I started writing this post earlier today, determined to be quick and efficient and then scurry outside so I could be enjoying the amazing, the fabulous, the ever appreciated sunshine that was shining down on us.
My determination came from wanting to write for my poor sister who had to celebrate the 4th of July in the UK (where, naturally, they aren't big on 4th of July celebrations). But I couldn't be quick or efficient, and the creek was calling my name, as were two little people who wanted me down at the creek with them.
Ah well. Timeliness was never my strong suit anyway.
Last year, Jason's assistant soccer coach invited us up to Ridgefield to watch the parade. They saved us seats and everything (which is a big deal when you have to reserve seats the night before). This year, we continued the tradition and kicked off our celebration with a drive to Ridgefield to watch the parade.
Ridgefield's Fourth of July festivities is exactly what a small town celebration should be. Pancake feed, 10k race, kids and pet parade, Main Street parade, bbq at the park, singing, dancing--they have it all. We go because Jason coaches in Ridgefield, and because the parade is awesome and the girls get a bag full of candy. Someday maybe we'll do the whole day celebration, but for now, we just go for the Main Street parade, and hustle on home in order to get ready for the Family Farm party.
This year, we were more prepared for the parade than last year, but this year I forgot my camera. So, the Droid photos will have to suffice.
The girls are well trained to wave and smile, and the candy just rains down on them. Lucky ducks.
After the parade, we headed back home and eventually wandered over to Ty and Sarah's pre-party festivities. I think this is the fourth year they've hosted a 4th of July party, and it's always lots of fun. You never quite know who's coming, but you do know there will be a lot of kids.
And a lot of really yummy desserts.
You know it's gonna be a good party when the dessert table is full.
I didn't capture any early-party photos because I was too busy talking with family and new friends. An old childhood friend of my brother's (and mine) was at the party with his wife. Fun visiting with them. I tried to convince them that all babies are exactly like Addie: sweet and smiley. They weren't quite convinced.
Eventually the sun begins to set, and people begin to wander out to the field with blankets and chairs.
Before the Big Firework show, we have the Little Firework show, which is mostly comprised of lots and lots of sparklers.
Various adults would take turns standing around the fire pit (fire barrel? fire bin?) handing off lit sparklers to the kiddos. In case you didn't know, kids don't tire quickly of sparklers. And for future reference, it's handy to have about a dozen sparklers per kid.
Addie got to witness her first sparkler.
She loved it.
In fact, she loved all of it. The fireworks. The noise. The party. The people.
I thought she would follow in the pattern of my other two girls and be scared of the booms. But she wasn't. I suppose she's witnessed enough meltdowns (from a sister who shall not be named) that fireworks seem like small potatoes.
After the sparklers, there was the annual "firing off of the parachute men and watching the kids run all over the field trying to catch one" tradition. It doesn't matter if you are big or little--it's all fair game. If you can't run fast, tough luck. Next year run faster, kid.
There were more kids than this, but I couldn't photograph them all.
They wait expectantly...and then...
...off go the parachutes! Some years the wind really blows them across the property, but this year they didn't float too far.
And she scored three parachutes! Yahoo!
Eventually we run out of sparklers and parachute men, and it's time for the big guns.
A perfect night for it. Not a cloud in the sky.
I was trying to get some nice clear photos--had the tripod all ready and everything--but little Miss I Love Fireworks kept crawling all over me. So, I got what I got, and my pictures make me smile knowing how I got them.
In an unplanned stroke of patriotic luck, the show ended as the iPod played last strains of the National Anthem. Well, actually the battery on the iPod ran out just before the last note of the anthem. So close.
"And the la-nd of the freeeeeeee....
...and the home...of the..."