Posts Tagged ‘July 4th’

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:


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.


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:


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…


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!


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

Jul7 Jul6

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.


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?

The Fourth was with us.

July 7, 2014

It had been forever since I got to spend the 4th with my girls. Given that the holiday is during their month with their dad and hardly ever fell on one of my weekends, it had been more than four years since I got to watch fireworks with the girls. We had a Faux Fourth every year, with burgers, macaroni salad, our jello flag cake, and lots of water games…but how can that really compete with watching fireworks light up your daughters’ eyes?

Even with such a rosy outlook, I almost blew our weekend right from the start. I thought our town’s fireworks display was on Friday night – I mean, July 4th actually fell on a Friday! A holiday on a weekend! And perfect weather was planned! (Sorry, East Coast.) Who would mess with that?! Our town, apparently. Because our fireworks were scheduled for Thursday night, as I found out late Thursday afternoon, much to my dismay. I had been looking forward to couch lounging. Pizza. Pajamas. I didn’t want to have to stay dressed. Go out. And revel. Booo on that! That was for Friday night! And I couldn’t just skip fireworks – who knows when the next time I’d get to enjoy fireworks with the girls would be. After agonizing over it for a couple hours, I found a nearby town who was nice enough to host fireworks on the night of our country’s actual birthday, thank you very much, and couch lounging was preserved! Huzzah!

Of course, couch lounging still didn’t go as planned. After dinner, I discovered the Boston Pops was live-streaming their concert from the Esplanade – my favoritest of July 4th activities! I ran and got my dictator stick conductor’s baton and told the girls. Gracie sat and watched nearly the entire concert with me and Bee-girl drifted in and out. A few friends were online and tweeted the event with me and it was almost like I was home again, if only for a few hours.


The next morning, the girls and I drifted down to the town’s Fourth of July parade after sleeping in. (Hooray for long parades and towns with plenty of local parking!) We even got a decent spot for parade viewing, despite the fact that we showed up halfway through!


Say all you want about kids these days, but my girls loved watching the parade. Bee’s favorites were the “flag-girls” and Gracie’s were the marching bands. When this float went by, stylized after a log cabin and featuring people dressed as founding fathers, Bee piped up with, “Mom! Look! Patriots…but not the football kind. Sorry.”


My favorites were still the fire trucks. How many times did I stand on Main Street back home, watching the town’s parade end with all the fire trucks? (And how awesome was it that my uncle used to blow the horn or light up the siren when he drew the truck right in front of my cousin and I?)


After a lazy morning and an early cookout (with, yes, burgers and jello cake and macaroni salad on the actual Fourth – the indulgence!), the girls and I ventured out for fireworks. My plan was to park on the top of the parking garage at the mall, just a few blocks down the street from the park. I was worried that it would be crowded, even if we got there 90 minutes early. I should have been slightly suspicious when just a few other families were there. But Gracie declared it the best! 4th! ever! and so I didn’t much care about anything.


After bragging that we had the best spot, a stupid mall cop walked over and said no one was allowed on the parking garage. The girls were absolutely destroyed, but I promised we’d find a good spot. I was about to head out the airport where John and Corrie were hanging out, but saw a few families hanging out in a store parking lot across the street from the mall. We wouldn’t be up as high, but the sightlines looked good. And judging by how quickly it filled up just after we got there, it seemed to be a local favorite. The girls cheered up after awhile – the fact that they were sitting on the hood of the car didn’t hurt.


And the fireworks were just as wonderful as we had hoped.


It was a long day and a late night, but worth every single year I waited for it.