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“God Bless America…”

July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Our city has a huge celebration on July third.  Weird.  I know.  But kind of cool.  Especially because the fourth usually consists of family gatherings.  It is nice to have a time to celebrate with friends.  The only time I have been to our city’s “Fete” was when the twins still rode around in a double stroller.  We went to see The Splatter Sisters which was really fun, and then it was my plan to leave.  However, when we were walking to leave we saw Underwater World, and they had real ocean animals that you could touch.  So, I relented.  Wrong.  Move.  Once we were seated to watch the demonstration (this was required before the touching) THAT’S when the meltdowns occurred.  I was alone with three kids.  We were seated (with a double stroller) on a hill with  about 584,397 people.  Leaving gracefully was not an option.  It is the only time I had perfect strangers make rude comments to me about my “screaming kid.”  Such fond memories.  This may be the reason I am not inclined to attend the “Fete” part.  BUT….  We can see the fireworks from the “Fete” from our neighborhood.  In the past, we have watched them from the couch in our family room, from Katie’s bedroom, and from our neighbor’s house (well, actually from the street outside our neighbor’s house).  Last night, we walked to the park in our neighborhood to watch the fireworks. There were tons of people there.  The kids found friends that they go to school with so they were in heaven.

Our traditional Fourth of July consists of:

1.  A picnic at Jeff’s parent’s house. Burgers, chips, hotdogs, potato salad, festive red and blue fruit…  It rained this morning, so the picnic was moved to our house.  I was hoping that the rain would prevent up from doing the next step on the festivities (see below).  No such luck.  The picnic was a success, even though I didn’t have napkins with flags on them.  I found some blue ones.  I found my flag placemats, and had red cups.  I poked some mini flags in a potted plant and that was our centerpiece.  It was almost downright festive!

2.  Going to the parade. The parade has been a tradition since I was a little girl.  We used to go early and see if we could get in the parade somehow.  Many years we did.  At first, the parade began at the ice arena, and went to a park where we would stake out a place for a picnic after we watched the parade.  The whole city, it seemed, was there so you could hook up with all of your friends and play.  Then we went into “phase two.”  The city reversed the parade so it ended at the ice arena.  In the parking lot of the ice arena, there was a temporary carnival set up with rides and games and everything.  This happened when I was in highschool.  We still had a picnic after the parade, but now we would buy carnival food at the concession stands.  Corn on the cob!  Corn dogs!  Cotton Candy!  Mini Doughnuts!  “Phase two” grew into “phase three”  in which the entire Twin Cities Metropolitan Area attends the parade, the carnival, and stays for fireworks.  Breathing is difficult because there are so many people.  It is rare that I see anyone that I know, even though (according to facebook) many of my friends are there….somewhere.  I liked “phase one” the best.  The parade was really long for a while, lasting almost three hours.  But last year they shortened it up, and today we were back to our car after an hour and a half.  It was REALLY hot out there on the pavement today.  I was glad to be done with that.

3.  Dinner with my parents. My parents have a membership to a local country club, and they throw a big Fourth of July bash.  There is a yummy buffet with all of the picnic-y foods that you can imagine.  After dinner, there are pony rides and a petting zoo and a big blow up jumper.  There are games that kids can participate in:  the three-legged race, a pinata, the wheel barrow race….  It is really, really fun.  And the kids are big enough to leave the table without us and go play!  Bonus!  We are heading there in about an hour, hoping it doesn’t rain.  If it rains, then it is just the dinner part which would be a bummer for the kids.

4.  Fireworks. We usually drive back to a place close to our house to watch fireworks.  For the past few years we have been going to a shopping center’s parking lot to watch.  Less bugs, and easy to leave and get home!  We will probably go there again tonight.

It ends up to be a busy day, but the kids LOVE it.  Jeff has tomorrow off, so he and Sarah are going golfing in the morning.  Her first real golf game!  She is over the moon excited.  What do you do to celebrate the The Fourth Of July?  I forgot to mention, there is a lot of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” being sung around here today as well.

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