Tag Archives: Fourth

Fourth of July 2014

When I think of the fourth of July I think of my childhood. Every year we would go to my Grandparents farm and eat BBQ and blow off fire works. Our fourth was like a Norman Rockwell painting. A beautiful farm with family laughing and just enough hijinks happening to make it memorable.

When I was far too young, I learned how to blow off fireworks from my cousins Adam and Jay. Technically they are my first cousins once removed (I believe that is how it works) but whatever their relationship technically is to me, they were always just Cousin Adam and Cousin Jay. Adam and Jay were just a few years older than me, but that gap in age was just enough for me to look at them and just know… those boys knew everything and I could trust everything they said. Of course in retrospect it is a miracle that Adam and Jay didn’t seriously wound one of us younger cousins. And even when I close my eyes and think really hard, I can’t, for the life of me, remember there ever being an adult around while Adam and Jay taught us 4 younger cousins what a punk was, how to light black cats, and how long those black cats could sit on Adam’s tray before we needed to throw them. I still get that anxious feeling in my gut when I think about lighting the black cat and waiting for Adam and Jay to yell “THROW IT NOW!” Even with all that anxiety, I never once doubted their judgement. Adam and Jay were firework experts.


It has been a little over or a little under 2 decades since we have had a fourth of July like the ones I remember so clearly. This year some of us reunited to relive those 4th of Julys from the old days and it was perfect.

I think as a parent the most special moments are when things come full circle. I love watching my kids experiencing moments that I hold dear to me from my childhood. This fourth of July was like that for me.

This fourth of July my kids met Adam for the first time. The boys instantly fell in love with him. And for me, spending time with my cousin Adam as a peer was wonderfully different. Seeing Adam joke with Michael gave me a new perceptive of those fourth of July’s of old. Michael and Patrick vied for his attention just like, I am sure, my younger cousins and I used too. Michael was so taken with Adam and is still talking about how smart Cousin Adam is. We all laughed at Michael and Adam’s banter and nothing could have made me prouder than when Michael started spewing his random facts and then seeing Adam’s surprised reaction.


In addition to Adam and his parents (and I have no idea what their relationship to me is beyond the fact that Adam’s Mom is my Grandma’s sister) joining us for the fourth my Grandma’s Aunt Eldrice came out for the fun too.

Here is the closest photo we can take to five generations. It makes me smile from ear to ear.


I don’t know how many more fourth of July’s we will all be able to have together. We all live so far apart now and as families grow they naturally spread apart. This day was special to everyone that was present. I am so grateful for that day. So many things came full circle and the only thing that would have made it better would have been to have more cousins there. Maybe next year! It is a lot of work, and takes days of preparations, but I think after such a wonderful day we would all agree without hesitation that the miles travelled, the hours cleaning and preparing food and the cash spent on fireworks was worth it.

More photos here. 

Happy 4th

Independence Day!

We started off the day with what we considered a festive fourth plan. We were going to go to a family owned and operated orchard in Afton, Afton Apples Orchard, to pick strawberries.  They advertise hay rides, play ground, petting zoo, straw mountain and a  cow train. We thought it would be a blast for Michael to play in the hay, feed animal, eat strawberries and just run around. I even packed a picnic lunch.

We got there and the  cow train wasn’t set up yet. The hay ride, oversized play ground, petting zoo and straw mountain were all in the apple orchard area which wouldn’t open until August, when apples came into season.

We ended up taking the scenic route home and ate our picnic lunch at our kitchen table.

We put the boys down for their nap, and just a few minutes later the neighbor boys starting shooting off bottle rockets. Apparently, it is legal in Cottage Grove to shoot off fireworks from your driveway. Crazy.

The boys didn’t nap.

The neighbor boys switched from fireworks to swimming for their fourth of July fun right after we let the boys out of their crib and gave them snack (Thanks Ruth for the cookies, Michael loves them!)

The rest of the afternoon Tim and I worked  on little projects while Steve (who is visiting for the long weekend) played with the boys.

The boys went down early for bed, exhausted from the lack of nap and playing in the backyard.

Steve, Tim and I mustered all the energy we could to eat dinner. Tim and Steve are out getting Dairy Queen right now, and I am trying to to fall asleep at the keyboards. Lucky for me, the neighbor boys are shooting off fireworks again to help me stay awake.

I have become my mother. 7pm I started getting dazed and it is now 8:45 and I am fighting back the yawns and becoming slightly delirious and unable to focus, counting the hours until I can crawl into bed, read my Lauraine Snelling book, and fall asleep with my glasses askew (the glasses part is me, my mom doesn’t wear glasses. She should, but she can never find them.)

As much as it sounds like it was a bad day, it was actually fun.

It is always great having family here. Michael loves playing with Steve and keeps pointing to his badly sun burned face saying, “Owwie?!!”

Patrick smiles whenever you make eye contact and cries when you leave the room (it is great to be loved but it is making bed time a bit more difficult.)

Lucy has been shedding all over the place and underfoot all afternoon because the fireworks scare her.

Overall it was a fun day. A good fourth of July.

5 more days and PJ is 9 months!

6 more days and Michael is 2 YEARS OLD!

Ooo. The men are back with ice cream!