Friday, July 5, 2013

our July 3rd & 4th

Our community knows how to go all out for the 4th. It's fun to be a part of the celebration. Families start laying out chairs, umbrellas, and blankets the day before the big parade to ensure they get their "spot." We are lucky to be within walking distance of the parade route, so we have nabbed great locations the last two the shade!!

Our 4th of July consisted of hanging low around the house early in the morning, attending the parade, baking cupcakes, a get together with some friends for a cookout, a smores bonfire with neighbors and the fireworks finale. One of my favorite moments of the day was watching with a smile as the boys would run down to the curb during parade time to try and catch a piece of the thrown candy and goods. :) It was too cute. Cooper had a little side business going as well. He figured out that he could smile as this young boy (probably age 10) and the little boy would give him a piece of sweets out of his bag. It took me a few minutes to realize what was going on, but I caught on after the 3rd or 4th trip up to our blanket as he delivered his single piece of candy, ran back down the hill, across the sidewalk, next to the little boy where he diligently stood next to "little boy" and looked at him. I observed the little boy smile, reach his hand in the bag and pull out another treat for my two year old. I even caught a piece of what he said to Cooper, "Wow. You're a quick little candy eater!" The young fellow's mom laughed later as we talked and said that "He (her son) told me that he couldn't resist the little boy's sweet look."  ha! out world. He's a smart one, he is.

Though good times were had, I would not be completely honest to not mention that we (or I) terribly missed our family back home on this special day. A big crew of family were gathered in Mississippi for a traditional 4th of July BBQ and family gathering. about killed me to hear of the fun they were having--not to mention the good food that was being eaten. ;) These guys know how to cook, let me tell ya.

Growing up, many of our 4th of July's were spent in Oxford, MS at our grandparents house. It was an extended family celebration complete with all day laughter and fun, lots of food and of course, nothing but good ole' fashion fun. We would walk down to the nearby city park and mark our spot on the hill (for years, the fireworks were shot here; it was not until many years later that they moved the city 4th of July celebration to the stadium.) Entertainment (bands, baseball games, shows, etc.) lasted for hours. The parents and grandparents, great-aunts and great-uncles would sit and watch the entertainment while visiting over the "good 'ole times" and waving hello to a childhood friend and their entourage of now grownup family.

Everyone caught up with everyone on everything. No one worried about where their child was or who else was at the park. It was a trusted place with trusted people. While the grownups relaxed over sweet tea, lemonade, and good coversation, all of us children did what we did best...Run. Play. Run.
And then when we finally realized we were a little thirsty, we would skip over to our family's blanket for a drink of coke. Of course, shortly after that we were on to the next lively activity. The year the kids were able to start walking the walking paths in the woods by ourselves was a special one, making us think we had done something really good to earn that independent privilege from our parents.
I'm sure it was rather hot on those days, but I do not have a recollection of ever being hot, which is amazing considering the July temps and humidity in Mississippi.

As my brother and I entered late Jr. High and Highschool, traditions changed some based on church activities, which usually involved us being on a mission trip or camp over the 4th, but man, I will always remember those early July 4th celebrations with family. I hope that my boys will be able to look back and have such fond memories over their summer holidays as I do now. Hopefully, we are off to a good start! Though not with extended family, at least we were celebrating big, in our own way. Only thing that would have made it better would be if Clay could have been there too. :)
The day before, the boys and I ventured out to the community festival to look at the variety of carnival rides and activities. Each of the boys got a few quarters to participate in the 25cent Kiddie Games that were available from 4:30-8pm. Cooper played the Duck in Pond and Ring Toss games. Parker played Ring Toss, Bumper Cars, and Jacobs Ladder. We missed Family Day where rides were $2, so we opted out of any rides this year. There's always next year!

I do so love this time of year!! And love the warm weather that Minnesota brings...without the humidity! ;)

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