The 4th of July is one of those holidays. All our Independence Day celebrations in Iowa were small affairs. There is nothing wrong with small, simple holidays. I was just excited to do something more with the holiday.
Our holiday started very early in the morning, before sunrise, watching hot air balloons.
I've always associated hot air balloons with the 4th, and was very excited to share this with my children.
The weather didn't cooperate, so the balloons didn't actually take off. But we still had a great time watching them inflate, and fill the field with their bright, photogenic shapes and colors.
After the early morning balloons, we gathered to watch the parade.
This was another things that I had missed. The parades in our Iowa town were small, without fancy floats and large marching bands. Watching all the impressive town floats and loud high school bands was incredibly nostalgic. (Although no candy! Seriously, what's up with that? No one was throwing salt water taffy or Tootsie Rolls, which was a huge disappointment to my children.)
The other part of the morning that was very exciting was my entire family was at the parade. All my siblings, my married siblings' spouses, and their children. I don't think this has ever happened before. As you can see, we are quite the crowd.
After the parade, we made our way from the large city, to my parents' home in small town, Central Utah.
There, my children gathered eggs, ran wild with cousins, which we grilled and cooked and ate and laughed.
We decided to attempt something new this year, which will hopefully continue on as a 4th of July tradition: Homemade root beer. We mixed a syrup from a variety of spices, added plenty of sugar, and then, the most exciting part - dry ice!
We topped the homemade root beer off with homemade vanilla ice cream before making our way to fireworks.
For a small town, the firework display was very impressive.
Watching my children dance around the baseball field, twirling glow sticks, then huddle together with friends and family as huge fireworks exploded almost directly overhead, I could not think of a better way to celebrate our country's birthday.
The holiday was large, loud, and absolutely perfect.