Friday, July 6, 2012

The Fourth of July...

A day to celebrate America's independence.  For me it is a day to celebrate with friends and family.  It means bar-b-q's, boat rides and fireworks.  Red, white and blue.  For our Fourth this year we did all of it.  At first I felt like I had over extended ourselves…planned a little too much for just one little day in the middle of the week.  I thought about backing out of some of our plans, and then I decided…hey, we can do it all…it's 4th of July.  So we did and it was splendid.  We may have crashed out hard at the end of it all, but it was worth it.  We began this day at the river.  My parents have always had a place at a lake nearby and recently sold it so my dad could fulfill his life long dream of a house at the river.  I wasn't to sure about this at first, having always had a love of going to the lake.  However, this place which isn't even finished, has not disappointed.  

It was a gorgeous day…hot, sunny and not a cloud in the sky.  Perfect day for a boat ride on the river and that's just what we did.  There is just something to me about riding in the front of the boat, the water splashing around you and flying over the water.  Add a sweet little girl full of smiles on my lap and an ice cold beer in my hand and you have one happy lady.  After a boat ride we made it back to the house and to every one's delight my sister and her family were there.  Seeing my sister out of the house and with all of us on a holiday just made my heart happy.  She looked beautiful in her floppy sun hat and a smile on her face looking out at the river.  

After all they have been through, they deserved a day away.    My brother in-law just wrote about his experience with all of this on their blog, it was can read it HERE.  It is just such a raw and honest account of what he and they are going through.  It was tough for me to read because it took me back to those scary days, but I got through it and it is beautifully written. off on a side note there!!  The kiddos and I splashed in the water to cool down and then we somewhat reluctantly got out to get ready to leave to head on to our next festivities.  
It was kind of a bummer to leave my family just as they were getting ready to bar-b-q…but we had plans with Amy & Chad for our own bar-b-q and as soon as we arrived I was so happy to be continuing our celebration with our other family.  These guys have the best back yard for hanging out in…it just feels cool and relaxing and the kids just run off to play and the adults are left to just chill.  We chowed on veggie burgers...(Recipe for this one, at the bottom!)

They had set up a badmitten net so after the kiddos played a bit, we had our own match…boys against girls.  I'm sad to say that even with all the cheering and us playing our little hearts our, we lost to Matt and Chad.  Oh, well…there's always next time.  
By this time of the evening it was time to go rescue our poor puppy who is deathly afraid of fireworks and head out of town.  We often spend the fourth camping to escape the war-zone type noise of all the fireworks in town, however, this year it was in the middle of the week so that wasn't really an option.  Fortunately…Matt's parents had just left for vacation and graciously offered us their house to get away from the noise.  Let me tell you…it's kinda like staying at a five star resort.  A five star resort with a well stocked fridge.  They live a little out of town in a very nice neighborhood with gorgeous mountain views.  We got here and just felt an instant calm.  The girls jammied up, got all ready for bed and then we all sat on the porch and watched fireworks from Bozeman and Belgrade below us….all the beautiful lights with just a slight hint of the booming that accompanies it.  The girls didn't really care that we weren't right there in the midst of it…they oohed and awed and enjoyed the show.  

The grand finale was watching the bright orange moon (due to all the wild fires) slowly make its appearance over the Bridger mountains.  It was breathtaking to say the least.  We tucked tired babies into bed and fell asleep ourselves to the sounds of crickets instead of noisy neighbors and loud fireworks.  

The next morning I got up early to do my morning run.  Talk about feeling good to change things up.  It always feels great the first outside run of the year, but that's been the same for awhile now.  It felt good to change it up again with a run outside but in a different location.  It was so peaceful with absolutely no one (not even a car) around.  I'm used to running in town, watching out for other runners and cars on their morning commute.  This time I was just on the look out for rattlesnakes on the road warming themselves up in the morning sun.  (Thank Goodness I didn't see any!!)  I thought a lot on my run that morning about the story of the Country Mouse and the City Mouse.  I used to love the book as a kid and now as an adult can't quite figure out which one I relate to more.  I love the hustle and bustle of city life.  Not that we live in a big city, but we live right in town where we can walk the kids to school, walk to the grocery store, take the city bus to anywhere in town and have a constant noise of traffic and sirens.  I like that we have neighbors that we visit with in the front yard, friends just a hop skip and jump away and going anywhere doesn't have to be a production.  That being said…I also totally relate to the country mouse because that's exactly how I grew up.  We lived out where our neighbors were too far away to get to know, our backyard playground consisted of an old barn and acres of empty fields (which did amazing things for our imaginations), and the only noise you heard at night was the mooing of my Grandpa's cows.  Spending the last couple nights at my in-laws house has taken me back to that tranquil place of being away from it all.  It gives me a sense of calm and peace and I enjoy the quiet of it all.  I don't know which mouse was right…I'm certain there is a place right in between.  All I know, is I truly enjoyed that thirty minutes of my feet hitting the pavement, the delicious smell of the country air and running in the wide open space.  I think that is why I yearn to get in the mountains so much this time of year…I think it's my way of feeding the country mouse in me…getting out for a hike or camping every weekend possible.  Then…the city mouse returns after a hot shower to clean off the mountain dirt and wants to order a pizza that will be delivered in 15 minutes or less.  I guess I'm pretty lucky to get the best of both worlds.  

So, it was a lovely week indeed, especially with a holiday stuck right in the middle of it.  We had a full day, but I think we did it up right.  Everything that signifies the 4th, we did and we got to spend it with those we love.  Who could ask for more.  Now we are approaching this weekend…and just to use the analogy one last time…the city mouse in me is going to enjoy a wonderful date night with her hubby with delicious food and wine and then I'm taking my little country mice to get the heck out of town for a weekend of camping.  

Happy belated 4th and happy weekend.  

Veggie Burgers
-Mash together 1/2 cup cooked brown rice & 1/2 cup black beans (rinsed and drained)
-In a microwave safe bowl combine 2 tbls water, 1/4 cup corn, 1/4 cup finely diced carrots & 1/4 cup finely diced red pepper.  Cook in microwave for 1 minute, drain and add to rice/bean mixture.  Add 1 egg, some fresh herbs (I like chives and basil) and salt and pepper.  Stir to combine it all.  In a shallow bowl pour some bread crumbs.  With wet hands, make a ball with the veggie mix, roll in the bread crumbs and gently flatten.  Continue with all the mixture.  These are crumbly, so you have to be really gentle and use a lot of bread crumbs.  Refrigerate for at least half hour so they can stick together better.  
-Heat some olive oil in a pan and gently add the veggie burgers.  Cook a few minutes on each side to brown them.  I always add a slice of tastes good and helps it stick.  
-Put on a bun and serve just like a hamburger...with all the fixins!!

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