I’m going to try something out with this blog — as I read through some of my favorite blogs, like Katie Did What and Joanna Gaines’ blog on Magnolia Market, I reminded why I wanted to launch my own blog website. I wanted this to be a space where I share our house, our family, and our adventures with the world. I wanted this to be a place where I document our ups, downs, thoughts, emotions, and experiences. From the every-day to the once-in-a-lifetime, this blog would be like our family journal and photo album.
So, I’m going to start that today. I will still blog other, more practical things too, but I want to refocus Home Sweet Hooper so that you really catch a glimpse of the ordinary and extraordinary happenings of the Hoopers.
Independence Day was on a Monday this year, which was really kind of a bummer for Alex’s work schedule. However, we very much enjoyed the extra long weekend by spending a few nights at my parents’ lake house in southern Illinois (by southern Illinois, I mean actually southern… not just south of Chicago). My family has owned this lake house since long before I was even born–I’ve never known a summer without visiting the lake at least once! At the lake house, there is so much of nature and family to enjoy, and ZERO cell phone reception, which seemed like it came at just the right time for us. Disconnecting from the world’s drama and just enjoying a hot, July weekend on the lake is the best medicine.
During the daytime, the entire weekend was truly lovely. But it actually rained two of the three nights we stayed down there, which was not firework-friendly at all. We were able to do some smaller fireworks, but the big show just wasn’t gonna happen while we were down there.
Every 4th of July weekend, we celebrate my dad’s birthday. He turned 53 this year; he is goofy, hard-working, and very smart, and his birthday is always one of my favorites to celebrate during the year because the 4th of July is always so celebratory anyway, that his birthday is literally the icing on the cake. Happy Birthday, Daddy-o!
This is Rain’s second year in a row getting to explore the lake for the 4th of July. She really loves it down there… there are so many critters and plants to sniff and roll around in! This year, we didn’t even have to leash her; my parents’ pit bull, who is faithful to stay near the lake house, keeps Rain occupied so that she doesn’t wander. We brought her out in the pedal boat, and she even fell asleep on Alex’s raft with him out in the middle of the lake! Love that silly, adventurous pup.
My favorite part of the weekend, though, was getting to spend time with my sweet grandma (my dad’s mom). She is quite the sassy-pants these days, but she’s compassionate and giggly. I think she loves being at the lake; though it is a little hard on her physically, I think she remembers all the beautiful memories she made there over the years with my late grandpa and all their kids and grand kids.
When we returned from the lake, we went straight to work putting together our first July 4th party at our new home! The back of our house faces the city park, where the fireworks are set off every year (that is, after the entire neighborhood is illuminated with individuals setting off fireworks in their own yards). Since we are new in this house, and the previous owners are not contactable for us, we were pretty much taking a wild stab that we could see the fireworks from our yard. Thankfully, we were right!
Hours before the party started, I took a trip to Dollar General to see what kinds of July 4th supplies and decor I could find for cheap. They had cute floral arrangements, glass jars, banners, yard candles, sparklers, and outdoor string lights. I might’ve gone a little bit overboard, but these are mostly things that I get to reuse and add to each year, since we plan to make July 4th an annual party at our house!
Plot twist: when I was walking out of Dollar General with a cart full of goodies, it was pouring down rain. Man, I was bummed. Would we have to keep people inside? Would the city fireworks show get cancelled? UGH.
Thankfully, the rain stopped long before the party started. The ground was plenty dry, and we fired up the grill! We cooked potatoes, brats, and hot dogs, and had a seriously great time with friends and family. At about 9pm, the fireworks started, and we all gathered our lawn chairs in the perfect spot in the yard. We thanked God for our freedoms and for our loved ones, and everyone left feeling full of Independence Day goodness.
I would say that July 4th is my second favorite holiday. (Halloween is my first favorite holiday… everything about it is, as the kids are saying now, “bae.”) But there is something about the summer sun, the BBQ and beers, and the historical reminiscing that makes July 4th so special. I’ll always love it, and always look forward to it.
What was your 4th of July like this year? Where’d you go? What did you do? Most importantly, what did you eat?