1. Husband cleaned the garage.
This may seem paltry to the lay reader but it ranks as my favorite episode of Independence Day weekend. A mere ten years have eclipsed since our wedding and this is the first instance of this particular event occurring. And while I didn't exactly broadcast my delight with a bullhorn and sparklers, I was found wriggling with delight at various points throughout the day and grinning stupidly during odd moments.
2. Impromptu sports with my sisters.
While none of us have ever been considered athletic I have always prized their uninhibited alacrity when it comes to games of any kind. Finding people with that kind of willingness is a feat akin to . . . well, something impressively difficult.
My sisters played an enthusiastic game of wiffle baseball with my kids (which requires surprisingly quick adaptability), round-robin seven-man badminton (also consisting of said children), and invented their own version of golf/football/baseball-with-a-net (the only fall out being when the football went reeling twenty feet into the neighbor's yard. Good old Dad got it back.).
3. The Molalla Buckeroo Parade
I've either participated in or attended this parade for at least fifteen of the last twenty years. Bringing my own children adds to the chaos of the event, but now that they are old enough to help carry our unruly load of parade-watching supplies it almost makes up for the five years running where we carried them, carted their stuff, cleaned up their messes, shushed their screaming, dried their tears. Boy Two enthusiastically rushes out (responsibly!) to pick up the handfuls of candy thrown at him and collects it in Grandpa's cowboy hat. Girl sits in her own chair between Mama and Auntie and points out the horses and the girls with the pretty dresses. Boy One eats as many doughnuts as he can get away with. And then we all complain as we schlepp our stuff four blocks back across town to our waiting cars. This is one of my favorite family traditions!
4. Catching salamanders
Grandpa's little koi pond has been decidedly quiet the last few years: even since the last of the fish provided a tasty breakfast for a hungry heron. We assumed it was devoid of all interest until Monday when Girl and I wandered down there to while away the afternoon and were astonished to find a pair of salamanders had set up a nice residence.
I gleefully used the swimming pool net to scoop up the little beings and Girl grabbed them and ran to the house, shouting about her great prize and trying to bring them inside (a decided 'no' from the grandparents put a stop to that). There were only two salamanders to be divided amongst three children, but they were all so delighted that they actually shared.