Sadly, I'm not stateside myself this year. Not funny.
The 4th has always been a favorite holiday of mine. It is just a fun time. It is a day where hosts and party guests alike are at ease. It is a day to make plans or not. Whatever you feel like! Go with the mood or plan a big celebration-you pick!
Yes, we've done family things, but it's not the obligation of a holiday like Christmas. We see who we see. We don't stress months in advance to make sure we do the right thing by everyone.
When family is involved, for us, it's all about fun. My mom and dad make hot dogs, burgers, and my mom's famous fried potatoes. Trust me, they will change your life. She also always does root beer floats and some other fun dessert. It's not something that keeps her away from us cooking all day; there are easy things for everyone to help with. Then, it's outdoor play or swimming and a search for fireworks. We pride ourselves on serious scouting to find good parking and secret spots with good views. (With apologies to my brother Rob and my niece Jordan for the ten mile hike back to the car in 2009. That was all my fault.)
Most of us don't even mind the matching shirts. See the matching shirts after the jump!
My husband, me, our boys, and my niece, Jordan. Notice my husband is NOT wearing his matching shirt. He is such a punk. The boys get a pass because they had already completely sweat through theirs.
On the 4th of July the year the movie Independence Day came out, I was with family in Roswell, New Mexico. It just so happened to coincide with the Roswell UFO Festival. (Just for the record, I was born there, so go easy on the mocking.) Imagine sitting in a movie theater watching Independence Day ON the 4th in a town in the middle of celebrating UFO's. When they actually mentioned Roswell in the film, it was madness in the theater. Good times for sure.
Once I was married, we got a free pass to spend the day with our friends. We shared the same kinds of fun. Food, sun, fireworks, no stress. Just more cussing because no grown-ups were around. And a lot more indecisiveness because that's how our group of friends rolls. I have no idea how we ended up doing so many things considering how terrible we are at making group decisions. I've actually seen us take an hour to pick a restaurant for a random Saturday dinner. Not kidding.
Then we had kids. That put us back on the family obligation track. Because the kids are what they had been waiting for. They were only easy-going about not seeing us because Michael and I aren't new and cuddly and such. But who could blame them for being more insistent. I mean, look at my boys.
Alex and Jack on their first 4th of July
We actually spent that first 4th inviting ourselves to swim with the boys' godparents and eating at Sonic. No fireworks, just a tired family. I bet my mom is still bitter.
The following year was a family-palooza complete with crafts and games and relatives everywhere, oh my!
Yes, the matching shirts had cool nicknames on the back. I can't believe my husband wouldn't wear his in public.
Last year we did something a little unusual. No cook out. No outside fun. We just watched fireworks. On the roof of the hospital parking garage. The hospital I had just been released from moments before. Because I'm so normal I had to have emergency surgery to remove some of my guts. Now in addition to my floppy, jacked-up post-twin tummy, my belly-button is crooked, and I have a scar right down the middle of it. I tried taking a picture, but I just couldn't get a realistic one. My crazy iphone kept adding stretch marks and general heinousness.
So, this year will be another break from tradition. I'll miss friends and fireworks. I'll miss a day of relaxing and just going with the flow. But, I'll have these guys.
And I'll have my husband and the knowledge that he and I will get a vacation alone starting July 7th. And my parents will be here so a little bit of America is coming to us. And you know my mom will bring us the annual Old Navy 4th of July shirts. (There is no Old Navy here. I know. I sacrificed a lot for this adventure in Poland.) She's also bringing Ziploc baggies and Kraft Mac N Cheese. America the beautiful indeed.
Come back in November when I'll rant about no Thanksgiving. No football! No turkey! No post-turkey nap! No post-nap movie! No using my super awesome skills at avoiding cooking AND doing the dishes! Seriously!??!?!?