"When you called me to be a Mama, You didn't ask for perfection. But that with every breath, I'd point them to You."

Monday, July 11, 2016

Our Stars & Stripes Weekend

We couldn't have asked for a more perfect or beautiful red, white and blue holiday weekend. Nothing will ever top Christmas in my book, but I think it's pretty ideal that what has turned out to be my second favorite holiday falls almost exactly six months into our year. It really is like having a Christmas in July - and when the weather is as amazing as it was this 4th of July weekend, not much could beat it. We were pretty spoiled. And so were our kids!

It's a good thing that I took a few days off after the holiday to regroup because we were exhausted by the end of it all. Our boys (and us) stayed up way past bedtimes multiple nights in a row. Our days were spent leisurely as we would gear up for parties at night. The boys were like little energizer bunnies when the sun would go down, and we would then enjoy two littles that slept in every morning later than they ever have before. Brandon set a record by not waking up until 9:45 Sunday morning!

We started our holiday with an impromptu happy hour on the deck because that's what we were - happy. I picked the boys up from daycare a little early on Friday, and we stopped at HyVee on the way home to stock up on way more goodies, snacks and beverages than we really needed. I then prepared a small snack on the deck when we got home to tide us over while we waited for Daddy.

We then headed to a Bucks game to meet the Graham's for a family night out at the ball park. This particular game had been in our plans for weeks - with two boys playing baseball this summer, I couldn't think of a better or more festive way to kick off this particular holiday.

We bought more food than we needed to, but this taco salad in a Bucks hat was the favorite. I wasn't sure how Brandon would do through nine whole innings, but he was an angel. The night was warm enough for shorts but cool enough for a light zip-up hoodie to go with it, and we stayed for the fireworks at the end.

Friends and fireworks over root beers and baseball fields. Couldn't get more patriotic.

After spending Saturday afternoon riding bikes and visiting parks, we headed to the Graham's for one awesome cookout, some s'mores, sparklers and "illegal" fireworks. ;)

This was the best outdoor meal we've had in a while. The steaks were grilled and marinated to perfection, the pasta and potato salads were delicious, the wine tasted extra good, and of course - you can't beat red, white and blue cupcakes.

As the night got longer, and the air got a little cooler, we lit up the fire and went back and forth between watching kids on the trampoline and helping them melt their marshmallows over the flame. More neighbors joined as the night went on, and we had a lot of fun.

The kids set off hundreds of little firecrackers and spent hours playing hide and seek, hopping all the white fences in the neighborhood and running from one backyard to the next.

As soon as it got dark, we started the sparklers and Shane's fireworks and had our own little watch party right in the backyard. The outdoor music was cranked, the white twinkly lights were lit, and the kids were happy as could be.

Sparkler dances!

It all culminated in one pretty awesome finale. As soon as Shane's fireworks were over, we had a perfect view of the Waterloo fireworks show several miles away. We avoided the crowds and still saw the whole thing from the comfort of the patio furniture, wine glasses and juice boxes and sticky marshmallows in hand.

Late Sunday afternoon we met a bunch of our friends and teammates for a fun game of baseball. We packed several coolers full of fun flavored beers, red, white and blue Gatorades and played ball for three hours before picking up several boxes of $5 pizzas and eating together right there under the park shelter.

...stay tuned for more!