Possibly neither, but this is pretty long. Consider yourself warned.
That's because the 4th of July is AWESOME. It's my favorite holiday (that and Thanksgiving), and after seeing all the stuff below, you'll understand why.
Not only do I love a weekend of fun family-togetherness, but I also like the focus on what I consider to be the best moments of U.S. history: service, heroes, sound values, self-improvement.
I'm not super "patriotic" in the typical sense, seeing as I believe we're all on this planet together and I think over-the-top nationalism can hurt the overall survival of humanity. But I like this country. I've been to a whole bunch of countries on four different continents, and while I'm sure I'd be happy living in many of them, I'm pleased as punch to be living in this one. It's been a good home.
We started the weekend by accidently attending the Freedom Festival carnival festivities.
Having neglected to arrange a babysitter for a Friday night date, we took babs and headed to a restaurant we thought she'd like down in Provo. Right on Center Street. And what did we find? The restaurant was out of business and the street was closed off to make way for vendors.
Ah, well. We made the best of it.
So, I thought we were both cheesing it for the camera. Ends up I was, anyway.
Once again, Bridgette would like to show you her mints.
On Saturday, we attended Paul & Brenda's annual Independence Day party. This party always includes yummy food, water games, a water fight, board games, video games, toys, ping-pong, lots of people, and plenty of fun.
Jeff and I participated in the water balloon toss and won! They even handed us a marvelous blue ribbon to save forever and ever and ever and ever. Actually, our best toss was pretty darn good. You can see Jeff way in the back, and I'm out of the picture on the other side. That was the last throw/catch we made of the day.
Can you ever get enough of this darling little girl? If the answer is no, don't tell me. Or at least, feel free to stop reading my blog.
Bridgette was the youngest attendee this year, and Aunt Brenda was sweet to buy a baby pool just her size.
She wasn't kidding. It was just Bridgette's size.
The next two photos were taken by Aunt Brenda. We like them.
Saturday night, I went with Aunt Karla and Cousin Grace to the Stadium of Fire, hosted this year by Lou Diamond Phillips. He was great.
The Stadium of Fire Dancers
After the dancers made a human flag of spangled shorts and bouncy balls and before the colors were posted and the pledge recited, each unit of the armed forces marched in to their respective songs while the veterans in the audience stood to be recognized. I always like that part.
Carrie Underwood sang the Star Spangled Banner. As soon as she ended, they shot off a couple of fireworks right as four F-16s out of Hill Air Force Base did a flyover. I'm always amazed by the impeccable timing of this show. That's a lot to coordinate within a few seconds.
I've never understood. Why in the world would they choose to call it "Stadium of Fire."
So each year they also do something patriotically cool. Like one year they received special dispensation to induct 25 immigrants as U.S. Citizens on the stadium stage. Another year, they were honoring a family whose son was serving in Iraq and in the middle of the presentation, he came walking up the field. They had no idea he was home. Last year, they retired the huge field-sized flag they've used for years and years.
This year, in honor of the Boy Scouts of American centennial celebration, they did the biggest Eagle Scout Court of Honor in history. First they created the traditional Eagle's Nest, and thousands of people in the audience stood up, then 260 Eagle Scouts were awarded on stage.
This man, Woody Woodward, opened the ceremony. He is the oldest living Eagle Scout in the U.S. at present -- 98 years old. He was a little flustered, but he pulled it off. Dare I say it? He was adorable.
Sitting in the east benches, we were lucky witnesses to one amazing sunset.
Carrie Underwood. Umm... big fan. She was FANTASTIC. A true talent and a stellar performer, she brought a lot of emotion to a few of her best songs. Great, great concert.
A candid moment with Aunt Karla and her daughter Grace.
After the fireworks finale #1, the dancers created this map of the United States on the field while we watched a movie, narrated by Lou Diamond Phillips, about all the service U.S. citizens have rendered to the world over the last 200 years during world wars, the cold war, natural disasters, etc. I liked the emphasis.
And then we were rewarded with fireworks show #2 and the real finale. (Please see the post previous to this one for a bunch of my favorite fireworks shots.)
While I was gone, Jeff and Bridgette hung out with our neighbors and watched the local city fireworks. Jeff said they weren't great this year, but Bridgette enjoyed them all the same. She especially enjoyed playing though. Our neighbors are her best friends.
Sunday night (the 4th of July) we ate a big family dinner with Jeff's parents and all his brothers and sisters and most of their kids. It was nice. We came home to this site off of our deck.
We tried to watch a few fireworks, but they were mostly blocked by the trees. Oh, an aside, Bridgette stayed for all two hours of nursery at church (it's only the second time we've taken her and the first time she's stayed), and when I came in to get her at the end of church, she pointed at me and said, "Nooooooo!!!" She wanted to stay and play with the bubbles.
Monday we hung out with both sets of neighbors and did fireworks on our driveways. I made a cobbler with fresh cherries from the tree in our backyard.
You might notice Bridgette is not in this photo. She was terrified by the loud noises. TRULY terrified. With all she's been through, I'm not sure I've ever heard her cry like that before. So she stayed inside with our neighbors on one side (thank you SO much) while we got out and participated with our neighbors on the other side.