baby, you’re a firework.

Uncle Sam's wife, Lily.Birthdays are meant to be celebrated, and America’s kicked off the month of many parties in our house. Happy July!

I’ll admit, our Independence Day celebration started out a little slow. I did bake an awesome blueberry coffee cake and even popped a little American flag on top. But we didn’t get out of our pajamas until after lunch, or should I say after family nap after lunch. Past Andrew’s failed attempt at reading aloud the Declaration of Indepence to a rapt audience, we had no plans for the evening. So I came up with the brilliant idea to dine out at Chik Fil A- nothing more American than that (she says while cringing slightly)! After slamming some chicken sammies and a Dr. Pepper- yes, I did observe the holiday with a drink (of caffeine)- we returned home and looked around at each other blankly.

It took a beat, but then I remembered that I had leftover sparklers from Madeline’s first birthday party last year tucked away for just such an occasion. Seeing as our girl is not yet, but almost, two, we decided she was too young to hold a flaming stick herself. So we sat her in a patio chair, lit up the mini-fireworks and waved them around in front of her. “Aren’t they cool!? Sparklers! Yaaayyyy! They’re awesome! Woohoo!” I exclaimed. She didn’t even crack a smile. Maybe they’re only cool when it’s actually dark out?

After our fifth and final sparkler (we’re animals, I know) burnt out, I herded the crew back inside. Before anyone could get bored, I quickly passed out mini American flags and musical instruments, turned up the volume on some sweet marching band tunes and started an indoor family parade. I’m sure at first they (my husband, daughter and puppies) thought I was crazy, but it’s hard to resist the allure of a big trombone and a certain piccolo solo, am I right? Before long, Andrew had gone out to the front porch and brought in our large American flag to lead our parade. We followed him from one end of the house to the other with our heads high, knees higher, laughing harder than we have together in as long as I can remember. Click here to see a brief snippet of Madeline’s patriotic spirit!

Not long after Maddie had gone to bed (not to worry- she’s a champion sleeper), the real fireworks began. We watched the Macy’s display on TV (you can take a girl out of New York…) and then took the baby monitor outside so that we could catch a partially obstructed view of the on-post fireworks finale. Before heading up to bed, Andy and I creeped on our neighbor’s adorable driveway fireworks through our windows with the lights out, oohing and ahhing.

As far as partying with your toddler goes, it was a birthday well-celebrated, for sure. And as I closed my eyes sometime after eleven, listening to remnant illegal fireworks in the surrounding neighborhoods, I thought about how next year at this time how I’ll probably be cursing those same neighbors for waking my littlest baby and smiled. America!

2014 song of the summer: a lovely sunny day!

It’s Memorial Day weekend and that means the unofficial start of summer! The neighborhood pool opened up today. We went to Trader Joe’s and picked up a bunch of food (steak, ribs, corn on the cob) to cook out on the grill. The days are sunny. Kids smell like sunscreen and sidewalk chalk. Dogs pant incessantly after just a few minutes outside. Each day comes with at least one outfit change- either from sweat or from water table/hose/kiddie pool play. Evenings are spent reading on the porch while the sun sets. It’s hot, but not too hot (yet). There are bugs, but not too many bugs (yet). It’s a lovely time to be outside!

What a segue into what I’d like to share with you today…what I instantly dubbed our family’s 2014 Song of the Summer (it can be yours, too):

*Shoutout to Maddie’s super talented Uncle Mattie for his writing/producing/awesome Sesame Street connections!*


1. My plans for this weekend include laundry, but what I’d really like to do is throw out all of my dirty clothes and go shopping for new clothes.

2. I consider the Labor Day holiday a really nice break from work, but not labor (see above).

3. My favorite meal for cookouts is a brat on a bun with spicy brown mustard, a baked potato with sour cream, butter and cheese and a beer, but my scale wouldn’t agree with that choice. 

4. So far, my favorite part of summer has been our new patio set that we got so we can sit and have dinner outside (even though we’ve only done it a handful of times due to mosquitos). 

5. When it comes to deployments, my philosophy is (isn’t it obvious)- keep calm and soldier on.