Happy (or rather, the happiest!!) 4th of July!

This 4th of July was one of my favorite of all time. In fact, it was my favorite! Every part of the day was beautiful, happy, fun, peaceful, filled with feelings of gratitude–or all of the above all at once.

I had gone to bed on the third of July feeling grumpy about how much Abe has to shoulder while I am on bed rest, but in the morning we talked about it and completely resolved my issues. He is, what can I say? The BEST. He told me this can either be a really special time in our lives that draws us closer, or it can be a hard time. We can choose. After mulling it over for a while, I decided this is going to be a special time. I am going to try to be humble and not get angry about everything that people are doing for me. I am also not going to let my personal pride debilitate me, literally, for life.

We also started off the day by letting the kids make their own flag toasts. (We helped Ammon with his.)

Then Mary crafted a cut-out of herself. She decided that her friend, Anabelle, probably wanted Mary around full-time, and so she gifted this cut-out of herself to her friend. Mary has a terrific sense of self-esteem.

Then Abe took the girls to the Freedom Festival. It is a very patriotic festival where the community recreates a Revolutionary War camp community, and historical characters tell their stories. Abe’s favorite was George Washington, who told wonderful stories about how he learned to be a better grandfather. He also loved how George Washington had no problem telling the kids they were children of God who had the power to change the world. Sometimes we stop and realize that Orem is has some really special qualities, one being that people talk about God openly at community events.

Ammon thought this army truck was an exciting car. He is yelling, “Car! Car!” at it.

With John Adams. Each of the kids and Abe came home with “passports” filled with speech excerpts from the Founding Fathers.

It was almost 100 degrees, so Abe bought the kids Dippin’ Dots.

Then the kids played outside for the rest of the day.

Karin and Jay joined us for dinner. While they were helping with dinner prep, we all enjoyed Abe’s soundtrack of the best kind of American music–Hawaiian music! We then had tofurkey dogs, brats, baked beans, potato salad, watermelon, grilled pineapple, and a trifle I made in the morning.

I got to ask Karin about a crazy idea I had this afternoon. Since I’ve been busy crocheting, I have been wishing there were a way to give the blanket I’m making to a hospital somewhere and let the receiver know that they and their baby have been prayed for. Then I thought, why not start a non profit where people can donate items to prayed-for, albeit anonymous, recipients? That way the recipient can know that someone has prayed for them.

Karin told me that the process for starting such an organization is pretty simple, but the upkeep is a little bit of a headache, especially when it comes to taxes (which is her specialty). I will have to mull it over more–meaning, it will probably never happen. In the meantime, maybe I will just tuck a note into my blanket before donating it to a women’s shelter or something.

In the evening we watched fireworks. I have never lived in a place like Utah Valley before. Everyone shoots off their own fireworks, and some cul-de-sacs go in on shows together, creating spectacular presentations that rival civic displays.

Abe, my mom, and the kids joined the neighbors sitting outside and enjoyed being surrounded by shows. (I stayed mostly inside our cool house listening to Hawaiian music and crocheting the baby blanket.) There was a show going on in the middle of our cul-de-sac, a show at the beginning of our cul-de-sac, a show in several neighboring cul-de-sacs (which were completely visible), shows from behind our house, and to top it off, our musically talented  neighbors across the street stood outside with their enormous family singing Fourth of July anthems.

I have always loved how Halloween helps mingle communities in fun ways, but I think the Fourth of July in Utah Valley achieves that even better. We enjoyed celebrating our country, our community, and our freedom with such deeply good people. I also love that my kids have made treasured memories of incredibly exciting Fourths of July. I hope the fun they had remains as a treasured memory for the rest of their lives.

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