Small Town 4th of July

Brian and I were fortunate enough to be able to take off of work the Thursday and Friday after July 4th this year, allowing us to spend Tuesday evening through Sunday afternoon up in MI.  The only thing I would have done differently is remembered my camera.  Phone pictures all around!  Yuck.  Oh and if mother nature could have laid off of the heat and humidity a little that would have been great too, but we rolled with it and had a fantastic family vacation!

We arrived at our place in MI on Tuesday evening and set up camp, then it was off to bed.  We got up early on the 4th (who am I kidding, G always has us up early!) and left for our first small town parade in a neighboring town.  The advertisement we saw for it listed it as being from 9:00 to 11:00. We laughed, figuring it would last 10-20 minutes....nope folks, it really did last nearly 2 hours.  Lots of fire trucks, tractors, and spaces between the entries, but fun nonetheless.  The boys came home with WAY too much candy and Brian opened about 20 icy pops while we sat there!

The boys all set to catch some candy, icy pops, and water squirters!

Racing for icy pops!

After the parade we went out for a pizza lunch and ran a few errands in town so that we wouldn't have to head back later in the week.  We did a festive 4th of July cookout for dinner complete with Rice Krispies treats with red, white, and blue sprinkles and strawberry, blueberry, and whipped cream parfaits.  Yum! 

That evening we went to our really small town parade.  They had a kids parade with a traditional parade afterwards.  Then they planned for music and fireworks.  G decorated his bike for the kids parade, but O was more of the opinion that it was better to sit with dad and hope for more candy.  G wanted me to walk along with him...until he found a soccer friend (what are the odds in a tiny little town 2 hours from home?) and the 2 of them took off to the front of the parade leaving me to walk alone, meaning without a child in a children's parade.  I'm sure I was really cute!  I'm just glad he had fun. 

Lined up for the kids parade.

I never get tired of this crazy tooth smile!

Brian decided to sit at the beginning of the kids parade route, which meant we had to walk back through town with a bike, while the actual parade was coming at us down the street.  Better planning for next year please!  The boys were giddy with more candy, icy pops, and popcorn.  I'm still trying to figure out how to sneak the candy out of the house to the office.  It's just way too much!

More good planning on our part was my forgetting the boys' "candy bags" in the truck in my excitement of getting G to the kids parade.  This is what my purse looked like halfway through the parade.  Not the best time to have switched to a smaller purse. 

We had planned on staying for some music and the fireworks, but this was what the sky looked like as the last parade entries rolled by.  Home please!

We ended up sitting inside the garage watching the storm instead of the fireworks.  It finally stopped raining shortly after we had the boys in bed and Brian felt so horrible that they didn't get any 4th of July fireworks, so we woke them up and took them outside for a little show.  It was the perfect thing to do, they loved it.  Probably partly because it was so late and so unexpected for mom and dad to sneak them out of bed.  :-)

Thursday was another crazy hot day for us so we took a trip to the beach!  The water was perfect and we had so much fun floating in tubes and having water blaster fights.  After swimming, the boys spent a good amount of time making sand castles.  This was one of those times I really wished for my camera.  My phone at the beach didn't sound like a great idea, not to mention leaving it unattended while we swam...well you get the picture. 

Here's G packed into the truck with his tube for swimming.

While we were at the beach we found out the the fireworks from the night before were resheduled for that evening.  Score!  We stopped for ice cream on the way home, had dinner and went to the fireworks show.  Like the parade, we figured small town, small fireworks, but hey it was something to do,right?  Well the fireworks did not disappoint!  It was a great show!  We ended up sitting next to a volunteer fireman who normally shoots off the fireworks.  He took this year off because it was the first time his daughter was old enough to watch.  We got the inside scoop from him as to when they were starting - he was listening to his fire station radio.  At the end of the show we heard the Captain say over the radio,  "Nice job guys, go count your fingers now!"  Well that's a comforting thought for sure!  :-)  A lot of cars honked their horns in appreciation for the firefighters afterwards as well.  It was pretty neat.  I love the family feel of a small town community.  It's one of the main reasons we moved back to the area after having G. 

On Friday we decided to just hang around our place and have a low key day.  Brian gave the tractor an unexpected oil change first thing that morning though.  He went to move the tractor so the boys could get their four wheelers out and it wouldn't start.  He figured it was out of gas.  The person it was purchased from put a gas cap on the oil tank and Brian poured gas into the oil tank.  Not good my friends!  He stayed calm, we got the manual out and he ran to get some oil and a filter.  The thing is running better than ever now! 

There's just something about a man on a it!  :-)

O suggested we go out to dinner that night and was more than pleased when we actually went with his suggestion.  We tried a new place with steak and Italian food.  It was so-so and we probably won't go back.  But we're always up for an adventure so we're happy we tried it.  G took pictures of Brian and I while we waited for our table.  He finally got one that wasn't blurry, but Brian looks a little off in it (shhh don't tell the photographer, but he wasn't too quick with his picture taking!).  I wanted him to try again, but Brian had enough.  I told him I was going to post that picture and he said here you go Bee!

On Saturday we were off again to yet another parade.  This is an annual tradition where we meet up with Brian's Uncle Sobe.  It's a bit of a drive from our place, but worth it.  The kids have fun, we have lunch, there's a little craft type area set up, a band, and a makeshift trout pond for the boys.  Oh, and a parade.  :-)  We got there plenty early and did all of the festivities before the parade.  G and O caught quite a few trout in the trout pond and G even caught a trophy winning rainbow trout.  For a little boy who loves to fish, this was just about as much excitement as he could handle. 

Trout and trophy in hand.

That evening it finally cool down enough so that we could have a camp fire.  We played a little lawn jarts, then sat and relaxed together. 

Later on the boys finally used their glow bubbles from the Easter bunny.  This is a pretty grainy picture, but you get the idea.  They were pretty darn cool.  Because they wouldn't be glowing the next day, the boys ended up pouring the solution onto the ground and essentially getting it all over themselves....which they thought was, "So cool, Mom!"  Showers for all.  But not before turning out the lights in the bathroom to see how they glowed.  :-)

Apparently Henry had enough activity for the day.  We found him sleeping like this.  So cute!

And as usual, our little co-pilot Daisy on the way home.  She's really quite helpful.  Who needs GPS?

This was one of the longest stretches we spent up in MI and it really was a lot of fun.  We learned a lot about what we needed to do for the holiday next year and had some absolutely wonderful family time. 



  1. Hi Sarah!
    Looks like a great Fourth!
    I love that outdoor fire pit! Is that in your backyard? How cool!

    1. We have a cabin about 2 hours from home with 43 acres of woods and about 2 acres cleared right by the cabin. The fire pit is in that area. Lots of great times up there! The boys helped Brian dig the pit and lay the rocks, which is a memory right there for them. We will be finishing with stone around the pit later this summer.

  2. Your photos remind me of why I love visiting the midwest as a kid. The town parades and storms standout the most!


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