- Leisurely wake up and straighten up the house for the day (of course C would have been up and down all night slow-cooking something delicious because that's how he does holiday meals).
- Everyone get into their holiday shirts and pose for the family picture before they get dirty.
- Head to the pool we found out has free admission every July 4th.
- After some time at the pool, come home, snack, relax, finish getting dinner stuff ready.
- Bring food down to the soccer fields where we set up for a potluck dinner with friends from church (this was all pulled off on the fly last year with no advance preparation) and stick around to watch the city's firework display.
- Go home late, leave the dishes for morning and crash into our pillows.
I don't know about you, but that sounds like a lot of fun to me.
But instead, this is how it actually goes...
Leisurely wake up and straighten up the house for the day. Wait, why does it seem like no one is helping me? Yell at kids till I get the help I need. Grr. I forgot to eat breakfast and now I'm getting grumpy fast. C has been up checking on the smoking pork during the night and I swear I woke up every time he did. How will I ever get stuff done in time? I'm already so tired.
C realizes one of our hard drives has died in the server that houses all our photos and school records, etc. Our lives, basically. So he quickly swaps it out and starts the process of rebuilding the data on the new drive.
I tear paper liners out from inside all nine, newly painted holiday shirts. I discover that the paper has stuck to the inside of several of the shirts, which wouldn't be so bad except that the paper is brown and now shows through the white t-shirts in splotches. Oh well. Nothing I can do about it now. These shirts can't be washed for 72 hours.
C leaves for the grocery store to get the rest of our dinner stuff.
I send out text messages (same as last year) to let friends know our plans of meeting up at the soccer field for a potluck and firework extravaganza. Throughout the course of the day, I hear back from only three people and they were all unavailable.
My sister's family and one other small family -- new people in our church -- are going with us to the pool. We need to hurry before the pool fills up. So we all load into the van to leave in plenty of time to also grab 99-cent hot dogs at Sonic thanks to a deal text message I received. This will be lunch. C will meet us at the pool with the two older boys because we all can't fit in the van.
I order 8 hot dogs plain (with sides of ketchup and mustard) and one order of tots since J can't eat the hot dog bun (and won't eat the hot dog). I get 8 hot dogs covered in relish and onions, but we don't realize it till we're almost out of the parking lot.
I swing back through the drive-thru to get the hot dogs fixed ... no way will these kids eat onions and relish on their hot dog. Not even I would do that. Sonic takes their time. The pool has now been open (for free!) for fifteen minutes.
We arrive at the pool, just mildly satiated from one hot dog each (but knowing there were sno-cones and watermelon, etc. at the pool, for free, like last year). The pool is already at capacity and there is a line forming out front waiting for people to leave so they can get in.
Oh, but I nearly forgot to say that as I was backing into a parking spot, there was a cement-post that could not be seen from the driver's seat and I decided just to back right into that and dent our bumper pretty good and make the kids cry because they were scared. Then when I get out to check on things, I slip off a curb and my chest lands on top of a similar cement-post bruising my right breast and giving me aching pains the rest of the day.
As I go up to the payment window to ask them about other free opportunities in town (as if they'll know), C walks out of the entrance and asks, "What's taking so long?" To which, I sigh, because I've tried calling him on his cell phone, which he left at home since he is wearing swim trunks and has no pocket. He and the boys have already been swimming. So I explain to him the van bumper, the crying kids and the full pool -- skipping over the whole Sonic experience -- and near tears, I say, "I don't know what to do now."
We decide to go home so we can figure out what to do. We go home.
I do a quick search online and nothing turns up. Meanwhile, C inflates E's lakeside pool and throws the cool hose in the hot tub and instructs little kids to use the pool, while big kids and adults can use the slightly cooler hot tub. Some are disappointed with the change of plans, but others just roll with it. Thank you, God, for the rollers.
I run to the store for C because he forgot tortilla chips. I bring back melon and grapes, too, since kids were expecting to eat a little more at the pool. D and our friend, Ci run to D's house to get some hand-me-downs for Ci's baby girl (she's just 4 months younger than E). Meanwhile, Ci's husband and cousin come to the house -- just at the moment I decide to bravely show off my bathing suit and dip in the hot tub. Nice way to greet guests. My bathing suit body doesn't make the best first impressions. Nor does slumping over the side of the hot tub while I try to conceal my bathing suit body from a stranger (the cousin).
I quickly run upstairs to change. I realize, yep, seven days earlier than last month -- right on wacky pre-menopausal schedule -- it's my time of the month. So unpredictable anymore. I'll blame the van bumper on this. Oh, and all the yelling earlier in the day. And the near tears a little later. It's all making sense now.
D and Ci are back and suggest we play Apples to Apples. This is a great party game, but when I'm feeling stressed out or emotional, the game really annoys me because I'm apparently the worst player of this game (I've never won this game one time) and I get tired of how every round has to result in some kind of discussion about why the judge picked wrong. I guess that's what generates discussion and keeps a party going, but I sometimes feel like it just generates loudness. We play two games of it and I win only one hand overall. It is very loud, but everyone seemed to have fun. I sat on the floor like a dummy and my back hurt when I finally stood up.
As the clouds roll in and it starts sprinkling, we opt to just have dinner at the house. It was likely nobody is going to show up for a potluck -- everyone is doing something else. Or maybe they are just avoiding being outside in the rain.
Dinner is delicious. Pulled-pork tacos, fresh guacamole and salsa, homemade whole pinto beans (from dry) and fruit. I eat too much. Yum.
The thunder starts. Ci tells us a story about how thunder always reminds her of "My Favorite Things," the song from the movie, The Sound of Music. Ci and D sing a duet of the song, mumbling over the parts they've forgotten the lyrics to. It was fun and funny. I am happy to see my sister having so much fun with a new friend.
After the song, Ci suggests we watch Oliver! on Netflix. It's her favorite musical movie and D and I have never seen it. Netflix movies are slightly frustrating for me because I can't turn on Closed Captioning. I've gotten so used to watching everything with captions to compensate for my hearing loss that movies or shows without it are wasted on me -- I get too tired trying to make out their lips. And with accents and singing, it's even harder. But there are funny moments in the movie that give us all a good laugh, even when I don't know what they're saying.
C and K bake cookies. Sugar and Oatmeal. IF we get to go watch fireworks, we'll bring these along.
The storm gets worse. We check weather.com and it doesn't look like it'll clear in time. Fireworks are scheduled for 9pm.
We bust into the cookies. So good. The guys ask for the recipe and C gives it to them. The babies are getting tired. We are thinking we won't go see fireworks since the weather is bad and it's getting late.
Around the neighborhood, families start lighting their own fireworks. Yes, it's still allowed here. We step out on the porch to watch. The rain has stopped. So has the thunderstorm. We walk to the edge of the yard and watch a couple houses.
C says it's only 8:30 if we want to go watch fireworks, we can still make it. "Okay! Let's go!"
We pile into a few vehicles and ride up to the nearest park. The kids play on the playground while we wait. I take funny pictures of D and Ci and their babies -- it's the babies' first Fourth of July.
8:55pm and the rain starts coming down hard. Apparently, it's not enough to call off the fireworks, because right on schedule, they start shooting them off by the high school and we can see them from the park. We crowd under a shade structure by the picnic tables with several other families and watch them from there. The kids clamber up play structures and try to get a better view, even if it means getting soaking wet.
Beautiful fireworks. Some neat photos. Great memories of a day with friends and family that was not at all like I planned ... but even better.
My one regret is that we never did get a family picture this year. It just never came together. But I did get plenty of other fun photos throughout the day, so it's okay. We'll try again another day.