Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fun on the Fourth

At the end of a LONG day.
One of my favorite memories as a kid was celebrating the Fourth of July.  We'd go to my grandparent's neighborhood to watch a parade and go to the best carnival (in my mind) which usually ended with us winning a goldfish (only to flush it down the toilet sometime in the next week).

My goal, this year, was to find a parade and carnival like that, to take the kids to.  I thought this would be easy to do, since, you know, families like to celebrate Independence Day and all, but it was trickier than I thought.  I had to enlist Oba's help, since I didn't know the area, and didn't want to find something super far away.

What we found ended up being the jackpot, and only a 40 minute drive from my folks' house.  It was a full-day festival complete with pancake breakfast, parade, fair and fireworks.  We ended up only doing the middle two, at the festival and had our own pancakes and fireworks to start and finish the day.

Parade Time
Thing get a little crazy when waiting for a parade...
We ended up arriving at the parade a few minutes before it started; turns out we had a few extra minutes because where we camped ended up being near the end of the parade route.  So, we had a few moments to spare to be goofy and take pictures.  Anytime the kids have 'a few moments' around Jiji, it usually means he is going to be tackled.

It finally came!
Once the parade arrived, the kids LOVED seeing the different cars, trucks, and tanks!  The only thing they didn't love about said vehicles was the noise that came with them.  For being a loud little boy, Jared does not like loud noises.  At.  All.  Annabelle doesn't like them because she follows what her big brother does--- yep, we've entered THAT phase.

A few minutes into the parade, people with the candy showed up and started tossing it at us.  Jared couldn't believe it... they're giving us CANDY?!  By the end of the parade, they were pros at batting their eyes and looking cute for the ones with a little bit of candy left.  They also figured out how to open the wrappers and started munching on the candy--- even though it was 10 'o clock in the morning.  Oh well... nothing says "Happy Independence Day" like sugar-rushed children!

They also got a couple of flags and balloons as favors.  As soon as we got the balloons, each kid had theirs tied to their wrist.  Apparently I didn't tie Annabelle's on properly, not even 10 minutes into having the balloon she turns to me and asks where it went.  Uh oh.  A quick glance up confirmed what had happened; she followed my eyes and then broke down.  All out end-of-the-world toddler breakdown.  It wasn't pretty.  Luckily, the group sitting next to us had a multitude of balloons for their few numbered kids, and one of the Dads came over and saved the day.  We said 'thank you' and to me, it showed me that nice people still exist. :)

Pony Ride
Our little kiddos on Little Ponies :)
After the parade, we noticed pony rides set up at the edge of the fair.  Since it was a holiday, we decided to see how much it would be for the kids to ride and... it was FREE!  As soon as we heard those words, we jumped in the growing line and waited.  While waiting, the kids burned off some more sugar by running, exploring, and losing balloons, yet again, in a large area open area next to the ponies (don't know why the food booths didn't set up there... wait...).

As we got closer to the ponies, I noticed Jared getting a little more apprehensive.  I quietly reasssured him that ponies are nice and all he'd be doing is going around in a circle.  Annabelle had no fears with the 'cute horsies' (what she called them).  They both LOVED it.  I couldn't get the guys attention to put them next to each other, but you can see they were practically across the circle in the pictures.

Since Daddy wasn't there, I took a video (pay no attention to the goofy Mommy giving the commentary):

Fantastic Fair Fun
Food, play, and MORE FOOD!
Once the pony ride was over, we decided to explore the fair some more.  First thing we happened upon was a wheel-of-fortune like game for the kids.  It was free (woot) and Jared wanted to try it, so we were in!  Technically, there was only one spot on the wheel for the kids to win the 'large prize.'  When it was the kids' turns, the operator (Lions' member) 'helped' the wheel get to that magical spot.  Both kids got a large basket full of goodies.

What a slide!
After the wheel, we found some yummy burgers to split for lunch.  We sat in the shade next to the playground to motivate the kids to eat.   When they finished, they got to play for a few minutes before we went exploring again.  Annabelle, true-to-form, wanted to do everything--- even if she was too small for it.  When that happened, Oba was there to help out.

Then, we found the 'ticketed' items section.  Besides lunch, it was the only thing you had to pay for.  Through this 'midway' the kids got star necklaces, shared a white-chocolate strawberry, tried Cotton Candy for the first time, and got a fudgsicle.  Since it was 'warm' for the Seattle, we found a nice open area for the kids to 'attempt' to eat their ice cream without getting messy.  At least they had fun eating their ice cream and learned how a solid can turn into a liquid. :)

Once they were fully covered in chocolate, they wanted to try one more thing.  An inflatable fire truck slide.  Again, since it was free, they were off to the races.  Aunt Meggie played dutiful Auntie by helping them get their shoes off and punting them into the truck.  Annabelle was off like a rocket and Jared took his time.  Both went down the slide, I got pictures and they came out saying they thought it was SO MUCH FUN and asked if they could do it again.  Sure, what's the harm in that?  First time is always the hardest, right?  Not so much.  The scenario seemed to repeat.  Annabelle was up and down in a couple minutes or less.  Once she was down, we all looked up to see where Jared was.  The problem was... we couldn't see him.  The kids who came up after him started to use the truck as a bouncy house (which happened to be right next to the truck) and it FREAKED him OUT.  Big time.  He would not come down the slide or the stairs.

So, off my 30-week-pregnant self went UP the stairs of an inflatable slide to talk to my son.  We talked and he decided to go down the slide again (after a small push from Mom).  Once he was down, I turned to the operator and asked him if I should come down the stairs or slide.  He said, "take your pick."  Oh man.  I chose to slide.  The whole way down I could hear my Mom and Meg laughing;  I was just really glad my Dad couldn't figure out how to work my camera.

Nothing says 4th of July like blowing stuff up!
After the fair, we decided to grab a few fireworks.  We knew we wouldn't be getting too much because noise-sensitive kiddos and veteran.  Just some snakes, sparklers, and a few fountains (Jiji might have snuck in some noisemakers when the rest of us weren't looking).  While waiting for the sun to go down, we made some fun hats and pipe-cleaner sparklers for the kids.  The kids spent most of the time during fireworks doing what they're doing in the bottom left picture--- covering their ears.  At the beginning, they weren't even on the driveway.  Their awesome future Aunt Krystal sat on the porch with them to show them just how cool it was (even though she wasn't too happy to be hear the fireworks because of her tours of duty).  She got another "LOVE HER" mark in my book that day.

Once we convinced them it wasn't too loud, we got Jared to hold a jumbo sparkler and Annabelle got as close as sitting with me while I held the sparkler.  I LOVE how Jared was STILL covering his ears while holding the sparklers (this might be because of Jiji and his ability to light a surprise noisemaker at the same time).  The hit of the night seemed to be those and the snakes.  Annabelle thought they were funny coming out of the ground like that.

By the end of the night, the kids were exhausted.  After a quick bath, they each found a grandparent and passed out.  I think this Fourth was a success!  Yay USA's birthday!



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