Happy 4th of July

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“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” – Peter Marshall

The 4th of July is one of my very favorite holidays…second only to Halloween.

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I love everything about it.

I love what it represents.

I love the patriotism.

I love the family time, and the music, and the atmosphere…

and I especially love the fireworks!

This year we packed a lot of fun into the 4th of July holiday.

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We began the day fishing. The weather was beautiful and so we decided to head over to Brady’s Run to fish. It was a free fishing day in Pennsylvania so we decided to take advantage of the fact that the parents and older kids didn’t need to purchase a fishing license. We decided to fish close to home, not knowing when we would get a call from Rusty saying he was back from scout camp and ready to be picked up from church.

Before we left Toby and the little boys went worm hunting. Once they had enough worms for a morning of fishing we left and drove over to Brady’s Run where we spent a few hours fishing.

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Everyone had a good time.

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Molly was the first to get a bite. She caught a baby bass.

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After a few hours of fishing we packed up our gear and made a quick stop at the store for Sure-Jell for our afternoon project.

While still waiting for a call from Rusty we started working on the 15 quarts of strawberries we had sitting on the counter. We decided to make half into strawberry jam and freeze the other half into individual, one cup servings, for smoothie recipes.

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We set up an assembly line with some washing, some cutting, some packaging and some working on jam. By working together we were able to process and put away all those strawberries in about two hours.

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Then Toby left to pick up Rusty.

When Rusty walked in and greeted us with hugs and “hellos” the boys were stunned.

“Rusty. you got so tall!” said Tyler.

“Rusty, your voice sounds so deep!” exclaimed Ozzie.

It is funny the growth noticed in one week apart.

He did look older, appear taller, and his voice definitely was deeper. What do they feed those boys at scout camp?!

Rusty told us all about his week at camp. He had a great time and was able to earn a lot of the needed badges for advancement to the next rank.

The highlights of the week, according to him, were:

1. Lake games: an Olympic sort of challenge between the troops in which they competed in a series of muddy, messy challenges. He was proud to report their troop walked away the victor.

2. Playing Frisbee with his troop during their free time.

3. “Trail to First Class,” the series of classes he participated in for the first part of everyday. The worked on cooking, first aid, using a compass, swimming and knots.

He had a great week, despite the rain and a close call with trench foot. Luckily one of the leaders in our troop is a podiatrist that caught it early and treated it before there were issues.

After Rusty settled in and got a shower we loaded up the crew to go down to Pittsburgh for the fireworks.

The fireworks that Pittsburgh puts on are world-class and well worth the hassle of traffic and crowds. We arrived early and parked a distance away and then walked over to the point along the river. The kid loved the festive atmosphere and sites they saw as we walked along.

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We passed PNC ball park where a game was being played.

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We passed the Convention Center, where we stopped to enjoy the neat water feature that runs below the building.

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When we arrived at The Point we discovered the crowds were a quarter of what they were last year. Although in these pictures it looks crazy, it was actually a much smaller crowd than the previous year.

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We soon discovered why…

The Pittsburgh Regatta, which usually runs over 4th of July weekend, had been cancelled due to water conditions. The recent heavy rains made the rivers higher and too dangerous for the scheduled water races and shows.

So, we enjoyed the smaller crowds and walked around Point State Park.

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There was a beautiful sand sculpture on display, honoring the Steel Industry in Pittsburgh.

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After we were done seeing sites we found a spot along the river to sit and wait for the fireworks to begin. As we waited we had fun people watching and playing “I spy” and the alphabet game.

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The fireworks were amazing!

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When we got home the kids put on PJs and we went outside to end the day with sparklers.

We had fun playing with my camera and slowing down the shutter speed to capture images like these ones:

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It was a beautiful 4th of July.

Everyone fell asleep quickly that night

with visions of fireworks dancing in their heads.

Today the girls and I leave for Young Women Camp.

See you in a week!

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