{our independence day: a story in pictures}

We had a great 4th of July yesterday. Mark started the day off with one of his favorite activities: putting something together. We bought a trampoline and Mark and his dad mulled over the instructions to make sure they got it right.

Five hours later, here is the assembled trampoline. Except, somehow, the net is not aligned with the frame, so the entrance is askew and the whole thing must be taken apart. Two hours, five beers, and several curse words later, the trampoline is finally ready for the inaugural jump.
India and cousin Tanner declare the trampoline to be in good working order.
Our neighborhood has a rockin’ block party every year for the 4th. The morning started off with some face-painting. India already thinks my friend Andrea is the coolest chic ever, but the face-painting put India’s esteem of Andrea over the edge.
After the face-painting, we took a little nap to prepare for the neighborhood parade. Upon waking, each child was refreshed and excited to be donned in obnoxious patriotic gear. Here is Karis showing her enthusiasm:

And I think this shot accurately captures India’s patriotism:

Jafta had a wee bit of a meltdown because he didn’t have an ATV hummer to ride in the parade like several of his friends. I tried to explain to Jafta the impact of driving such a large vehicle on the environment and his personal carbon footprint, and the benefits of bike-riding in combating childhood obesity, but he did not seem to care.

Then I told Jafta that I thought his bike was bigger than most of the other boys’ bikes on the block. He was then convinced to join the parade. Never underestimate the negotiating power of machismo.

Tanner was the most contented of the bunch, and demonstrated his mad scooter skills. The girls finally came around and moved from screaming to merely scowling:

The parade is a highlight every year, and some families are overachievers. This family wins for best homemade float, and also for homeschooling, musical talent (see below), parenting five perfectly mannered children, general adorable-ness, and being way too nice to actually mock even though it would make me feel better about myself:

The dads conspire about the fireworks show. Cool guys don’t look at explosions. They blow things up and they walk away. After the parade, Mark hosted the annual waterballoon toss. Jafta illustrated his knightly chivalry with the ladies by trying to over-hand pummel several girl’s faces with water. Smooth.

The balloon toss was followed by the WORST TALENT SHOW EVER. The show featured completely obvious magic tricks, knock-knock jokes written by seven-year-olds, father-son light saber duels, and a drum solo by Jafta:

India did not have a scheduled act in the talent shoe but did decide to do an impromptu cheerleading routine between acts:

And then some other girls got up to do a dance routine, and, oh wait, there is India on stage again . . .

And then the overachieving homeschooling awesome float family did a number that was really, really good. Children singing, playing guitar, drumming . . . harmonizing even. That is, until a certain Howerton decided she needed just a few more minutes in the spotlight. Can someone please remove my daughter from the stage? Her need for attention is embarrassingly familiar.