Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July Fun

Since we just returned from our annual week-long vacation in Minocqua, WI this past Saturday, I hadn't really thought about how we were going to celebrate July 4th.  I spent Saturday and most of Sunday unpacking, re-stocking the fridge and cupboards, and tackling the mountain of laundry while Ben worked to get the yard back in shape.  Thankfully, the lawn no longer looks like a prairie and after a trip to Home Depot for a small chainsaw purchase, the huge limb from the birch tree in our front yard that was snapped in half during a storm while we were away is cleaned up.  The big kids, who thoroughly enjoyed vacation, were still happy to be home and had a grand time running around the yard while Olivia helped me with laundry and errands. 

We had been debating whether or not to take the kids to see fireworks despite Allie's pleas and insistence that America's birthday without fireworks would be against everything good in the entire world.  When I found out that a neighboring community was holding their fireworks display on July 3rd, we decided to risk it (our kids usually go to bed at 8 pm....fireworks in MN don't even begin until 10 pm...we don't usually get home until well after 11:30 pm....our kids do not understand the concept of sleeping in...the day after is not pleasant) because we'd have an entire day to recover before normal life resumed on July 5. 

After pizza for dinner on Sunday night, we packed up our chairs, blankets, bug spray, snacks, glow bracelets, and flashlights.  We arrived around 8:15 pm and found a prime spot to view the fireworks.  We proceeded to kill the next hour and forty five minutes by eating lots of candy, playing card games, and taking lots of pictures. 

By about 8:45, Olivia was completely conked out.  I was actually surprised she even lasted that long!

 When it finally started to get a darker, we broke out the glow bracelets while Olivia continued to snooze away in the stroller.

Zach was so tired and he kept asking to go home because he wanted to go to bed.  We had a hard time convincing him staying up so late would be worth it.  Allie, on the other hand, was so excited she was functioning in over drive and couldn't be happier about staying up late...in fact, she informed us she could definitely stay up all night 

As it started getting darker, the kids enjoyed watching the surrounding neighborhood's illegal firework displays.

And, then approximately one minute before the actual show began, Olivia popped her eyes open.

I'm pretty certain Allie enjoyed the fireworks most.  She sat so still on the blanket and was thrilled the entire time.  There were absolutely no complaints out of her mouth!  Zach, on the other hand, was ok for about two fireworks before begging to go home again.  Olivia watched almost the whole show and didn't cry once!  In fact, she dozed off right before the finale only to pop her eyes open again once all the big boomers started going off.  
Olivia was the only one that fell asleep on the car ride home.  Zach complained.  Allie couldn't stop talking about how wonderful the whole experience was.  We made it home by 11:00 and were all in bed by 11:30.  And, true to past experience, everyone was up and ready to go by 6:00ish on July 4.

While Allie and I went for a bike ride after breakfast, Ben stayed home and blew up the backyard swimming pool and slip n' slide (or "slick 'n slide" as Zach calls it) for the kids.  The kids spent most of the beautiful day outside in the backyard swimming. 

After a picnic lunch, some more playing in the water, some much needed long naps (thank goodness!), Ben stoked up the grill and backyard fire for hamburgers, hot dogs, and 'smores.
 (Remember the limb that fell down?  Yep...we had a lot of stuff to burn)
I preferred to distance myself from the blaze.
After dinner, while we were waiting for the fire to die down just a tad, Ben put on his very first fireworks display for us.

Honestly, I was kind of nervous about the whole-at-home-fireworks, but it ended up being pretty fun.  I think I was actually more disappointed than the kids when Ben lit the last one and the show was over!

We ended the holiday by roasting marshmallows around the fire and eating way too many 'smores. 

We had a fabulous 4th!  Definitely one of the best...even Allie agreed with me.  Today, though, we are having a low-key recovery day.  I was actually incredibly thankful for the rain last night because it meant clouds this morning....which meant big kids sleeping in until after 7:30 and Olivia sleeping until 6:45! 

And, just because I can't resist, here's one last picture of the world's happiest baby ever.  Plus, I figure you can't be too irritated about making it through the longest post ever after laying eyes on that cute grin....

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