Posts Tagged ‘4th of July’

Pop goes our 4th!

July 5, 2017

I have been dreading July this year. I miss my babies. It’s far too quiet in the house without any deranged preschoolers or stubborn boyfriends or well-intentioned, neurotic dogs. The quasi-neurotic teen/tweenagers made up for it all. Plus, they’re turning into pretty awesome people whom I adore hanging out with. That empty space is pretty spectacularly empty right now.

So I was rather ecstatic that I got to have them for a tiny part of the July 4th weekend. Huzzah for visitation night! Their dad was gracious enough to let me pick the girls up at noon instead of waiting til “after work” time, since no one was working, and so we were able to squeeze a lot of things in. And because we are who we are, we used most of that time to make food.

First, we made gooey squares (and yes, this week I’ll share the recipe). They’re basically a handmade graham cracker crumb/butter/sugar mixture, topped with melted marshmallow and melted chocolate chips. Like this:

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After Bee had made our Gooey Squares, she and Gracie and I chopped up a quick macaroni salad and put that in the fridge to set. Then we sat down to watch the July 4th classic: Cloverfield. LOLZ. We actually weren’t planning to watch it, but Bee came over to where I was puttering around and asked if she could watch “you know, that movie about the pretend animal that shows up when they’re at a party, and destroys San Antonio – I think it’s San Antonio – and they have to try to get out?” Once I figured out she meant Cloverfield (and don’t ask me how I made the connection), I tried to get her to tell me why she thought it was San Antonio, to no avail. But we watched it and then had a ridiculously early dinner of hot dogs, chips, macaroni salad, and all the fresh fruit our plates (and tummies) could hold.

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Then I remembered a sort-of patriotic surprise waiting for my twinkie. She’s fallen in love with West Wing, much to the delight of her mama and her aunties. To celebrate welcoming her into the fandom, Auntie Kim sent her this:

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Complete with the name of Gracie’s future husband right there on the front. Because of course Gracie has fallen in love with Sam – he’s as optimistic and naive and rosey-eyed, and just generally wonderfully special as she is.

Once Gracie calmed down, we fireworked at home with streamers and pop-its and a low-mayhem tub o’ fun…

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After which the girls dialed up the mayhem tuner. We were going to head to a remote parking lot near the fireworks more than 90 minutes early, complete with snacks, drinks, cards, and board games for us to keep busy. And the girls decided that turning the back of the car into a nest for us to hang out in was quite necessary. So they gathered every blanket in the house and half the pillows and made this comfy little getaway…

As you can see, we played games until the fireworks started, and then we popped the back and shut off the a/c and enjoyed more than 40 minutes of fireworks. Our little town sure knows how to put on a fireworks display!

And then we packed it all in, found flip flops and seat buckles, and tried not to hit any of the silly, silly people daring natural selection as they darted in and out of traffic while we tried to drive back home. (Not that the ride home took any years off my life or anything.)

It was a fun night for the girlies and I to enjoy each other before they’re banished back to their dad’s house for the month. Hurry up and get here, weekend – I’m ready for another fix!

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Happy Fourth, Casa de Katie style!

July 4, 2016

A small happy tale from our day:

Our clan had a big cookout with friends new and old yesterday afternoon, and so today we spent lounging, then Kim, Jeff, and I went to visit a new restaurant/bar for good eats and drinks in the trendy West 7th area.

Then, we visited this creeptastic haunted mansion that Kim and I want to convince Chip (and Joanna) to fixer-upper for us. (But, did I mention how haunted that place is?! There will be more on this later…)

After that, we picked up the girls for a little dinner and family fun time. And what did we do with our family fun time? We played Apples to Apples.

Now, I might have mentioned before, but when my family plays Apples to Apples, we all argue our case for why our card should win. It’s much funnier. You have Bee reenacting skits and making you laugh until you pee your pants (Card: “Clever.” Bee’s card: “Zipper.” To which Bee deadpans: “Because they changed. the world.” WIN!) It’s hilarious!

And then we played the card “Flaw.”

Kim played the card “Haiku.”

Confused? Just wait – she then recited (with just two minutes to decide how to play it):

“Some folks don’t have wit,
Consume, but don’t produce it.
These are major flaws.

Jeff immediately appended: “Bullshit!”

To which I replied, “No, that’s two extra syllables.”

Bee: “What’s a haiku?”

Kim: “It’s a type of poem that has five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line.”

Gracie: “…and two syllables in the fourth line, if you’re Jeff.”

My family, you guys – I loves them! I hope your Fourth was spent surrounded by you and yours!

 

Party til we drop, July 4th-style.

July 6, 2015

We had a bit of fun at Casa de Katie over the 4th. We had all of the kids for all three days, and I have to say – our plan to party them til they dropped was a huge smash. Of course, now the grown-ups are ready to drop from exhaustion, but them’s the breaks.

Friday we spent poolside. It was Bee’s “family” party (yes, that kid has hoodwinked a school party, a cake on her actual birthday, and then a day partying with the fam out of me. It’s tough being nine). The kiddos were a little excited.Jul5

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The Xman didn’t get out of the pool unless we made him. (Or Bee did – he’s her shadow these days.)(Like they’re different than any other days.) Bee had fun swimming, floating through the lazy river again and again, and performing tricks with her sister. Gracie did her own thing, played with Bee, and then ran into a group of girlfriends from school, and so I didn’t see her for the rest of the afternoon. Which was sort of a problem when it was time to go. Our community pool is fantastic – there are lifeguards every 6 feet, they are ridiculously watchful, and there is a fantastic safety system in place. Plus, even with all of the wonderful amenities, the girls are much taller than any of the pools. So as long as the girls are together, I allow them to go off on their own; it’s not so big that I can’t spot them. Except sometimes when it’s crazy packed, it takes me awhile. And then sometimes I still can’t see my 11-year-old and so I have to put on my flip flops and see if she’s gone to sit with her friends wherever they’re camped out. Fifteen minutes and three loops later, I was starting to worry, when I saw the girls in the middle of a complicated game in the kiddie-pool complex. Thank god. But other than that, it was a wonderful day and the kids slept like rocks!

The actual 4th was filled with flag cake – of course – and grilled steaks and corn on the cob and so many tasty things!

Jul3I barely even had to do any work. Bee-girl made the jello cake itself, and Gracie executed her ninja shopping moves to score two of the last Cool Whip containers that morning (I swear the entire city sold out of Cool Whip), and then decorated the rest of the cake. There may or may not have been a face-smearing Cool Whip campaign in the kitchen, but for sure, Xman thought he had died and gone to heaven when he tasted his.

And then there were the fireworks. There are SO MANY fireworks displays in our area, but we like our one downtown. It’s still crazy super-crowded, but traffic isn’t bad. And you’re going to stand in line for 45 minutes for an icee no matter where you go. (Sigh.) I could have collapsed in on myself when Gracie decided she wanted a smoothie instead, but I handed over some money and sent her off to wait in her own line, twenty feet away. I told her to wait for me at the corner of the food truck if she finished before we did, no matter how long it took, and I kept a pretty good eye on her as she made her way through the line. She did a fantastic job, turning around and waving at us every five minutes or so. This letting-go thing is hard, but she’s making it as easy as she can. For now, at least!

The firework display itself was phenomenal, as always! The only hiccup was that once the display started, we turned around and realized Jeff and the Xman were gone. Disappeared. Poof. The girls and I kept looking for him in between bursts of fireworks, but he was no where to be found. Turns out he saw an empty pocket ten feet down the street where they weren’t trees in front of us, and so he moved. Whoops. But he swears he thought we saw him move over there until he noticed us looking around.

Jul2And then, because we couldn’t make the weekend any better, but my Bee-girl sure was gonna try, she decided to trade in her half-jar of marbles, and use her giftcards and birthday money from Grandpa and Grandma to buy the massive Calico Critters mansion with working lights. Bonus points and magical assist to the mama who noticed it was on sale for 33% off.

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So, yes, it was a wonderful weekend chock-a-block full of fun and happy kiddos. Let’s make it 4th of July every weekend, shall we?

Finally, a Fourth.

July 5, 2010

Because of the way the holidays have fallen the last few years, and the fact that the girls were much too little before The Ex and I separated, this is the first Fourth of July that I was able to take Bee and Gracie to see the fireworks. It might not have been perfect, but I am still packing Saturday night away as a total success.

I was worried: first, I was having car troubles and secondly, hell North Texas seems to have forgotten that it’s July and it’s not supposed to rain until September. Thankfully, Mike (and the mechanics – ha! Random 80s reference, but still true) fixed my car so that it would at least start. That was one problem fixed. The weather on the other hand…well, one minute it would be sunny, then it would cloud over and the wind would pick up, and then the clouds would unzip and buckets and torrents of rain would pour from the heavens. Not to mention the dark storm clouds that seemed to be lurking just east of us all night.

But we still had a good time. Dinner was lovely – hot dogs, beans (for the kids, because ew), the traditional macaroni salad, pickles (we might have eaten an entire jar of sweet gherkins), and the family’s favorite Jello Flag “cake” for dessert. It was a July 4th miracle – no one whined or cried during dinner and everyone ate what was on their plate. It was lovely. Except for the downpours. Meh. I told the girls that if the fireworks got rained out, we would go for ice cream. They were so okay with that idea, I had a sneaky suspicion they didn’t totally understand it, but I went with it.

Luckily, the weather radar didn’t lie and the storms skirted around us for the rest of the night. The parking gods smiled on us and we got a wicked good spot about a block away from the activities. Even better, it was on the backside of the festival and so there was no traffic to deal with. I don’t know what’s scarier – that my luck held out or that I knew a Texas town well enough to know where the super-good hidden parking spots would be.

We worried that the bounty of parking spots and general lack of people milling around meant our night out would be a bust. The skies were gloomy, the ground was still sort of wet, and the vendors weren’t what the Web site had hyped. It was pretty gloomy at first. But the girls didn’t notice, and that’s all that matters. They thrilled at paying with their own dollars to go into the petting zoo. That was pretty cool: there were chickens, a mess of goats, a mean turkey, a cow, a friendly donkey, a pony, a sheep, and the biggest pig you have ever seen in your life. $2 for 20 minutes of fun was well worth it, even if the other kids in there kept yelling at me (yeah, I never did figure that out).

After that, there were live bands to listen to, face painting and miniature train rides that were skipped due to the length of the lines, and then there were the bounce houses. Remember how I said it had been raining off and on all day? Yeah, someone should have renamed the bouncehouse area mudapalooza. And guess who insisted they be allowed through the bounce houses? Yeah. So off came the sneakers and the socks and we waited in line for-ev-er to go through each bounce house thing. See, these weren’t your ordinary bounce houses that you get in and actually bounce; no, these were mazes, slides, and rock-climbing mountains all in one little giant inflatable monstrosity. Each monstrosity had about a ten-minute line in front of it. (I hated to think how long those lines would have been if there wasn’t a field of squick to wait in first.) Thankfully, the volunteers who were in charge of allowing the children through one or two at a time were also making the kids sit down at the entrance so they could wipe their feet off first. So Bee and Gracie were only mostly muddy when they came through instead of completely covered in goo. Three “rides” exhausted the girls’ patience for waiting in line, thank goodness. I would have complained more, but it ate up a lot of the time we had to go before the fireworks.

I don’t think I’ve bragged enough about how good the girls were. By the time we found a spot on the curb to wait out the last 30 minutes before the show started (and eat our funnel cake), it was already two hours past the girls’ bedtime. You wouldn’t know it to look at Gracie. She and her sister were putting on a dance show in front of us and they both took turns taking pictures with my camera. (Bee was particularly hysterical and ohmygosh bossy (!) with the camera. “Scoot closer. Now, Gracie, you sit right here. Now, say ‘Cheese!’ Say ‘Ice cream Cheese sticks Fireworks.’ <pause> SAY ‘ICE CREAM CHEESE STICKS FIREWORKS!!'”)

All of the bossy must have drained Bee of her energy because a few minutes into the fireworks show, she wanted to lie down in the wagon. The show was amazing: Gracie thrilled in it, Bee whooped for joy for the first five minutes, and even Mike and I were mesmerized. I kept singing snippets of “The Star-Spangled Banner” under my breath. I could just imagine how it must have looked, seeing the bombs bursting in air, knowing we were giving it our all, knowing the fight – the war – meant everything.  A fireworks show and festival might be a little glitzy, but at least I took the time to explain to the girls what the 4th celebrates.

But that is another post entirely and one for a different day. I’m happy that the night went off so well. I’m happy that the girls loved the fireworks as much as they did and that Bee didn’t pass out until she was riding in the wagon back to the car. I’m happy that both girls slept in until 8 a.m. the next morning! The night wasn’t perfect, but it was wonderful – and that’s good enough for this mama.

This would be a lot easier if both girls would turn their heads at the same time.