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4th of July Traditions

{4th of July in Tahoe with Tony a few years ago… How luscious are his locks?!}

I LOVE HOLIDAYS. I will celebrate anything and everything. Christmas is my favorite because it gives me an excuse to watch Love Actually every day, live in a onesie and eat all the things; the house smells like a forest, and it’s usually 2 solid weeks of nothing but time with my family. I was also born on a holiday – St. Patrick’s Day – and so it’s usually my 2nd favorite holiday (except for this year, when I had an existential crisis/complete nervous breakdown about turning 30). But 4th of July weekend holds a special place in my heart because we usually spend it in Tahoe, my favorite place in the world, at the same house where Tony proposed and where we got married. And whenever this long weekend rolls around, I reassess my priorities and decide 4th of July is actually my favorite holiday, because it means a weekend by the most beautiful lake on the planet, at the most beautiful house on the planet, with my favorite people on the planet. When I was a kid, I used to dream of spending 4th of July there with my future husband (I was one of those weirdos who owned a child-bride size wedding gown at the age of 4, and really bought into the whole Prince Charming scenario). Don’t worry, I wasn’t a total psycho; I still participated in the days-long games of Capture the Flag, which usually ended in a tie when one of the parents grabbed the fire house and sprayed us down to end the game, because they were sick of us running around screaming.

Luckily, I found my Prince Charming (GROSS! I KNOW! I DON’T CARE I LOVE HIM!) and I was right – 4th of July with him in Tahoe is the best. Here is what is what makes this long weekend special, in our book:

Jumping in the freezing lake (Tony.)

Day drinking wine/champagne/any form of alcohol and reading celeb gossip mags by the lake (Me.)

“Hiking” (walking slowly on a flat path, then eating a pile of donuts).

Lathering up in a bottle of SPF 70 and riding the jet ski.

Eating everything that feels Americana: Burgers, bbq chicken, hot dogs, my GrandBettye’s cheese biscuits, and dips involving cream, cheese, and/or mayo.

Waking up and wondering if a bear broke into the kitchen/trash overnight (happens more frequently than you would think.)

Sparklers by the fire.

S’mores by the fire. (Latest magical take on this: PEANUT BUTTER CUP IN YOUR S’MORES. You’re welcome.)

Sitting by the fire in general. There is no better fire than the one in that outdoor fireplace.

The annual Pancake Breakfast at the local fire station, where firemen cook you pancakes. It’s a fundraiser but, I repeat, FIREMEN COOK YOU PANCAKES. All the single ladies, run don’t walk.

Early morning kayaking.

Taking the boat out at sunset after dinner on the 4th, snuggling up under blankets and watching the fireworks from the lake.

Sitting on the dock for the second round of fireworks, with an old rickety radio blasting country music songs about America.

Days of nothing to do but spend time with family, read, eat, throw sticks into the lake for the dogs and ride on boats. It really doesn’t get better than that, does it?

What are your 4th of July traditions? How are you spending the long weekend?