Our Fourth of July this year lasted nearly three days. On Thursday, I took the kids to my parents' house to spend the night. This is the house where I spent half my childhood. I love descending the stairs to the basement and taking that first step onto the cool, orange shag carpet. It smells exactly the same as it did when I lived there. Walking into the family room, I am always hit by the strong memory of me and my siblings staying up late on warm summer nights, watching Star Wars for the 100th time as the Indian Reserve across the water shot off fireworks all night long (from May through August, every year!).
On Thursday night, my mom and I began cooking for the Fourth. We set all the ingredients in the crockpot for Cooking Light's peach bourbon pulled pork (which was totally amazing).
The next morning, I got up early for my run and returned to a home full of excited kids. I grabbed a quick shower and forced the kids to join me for an impromptu photo session, to the annoyance of my sister who was forced to play photographer (I'm very picky- how come no one can take photos the right way, seriously?! Every time I ask a family member to take a photo, we look like specs on a horizon or the picture is super close-up and cropped in a way that makes my eyes twitch in discomfort. Also, if my hair is completely covering a child's face, can you please tell me?!- sorry, rant over).
Ryan likes to adopt new "special animals" everywhere we go. I think his actual Special Doggie is going to have a complex from Ryan's apparent lack of loyalty.
Happy Fourth! Coordinated and festive Old Navy shirts.
Dear Baby Jesus, can you please give me new hair? Because Photoshop hasn't invented a "tame hair" function yet. Thanks.
My kids got to love on their newest little cousin. They totally shocked me with their love for babies. Both Ryan and Jacob kept asking to hold her. They were so sweet and gentle. This gives me so much hope that Baby No. 3 is going to be extremely loved and completely welcomed into the group of siblings. Jacob is so into Baby No. 3 already. He is very concerned that we don't have a name yet and keeps making his own suggestions (like Madison or Kevin or Ty...um, no but thank you). He frequently rubs my belly and waits patiently to feel a baby kick. So far he hasn't had much luck. But he keeps trying.
Ryan is enamored with babies.
By the end of our visit, Ryan was cradling and cuddling one of my old baby dolls. My mom let him take it home and he's been carrying it around ever since. It totally makes me melt.
He's gonna be an awesome big brother!
After a delicious dinner of peach bourbon pulled pork sandwiches, we headed outside to play on the beach.
Ryan with his grandma.
Then we did some fireworks. My kids turn into pumpkins after nine, so we decided to do our fireworks early. The night before we found a fireworks stand and I let Jacob pick out a handful of kid-friendly fireworks. He was insanely excited all day. Everything was perfect. The kids had a blast with the lamey safe fireworks and didn't mind one bit that it was still really light out. I love this age, where they are so easy to please.
Running through smoke bombs!
Watching snakes. Everyone is so enthralled.
Apparently I bought too many snakes. By the end of the snakes, everyone was sitting.
Then it was sparkler time!
Ryan was hesitant at first. But eventually caught on.
Grumpy time for Ryan.
We came inside and the little kids decided to use Jacob as a drum.
Jacob has become amazingly mature over the past couple months. He plays so nicely with Ryan and other little kids. He has so much patience with them and is always looking out for them. I'm blown away by his caring. He has developed quite the respect for laws, authority, as responsibility as well. My husband took Jacob to the theaters last weekend and he refused to eat any of the contraband snacks my husband brought in. Even though I totally encouraged him to eat the snacks, he kept saying that he didn't want to go to jail or brake the rules. It was totally adorable.
Then the other day I promised to let Jacob play at the park after grocery shopping. I warned him we could only play for a little bit because I didn't want my groceries to go bad. At the end of our shopping trip he insisted that we go straight home and skip the park. He was genuinely worried about my groceries!
Anyway, to wrap up July Fourth, we made s'mores on grandpa's grill! The kids were more excited about the sticks and the fire than the actual s'mores. But I'm not worried- someday soon they will appreciate the value of a perfectly toasted s'more.
Then we all passed out at nine and slept through the entire Indian Reservation fireworks show. And I didn't mind a single bit. I was exhausted. I was satisfied with our smoke bombs and sparklers. And I was dead tired from the morning's race.
We saved some fireworks for July Fifth because my husband was not able to join us for the Fourth. Ryan unfortunately fell asleep right before firework time, but it was nice to see the "big kids" bond over flammable explosives and the small hint of danger.
Jacob's race car firework.
Best reaction ever :)
Jacob, the firework conductor.
I'd say this year was a success. And yay for keeing the bar super low!