Oh, you guys.
I just had the most wonderful 4th of July. Perhaps only so wonderful because it was NOTHING like last year’s no good, horrendous excuse for a holiday.
Last year, I was on maternity leave, pumping every few hours, and after having just buried my grandpa two days before – on my grandma’s birthday no less – I was in no mood to celebrate. BUT, my inlaws – all 12 of them or something – were in town to celebrate the holiday and my FIL’s birthday (he’s a 4th of July baby). They weren’t originally there to go to my grandpa’s funeral but they came anyway and while everything was so damn chaotic, it was kind of nice to have so many loved ones around with children to give us a break from the sadness.
So last year on the 4th of July my husband’s aunt had a pool party/birthday celebration at her house for my FIL. The hubs and I went, with the baby, and my parents.
All of about 5 weeks old.
Shortly after this photo was taken, my MIL started having seizures and it was the fastest way to ruin a party and make the already shitty holiday even shittier. It scared the kids, it terrified me, and it pretty much ruined my FIL’s big 60th birthday.
That night, I fell ill with some sort of crazy stomach flu or food poisoning or something, and ended up just going home and going to bed. I remember laying in the darkness, listening to our neighbors set off firecrackers and just wanting to curl up into a ball and die. My husband left, with the baby, to visit his family at the nearby hotel. Given the events of the afternoon, they weren’t in the mood for watching fireworks either and instead spent the evening packing up to head back home at 06:00 in the morning.
So last year’s 4th of July goes down as the WORST 4th of July in the history of my life.
But this year! Oh you guys, this year was PERFECT. Perhaps the BEST 4th of July in the history of my life. Here. Let me tell you about it.
We woke up around 8am, usual time. I fed the baby his bottle while the hubs made pancakes, including little baby pancakes (or, silver dollar pancakes as they’re apparently called) for D. He loved them. I loved them. My parents who were still staying with us loved them. It was grand.
Around 9:30, our little family of 3 loaded up to check out our first ever 4th of July parade as a family. We don’t normally do parades, but our town was having one and the weather was perfect (high in the low 80s) so we figured if we were gonna give it a shot, this would be the year to do it. We found a shady area, spread out a blanket, and just sat and played and people watched. And took selfies.
Since our town is just a suburb of St. Louis, we didn’t expect to be there long. WRONG. The parade lasted almost 2 hours. But we didn’t mind. D ended up passing out in his stroller about halfway through so we just sat in the shade and enjoyed the festivities. We battled a little traffic on the way back, but not much. Then we went home to fire up the grill.
On the menu: Various types of brats, baked beans, corn on the cob, zucchini and yellow squash, pasta salad, chips and flag cake. For drinks we had beer and sparkling pink moscato. A simple yet tasty menu, and I’m all about simple and tasty. I didn’t take any photos of the food since it’s all pretty standard stuff but I was so proud of my easy peasy flag cake and sunflowers with flags that I snapped this pic for you.
A few words about the cake.
First, I got the idea for it from Pinterest. Second, I used regular yellow cake, and a can of real whipped cream for the frosting. I could’ve used more strawberries and blueberries but I’m pretty lazy and was running out of strawberries as it was. The verdict? AHMAZING. And far fewer calories than a traditional cake with frosting, so I didn’t feel so guilty eating a second piece. This will definitely be making a repeat appearance in future years.
Considering we only decided to host a cookout the day before, we didn’t really invite anyone aside from a couple of friends who already had plans with family, and my cousin who was babysitting her sister’s 4 year old son. So my cousin and her nephew came over to play in the baby pool and splash table. There were only 7 people at my house, but it still felt like a party. We sat outside and sipped our drinks and watched the kiddos play and lathered ’em up with so much sunscreen they were like greased pigs, with grass sticking to them and getting in the pool. But they loved it and D would squeal with joy anytime SJ would splash him. It was fantastic.
After the food was put away, the baby went down for a VERY long nap and my cousin and SJ went home. So it was just the four of us sitting around outside, playing horseshoes, drinking drinks, and listening to me comment about 500 times on how great the weather was that day. I mean really, when was the last time anyone in the Midwest can remember a 4th of July that WASN’T 105 degrees and/or raining? I could not get over it. Still can’t.
After a little hemming and hawing about which fireworks display to check out, we decided to return to a spot we’d been to about 3 or 4 years ago and watch our own little town’s display. I wanted a spot where we could spread out on a blanket on some grass and not battle crazy amounts of traffic afterward. So we packed a small cooler, a sippy cup, some bug spray and blanket and picked the perfect little spot to settle in and watch the show. And to my surprise, baby D even watched nearly half of the display without even so much as flinching at the pops going off around him. But I think most of all he just like the fact that all his favorite people were sitting on a blanket, surrounding him.
Watching the fireworks
Loves sitting on daddy’s shoulders
Cuddling with grandpa
We fought almost zero traffic getting out of there and was home just before 10pm. A bottle and bath for the baby and he was down for the count before 11. And just as I had hoped, the day’s events WORE HIM OUT. Despite about 3 months of shitty sleep, he ended up sleeping for 6 hours straight with barely a peep. At 5:15 am, he finally woke up and wanted to be in our bed, which he does every night but MUCH earlier, say at around 1am.
This post is getting far longer than I intended so I’ll just wrap it up and say it was a spectacular 4th of July.