothing, dancing, and general awkwardness. Fortunately for Jess (my kids had already seen it), the kids were occupied in the pool, so her kids didn’t get to see their mom in all of her 1986 glory back when she’d first hit double digits.
Above: Julianna and J hanging out together. Julianna loved the wreath my cousin Jessica made for her.
Other than that, we hung out, we ate a lot, we talked, we swam in their pool a little bit (Jess says that the above-ground Intex pool was the best money she ever spent), and I got to try out their hammocks (I just bought one of the same kind for camping, but we haven’t tried ours out yet).
Above: Elizabeth and A enjoying the pool raft while Julianna and J were busy elsewhere.
After it got dark, Matt set off a couple of fireworks and the kids made s’mores over a little campfire.
Oh, and did I mention the menagerie? My cousins have, if I’m remembering correctly: 7 chickens, 5 cats, 3 guinea pigs, a dog, and a fish. My kids were big fans of all of them. (I only got photos of the cats and chickens.)
(If I ever have WiFi again that allows me to do it, I will upload an awesome video I made of A explaining everything you ever wanted to know — and more — about raising chickens. Apparently Elizabeth has a similar video of A explaining guinea pig care.)
The Fourth of July was going to be our first really tough day. Every year, our town does a classic Fourth of July Parade. All of our friends in the neighborhood walk up to the parade together, and then we usually spend the day BBQing and hanging out and playing in sprinklers and having fun together until we watch the fireworks show the country club at the end of our street (to which none of us belong) sets off every Fourth of July from our front lawns. It is probably our absolute favorite day of the year to live in Montclair.
Thankfully, a fun day with cousins made the bitter pill of not being home for the Fourth much easier for the kids to swallow, especially as A and J are among Elizabeth and Julianna’s favorite cousins (it helps that they’re the most similar in age of any of my girls’ cousins).
Thank you again, Jessica and Matt, for making our Fourth on the Road a delight. By the way, Jessica is a newborn photographer, and her studio set up in her house is quite impressive. If you’re in her area and are looking for a newborn photographer, check her out.