Happy Birthday, America!

I don’t know what it is, but the past 3 years – the 4th of July hasn’t exactly been the best day for me emotion wise. 2 years ago I was steel reeling from the miscarriage and last year I was just in a bad mood. This year I was depressed. We had no real plans and Eric’s mom and brother were out of town as were my parents and most of my siblings.

All I knew for sure was that I had to make a few treats with Tanis because it was important to him and I told him we could. He found this video, thanks to Ailey’s fascination with her. I’m not kidding – Ailey asks to watch these videos BY NAME….

So in the morning, Tanis and I got started. We started with the easiest thing first – the Pudding Pops, then we went for the pretzels, which SHOULD HAVE been simple, but it wasn’t. I couldn’t find blue melting chocolates, so I added food coloring to the chocolate…I’m not sure why, but it didn’t work as well after that – so gettting it on the pretzels proved tricky. The red and white went much quicker and I had stopped cussing at that point. Finally we dipped the strawberries.

Either the night before or during the start of the morning we had decided that we’d go to the zoo for the day. We wanted to do something, but didn’t have a lot of money and I wanted to avoid way crowded places. I worried the zoo would be crowded, but because it was an outdoors place I was mostly okay. I was also okay because I knew we wouldn’t be spending any money to hang out with a zillion trillion people.

During the morning, Shaylyn’s best friends mom texted me to see if Shaylyn could go swimming at their house. I told her that we were headed to the zoo. She asked if it would be crowded or if they closed early and I didn’t have those answers. So she decided it’d be a good idea to go as well and we kind of said, “We’ll see you if we see you.”

So we all got ready and I packed up our pretzels to go along with us.

The pretzel did pretty good for the most part. Before we left and along the way home they had started melting, but they lasted a lot longer than I thought it might.
Anyway, we get to the zoo and I’m super surprised to see that it’s not that crowded. There are a lot of people, but it was nothing like it was when we had gone a month before and there was actually open spaces to see animals. We decide to head straight to the giraffes which are now located next to the train. Shaylyn says she thinks she saw Mikayla on the train and we just kind of laugh it off and look at the giraffes. (Ailey’s favorite)
As we are leaving, we notice that sure enough, Mikayla and her family are just getting off the train. So the girls stop and chat for a bit and Eric and I chat with Mikayla’s mom. After a bit their family goes and does their thing and we do ours. Which firstly consisted of getting pictures with the giraffe statues.
Ailey wanted her picture on the rock.
Then, of course, someone had to go to the bathroom. I decided it was a good time to fill up the little kids cups with water as well. So while we waited, I got 4 of the kids in a picture.
Then we saw zebras at the watering hole.
The kids imitated gorillas.
We ran into Mikayla’s family a few other times and then we hit the carousel. I tried to take Ailey and Jace, but Ailey started freaking out. She didn’t want to be on an animal, she wanted to be in one of the seat things – but they were all taken. So I had to get Eric from the crowd to come help me out. 
We then see that Mikayla’s mom has bought a ticket for Mikayla, her and her little sister – so (thanks to our membership) we let whichever kids wanted to ride, ride again. I think it was only Lex and Shaylyn though.
Now that the splash pad area is in the zoo, you know we’re not going to get out of there without visiting it.
Then a few of our kids decided they belonged in a nest.
Jace looked super cute and was so much more awake and aware of things this go around.
It was getting late and we were getting hot, so we made our way around to see the cats and then headed to the gift shop. Eric was super nice to the kids and let them each get something. We then made our way home. We had to stop at the store quickly for a couple things and Eric came out with a set of fireworks, only we forgot sparklers.
When we got home it was still hotter than hot and the kids had about a half hour before dinner, so we let them swim. Shaylyn decided she’d rather go swim at Mikayla’s and watch fireworks there. Although, I’ll give her credit – she did have a tough choice deciding what to do.

…This could quite possibly end up being one of my all-time fave pictures…

…Someone wanted to play outside, but I’m mean and didn’t let him, also ignore the paint on the door (I’m trying to figure out the best way to get rid of it)…
We then had an all-American dinner of hamburgers. Eric had steak. After dinner it was time for our pudding pops.
Eric even tried one and decided they were okay.
It didn’t occur to me at the time, but because vanilla pudding has a yellowish base – our blue turned out more green. I’m sure there’s a way around it – but I’ll figure that out at another time. 
We decided we’d better start the fireworks so the kids could do the Snaps while it was still fairly light out. I also discovered quite quickly that Nate and Jace are probably pyros like their Daddy.
The kids had fun waiting for the lights to go down so that the fireworks could start. 
I didn’t get any pictures of the fireworks as I was trying to keep Jace from crawling right into them. But we had some fun ones. Then we were able to watch a few from the guy down the street. We were also able to see the show that our neighborhood does on the next street over. 
We ended the night by eating our strawberries and playing a game Eric has begged me to play over and over again and as it turns out, I kind of like it (Shhh…don’t tell him). It’s called Lords of Waterdeep (A D&D game)

…It’s easier than it looks…
Even though I was kind of depressed at the start of the day, the day turned out better than I thought. I still missed family and it definitely felt weird not to be at a ball game or with friends.

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