Our Fourth of July started the way it starts every year: waking the kids up early from their nap so they can participate in the neighborhood parade. Last year:

And now this year:

“Mommy spent an hour decorating these bikes and even put a patriotic bow in your hair. Now rub that sleep out of your eyes, get on that bike, and show me how much you love America. NOW!”

After some threats encouragement, the kids starting displaying the American values that have been passed on from my mom, and grandmother before me. Namely, that holidays are 87% about dressing up your kids in matching clothes and capturing photo ops.

After sending the children around the block for the traditional parade-without-an-audience, the fire trucks stopped for a visit. Their visit might have been more effective after dark, once several dads had ingested a few drinks and started handing out sparklers a mere two feet from a large pile of fireworks. But who am I to judge?

Mark hosted the water-balloon toss. See that balloon Karis is holding? Yes, that ended up exploding all over my dress, giving the impression that I peed myself for about an hour afterwards.

This baby (who will remain nameless) enjoys kitschy 80’s fashion and moscow mules.
After the balloon toss, the kids did a talent show. Jafta showed his basketball skills. India put on her Tiana nightgown and performed some sort of awkward split pose while her friends were hula-hooping.  Then she spent the rest of the song pulling her dress up.  Hoepfully none of this is indicative of things to come. Karis, meanwhile, wandered off and took a fall while trying to climb on another child’s bike, thereby illustrating both her independence and the fact that child #4 is always starved for attention. It’s okay, though. Another person heard her screaming and picked her up.

I’m really not sure what to say about these pictures:

The day was ended with our own special homemade fireworks show, with the recently-legal-but-probably-shouldn’t-be sparklers.  It was Kembe’s first 4th of July, and I think he had a blast.