Happy Happy Birthday America!

This holiday is growing to be one of my absolute favorites due to our special traditions and neighborhood celebrations. From top to bottom this holiday was full of an overwhelming amount of fun and friends.

We started off the day as always with our neighborhood parade.  Each year it is always on the 4th no matter what day of the week that falls on and starts at the back part of our neighborhood, winds through, across the street, and into our clubhouse parking lot.  The first year we were here (before the boys were born) we were spectators.  Here is a look at the last 2 years :-)

Parade year 2010 - yep, we walked!
Upgraded to a self designed float we dubbed "white trash america"

Our neighbor Kara (mom of twins best friends Addie & Chloe) and I had everything planned for our s'mores around the campfire them float. And then the day before, I was in Target and saw a t-shirt that said "future gold medalist" and I immediately text her the theme I had going in my head now "Olympics". She called me and said "yes!  we have to do it." And it was so much easier than our original plan. Score!  A trip to Hobby Lobby, Dollar Tree, & Goodwill plus a rummage around her garage and we were set.  I LOVE how this one came together.  And one of the most fun parts is the night before working on the float with all the kids.  

$3.99 jerseys from Goodwill

Oh yeah.. campfire turned to Olympic torch

Beckett helping with the "rings"

The girls wrapped the rings in colored crepe paper

practice run with the rings

And everyone got a great Mexican fiesta for their hard work
Oh yeah.. and while we working on the float, I got a top secret look at Mr. Brad's killer BBQ preparations going down.

The morning of the parade, I am not sure that the boys "got it" what we were getting ready for but they totally caught our excitement.  They were my little Olympic swimmers. 

They headed over to Mr. Brad's with daddy with a whole load of our stuff while mom got ready for the parade.

We had several friends that rode in the parade with us.  The boys were SO good and had a blast on the parade route.  The loved throwing candy.  Our float was a hit!

The line up 

Not wanting to wear the hat :-(

Kara and her twins with me and the boys

Cutest swimmers ever!!


Eating popsicles and waving

Cuties throwing candy

Team Riley

Neighbor's friends

We ended up at the clubhouse for popsicles and prizes.  They had this cool water slide racing blow up.  Yep, I raced.  The twins, the boys, it felt so good!

After a lunch (Eli fell asleep in his chair!) and great little boy naps while I cooked we were ready for an afternoon by the pool.  Kara and Brad were so gracious to host not only us but our crazy friends too!  

one of my contributing desserts

Leah and her twin boys

Beau and Beckett found the tree house

Pool party!!

Lots of babies

Matt and Sweet Max

The plate!  (My beans and slaw) Brad's BBQ

While the boys were napping, I filled an ice chest with water balloons for the kids.  100 balloons took me an hour.  I have huge blisters on my fingers to prove it!  It took them 10 seconds to destroy my work :-)

The balloons!

Justin was the target

The kids got after it!

Justin SOAKED Leah with a balloon and
destroyed her food plate!

Beau was very sad the balloons were over
I don't have any of the late afternoon pool pictures because I was too busy relaxing in the hot tub after a challenging afternoon of swim racing and all kinds of games.  Once the sun went down and we were close to dark, we rounded up the kids to get ready for the main event.. the fireworks!




Pie break before the big show

essentials of a Texas Party

We have not done fireworks since we moved to Texas even though they are HUGE here.  Last year was a ban burn and the year before the boys were too small.  The boys took a special daddy trip to the fireworks store with Mr. Brad and his girls the night before. They each picked out a few special ones.  At first, Eli was scared of the loud noises but after awhile of sitting in my lap, he was ok.  I had a  TON of glow sticks so the kids were decked out and running crazy with them.  It was such a gorgeous evening. 

The friends set up in our side yard

These 2 guys sat in front of me...

I was watching the fireworks and that precious face would turn around and say "Yook Mommy! Yook Eli" with so much joy.   I sad a thanks and praise to God for our country.  For the simple freedom of sitting in a chair with a baby on my lap surrounded by friends watching the night sky light up.  Happy Birthday America! We loved celebrating you!