Sunday, July 4, 2010

The 4th

I think the 4th of July is my favorite holiday. I decided this in church this morning while listening to the full orchestra play America the Beautiful. It has all the best things about holidays- the meaning, the food, the family-focused gatherings, and none of the things that can mess one up like presents, commercialization, and stress and expectations. The 4th is pretty low key. It's a cook out with a few friends or a neighborhood block party. There are no gifts, the menu consists of inexpensive hot dogs and hamburgers, and no one expects it to be amazing- just a fun day hanging out with friends and family. And, as I was reminded in church and by Citation's post today, it has meaning. A fantastic meaning. The birth of America- the birth of our ideals and freedoms and a beautifully written document called the Declaration of Independence. Words can be so powerful- if you're like me and haven't read it since 11th grade US history, you really should read it again today.

The other awesome thing about the 4th? I get to revel in my suburban existence and dress my children in patriotic attire.

Like last year, we attended our neighborhood's 4th of July parade yesterday morning. Landon was super excited- he had been asking about the parade for days and I was a little worried the reality wouldn't live up to the expectations, after all, we're talking about a bunch of toddlers and boy scouts marching up and back a 1/4 mile stretch of road, but once the firetruck showed up to lead the way, I wasn't worried anymore. He loved it.

Claire, on the other hand, is withholding judgment until she can stay awake long enough to do more than briefly open one eye to survey the scene. But she did look very nice in her outfit- even if you couldn't see the best part (her ruffly behind) because she never left the car seat.

After the parade we drove out of the Austin city limits to pick up some contraband fireworks for our cul-de-sac party tonight. All I can say after dragging JP out of that superstore nearly an hour later is that sparklers have really come a long way.

The rest of the afternoon was spent cuddling Claire, reading books to Landon, and desperately hoping the rain would clear up before the country club party began that evening.

It did.

Landon had a blast running around with two of his toddler best friends while Claire slept and JP was inundated with summer league swimmers and their parents. He has a lot of admirers. There was a live band and Landon danced up a storm for nearly an hour. I really wish I'd had my video camera because it was hilarious. He was jumping and spinning and shuffling- I can't tell you how many people walked over just to tell me how much they enjoyed watching him. JP thought we should put out a tip jar.

And then came the fireworks. Like last year, Landon LOVED them. No fear, no fussiness because it was 2 hours past his bedtime- just absolute joy. He was sitting in a little row with his two friends and I noticed at one point that all the parents were looking at the kids' faces rather than watching the sky ourselves. It was one of those moments where I almost wished I could take a picture to capture their expressions, but was then glad I couldn't because it allowed me to just sit and soak it in. I won't forget.

Tonight is a very low key gathering of desserts and sparklers with our neighbors. We told Landon that we had our own fireworks to do and now I think his expectations are a bit high. My little tanks, spinning tops, and egg-laying chickens may not impress him very much after last night's spectacular pyrotechnics, but I have giant neon glitter sparklers for the finale and I think they'll be a big hit.

Happy Independence Day everyone!


  1. Aww- cute photos! I wish we belonged to a country club- that sounds so neat! Like a built in community of friends and neighbors!

  2. I love hearing about JP's summerleague groupies. I grew up in summer league in San Antonio and LOVED it. My brother coached and everyone loved him. We live in Lubbock now and there are no neighborhood pools! I can't believe it!

    I've started posting lunch-time swim workouts and thought "I bet JP has some awesome workouts." Tell him to start a swimming blog already. At the very least he might get some free stuff.

  3. Cute! I love that your neighborhood had a parade. Fun!!!

  4. You have the cutest little family. After wa weekend of a screaming toddler, I'm jealous.