From Sea to Shining Sea

In the past month, we have traveled across many seas.

We’ve crossed the Atlantic Ocean. Sailed through the Mediterranean Sea. Swam in the Black Sea. Let the waves of the Pacific Ocean crash against our toes.

Although each sea and each grand ocean is mysterious and beautiful, there is no place I’d rather be than home.

We saw firsthand the issues that so many other countries are facing.

On this particular Fourth of July, I counted my blessings that we are here, we are together and we can celebrate our freedom and our amazing country. We are blessed.

We celebrated our great nation in a way only Americans can: family, food, beach, boating, concert and fireworks.

We kicked off the morning by starting the dinner preparations. Some of our family members stayed in Italy a week longer than we did to attend authentic Italian cooking classes. Two weeks was my absolute max for being away from our boys, and Troy didn’t have endless vacation time, so we missed out on that leg of the trip. But, we experienced the gourmet cooking firsthand from the newly trained chefs.

They rolled out handmade pasta for ravioli and tagliatelle.


Making handmade pasta is kind of an all day process, so our little family escaped to the beach while we waited for the others to go boating.

The “beach” at the lake consists of mostly rocks, but Blake still managed to get sandy.

And Nash managed to put approximately 86 rocks in his mouth.

We finally made it out on the water for the maiden voyage of the year.

And decorated the boat with patriotic paraphernalia as is our tradition.

The boys were pretty psyched about trying out the new “tube.” I don’t know if you can really call it a tube if you are still dry when exiting.

Blake signaled “faster” the entire time.

You’d think we were the paparazzi.

Our nephew made his maiden voyage as well.

Could he be any cuter? He adored his sunglasses.

Alas, the food was complete! It was seriously a labor of love. We started out with caprese salad.

Fresh bruschetta.

Tagliatelle with bolognese sauce.

Ravioli with butter and green sage (my favorite).

We even had the luxury of homemade tiramisu.

Then it was off to the main event: Stadium of Fire.

The highlight of the entire day (possibly summer) was taking Blake with us for the first time. We thought he would be old enough to enjoy the performances this year and not completely break down from staying up late. It it one of the greatest joys as a parent to experience something new through the eyes of your child. Blake had this wide-eyed look on his face most of the time as he took it all in.

My favorite part of the night is when the jets fly over the stadium, timed perfectly to arrive at the end of the National Anthem. It literally brings me to tears each year as the jets roar and the “bombs” burst behind them.

Blake was a little nervous about the noise, but he claimed afterward that it was his favorite part as well.

The concert headliner this year was the Beach Boys. They seemed a little old to be singing about surfer girls, but I never really care about who is performing. It is the whole patriotic ambiance that excites me.

And, of course, ending the evening with the largest fireworks show in America.


  • Stephanie July 10, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Someday I want to celebrate Fourth of July with you guys. You definitely know how to do it. Stadium of Fire sounds so cool. Drooling over the Italian dinner, and That overstuffed recliner aka "tube" on the water looked so fun!

  • House on Tufton July 10, 2012 at 2:08 am

    Wow, sounds like so much fun! Quite jealous over here but excited to know that as a parent you can vacation with AND without your kiddos and know that it's possible!!

  • Steph H July 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    That food looks amazing… I'm drooling.

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