Fourth of July Weekend

We packed it slam full in true Maddox style. ¬†Normally I try to resist Jeremiah in planning this much for one weekend, but I knew this would be our last big “Hoorah!” before the packing began.

We started out the weekend by re-tracing our favorite drive, this time with Taylor and John David, across the North Cascade Highway.


Do you recognize this shot? I took the same pic this fall and it's on the opening slider reel for Storywood.




Something about the power and beauty of this river made us all a little pensive.



It also made John David want to jump in. Thankfully he only waded in the calm part. Did yall here about the hikers in Yosemite who were swept over the waterfall? I thought about this picture when I heard that story. Nature can be dangerous!


While this waterfall is not nearly as big as the one in Yosemite and we weren't even a fraction as close, I still would hate to take an accidental tumble down it.


And besides, how would Ace survive without Gary? ūüôā


After the drive, we set up camp for the night.


And tried to take all the precautions for bears, which were new to us. Here, Pace is telling Jeremiah how she thinks he ought to most successfully hang the cooler in the tree. Mary Aplin is wishing we'd tie HER up in the tree instead of the cooler.


Finally, there was success.


After the tents were pitched and all bear pre-cautions completed, we relaxed by the river a couple hundred yards from our campsite. Taylor took on the dangerous task of teaching Mary Aplin to throw.


I actually laid flat on my back and soaked in the sunlight and this view.


And left Taylor and John David to tend to our children who wanted to climb the rocks and jump in the water. I've decided that life is much easier and more fun when you share it with family :).


That night we had hobo dinners on the campfire.


Taylor and I had fun reminiscing about how these were some of our most favorite meals that Mom made when we were kids.


Though I don't remember Mom ever making them over an open fire. Things are always more complicated that way.


After dinner and s'mores, I tucked the girls in and told them a scary campfire story...And about halfway through, when I was describing a bear clawing the outside of the tent, I started to question my sanity in telling them such a tale and then expecting them to sleep... Sometimes I just get carried away.

Somehow, they did eventually fall asleep and we got to enjoy quiet grown-up conversation surrounded by the dark cloak of wilderness.

We slept pretty well, as far as camping sleep goes (can anybody ever say they sleep well on a camp out?), and woke up to the sound of lightly pattering rain on our tents and a cold misty morning. ¬†The boys hopped straight out of our tents and Jeremiah tried to re-assure me that it really wasn’t raining, that the tree canopy was thick enough, that there were no drops landing on them…but my sleeping bag was too warm and the tent was too dry for me to believe a word of it.

I listened to the thud and crackle of a fire being kindled, the laughter and disappoint of the much-needed coffee being brewed in my old (and hastily washed) panty-hose that turned out to be undrinkable because it tasted exactly like hot Dawn soap. ¬†I only roused myself from my warm cocoon (and snapped this picture) when I heard the popping of sausage and smelled the burnt bottoms of biscuits–that I thought might need a little extra care.

DSC_0117¬†We broke up camp, drove home, unloaded our camping gear, and crashed for the afternoon. ¬†We had our first (and only) group fight that night over the fact that Taylor and I thought we deserved to be taken out to dinner (after 24 hours of roughing it in the wild) and the boys wanted to grill out–again. ¬†We went out for Italian :), and woke up the next morning to find that Seattle was welcoming the Fourth of July with one of her most glorious days.

DSC_0223 Jeremiah and John David took Pace and Mary Aplin to the Wooden Boat Festival, while Taylor and I got ready to have our friends over for a BBQ that night.



DSC_0140 I was thankful that this crazy imp was occupied so that Taylor and I could actually get some things done at the house.



If anybody needs some new dance moves, I would be happy to let you borrow Dapples for the afternoon.



The girls got to make their own kites.


And they actually FLEW!




I hope they remember these Seattle memories.


When she's not dancing for joy, this is her other state.


I would also let you borrow her for the afternoon if you'd like to grow your patience.

John David named the wooden boat festival as one of his favorite things he did the whole time they were here in Seattle. ¬†Jeremiah came home ready to bid for a wooden boat on eBay. ¬†Perhaps Mapples didn’t ruin it for them too much.

Taylor and I welcomed them all home to a feast…that we only cooked part of!


Our friends Heidi and Gareth smoked NINE POUNDS of the most delicious brisket you've ever put in your mouth, and two succulent chickens.


My Texas popcorn suddenly seemed like a scanty provision, but it was pretty delicious too, if I do say so myself.


We had a great time celebrating the freedom of our country with friends and family.

DSC_0226 After the sun set over the city, we walked to what Jeremiah and John David thought would be the perfect spot to watch the fireworks over Lake Union.


DSC_0233¬†We spread our blankets out on the grass at the park…and started to notice that many of the other hundred-some-odd people were all saying it was their first time to watch the firework show from this spot…we should have recognized the problem there.


I don't like taking pictures with the flash, but sometimes it's necessary.


The kids were happy...

DSC_0239 we waited for the big show to start and watched amateur fireworks (that looked pretty awesome to me) going off from the tops of peoples' roofs.

However, when the BIG booms started, we realized that the houses surrounding our picturesque little park were blocking our view of the real show. ¬†The entire park full of people rose in a swell, gathered their coolers and blankets, and booked it down the street. ¬†We laughed at our stupidity, and finally stopped in somebody’s driveway to watch what we could see of the show over the tree-tops.

DSC_0246It was a disaster, but it was a disaster that will make the night memorable :). ¬†We piled about 20 people in a pick-up truck and drove the half-mile back home with children that were quickly glassing over. ¬†The night ended on our porch and crammed in the bay window of our den, our home filled with the friends we’ve made here in Seattle, eating the remnants of brisket and Texas popcorn and watching the fireworks scattered in the distance over West Seattle and Bainbridge Island.

Did we pack enough into three days?


9 Responses to “Fourth of July Weekend”

  1. Gail says:

    I just LOVED seeing all the wonderful PIC’S, Abby…I am even thinking…”Well…this can be doable…if Ashley has to return to Seattle!” You make it look so inviting! The girls are growing up so fast. And, I know they will embrace these memories….I LOVE, LOVE, the bear story!!! :O) I am sending you this quote I read…It sounds like something you would write…Enjoy it all…GREAT Memories!!! G Words have the same ability to augment a raw scene because the author describing a moment has free will in selecting adjectives. A sky that is gray, morose and depressing to one may be described by another writer as beautiful, mysterious, inviting. And they both might be right.

  2. Emily says:

    love this post, Abby! The pictures from your camping adventure were SO lovely. All I kept thinking was …!

  3. kathleen says:

    awesome. Keep doing family trips and outings in the hopes your children will remember them. Because in the long run –you remember them– you had fun and well you are connecting synapses and other brain cells of your children!!!. All is not lost — because you can say remember when …’cause your blog followers will say –we need to go to Seattle, The Maddox family certainly had fun, most of the time…. heheh hey I had kids and we went tent camping too! Are the San Juan islands doable for ya”ll??

  4. Corinne says:

    I just love your posts and pictures. You have such a sweet heart and a sweet family.
    If you find the time, could you please post the recipe for your Texas popcorn?
    Happy packing!

  5. Hannah G. says:


  6. Molly says:

    My mom’s Hobo dinners were my favorite meal growing up, too! Although, I am now coveting that brisket & the TX popcorn. So happy you have these sweet Seattle memories.

  7. Taylor says:

    I liked all your comments on the pictures…I am glad you found a way to incorporate Ace & Gary ūüôā Love yall! Hope you are enjoying your last few days in Washington.

  8. Margaret Green says:

    Awesome,awesome,awesome! This is a perfect memory keeper! Your words and pictures of beautiful girls,family,scenery,food,wooden boats,fireworks,waterfalls,campfires,tents, and friends are absolutely AMAZING! I am so proud of all of you!

  9. alison says:

    Hi- I found you through Darby’s blog & we live in the same city, although I suspect you’re back home now! I love all your stories & beautiful pictures. What I wanted to know is where were you in the North Cascades? I’ve never explored that area and we’ve got a few summer weekends left….what campsite did you go to ? It just looks so gorgeous!

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