The 4th of July fell on a Tuesday but the party started on Sunday when Finn’s nursery leader passed out patriotic sunglasses at church.
When Finn spotted me after church, he was convinced I had no idea who he was under that disguise. He whipped off his glasses and exclaimed, “It’s Finn!”
My friend called me at 10:30pm the night before the 4th to convince me to run a 5k with her. She got me with, “It’ll make you feel SO American.” I live for small town festivities on my favorite holiday and even though I’m not a runner, there’s just something about the whole town coming out on this one day of the year that makes me want to be a part of it all.
My leg muscles are definitely still feeling the repercussions from that little race, but it did feel like a very American thing to do. Maybe next year I should just train a little in advance…
Troy was a superhero running from one event to the next all day long. He staked out our fireworks viewing spot with blankets at 5:30am, then ran his own 5k, and while I was running my 5k, he made the boys a fancy breakfast and biked across town with them to meet up in time for the 1k firecracker dash.
Finn and I stood near the finish line while we waited for the other three to loop around in their first 1k.
There were so many people running it was lucky that we even spotted them.
Blake grabbed Finn’s hand to race to the finish line.
It probably slowed him down but it was the sweetest.
Of course, the main incentive for the race was the guaranteed medals.
Next on the agenda was the town parade. The boys decided at 7pm the night before the 4th that they wanted to decorate their bikes and participate. We ran to the grocery store and drug store to scrounge up some decorations but there was hardly anything left. We made do with the one roll of red crepe paper I already had on hand and some pennant flags.
We lined up with the biking gang and prepared to pedal approximately 9 inches per minute.
Crew was all for decorating his bike, but not so much for riding down the street and missing out on the thrown candy.
Once we got to where Troy and Finn were sitting, I traded Crew and his bike for Finn in my cruiser.
Now that’s one happy American.
We made it back to the curb in time to catch the end of the parade route and some candy.
Blake claims that we stopped to start conversations with people we knew every block on the bike ride back home, but that’s one of the parts of the day I loved most. We eventually made it home to change into swimsuits and head to the pool after an exhausting morning.
Nash’s relaxation was well earned.
His brothers didn’t let him get away with it for too long without splashing him.
Blake proved his strength by lifting me up onto his shoulders over and over. It was a proud moment for him and a highlight of the day for me too. It was hot hot hot out and even though it would have been nice to sit in the shade and chat with friends, I loved playing with my boys in the pool.
We came home for a couple of hours to regroup and attempt to get our boys to take naps before the grand finale fireworks show. Troy got busy prepping his gourmet burgers for our traditional BBQ.
Blake ranked the festivities of the day when we were walking home from the fireworks later, and the BBQ with friends came in third only to fireworks and swimming. Troy was pleased that the event made the podium.
I’d say it was at the top, especially because it meant getting to snuggle my friend’s sweet new baby girl (even if I missed the matching shirt memo).
The boys changed for what felt like the sixth time and we geared up for our favorite night of the summer.
We loved seeing more familiar faces at the end of the night while we waited for the fireworks. We danced to live music and counted down to dark. Some were more excited about the fireworks than others. Crew was terrified of the noise they were going to make and spent a good hour before the show with his hands in iron clad grips over his ears.
The rest of the boys and their friends made all sorts of glow stick creations.
At last, it was dark enough for the fireworks to start lighting up the sky.
We’ve sat underneath them for three years straight and I can’t imagine watching the fireworks any other way.
My favorite unpictured moment of the day was when Troy and I were each holding one of our littles during the fireworks. They both started out a little scared but eventually warmed up to the idea of loud bursts in the sky. Only because Troy turned it into a game where they made guns with their hands and “shot” the fireworks when they exploded. Crew and Finn switched back and forth between the two of us and as I glanced up at our older two boys a few blankets in front of us with their friends, it made me realize that our years are numbered that we’ll have children that want to sit on our laps during the fireworks.
We switched it up a bit this year and traded the crowds at the beach for the crowds in our very own town. I don’t think it matters where we spend the 4th of July; I will always love this holiday. As crazy as it was to pack so much into one single day, I know I’m going to miss how magical it is right now.
The overwhelming feeling I had all day was gratitude. Gratitude for our country and our particular pretty corner of it. Gratitude for our family and the freedom we have to create a large family. Gratitude for the friends that influence us and our children for the better. Gratitude that each year, we get to come out and celebrate this day together, united as a town and country. Yes, I love the 4th of July!