The family and friends started to arrive at midnight on Thursday night. Mom and Chrissy, plus Holly, loaded up after Chrissy got done with work and drove to Cody. Made for a long night, but got to have a full day in Cody on Friday. Sarah, Ryan and the girls, Lily and Anna, arrived on Friday afternoon. Mom and I took the kids to the kiddie parade on Friday morning and Chrissy(preparing for Mt. Kilimanjaro in a few weeks) went to hike Heart Mountain that sits right behind us. I will have to get pictures from her as she said it was beautiful from the top. Once the Christensen's arrived, the watermelon margaritas started flowing and the water fight ensued. The kids drenched each other and anyone who got in their way--me. I filled the bucket with water so they could fill their own squirt guns and I guess I looked like I wanted to get soaked. They had a blast and asked to have a slumber party. Why not. We thought it was worth a shot. Emmett wound up "reading" every book on his bookshelf to the girls and they didn't go to sleep til about 10:30 or so. They were up with Jolene and I at 6am the next morning. Needless to say, we had some tired kids on our hands the next day. The ladies and kids piled into one car and took off to Red Lodge for the day while the gents went golfing and shopping for fireworks. We went to the Bear Tooth Animal Reserve(not sure of the exact name) and got to see all sorts of animals that were rescued/injured and some were waiting for release back into the wild. Mountain lions, elk, a buffalo, many birds, a few bears, bobcats, wolves and more. The weather was a bit chillier than we had planned for so everyone was outfitted with long shirts and coats(borrowed from my closet as Emmett's stuff was too small for the girls and who packs coats for the 4th anyway?). Everyone but Jolene. I completely forgot to pack her any warm clothes. Luckily there was a spare blanket in the back of the car. We had a quick lunch while the parade went on outside. I had no idea there was a parade going on that day and it made for an interesting parking situation as well as busy streets in Red Lodge. The kids went outside with Grammy to watch the parade while we waited for our food. It was nice to get back and relax at the house for a bit. Not too long for us girls. We have instituted mandatory Girls Saturday Afternoon Out for the 4th of July weekend. We went shopping and stopped to have drinks and fried green tomatoes at Rib and Chop. A well deserved quiet time for the ladies. The boys were at home with sleeping kids gawking and drooling over all of the explosives the purchased earlier. And cooking ribs for dinner. After dinner, once the kids went down to sleep, we lit up the firepit out back and enjoyed a few drinks by the fire. It was the perfect weather to enjoy a fire and drinks. Up to late once again, it made for a tired morning. The parade started at 9:30am and we made it by about 9:00am. Luckily, we got to sit with our friends the Nelsons outside of their apartment on the main drag. It took a bit, but we jumped back on the horse and made bloody marys and screwdrivers about halfway thru the parade. Afterwards, the crew headed back to the ranch for naps and to prep for the upcoming BBQ. Jessica and her family came over and played for the evening. The neighbors joined in the fun as well. We wound up with a pretty good mix of fireworks when all was said and done. It sure made for an enormous mess to pick up the next day. Mom and Chrissy had to head home, but the Christensen's stayed one more day so we could see the Extreme Bulls at the rodeo. We had a disastrous lunch in town and made up for it with a few beers at the rodeo. It was a good day. Looking forward to many years to come.
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