Good, Clean Fun

Before I detail our fabulous 4th activities, I’ll report on our family’s “staycation” earlier this week.  It was great!  We spent a lot of time lounging about our hotel rooms, enjoying the cable and utter lack of responsibilities.  The rooms were clean and comfortable, but since this *IS* Houston, after all, we did have a couple of roaches visit the kids’ room.  In proper Houston style, the kids took care of them, no problem.  I couldn’t have been more proud!  We also spent a lot of time slathering on sunblock and hanging out at the pool.  The free breakfast was underwhelming, but we had a very restful and relaxing time together.

At about 4pm on the second day, my husband left with the kids and I was all A-LONE!  You know what I did first?  I cleaned the room!  How strange is that?  (and how typical?)  I just wanted everything “just so,” and I was pleased with myself when it was done.  Then I settled in to do some work for my church calling, talked with some friends, watched an ENTIRE episode of So You Think You Can Dance (oh my gosh, yes, I’m a huge fan!), did some genealogy, started reading a book I’ve been looking forward to, and then went to bed around 11pm.

I expected the nighttime to be strange without a baby monitor next to my ear.  But no siree, I had no problems sleeping at all.  I did, however, have a few problems with not nursing my baby for 12+ hours, but that’s more than you need to know.  (one word:  ouch!)  It was a good break at the right time, and I’m grateful to my husband for his thoughtfulness and his ultimate sense of adventure!  (5 kids on his own, including the baby!  good man!)

Our 4th of July was pleasant as well.  We got up early and went to the flag ceremony and pancake breakfast at church.  The turnout was fantastic, and the food was tasty!  I didn’t expect to get emotional at the flag ceremony, but I did choke up a bit as we said the Pledge of Allegiance.  It’s an interesting paradox to be simultaneously frustrated with the current operation of our country (troubles with the economy, the war in Iraq, general annoyance over political pettiness during this election season), and yet be so proud to be an American.  Seeing the flag raised and saying the Pledge yesterday morning shook all my grievances away, and just made it a simple point:  I do love my country.

After the breakfast, we came home and cleaned, cleaned, cleaned the house!  My husband had invited some families from church over for a “dessert party” and we were expecting 9 adults and 14 kids.  Our house is big, but that’s still a lotta people!  I knew every inch would need to be available, so each of us dug in and did our share.  I’ve never, ever, (well) hardly ever been one to give my friends a tour of my house (too self-conscious), but last night was different.  I was so proud of everyone’s hard work, and it was fun to share our home with the friends who were here.  You all acted appropriately appreciative, too, so thank you for that! 😉

The desserts were delicious, ranging from my husband’s raspberry tart and chocolate-covered custard pie to homemade vanilla/oreo ice cream, homemade cookies, sinfully delicious layered cookie bars, and some other dishes I think I’m forgetting because of the sugar coma I slipped into.  We adults gathered and visited while the kids ran amuck in the house.  It was a genuinely good time.

We of course ended the day with fireworks, some of us driving to a local show, some of us sticking around to watch the drama unfold next door.  Fireworks around here are nothing like we experienced in Oregon.  Basically, any firework that goes into the air is illegal in Oregon.  Of course, people still cross the border into Washington and buy the “good stuff” anyway, but generally while neighborhood fireworks are fun, they are modest and often discreet.  Um, well, it’s a different story altogether *here*.  The booms and blasts are on every corner and the sky is routinely lit in colored flame.  Which would be alright, except at the end of a long day of beer and bbq, you don’t always want your neighbors handling that kind of stuff around your children, you cars, or your dried up lawn.  I’m happy to say that even with all my anxiety, the baby never woke up, nothing ever caught fire (in OUR neighborhood, anyway), and everything was over shortly after midnight.