Is it hard to get back in the swing of things after a long weekend or what? I could definitely go for another day or two to hang out and eat and nap. Anyone else?

Since that’s not going to happen, I’m going to hold on to that holiday feeling with a look back at my most memorable 4th of Julys. (4ths of July? I don’t know about this one…)

  1. The one where the corn field caught on fire. We visited my parents’ friends in Wichita and sat in their backyard watching their neighbors shoot of fireworks. I remember that we got to play with sparklers and snakes (the fireworks kind, not the reptile). And I remember that somehow, their neighbors set the field behind their house on fire.
  2. The one where my granddad died. It’s interesting to me (although, I’m pretty sure, not technically ironic) that my granddad, who instilled such a fierce patriotism in our family, died just before the 4th of July. I remember, the night after his visitation, standing out on my grandparents’ driveway and watching a fireworks display in the distance.
  3. The one where my cousin got married. I was a personal attendant, not a bridesmaid, which would have bummed me out if I hadn’t gotten to hang out with my cousin and her friends the whole weekend. Despite taking place outside in the middle of the summer, the wedding was beautiful. (And not even that hot!) My favorite memories are from the reception, though, from my aunt shaking it to Brick House to swing dancing with my cousin Craig.
  4. The one where we missed the fireworks. The first summer after we were married, my parents came up to visit for the 4th. In typical fashion, we arrived at the town’s event super early, endured a painful performance by a local musician and then, just before the fireworks were finally going to start, we headed home. Because my parents were tired of us getting eaten up by bugs and decided it wasn’t worth it to stay. Not my favorite 4th of July.
  5. The one where Mark didn’t shoot his hands off. The summer after I graduated from college, I worked for the Chamber of Commerce. It was our job that year to put on the town’s Independence Day event, including the fireworks display. The guy in charge of the large – and dangerous! – fireworks needed help, and of course my accident-prone husband volunteered. He managed to not get hurt, have a lot of fun and come home with several hundred dollars worth of fireworks. Which he and a friend proceeded to shoot off in our apartment complex parking lot, narrowly missing both our car and the wives!
  6. The one where we made a flag cake. Though we’d moved back to Kansas City, we hadn’t made many friends yet. So the summer after the summer I graduated, we headed back to Kirksville to visit our friends. And we were so proud of the berries and whipped cream flag cake we made! (And thankful the boys didn’t have nearly as many fireworks to play with this year!)
  7. The one where the boys almost blew up a 6-year-old. A couple years in a row, we celebrated the 4th of July with our Sunday school class, where unfortunately, crazy firework-shooting behavior was encouraged. And you know what they say: It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye. Well, nobody lost an eye, but I recall some firm words being spoken after an errant bottle rocket flew much too close to the kids!
  8. The one where my feet swelled up like balloons. The summer I was pregnant, I took an extra day off around the 4th. I spent my time off registering at Babies R Us and nesting like a madwoman (in other words, organizing every cabinet in the house). By the end of the weekend, my ankles were as big around as my calves. It was quite attractive, and thought I didn’t know it at the time, a sign of things to come.
  9. The one where my friend got married – again. After being betrayed and abandoned by her first husband, my friend married a great guy in Hawaii – and then again here. She was sweet enough to ask me to photograph her “home wedding,” and it was so much fun. But more importantly than capturing every moment with my camera, I loved finally seeing her happy again.
  10. The one where we saw the ocean. Last summer, we took a family vacation to Florida and Georgia. We didn’t actually watch any fireworks on the 4th (thanks to a cranky toddler, of course), but we did get to watch that not-yet-cranky toddler sit in the ocean for the first time.

And of course, this year, the one where Annalyn saw fireworks for the first time. I was worried that she’d be scared, but she loved it!

For more lists of fun stuff, visit OhAmanda’s Top Ten Tuesday.

How was YOUR 4th of July? And what’s been your most memorable one?


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