I'm Nikki, a creative old soul who loves tea time, tip-toeing through gardens, mounds of books, swaying to records, watercolors, sunset walks with our three yorkies, and star-gazing with Paul. This blog carries snippets of my life with just us two (five with Rusty, Lucy, & Ethel) - I hope it brings you happiness as you snuggle in with something warm and delicious and begin reading. Enjoy, friends!

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Independence Day | 2014

Traditions. It’s one of my favorite things about my family.

Our 4th of July tradition began many, many years ago when our neighbor invited me to walk someone from the nursing home through the small town parade. Since then, the tradition has grown and it has become one of my favorite days of the year. Here is how our day goes:

We get to the picnic grounds early to save “our spot” (Mom and Dad usually do this with Nana and Gramps but they took a break this year – instead my uncles, Nana and Gramps, cousin, sister, nephews, Paul, Rusty, and I saved “our spot”). Normally we just chat and drink coffee, but this year we decided to add a little something to our tradition: breakfast. Uncle Mark brought the griddle and eggs, Uncle Steve brought the sausages and doughnuts, Toni brought the fruit, we brought the essential utensils, and we had a lovely morning chatting and eating together.

About an hour before the parade begins, we grab our chairs and hike up the hill to get “our spot” (we have a lot of spots after going here so many years :)). To kill time while we wait, we usually stroll up to the neighborhood speedy market for sunflower seeds, water, and other important foods…like more doughnuts. While we walk, we have to weave in and out of people forming the line for the parade – we usually just make it back to our seats in time for the traditional photo of us all sitting there and for the parade to begin.

We see the usual wonderful things at the parade: the Bo Diddly Express band, the Christmas tree farm, the hula-hoopers, the unicyclists, the MN State Fair mascot, the decorated wheelchairs with the lovely people in them decked out for the 4th of July, the lawnmowers, the clowns, and so much more.

After the parade we try not to lose each other in the crowd of people walking back to the picnic grounds. Once we arrive back to “our spot”, we stand for the National Anthem being played at the bandstand. We eat, drink, chat, sometimes nap, and enjoy each other’s company. Eventually the bocce ball games begin and we each take turns trying to defeat my Uncle Mark.

Normally Paul and I and my cousins go to our family pool party to continue the 4th of July goodness, but we had Rusty with us and we decided to go home and wait for the fireworks instead. We still haven’t found “our spot” for the fireworks since we’ve moved. It used to be on the ball fields near my parents’ house – I loved going there with my brother and sister. The fireworks literally went off right above your head. It’s like from The Sandlot. Amazing. Anyways, we’ll find “our spot” sometime and thus another tradition will be born. :)

Enjoy snippets from our day together – my other favorite holiday will be here before you know it…:)

This photo is actually from 2012 – I forgot to take a photo of the bandstand this year. :)

“Our spot.”

I don’t really know what Adam was doing here…karate?

We did a mini shoot. :)

Chase is starting to make the best faces.

Like uncle like nephew?

Our lovely crew. :)

Thanks Rach for getting me in a photo!! :)

We usually have a bigger group of us at the parade – it keeps dwindling. :(

Rusty gets spoiled by everyone in the family. :)

Oh boy, his collar looks HUGE! It beeps if he runs away, jumps on people, etc. It helps him behave. :) Sometimes he gets too excited. :)

He got a haircut the day before – look at the cute bow they put on him!!

See??! His little face is so cute!

This guy was new this year and I loved it.

:) Love my family.

Again, these were taken in 2012 – I didn’t want to bring my camera this year. I just wanted to enjoy it. :)