I absolutely love summer- by far my favorite season. I appreciate all of the seasons for different reasons, but I love the warmth of summer, picnics, being outside, no school schedules to work around. Life just seems a bit lighter in the summer. I love independence day- the food, the fireworks, and of course, the meaning behind it all. Here I share some pictures and experiences and thoughts from yesterday.
We started the day out in festive style. Thanks to the inspiration I received from Lauri's blog (see here), I thought it would be fun to start the day with a red, white and blue breakfast. Very fun- everyone enjoyed!
It has become a tradition to head to my father-in-laws to watch the fireworks in their city. As I have mentioned before, he lives where a river runs through his back yard. He owns a house boat. The city shoots fireworks over the river, so we take the boat down to watch on the river. Makes a traditional experience a little more unique- not to mention the city does an EXCELLENT job on fireworks! This has actually been a record setting year for Ohio for rainfall and the beginning of this weekend followed suite. It rained all day Thursday and all day Friday. It stopped just as we were leaving the house and actually cleared out nicely. The weather stayed cool, which made it interesting, considering we usually roast. But, the rain was gone, so it was quite nice. The girls were dressed up in style. Here they are on my moms lap before leaving on the boat. I was so glad my mom decided to come along! Meghan is in the blue, Ellie in the red.
Not the greatest picture, they were trying to squirm off her lap, so I had to snap it quickly, but you still get the idea how cute they were! Here are the boys riding on the roof of the boat, anxiously waiting for the fireworks. They remembered seeing the fireworks on the boat last year and talked about it all year, so excited for this year! Here is Kenny:
Oh, by the way- the baby in the arms of the lady next to him is my new nephew Dominic, who was just born 2 months ago- I mentioned in a previous post. (Not his mom holding him). I think he is so cute in that life jacket!! And here's Jacob:
So, you are probably thinking the same questioned I pondered before this trip. How in the world do you contain two very active toddlers on a boat??? Here is the answer that we came up with:
Put a playpen on the roof of the boat- life jackets on at all times, and feed them a constant stream of Oreos to keep them happy! Actually, while the boat was moving on the way to the viewing point, we kept them inside the boat with the doors closed (life jackets ALWAYS on), and put them in the play pen when the boat was stopped for the evening. Don't let this picture fool you though. It didn't work as well as it looks. It was past bed time at this point and they were well sick of their life jackets. They didn't really like the view from the top of the boat- probably a strange sensation for them, especially when the boat rocked a bit (the top is really to only place to watch from! There is a rail around it). They wanted to roam and explore, but that obviously could not happen, so they were very cranky. The only things that helped were their pacifiers and Oreos. However, it didn't take long before Ellie's pacifier went overboard. Not good. If you look in the picture, you can see the remaining pacifier on the floor- to the left by Meghan's foot. A little later, we happened to look down in time to see that one bobbing down the river. And they can only eat so many Oreos...... So, here we are, well past bed time with cranky toddlers in stuffy life jackets, unable to move- and no pacifiers. The waiting was not pleasant! Here is a view of the playpen from the lower deck:
Aaron was misbehaving, so we put him in there with the girls! ha ha! Not really- he is standing beside it, but I think it is hilarious, because it looks like he is in it.
Finally the fireworks started. One thing I have learned since being a mother is that the wonder and fascination on children's faces is even more amazing then the fireworks. I love these shots of the boys faces: Kenny and Jacob:
Jacob (love it!!!!):
The girls were beyond their limit. We had been holding them for a while, but as the fireworks started, Aaron put Ellie in the playpen and I think she was too tired to complain. She just laid there and continued to do so even as the fireworks went off- which was probably actually a good view to see them from..... the poor thing! The fireworks were literally right over our heads, so I think she actually enjoyed laying back and watching them- she was awake and peaceful the whole time.
Meghan, on the other hand started screaming as they began. I took these pictures while holding here, so I was trying to capture her reaction without getting me in them:
I talked to her calmly and when they went off, I would say "Wow! Isn't it pretty? Wow!" Pretty soon, she relaxed and even began to enjoy them. She tried repeating me by saying "Ow!" as they went off- trying to say "wow!" It was sooo cute!
Needless to say, we had 4 sacked out kids in the van when we got home. You would think they would have slept in a bit...... oh well-one of these days!!
But, despite the chaos, I was able to enjoy the fireworks and reflect on how wonderful it is to be in this country, where we can sit in the warmth, comfortable and safe, and enjoy the beauty of the fireworks and nature surrounding them. I am grateful to live in this country where we can enjoy the freedoms we have and I do not want to take them for granted. I truly believe that God gave us this country as a "promised land". Consecrated to be a place for His work to go forward and for His people to live in freedom and happiness, as long as they follow Him in faith and gratitude. We must remember it is He that gave us this land and never take it for granted. As my sister and I were driving along a local freeway today, we saw four different fireworks displays in nearby communities. How beautiful to see several shots of color across the sky. As I walked into a grocery store to pick up a few items, I could hear the booms of them literally surrounding me and I was grateful to be in a country where I could smile at that sound- knowing it symbolized freedom and happiness and celebration; whereas in other countries, those noises may have symbolized something terrifying.
**note- yes, I do realize there are pictures of everyone except me. Not that I am disappointed by this- I prefer it that way, but my mom did take one or two decent ones of me I may add later when she emails them to me, so check back if you are curious.
One more unrelated but fun picture: A few days ago, I finally took Kenny to the store to buy a toy with his birthday money. He chose this 200 pc marble toy thing. Though, despite the fact it looked like way to many pieces to have around, he was so excited and we got a good deal on it. He had $12 to spend. This was on a shelf for $15- but I knew it probably wasn't right- but that is what it said. I also had a $3 coupon for anything in the store. I went to the register and it rang up for $29.99- I told her what the shelf said. They checked it, it was on the wrong shelf, but gave it to me for $15 anyway since it was there error. And we had the coupon- we got it for $12! Perfect.
Well, this is the kind of thing I would consider beyond my capacity to put together. I normally wouldn't try- I would just wait till Aaron got home. But, I was inspired (again...) by Lauri's blog (see here) . She was talking about how living alone has helped her to be more independent and do things on her own. I thought- I am a smart, able bodied woman (not to mention Kenny was waaaaaaay too excited to want to wait the HOURS (not that many) till daddy got home, and I should be able to follow an instruction manual. So, about an hour later:
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