July 4th . . . Celebrated on the Actual July 4th

I love visiting my parents’ town, West Point,  for Independence Day.  Here’s reason #1:

Awwww.  Who’s cuter?  I can’t decide.  My dad took on the awesome task on Saturday of giving me a golf lesson.  He’s a great teacher — I actually made a ball go up in the air!  In the direction I wanted!  Sweet.

But here’s the main attraction in West Point:

THE PARADE!  As you can see, the Casket Man made a featured appearance, along with the plumbing-themed float.

Annnnnnnnd let’s not forget the candy. My kids quickly learned that jumping up and down and yelling “candy! candy! candy!” got results. The people in the parade threw gobs of the stuff down on us.

You know what I learned?  A piece of saltwater taffy thrown from the height of a fire engine can really sting when it lands on you.

Eleanor had brought her parasol along and found it handy for collecting loot.

Who can blame her?  Here’s the result:

Now, keep in mind that this is just 2/3rds of the candy they collected.  It wouldn’t all fit in that big bowl.  I picked out the lone chocolate item (an Almond Joy) right away.  Lollipops were put into service later that afternoon during our family viewing of Cars 2.  The rest was hauled off on Monday by Brian to fuel the endeavors of clinical pathologists at ARUP.  (Excepting the handfuls of stuff the kids grabbed when we weren’t looking.)

Dinner that evening featured a strawberry pie.  Featuring fresh strawberries from my mother’s garden.  It couldn’t be more perfect.

In the evening, we headed to the back of the West Point park to see the local fireworks.  West Point has grown enough in recent years to merit its own fairly impressive July 4th celebration.  I mean, they had a Beatles tribute band and everything.

The back of the field is mostly empty — the crowds are all at the other end of the park — so we had room to romp.  I threw a Frisbee around with Dad, Brian, and Alex (I haven’t Frisbee’d in eons).  Arial fireworks became legal in Utah this summer, and we could see mini-fireworks blasting into the air all along the horizon.

In the meanwhile, the kids ran around with glow sticks.  Many, many glowsticks.

My mom had found a big package of something like 30 glowsticks on sale.  There were enough to share with other kids nearby, and enough for experiments.  They made a giant ring to throw a football through.  Later they connected a dozen of them to make a glow-in-the-dark jump rope.  William looped them on all on his arms and legs, and Eleanor piled them around her neck and danced around.  Even Katie had a few wrapped around her car seat, to prevent people walking on top of her.

Katie, remarkably, was not afraid of the fireworks at all.  She just sat on my lap and smiled at them.  Eleanor, however, was once again curled in Daddy’s lap.  The rockets were going off right over our heads, it was fabulous.

The sad thing is that my camera ran out of batteries before I could take any pictures of the glowy-ness.  But perhaps it would be against Fate to have a  completely perfect day, right?

History Face

How long is July 4th?  One day, you say?  As in, that’s why it’s called The Fourth of July?


In Provo, July 4th is at least a week.  A week.  Which is why we spent the first half of our holiday weekend there, taking in “Colonial Days.”  This is an exhibit sponsored by a local printing press museum.  There’s a Civil War encampment on the lawn, an exhibit about the Mayflower, some guy making lead bullets over a campfire, and ladies in 18th-century dress knitting doodads with acrylic yarn.

Brian and I agree that this mismash of time periods should lead the organizers to rename the event “Olde Tyme Days.”

Need I even say that Jeffrey was in hog heaven at Olde Tyme Days?  He insisted on coming in costume — the tricorner hat was a Christmas present from Uncle Michael and Aunt Natalie — and once Eleanor and William got wind of this, they insisted on costumes, too.  That’s why, in the picture above, she’s wearing a pioneer dress two sizes too big, and why William is sporting a leather vest (Grandma came to the rescue with those.  Whew!).

Oh, and Katie was dressed as Napoleon:

As interesting as the various exhibits were (one was a big collection of famous peoples’ autographs, including letters from Mark Twain and Helen Keller), my favorite part of Olde Tyme Days was this expression:

We call this Jeffrey’s History Face.  He wears it whenever he’s learning about the past.

Even kicking back in an Olde Tyme chair is no reason to let down your History Face:

Eleanor, meanwhile, was given this little cornhusk doll:

And William got a snow cone.  A slushy, slushy, snow cone:



After Ye Olde Tyme Days, the kids got to visit our friend DeLynn and visit her horses and donkeys of various sizes.  Jeff made the mistake of walking into the stableyard with a bucket of oats.  DONKEY MOB!

I stayed at home and made a blueberry pie.  And then spent the subsequent hours chasing Jeffrey away from the pie.

This was probably not necessary, since the pie, while pretty, was not my best culinary success.  I don’t think the recipe included enough cornstarch in the filling.  It was more like “blueberry soup pie.”  But dinner also included a lovely spice-rubbed pork tenderloin.  It pretty much made up for soup pie.

After dinner we headed to a hillside in my in-law’s neighborhood to watch the firework display over BYU’s stadium.  (On July 2nd!  See?  I told you it was a week long thing!).  Eleanor, who is usually skittish with fireworks, was relieved to be so far away.

“Not too loud, not to soft — these fireworks are just right,” she explained before the display.

She ended up running to my lap for comfort anyway.