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Our 4th of July Weekend

We started out our weekend Friday night by driving over to Knoxville to meet up with my sister and her family for dinner!
(Frederick, AVJ, Marie, Thomas, Susan, Margaret)
The  VJ's were on their way down I-75 for one of their annual family vacations and planned on spending the night in Knoxville.  That's not too terribly far from us so we headed over for a quick dinner with them.  We beat them by about an hour, so got some shopping time in at Target!  A treat for us, for sure :)
AVJ looks *so* grown-up in this picture!  Here's the other half of the table:
Even though it was our anniversary, we didn't get a picture of us.  Kind of sad about that. . .just didn't think of it.  Jodi & Brian treated us to dinner, though, and that was nice!  The VJ's just had their 15th wedding anniversary a couple weeks ago (and yes, she appropriately caught the bouquet and he the garter at our wedding -- ha!). . .Brian bought his bride an incredible diamond ring for their anniversary this year and I think I was so busy inspecting it that I really never thought about picture-taking after getting these few shots of the kiddos.

We headed over for about an hour of swimming at their hotel before they hit the sheets and we hit the road back home. . .
Hmmmm. . .why are the Bell girls laughing and yet the VJ girls aren't . .???
 Bell boys!
 Funny thing. . .the VJ girls didn't have swimsuits in their overnight bag so the daddies ran to Target and picked some up for them. .  .Susan's was really cute!  (So was AVJ's but she's too old for "cute". . .sigh.  She only put it on b/c it was the only way for her to get in the pool. . .)
 Yep, the 6 of them pretty much took over the pool for the last hour. . .other guests escaped to the hot tub. . .

SATURDAY = LAKE DAY!!!!  We are so spoiled to be so close to the lake and have a boat to use. . .
 Marie, dozing. . .
 Thomas was on his own on the tube in the crowded, busy lake.  He got air a couple of times :)  And Tom did, eventually, dump him.
 Hey, there, Frederick.
 Beautiful Marie
 When I downloaded my camera there were about 6 pictures of me out on the tube, relaxing.  However, I need to note, I *was* on the tube earlier with Margaret tubing. . .but no one had the camera out then.  You'll have to ask the kids. . .I really did do it.  But we didn't go over any wakes.
 Thomas
 Frederick diving
 The only picture I have of Tom from Saturday. . .we were hanging on the tube together.  And he was nervous the entire time b/c I had the camera out there with me.  Don't worry, Mom, nothing happened to my prized camera :)  Obviously.  I have these pictures after all!
Margaret was NOT left out of the picture-taking. . .she just refused, as usual, to have her picture taken.  Got this one of her diving thoug!

Sunday we had some neighbors over for an afternoon cookout and a few fireworks.  Our one neighbor and his brother, who is visiting from the west coast, went to town and came home with over $100 in fireworks. . .they kids love, love, loved them!!!  Thomas (12) was included in the lighting of some of them, which made his day.  I tried lots of different settings on my camera and actually got a few decent shots. . .

There he is. . .starting out "small" with sparklers. . .
 Frederick
 Don't worry, Margaret, no one can tell this is you. . .
 Playing with my different camera settings. . .this part was fun!



 I'm amazed that I got some of these pictures. . .learning about shutter speeds here. . .

 And a voluntary picture from Margaret!  She was *way* more interested in the two stray dogs in our yard all night and this frog that she found then in the fireworks show.


This is the Picture of the Day for July 4th.  This captures our family (and the day) perfectly!  We didn't even end up going to see any city fireworks on the holiday -- an hour or so after this picture was taken we headed out for ice cream and then back home for early bed (the kids had camp Tuesday morning and Tom & I both worked). . .
Both the girls pulled out a tooth while we were out. . .it was Margaret's 10th tooth and around here it means the very last Tooth Fairy visit and $10. . .now we (I????) only one left to keep up with!  These teeth have cost us over the years :)

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