Celebrating 4th of July

We have been chomping at the bit to celebrate the 4th. Every day for weeks Mike has been greeted at the door with choruses of, “Did you get any fireworks, Daddy?” “Are you going to get any?” “When are you going to get the fireworks, Daddy?” I have overheard quiet discussions speculating when, where, and how many fireworks he will bring home. It all began when I received the decorations I ordered from The Oriental Trading Company. We have never really decorated much for this holiday, but the prices were so reasonable in that catalog, that I decided this would be the year to begin. I got bunting for the porch and for the mantle, flags for the flower beds,  a star shaped runner, which I used on the tiki bar, which serves this family as a pool side buffet table. I found a patriotic table cloth on sale and sea shells to fill the hurricanes with at the Dollar Store. I found the sand in the back yard. 

By the time we had to bring a snack to the Scout’s Court of Honor, we had printed paper flags from the internet to decorate the cupcakes Grace baked. I searched the web for inspiration regarding the menu and found more than we could consume in one holiday. We decided to squeeze in as much celebrating as possible, so we made a flag cake for Saturday night when we had friends over for dinner and swimming. 

Our church had a big concert Sunday afternoon in which Mike carried the US flag in the Color Guard. We could have eaten there and stayed to play afterwards, but our church is enormous, Mike wasn’t going to be able to help me keep track of seven children since he had to be ready for the second showing, and I felt safer going back to the cottage to enjoy our own pool. Thankfully everyone was happy to agree with me! After all we had leftover cake. Who would trade that for a hotdog? 

Finally the big day arrived. The children came downstairs dressed as patriotically as they could muster. Hope did her best to dirty every single red, white, or blue outfit she had in her closet. 

We had chicken coop and garden projects to work on and math assignments to catch up on during the day, but excitement shook the house at dinner time when we had hamburgers, baked beans, potato chips, and this...

There is a homemade brownie underneath that cream cheese and fruit. I think it was even better than the flag cake, but some of us beg to differ. 

While it was still light, Mike suggested the children light the smoke bombs. Initially it looked like this year might be the first that Victoria did not freak out about being burned to death or blown to bits. She was brave enough to hold a smoking bomb, which was too hot for her delicate nerves, and she succumbed to her toddlerhood fears of the world coming to end due to firecrackers. 

Hopesie, who has no fear, soon put her to shame and she lined up with the rest to get her sparklers, snappers, and various other explosives. 

The children, hopped up on chips and sugar, lost any resemblance of self control. They shouted, twirled like mini tornadoes, and attempted to set leaves ablaze with the tip of a sparkler. They stood much too close to the bigger fire works. I constantly commanded them to stand back, back up, move away. Mike repeatedly told me to chill out. It reminded me of when he declared I was ruining our vacation at the Grand Canyon by protecting our wee ones from slipping over the side of the trail that didn’t even have a handrail. As if losing a child wouldn’t ruin everything. Or a trip to the ER be just the Grand Finale to close out the Fourth of July. I was thankful to hear Mike comment, “Wow. These fireworks are better than last year. Back up, children!”

Their favorite of all were the little tanks. Every year they arrange the tanks in battle array, light them, stand back, and cheer the owner of the winning tank. I don’t know how any of them can be declared the winner when all that is left is a burned out husk. 

My favorite is always the last big party hat. Partly because it is spectacular, and partly because as soon as it is done, we can get away from the mosquitoes. 

How did you celebrate the 4th of July? What is your favorite thing to do?

© Being Fruitful, 2012