I have fond memories of the 4th of July at my Aunt & Uncle's house in Mission Viejo, CA. Swimming for so long our eyes burnt from the chlorine, playing with cousins and pretending to be mermaids, amazing BBQ hamburgers and hot dogs (Uncle Ted is a master at the grill!), ice cream (remember that one time I broke a bowl trying to mash up my oreos into the ice cream!?) and then heading to the Laguna Hills City fireworks show. That show is still the best place to watch fireworks. I haven't seen anything compared to it since. Ok- maybe the city of Alexandria almost came close, but really. Laguna Hills 4th of July is where it's at!
It helps too that for years and years my Dad got amazing parking because he was on the city council and Mayor for 4 terms. Perks! :)
We joined Brittany, Seth, Cora and Braden in Alexandria for a BBQ and swimming- in the rain! Seth & Brittany made amazing burgers and I think that meal is still one of my favorites from the past few months. I'm so glad I have a sister who lives close by!
Then, off to the fireworks!
Well, we had to combat rain this year again, but even worse! Last year the rain stopped at about 6pm so we raced out to Long Bridge park, missing all the fun & free activities. This year, it just kept raining on and off the whole day. And when it came down, it poured! But we decided to chance it anyway and head down, knowing we would probably get rained out. We arrived and there was hardly anyone out. It was so weird because in years past it was hard to move around the sidewalks because they were so packed.
But having no crowds comes with LOTS of benefits. Like getting to paint your face immediately, balloon light sabers for both girls, giant sized Connect Four and Corn hole.
I LOVE Arlington County Parks and Rec. Not only do they provide all this fun for free, but their staff is incredible.
All that "smoke" looking stuff behind us was misters from a park that had it's grand opening that day. The kids loved exploring it for the first time.
We ran into our friends from church, The Cantos boys, as we like to call them. Ollie Cantos is legally blind and adopted these blind triplets (Steven, Leo and Nick) who lived in the area. It's been an amazing experience getting to know them and they are great examples of how whatever is given to you in life, you can still achieve greatness.
The girls enjoyed their cotton candy (this is the one time a year we actually buy that stuff) and Taryn declared it, "the best day ever!!" Promptly asking, "What's next!??" :)
We met up with some friends and played at the new playground before the rain started pouring, we were soaked to the bone, and weren't willing to wait 2 more hours just to chance having them canceling the D.C. fireworks. We came home and handed out the glow sticks to the girls that I had stocked up on from Target and had our own little dance party at home. Tyson loves to get tons of "poppers" for the girls and they loved thawing them at the sidewalk outside. We also found a box of fireworks left behind from the past tenants so Tyson lit those off too. It was fun to create our own little show.
Right before bed, we heard a firework go off- and it was loud. When we looked outside, some neighbors up the street were lighting off aerial fireworks! So we gt our show after all! It was really perfect just being about to sit on our front steps of our home watching a great firework show!
I'm forever grateful to live in the U.S.A!