Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Fort on the Fourth

I need to blog about last weekend, but the 4th is fresh on my mind so we're going to start there first. I love the fourth of July. It's such a fun mid-summer treat of a day off combined with a simple expectations of beverages and bbq. Several years ago we started hosting a 4th of July party. We're the only one of our friends with a pool and we didn't have a country club to go to so we thought we'd bring the party to us. And just like the kids in the pool, the party has grown every year since we started (look how tiny Cora was at our first one!).

I had to work on Tuesday and today so the 4th felt like such a strange holiday sandwiched in between reality. I woke up early on Wednesday to start my party prepping with several pounds of two different pasta salads. (Actually I started the night before by slow cooking 8 lbs. in pork in two different slow cookers after combining about 3 different recipes on google. I was terrified I'd forget about them out in the kitchen so I set multiple iPhone alarms to go shred the meat after 8 hours, which is how I spent one of the more exciting portions of my Tuesday evening.) I also sliced up pickles and onions to have on the side, limes to have with the margaritas, and got out all our tableware and decorations. Then we hit the neighborhood parade.

Friends of ours always make a float and it has evolved to representing our school with our amazing principal riding along. Claire LOVES it. Landon and his bros sat in the bed of the pickup which was perhaps one of the top ten coolest things he's gotten to do in his life.

Cora, James and I watched the parade from the sidelines. She's wearing a dress Claire was wearing just last year. They are 3.5 years apart. Cora is VERY tall.

The parade goes past our street on two sides, so we always watch it go by one time, then run down the street to watch it come down the other cross street. And on the other side we get to crash our friend's front yard. It's tradition.

Lots of candy was thrown from the various cars, trucks, and trailers, but Cora was an EXTREMELY lackadaisical candy fetcher. "Oooh get that one Cora, Mommy loves Starbursts!" "Um, I just do not."

Cannot be bothered with your sugar cravings

Until the big kids' float drove past Cora asked over and over, "But where are my kids?! Where are my kids Mommy?!"

There they are!

After our second parade viewing, our friend J pulled up in his golf cart with a Bloody Mary bar in the front and it made my whole morning. And I don't even like Bloody Mary's. I just loved that it was happening.

We got back home about 11:30 and had 3.5 hours until party time. We were expecting 18 adults and 19 kids which I realized may be my limit. We cleaned the deck, set up extra tables and chairs, filled coolers for drinks, hung decorations, and used a 5 gallon Home Depot bucket and 2 liters of tequila to make margaritas. Party prepping is a serious business.

The bucket said, "Let's Do This." which felt very appropriate.

The kids watched Jaws. Somehow they'd gotten it into their heads that they needed to see that movie and then it magically popped up on TV the night before for me to record. I love how the girls look focused and Landon is like eh, I could take him. (Despite my fears, no children were traumatized by their viewing, though Cora did breathlessly inform me later that "MOM. Some sharks are SUPER BIG and they can EAT BOATS." She seemed more delighted by her new animal planet fact than concerned about any future boat trips of her own.)

The party kicked off at 3, just in time for me to throw on my $4 Old Navy flag suit from our first party in 2015 and a new cover-up recently purchased at Ross that did not disintegrate when wet as I feared.

I realized later I like to pick up one leg like a flamingo whenever I take a picture. I have no memory of doing so on purpose at any time and yet, there I am, one leg up every time. Why am I doing that?

James was our super sexy lifeguard and he took his job very seriously.

And not just the sexy part.

This year we kicked the kids out of the pool twice for breaks. Technically so they could sunscreen up, eat some snacks, and take a rest, but also mostly so the adults could get in and play water volleyball with our new net.

Oh yes! It turns out, if you put it in water and I've had 1.5 margaritas, I will totally play a game with a ball in it. Though perhaps not quite as enthusiastically as James will.

It was SO FUN. I forgot that I like water volleyball. I'm not saying I was the best player, but I am saying I was not an embarrassment to my family name. Also I bought this giant triple umbrella on Amazon late one night and sort of forgot about it until it was delivered 48 hours later. It's awesome though! And also GIGANTIC.

We brought the food out for dinner between rounds of volleyball. I don't want to brag, but five crock pots were involved and it was a bounty of meats and goodness. I was glad I'd decided to make the extra pasta salad though, we needed to balance out some meats.

Dinner was followed by more volleyball, a shirts v. skins beanbag game (not really, but it looked that way and made me laugh), dessert, and more margaritas, swimming, lounging, and when the moment was right- 90's music. It was a super fun day. I love the family we have made here.

The littlests decided they were done with the pool and got dressed and did important veterinary work up in the fort.

Then they cruised around the beanbag toss game, interrupting everyone's rhythm like the third babies they were born to be.

They are the cutest.

Everyone cleared out around 8:30 to get ready for fireworks. James and I cleaned up and just as I was scrubbing the last dish (fittingly, a crock pot), my head got clamped in a vice and I felt like I was going to pass out. So I went to a nice dark room and laid on my back and didn't move for a while. James took the girls to the fireworks (Landon had already left with a friend to meet us at the same spot) and I was eventually able to graduate to laying in the darkened TV room to watch an episode of The West Wing for patriotic comfort.

James took pictures for me because he knew I would want them.

James and the kids got home about 10 and everyone passed out pretty quickly. I lay in bed feeling my heartbeat in my head until finally the sleeping pills took over the migraine meds and I was able to pass out. I feel all better today, which is good, since I spent most of it at work. I was going to do yoga on my way home, but I accidentally stopped at Albertson's to buy popcorn and cheez-its and chex mix instead and mixed them all in a bowl (if you do not know the glories of hot popcorn-warmed cheez-its, you are missing something in your life) and watched two whole episodes of The Great British Baking Show in a quiet house while James and the kids were at swimming. I regret nothing. Sometimes you get to celebrate your holiday twice.

And now there's just one more day of work (and me subbing a barre class) and then I get a weekend again! Which is great because we don't have a SINGLE thing on our calendar and it also feels like we just had one. I look forward to board games, cheez-its, and maybe even cleaning out the girls' closet because even though I just did their room, I kept their closet doors closed the whole time so I could ignore them. But I don't know, I don't want to get too crazy.

Happy 4th (and days after the 4th) to all!


  1. I saw this and thought Landon might love it - 730 North American birds in a single chart.

  2. OMG I want to go to a LagLiv party! That looked amazing. Also every time you write about Cora's 3rd Baby ways, I just project into the future imagining a little G running after A&C and it makes me so, so happy.

    1. I'd love to have you at a LagLiv party! And third babies totally know how to party. (In whatever way they feel like partying :P)

  3. I must inquire about your cheezit popcorn blend - is it the microwave popcorn that you pop from a bag? You mentioned this combo a few weeks ago and I'm intrigued but would like further details, lol.

    1. I would be THRILLED to talk to you about my favorite magical blend! I start with microwave popcorn (the "natural" butter and salt version) and dump it in a bowl and then top it IMMEDIATELY with the Cheez-its (the "toasted" version is best) and bold blend chex mix. You need the chex mix and cheez-its to get warm. It is wonderful and you will love it. (If you can pop your own popcorn on a stove top all the better, but that is beyond my current skill set!)

  4. Yum! You need an air popper. No skill set needed. Dump popcorn in and hit start.