A Wills Family Fourth of July Weekend + an HP Update

I just got back in from visiting my family in Dayton and MAN, did I have an action-packed weekend of celebrations! I don't do a ton of talking about my personal and family life around here, so I thought it might be nice to give you a glimpse of what we had going on. Sorry that these are all phone pics, but such is life. Zach and I have been shopping around for an actual professional camera, so hopefully my pics will get a major upgrade soon! Also, in case you were wondering yesterday, the first Monday of the month is usually when I do a chapter recap from our Happiness Project, but I decided (in the name of happiness) to spend this weekend focusing on enjoying my family instead of blogging, so that post will be coming up this Monday! Now onto the celebrations!

 

First up, on Saturday, my sister Brooke and I went to our friend Kelly's bridal shower. It was a gorgeous party and the bride-to-be was SO happy! Her family even got gluten-free cookies for me, which was just the nicest. And how cute are those succulent souvenirs?!

 

Later that night we met up with our sister, Angie, and her family to watch fireworks with the kids. Our niece, Callie, and nephew, Weston, were so excited about the fireworks that they were literally just jumping up and down and yelling by the end. It was so much fun!

Happy-4th-of-July-Fireworks

The next day was a surprise party for Weston's 7th birthday. Angie had told him they were going to just do something fun as a family and keep it small, so when he arrived to Chuck E. Cheese and saw all of his friends and family, his mind was blown! Look at that face! It's pure and total happiness.

Sidenote: How cool is it that they get to go into that ticket machine?! I wish they would have had that when I was a kid.

Weston likes the kind of games where you're constantly collecting pieces, like Pokemon and Skylanders, and, frankly, it's hard to know what he already has or still wants. So for our present to him, we made one of those money surprise boxes I kept seeing on Pinterest and it was a total hit!

Happy-4th-of-July-Money-Collage

It was really easy to make. We just taped dollar bills together, rolled them up, and placed the roll into an empty tissue box. Then we taped the top dollar bill to a bow to cover the box opening so that when he pulled off the bow it revealed this dollar chain that kept going and going. He really loved it and was even wearing it around their house the next day.

That night we hit the town with our brother, Dustin, and his wife, Nerony, who had flown in from New York.

Happy-4th-of-July-Out-on-the-Town

From left: Brooke, Dustin, Dad, Me, Angie, and Nerony. We sang, we danced, we laughed, and then the next day we got up and celebrated the Fourth of July, which is also my dad and grandpa's birthday!

My grandpa turned 91 this year and he's still going strong! With both birthdays on the 4th, this is always our Wills family's biggest holiday. People come in from out-of-state and we spend the whole day together. My aunt and uncle hosted this year. They live in an actual log cabin that they built in the country. They even have a chicken coup, which the kids were really excited about. It was such a beautiful place to celebrate the holiday. It was like stepping back in time in the best possible way, like an idyllic, serene little vacation.

I'm home now, hearing the traffic outside my window, and getting back to work. Its nice to be back in the city and back to my normal life, but I'm so grateful for this weekend. It was just the best, most relaxing, most love-filled time. I feel so lucky. :)

 Do you have any Fourth of July family traditions?

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Fashion Illustrated: American Girl

AmericanWoman

Happy 4th of July!

 

So I've been wanting to share fashion illustrations on the blog for a long time, but I keep running into the same problem- there's never any time to actually work on fashion illustrations! So this isn't technically one of them, I just kind of threw this together in the wee hours of last night using just a few Sharpies (I usually use watercolors). But I wanted to give you a little (rough) sneak peak of what's to come and of something that I hope will be a regular facet on the blog. And also because she's just super festive to celebrate the holiday!

As I've mentioned before, the 4th of July is my dad's and his dad's (my grandpa's) birthday, so it's a pretty big deal for us. I was thinking today about what that would be like- to share your birthday with not only your father (or son), but also the whole nation.

Like anything, I imagine there are pros and cons. On the pro side, it's a guaranteed celebration with great food, lots of people, and, oh yeah, an AMAZING FIREWORKS DISPLAY! But on the other hand, I know at least as far as my dad goes, he does the same exact thing for his birthday every. Single. Year. Without fail, for his entire life. He's never had a cowboy-themed birthday party with a bunch of his little friends over to hit a boot pinata. No, his theme has always been predetermined: American Family Cookout. But I guess I would trade in a lack of variety for what might feel like the most special and honored day of the year. Yep, the pros win this round!

Here are a few celebrities that were also share this glorious date of birth:

Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1804

Calvin Coolidge, 1872

Gloria Stuart, 1910

Eppie Lederer (Ann Landers) and Pauline Phillips (Dear Abby), 1918

Neil Simon, 1927

Koko (the sign language gorilla), 1971

Becky Newton, 1978

And the grand finale...

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, 1982

 

Now lets sound off in the comments section! Tell me- what's your favorite thing about America?

I'll start you off with mine- Hollywood! The world may be growing increasingly smarter, wealthier, and more powerful than us, but no country can hold a candle to our entertainment industry. And cheeseburgers. Yep, Hollywood and cheeseburgers.

 

I hope you all have a great holiday!

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