our Fourth of July
I think the Fourth of July might be my new favorite holiday. It was that good. I mean, the weather is warm, the festivities are plentiful, there's not a lot of prep and everyone is happy. And there's a lot of camaraderie because no one is left out. It isn't just for moms or dads or military or those who believe in God. Everyone in the country celebrates.
We don't have any traditions for the Fourth so at first we were kind of unsure what to do. Which resulted in us not making any plans at all, which resulted in a bit of a panic Wednesday night, when our weekend started. We knew we were staying in Des Moines to check out the local festivities (we are traveling a lot later this month, so we just wanted to stay put), but everything was new to us, so it was a bit intimidating at first.
On Thursday morning we woke up and took it pretty easy. We ate breakfast in bed, finished painting our guest room (white, of course), cleaned out our closets and attempted to sell at Plato's Closet (they only bought ONE thing!), ate lunch with Eric's mom, bought lawn chairs, and painted Roo's nails.
It felt so good to have an extra day to do some of those projects around the house that never seem to get done. Like, I did FIVE loads of laundry, and even all the guest bathroom towels got washed! That just never happens on a "normal" workweek. We were off to a great start!
After Rooney's nap we packed up a cooler with snacks and went downtown for Yankee Doodle Pops, a free patriotic concert at the Iowa State Capitol put on by the Des Moines Symphony. We had talked about going to a parade that night, but midday I got a crazy idea to stay out a little later and check out this concert that I always hear great things about.
The weather was perfect and we met up with some friends from church to sit with. We had a great view of the Des Moines skyline and enjoyed snacking on hummus and catching up with friends.
We found our spot a couple hours before the concert started, and Rooney was a trooper. She loved watching all the other people and kids (it's the largest single day concert event in Iowa and THOUSANDS of people were there, even though these photos don't give that impression at all).
I just about melted when I saw Rooney put her hand over her heart, pledging her allegiance for the very first time.
The concert was great. I'm not sure it is something we will do every year, but it was fun. We decided to leave around 9:30 pm to get Rooney to bed. She did so awesome, considering it was an hour past her bedtime. Neither Eric or I care much about fireworks, so we weren't sad about missing them. It was such an awesome night of music and time with friends.
On Saturday we woke up and Eric texted some friends to see where they were sitting for a parade, and they graciously let us take over one of their blankets that had been saving a spot on the main parade street since the night before.
But not without a stop for donuts first. Red, white and blue sprinkles!
I had never been to a big-city parade before. It was mostly floats for churches and radio stations and politicians. Where I'm from (small town Iowa), there are lots of floats for churches and also horses.
Rooney loved waving at the floats, and casually picking up the candy that landed at her feet.
My parents came down later that afternoon and we went to a nearby park for corn dogs, brats, burritos, nachos, popcorn, kettle corn, funnel cakes and shaved ice. I seriously spent half my time eating. It was awesome.
Rooney spent half the time on the swings and the other half convincing my dad to stand in line with her for the inflatables (only one of which she was brave enough to actually go on, bless her heart).
Rooney was in such a good mood from all the yummy treats she got to try that day. Since she's still talking about "nana's popcorn," I think kettle corn may have been her favorite.
I couldn't resist buying her this $3 flag that lights up. She waved it around shouting, "USA! USA!" and it was super adorable.
After a few hours, we'd had enough adventure for the day, so we drove home and put Rooney to bed and then sat on our front porch, watching the sun go down.
I've never been an overly patriotic person, but this year I felt so proud and thankful to be an American. To have been born in this country. I feel safe and warm and free. It's such a wonderful gift. I was so overcome by my emotions that we went out and bought a flag (made in the USA, of course) to hang in our living room.
I hope you had a great holiday as well! Next year I'm buying flag tattoos and smoke bombs for sure!