Independence Day, 2015. It will be stick out among the years strong in our memory as it was the year we all experienced what it felt like to be in an earthquake! Granted, it was only a 4.2 magnitude earthquake, with the epicenter about 20 miles away - but, we felt it nonetheless. Michele and I were in the bathroom curling our hair and all of a sudden the light fixtures start shaking and Michele and I look at each other and say, "I think this is an earthquake!". Michael yelled out and confirmed it was happening - noticeable especially in the living room as a couple of items fell off the shelves above our couch and landed on Nati's foot. Oops, definitely not up to code with that decor. Sorry, Nati.
My mom and dad's house were located a lot closer to the epicenter - and Dad said it felt like someone was sitting behind his chair physically rocking it and the water was splashing up and out of the fish aquarium. Crazy!
Anyway, there was no significant damage - which led to lots of memes that had us cracking up like this one on Social Media.
This year, we decided to head up north to Michele and Michael's home of Dallas to celebrate the Fourth. This is the third year their little town as had a big fireworks display in the evening, with celebration during the day happening by having a bbq cook-off. It sounded small-town Americana - and with the Schillings home offering a cozy place to hunker down in air conditioning (temps in the 90's) and a big tv in between times - we thought it fit the bill great. (Made even better since we could take Sydney with us and protect her during the big scary fireworks show).
Along the way, we drove through Harrisburg where they celebrate with a parade. Folks were lining the streets as we drove through and Brayden had a fun time shouting random-ness out the window. (We don't know that kid...even though he's riding in the vehicle with us).
As we waited to take off in Dallas to the city park where the bbq tasting was happening - us Rileys posed for a holiday pic.
And, then, off to eat some meat.
You were able to purchase tickets for a dollar per taste of either the pork, brisket, chicken, or ribs offered by the different competing companies vying for first place in each of the categories. You actually got a pretty good sized sample - and it was GOOD STUFF.
Check out that right hand. Oh Mikayla. You and yellow jacket venom do not mix. Poor thing.
Yup, the Whites came up to join us too. Whitley enjoyed the park playground and shaved ice from the vendors quite a bit.
We managed to get the Schillings to pose for a family pic too.
Eventually, the Whites left to be at the Emerald Baseball game in Eugene and the Schillings participated in the annual birthday celebration Michael's brother puts on every year. That left us (and Traig who stayed behind this year) to hold down the fort in the Schillings drive way to watch the fireworks set off directly across the street.
Okay - I think we've found a winner. Setting up a fireworks viewing directly outside their door....oh yes.
The one problem was some grass gnats that were annoying us. I discovered a hoody eliminated all of the problem "bugging" us - so everyone else soon followed suit.
By this point, a perfectly comfy 76 degrees.
And, then, the show began. It was beautiful - though we really could have done with them turning off the street light directly across the street.
And, then, when it was done - no driving. No carting up lawn chairs to the car. No traffic jams to get out of parking lots....just a walk back indoors. Oh yeah. I think we found a winner way to celebrate the Fourth!