For July 4th weekend, us kids (Jonathan, Jennifer, Jesse and I) wanted to do something special for my parents since they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this year. So we used the long weekend as an excuse to get us all together (which is rare) and surprise them with a little dinner party. We ended up doing it at my brother's house in Cincinnati and it turned out to be such a great weekend. We all arrived on Friday night and spent the evening with Jennifer (Jonathan didn't get home from work until late that night). Saturday was a relaxed day of just hanging out together and letting Ellie get to know my side of the family. She took a quick liking to Jonathan. That afternoon, Jonathan got our parents out of the house for a bit so Jennifer and I could decorate and get the food ready. We had YUMMY ribeye steaks, roasted asparagus, baked potatoes and rolls (courtesy of Jonathan and Jennifer). We were able to decorate using the color red for the 40th year and even used some of Jennifer's beautiful hydrangia's for a centerpiece. Mom and Dad were very happily surprised for the dinner party and we enjoyed it outside on my bro's beautiful patio. The night was topped off with a delicious cake and Graeter's ice cream. :)
For the 4th, we all went to church in the morning and then came back to the house and grilled out hamburgers, hot dogs and brauts (grody). We also made the famous Hardwick vanilla ice cream to enjoy with fresh peaches mom and dad had picked up on the way to Cincinnati. Jonathan pretty much stayed outside to shoot off fireworks from mid-afternoon on until the evening. I don't know how he does it for so long, but every year he can't get enough. Ellie got to see her first fireworks (in the form of sparklers and some spinny things Jonathan had) and she liked watching, until Jonathan broke out the noisy ones that screech when they go up in the air. We put Ellie down for the night (yep, she slept through the fireworks that were going off all around the neighborhood) and enjoyed the neighborhood fireworks and ate some smores. It was a great time, just sitting around talking and being together.
On Monday, we all parted ways, but not before taking some family pictures while we were all together. It was a great way to cap off a fun weekend together. I loved how Ellie got to know my family a little better since she's not around them very much. Thanks for hosting, Jonathan & Jennifer! Your house is beautiful with all of your renovations!