Monday, July 20, 2009

The glorious 4th

Well, I need to finish up these posts about our July trip to Ohio, especially since August is right around the corner (a fact I can hardly believe). I'm not sure what I'm going to do after I finish this post though because, Lord knows, there's not much going on around here to post about. Right now my blogging options include:
  1. The celebratory removal of the kiddie potty from the bathroom. This happened not because Ben has finally been potty trained (oh that that day would come soon). No, the removal occurred because our hall bathroom started to stink of urine, and even after Shawn attempted to clean everything in sight, the bathroom still had the faint odor of stinky feet. How's that for disgusting?
  2. The lady across the street repainting her statue of the Virgin Mary. Mary is now sporting a nearly neon coat of electric blue paint. Does this make her more or less Holy? I'm not sure.

See. My future blog posts threaten serious boredom.

But, before that happens, I have Saturday and Sunday of our trip to discuss.

I grew up in a town that went all out for the 4th of July - parade through the center of town, followed by a decent street fair and then some pretty amazing fireworks that night at the high school. I have always wanted to take the kids back so that they could experience this too, as the local 4th celebrations seriously pale in comparison. Don't even get me started on the sorry excuse for fireworks shows that go on around here. It's ridiculous. I was also hoping to put Claire's occupational therapy to the test that weekend too. She has come a long way this year, and it's been quite some time since I've seen her cover her ears in defense, but the parade noises AND the fireworks are enough to make anyone cover her ears.

My dad informed me that the parade and street fair have really grown since I saw them last, so we were making some serious logistical plans on arrival times, parking, and the best place to set up for the parade. In fact, if not for some friends, we wouldn't have had a place to sit. The entire parade route was lined with blankets and chairs several DAYS before the parade! That's some serious parade commitment. But, we got it all figured out, and after a YUMMY breakfast of homemade waffles and strawberries (thanks, SueAnne!), we arrived, parked, walked, and walked, and walked to our spot.

All set, and ready to go!

This picture gives you some idea as to the masses of people that turned out for this thing.

SueAnne, Papa Bill, and Grandma. Notice the long pants and sleeves! Still chilly in Ohio, but that was sooooooo much better than hot and sweaty.

The parade begins.

Ben was in little boy heaven. There were plenty of fire engines, police cars, music and costumed-action figures to keep him thoroughly entertained.

"Hmmmmm. That band is playing those drums really loudly. Am I ok with this? Not so sure."

Hello nostrils and Ben's bum. Can you tell I was sitting on the ground?

I love this picture. That's Claire on the far right, and I have absolutely no clue who the other girls were. She just made friends with them that morning during their group effort to get as much candy as possible. The paraders often hand out candy, partly as business advertisement, and partly just to be nice. When I was a kid, they used to pelt it at the crowd from atop the floats, and kids would play suicide scramble in the middle of the street over 3 tootsie rolls. Now the paraders calmly walk down the sides of the street and hand it to the kids. This is a much better way, safer (no gumball related concussions now), and the kids get WAY more candy.
But back to why I love this picture. Claire makes fast friends wherever she goes. Just introduces herself and asks if she can play. She and the little girl in navy blue are the same age, both starting kindergarten, and the little girl was really sad to learn that Claire didn't live in Ohio and wouldn't be going to her school. I wish I could make friends so easily, just plop myself down next to someone on the sidewalk and declare we are best buds.

After the parade ended, we made our way back to the cars, dropped off the chairs and then headed out to the street fair. I really wish I had taken a picture of this. It was an enormous sea of moving humanity, crowded on a too narrow street. Thank God it was overcast and cool, or it would have been like a sweaty soup pot out there. Anyway, they had some really great free activities for kids, so both Ben and Claire got several prizes, and Claire walked away looking like this:

Dear God, may this be the only time she decides to color her hair red and orange. Amen.

The end of the day culminated in a fantastic fireworks show of which I have not a single photo. But I am super proud to report that, with the aid of some ear plugs, Claire watched the entire show with nary a flinch. She really, really enjoyed herself, and so did we.

Sunday was our last day there, and I have only the last two pictures from that day. We went to church at dad's church and then ate lunch at China Cottage - fondly referred to as China Fartage by my family because after you eat there, you . . . well, you know.

The evening was spent with mom and Dave and we finished off our stay in Ohio with a visit to Marion's pizza, the best pizza, ever.
We had a great trip. Thanks dad and SueAnne for letting us crash at your pad, dudes.

And now I'm off to determine the exact shade of the Virgin Mary's new coat, just in case I want to blog about it. :-)


Kelly said...

I remember the Centerville parade fondly!
Marions pizza = YUMMY!!!
SO glad the kids got a chance to experience a touch of your childhood!

The Fab 4 said...

Homer, I loved the OH posts, and while the virgin mary warrants a sentence or two, it won't compare to these latest entries. So very funny.