I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July! I know we did.
In the morning, Hubby went down to The Farm (his dad's farm which he and his brother help run. The Farm, which includes a hog operation, is conveniently located about 1/4 of a mile down the road from my house) to work on...something involving a tractor or a cow, I believe. He probably told me, but he always tells me while I'm changing a blowout diaper or asleep. Anyways, after a morning nap for Princess and a nutritious lunch of good-ole PB&J for both of us, Princess and I joined the rest of the family (Hubby's parents, sister, brother and his wife and 2 children) at The Farm so we could carpool to the Fourth of July parade in a nearby town. Living in a rural area, the parade tends to be kind of a big deal, so we arrived early enough to get good seats. Actually, we arrived so early that we ended up using those seats, aka. a blanket thrown on the curb, for a good 1 1/2 hours before the parade started. I was anticipating desperate attempts at freedom from Princess while we waited, but she was surprisingly patient. When the parade finally started at 20 minutes after the appointed time, Princess was enthralled. I would like to point out to you that this is her 3rd parade this summer alone. And believe me, she knows exactly what to do. Every time a float went by, she'd wave enthusiastically, turning up the cute factor a few notches so that several handfuls of candy would come flying our way. She and her 3 year old cousin, gamely shared their loot with the babies sitting with their parents on either side of our family's blanket/seats. This thrilled me for several reasons, one of which was that Princess was sharing for once and the second reason was because that meant we would be taking home less candy. I was secretly praising one float rider's aim after the family next to us was tossed a few freezees and were now struggling with several gooey children when Hubby's cousin happened by a few floats later, spotted relatives, and threw over a dozen sweating, sticky freezees at my daughter and nephew. I heard an indignant cry of "Hey, they got more than us!" emit from the thoroughly sugared-up preschooler beside me and glanced over to catch the exhausted mother cast a smug look our way as she replied brightly, "That's okay, Honey. Maybe they need them more than we do"
After the parade, we packed up our belongings which seemed to have strangely multiplied in the last 2 1/2 hours. In my hurry to get Princess out the door after she woke from her nap, I'd forgotten to pack an extra outfit in the diaper bag and, since she was now dyed blue from a freezee that had turned out to have a hole in the bottom, I had to stop back home and get her something else to wear. This was no easy feat as I wanted to dress her in red for Independence Day and 98.4% of her wardrobe is pink. I managed to scrounge up a red Carebears dress and we headed back down to The Farm to hang out until the picnic that evening. The pastor of our church and his wife had been invited as well as a few other families we knew from church which included my parents, younger sister, older sister, husband, and son, Maximus. Maximus hadn't really been outside on a farm before and he was completely captivated by the cows. The fact that they were 18 times his size didn't faze him a bit while Princess, having been around them since she was a newborn is still a bit apprehensive if the "Moos" get too close. Will, however, couldn't get enough of the cows and, he made that point by attempting to pick up a cowpie. His mother was not impressed and I was even less impressed when Princess, who has always kept her distance from the various animal waste at The Farm, decided to imitate her cousin.
After the picnic, Hubby and I decided to make sure our daughter received every Independence Day blessing available by finishing the day watching the fireworks. Unfortunately, we were a bit late in leaving and ended up watching the fireworks from 15 miles away parked by the side of the road. Lit by the van's blinking hazard lights, we oohed and aahed over each burst of color in the dark sky and strained our ears to hear the sonic booms that traditionally accompany fireworks. Princess had had a long day and a short nap and compensated for that by sleeping on Grandma's shoulder instead of watching the fireworks we had made her stay up for. But we're in the process of creating memories and when she gets older, we can tell her that we took her to the fireworks every Fourth of July.
Rather than making several trips to the kitchen to fill bowls of condiments for a picnic, put your sauces and toppings in one convenient place: an aluminum muffin tin. Line the tray with foil muffin cups and fill. Post-party, toss the cups for easy cleanup.