For as long as I can remember (and probably even longer than that) we have headed to a tiny little town here in the midwest where my aunt and uncle live for every Fourth. Out in the middle of nowhere, with fewer restrictions on fireworks, we would have our own private shows right in their back yard. My uncle was a Vietnam Veteran, and the Fourth of July was a very important holiday for him. It's a celebration of epic proportions (at least in the eyes of small, and not so small, children) for our family, and I have never missed one. We lost my uncle several years ago to lung cancer, but the tradition he started lives on in remembrance of him.
Miss Sunshine is still rather unsure of fireworks. The noise doesn't seem to bother her, she likes the lights (OOH, Look Mommy, Pitty!), so it's mostly us yelling "No, stay back, HOT!" every time she ventures to close that probably has her on edge. Monster Boy, on the other hand, has no fear. He LOVES lighting fireworks (well, okay, what six year old boy doesn't?) watching them pop, smoke, light or whatever they may do. Parachutes are probably his favorite - he loves chasing the darn things. One of these times he's going to get burned, but no matter how many times I yell at him to stop, he keeps right on going. I suppose this is one of those lessons he'll have to learn the hard way.
We started off our morning with quite the event - Monster Boy lost his second tooth! It's been rather wiggly for a while, and that morning he came into our room with the request that Daddy pull it for him. Well, Daddy was a bit too squeamish to do it, so Mommy got the honors. I had my doubts about if it would come out - it was super wiggly but not quite to that "part of it hanging out wiggly" phase. I grabbed a paper towel, moved it back and forth once, and pulled gently. And out popped that tooth with barely any effort at all!
Monster Boy with his toothless grin.
After that excitement, it was time to head to our events for the day. First up was my grandmother's for a little lunch with her family. After a few hours over there with the kids lighting off some smoke bombs and snakes, we came home for a nap. Once the kids were up and moving, off we headed to our final destination for the evening. Boy, was it a HOT one this year! But the kids had a blast.
Miss Sunshine in her Fourth of July Finery
Getting started on the fireworks
Whatcha doing? (Our new favorite phrase)
After a few hours in the heat and sun, it was time to sit down and cool off with some popsicles.
And then on to the show!
Then it was home with our terribly exhausted kiddos to bed. Well, the kids went to bed at least. Daddy Mac and I got the pleasure of being kept awake until three am by the neighbors behind us shooting off mortars every ten minutes from the time we got home until the time we called the cops to get them to lay off. Sometimes, especially when you have to get up for work in three hours and your dog is hysterical and waking up your kids, you just have to be that cranky neighbor. That got to be us this year, unfortunately. I would have liked a better ending to our holiday, but we had a blast anyway, and I am grateful for that.
One thing I made sure to explain to our children, however, is the importance of remembering WHY we celebrate this holiday. And taking some time out of our day to give thanks to the men and women, past, present and future, who put their lives on the line to give us the right to have the celebration we do. THEY are the real reason for this holiday.