Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Growing up, my family made the Fourth of July a big deal.  We usually had an all-day-long barbecue with friends and family.  By early evening, we were packing up our blankets and stadium chairs and heading off to find the perfect spot to watch the fireworks.  I love the memories of this fun and very family-oriented holiday.  But somehow, we've never been able to carry that tradition with our family.  Some years we've been able to have a picnic;  other years we've done our own "fireworks."  Every year though, it's not really been planned and sort of thrown together at the last minute.  This year, a few weeks before Independence Day, I mentioned to the Nerd that this time I really wanted to lay down some plans and have a very memorable day.  Life happened, and before we knew it, the holiday was here, and we had no plans.  As usual.
 We decided to barbecue; then we nixed that plan and headed to Wendy's.  Yes, you heard that right.  We were celebrating in style, baby!  I did want to see the fireworks, but we needed to find a place that wouldn't freak out the Beast.  He loves fireworks but hates crowds and can easily get overwhelmed.  After some researching on the interwebs, we decided to ditch Portland's fireworks and head out toward the coast to Tillamook. 
 The Blue Heron French Cheese Company was hosting their own fireworks show.  When we got there, we were surprised to find it not very crowded at all.  Our parking space was just a couple fields away from the launching area.  We set up our stadium chairs right by the van (hello easy access to blankets and juice boxes!) and went off to check out the local entertainment. 
 The kids were thrilled to see a group of farm animals getting ready for bed.  Their favorite were the goats and the peacocks. 
 The face painting was a bit expensive;  so we went to check out the other entertainment and were happily surprised to find out that the bouncy house and the bouncy slide were free.  I patiently guided the very excited kids through the lines to these attractions while the Nerd got to hang out with this cutie. 
As it got darker, the Nerd hustled the kids back to the van to get cozy while I ordered a cappucino. We settled in our chairs while the older kids did sparklers, and then the show began.   I have to say I was pretty impressed with the fireworks - although I would have settled for a mediocre show just to have a happy, not-overly-stimulated kid with us.  The Beast stimmed like crazy and shrieked with joy at every single burst of color and noise.  Little Sprout was unfazed and spent the entire show searching my lap for cookie crumbs. 

It was a happy, happy Fourth.  We got back home incredibly late, but it was worth it.  We finally have a plan for next year! :)

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