For years the extended Carroll family had a party on the Fourth of July, but perhaps the family is getting too big. Or perhaps they are waiting for Shay and kids to get into town to party this weekend. At any rate, our family (the mere 13 of us) were on our own today. Allison had to work, so the rest of us left Mom with the babies and headed to Weston Lake, a military-owned lake with picnic and camping sites, a playground, a man-made beach and boat rentals. I thought it was great. The beach was nice, the facilities clean, the swimming area perfectly sized with plenty of attentive lifeguards. We got there early, so we snagged a coveted umbrella and lounge chairs. The kids went straight in the water. Ben, who had woken at 5:30, again, and was already tired, was trouble. My mom was on call, and called work before we left. No one was even in surgery yet, so she thought she had at least three hours. Thirty minutes after we got to the lake, my mom was called in. Since Ben was exhausted, my dad took him. Ethan and Tim left, as well. They didn’t really want to be there in the first place, and the rest of us (me, Caitlin, Megan, Gavin, and Atticus) could fit in the remaining car.
I then realized that I was sitting by a lake, under an umbrella, without my little boys. And it was glorious. Megan and Gavin built sandcastles, raced each other to the buoys and back, and generally had a great time. Occasionally I swam with them. Caitlin and I chatted. Atticus was content to play in the sand with the big kids. At one point, we rented a four-seater paddleboat for an hour. We paddled out a little ways before we realized it was hard work. “I’m tired,” Gavin whined. “I want to go swimming again,” said Megan. “We still have 53 minutes left on our rental,” I declared. Then, because it was only five bucks and not that much fun, we paddled back to the dock. We were in the boat 15 minutes.
Eventually, we returned home to our babies. Mom had worked less than two hours and was home making ribs and twice-baked potatoes. After our delicious dinner we decided to go watch the fireworks at Fort Jackson. Logan was exhausted so I put him to bed and said, “Darn, I’ll have to stay home with him.” Gavin wanted his mom (second meltdown of the day), so Tim planned to stay home, but as much as I love Tim, I worried about him taking care of three babies: Logan, Tallulah, and Bear, the dog. The Fourth is Bear’s least favorite day of the year. He is currently at my feet, shaking and moaning, while crazy neighbors blow stuff up. I am hoping the babies manage to sleep through it. But if they wake up, I have enough love (and boobs) for both of them.