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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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Make July 4th Fun Or Die Trying

make 4th of July fun or die trying

The Fourth of July has long been my absolute favorite holiday. You get tons of food, the pressure-free option to hang out with friends or family or no one at all, there's built-in entertainment, and it's one of the few holidays where I don't have to buy anyone a present. Quadruple score.

But as I was perusing the photo archives on Ol' Rusty (my computer), I realized something. The HTV household Fourth of July standards have been slipping lately, and I blame the kids.

I know - they enjoy the excitement, the celebration, the excuse to stay up way past their bedtimes while consuming twice their own body weight in junk food. Who doesn't?

"Mommy, we're all out of blue sugar.
Can I eat all the other flavors of sugar now?"

But what about the things I enjoy about the Fourth of July? How am I supposed to stay up late porking out on hamburgers, drinking beer, and exploding things, when I have to be all responsible (she said in a whiny voice)? The authorities expect me to be concerned about whether or not the kids step on hot sparkler stems, or get malaria from all the mosquitoes, or handle live explosives, or overdose on whatever the heck is in hot dogs, and from what I understand they're pretty serious about it.
Authorities: Ma'am, did you know we found your children four houses down, covered head to toe in ice cream and trying to set pickle slices on fire?

Me (ketchup drizzling out of the corner of my stuffed mouth): HUmmmphh?

Authorities: Are we to understand that you were unaware they snuck into the cooler and each chugged fourteen fully caffeinated sodas, turned on the hose and dared each other to play Slip-N-Slide in the grass without proper Slip-N-Slide equipment, lit an entire box of sparklers at once without supervision, and then declared they were bored because there was nothing to do?

Me: I'm sorry, sir, there must be a misunderstanding.  I don't have any children.
It's sort of a buzz kill to be hauled off for neglect when I'm just getting ready to enjoy the Big Major Impressive Fireworks Finale.

Two years ago the kids wanted to see something bigger than our lame-o-la backyard bottle rocket assortment, so we staked out a great spot (the parking lot of an abandoned factory) to see our town's fireworks display. We got there just in time to set up our chairs, settle in, and give ourselves a hearty pat on the back for our planning skills and impeccable timing.


And then we waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

There's surprisingly little for kids to do in the parking lot of an abandoned factory when you won't let them play on stacks of rotting wooden pallets. Not only did I wear myself out chasing them off tetanus hazards and watching out for discarded hypodermic needles, I couldn't pass the time in my favored style because there were disappointingly few beer and soft pretzel vendors in our increasingly creepy and deserted neck of the woods.

To add insult to injury, by the time the explosions started the kids were super over it and just wanted to go home.

"Pyrotechnics are bo-ring."

However, please note that I have a stupid smile on my face in this photo as I mentally block out the kids' complaints, not to mention that I just noticed I was wearing Zoe's plastic tiara. That goes to show how hard I like to party on the Fourth.

Because I love fireworks. There's something romantic and amazing and beautiful about them, a quality that I'd like to point out is strangely absent if they're set off on any other day of the year, when they're instead considered an annoyance that fills me with murderous rage (I'm looking at you, stupid neighbors).
But I digress.
Last year we missed the fireworks altogether because Maddie had just been born, so we walked to the end of the street with her wrapped in a blanket of poisonous insect repellent and listened to the far-off booms in the distance for a grand total of three minutes.

I can tell you, it's not the same.

Anyway, my point is that the children and their pesky need for me to help them stay alive through the holiday have been seriously cramping my Fourth of July style the past few years. So this year, come Hell or high water or kids choking on red, white, and blue Bomb Pops, I'm making myself some holiday promises.
I will see fireworks this year.
I will do it far from a location where the children will be tempted to treat teetering stacks of parking lot debris like playground equipment.
I will eat some form of meat that tastes vaguely of charcoal and sulfurous smoke, and I will wash it down with a beer no matter how many times my son tells me he thinks it's weird when women drink beer.

I will not think about West Nile Virus. I will convince the children that mosquito bites are patriotic, and that every time a kid whines about being itchy, a bald eagle dies.
I will give myself a free pass to not care one iota if they get any real nutrition all day. 
I will sit with my husband's arm around me while I ooh and ahh like an 8-year-old at the booms and dancing lights in the sky. We'll put our hands over the baby's ears; I will not worry about permanent hearing loss. We'll yell at the kids not to chase each other in the yard while they're eating pointy foods and throwing Snap Pops at each other. They'll ignore us. I won't care.
Because I'm going to have fun this year, or we're all going to die trying.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


39 comments:

  1. I hope you have a great day! And no one ends up dead. Love the blue sugar pic!

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    1. Thanks - happy fourth to you, too (I lower-cased it since I'm assuming Canadians don't celebrate our independence as a holiday, but it IS still the fourth day of July and I hope you have a good one)! And happy belated Canada Day. :)

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  2. Fabulous... I found myself almost mad at my son for his incessant and smart alec talking during the entire, amazing, firework display last night. I am utterly amazed by fireworks and enjoy them as if I were still 8 holding on to a sparkler...! I feel complete now that I have seen them... and hope to see more tonight... despite my husbands commitment to stick to spending too much money on the crap you do at home - though I will honor his tip of the hat to his childhood 4th of July fun.

    I hope you find your fireworks, beer (enough to make you giddy) and charbroiled delicacies...Cheers!!!!!

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    1. Thanks! It sounds like you and I are of the same mind - I appreciate the nostalgia of a backyard display, but it's tough to beat the soaring crescendo of a major production's Grand Finale! I wonder if, when my kids are grown, I'll miss their antics and demands to go to the bathroom as soon as the fireworks start. Umm, probably not. :)

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  3. Funny! I hope you have the kind of day you're looking for! I'm with you, it's a great holiday...just overeating and sparkles. :-)

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    1. It is a great holiday - alas, the baby decided to skip her afternoon nap and go to bed early, so no fireworks for me - but I did eat like a pig and then drink a beer, so all is not lost. ;)

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  4. Happy 4th of July! I feel bad that I didn't attempt to do anything but the hubby is at work. while babies like bright lights, it just wouldn't be much fun with just the two of us stuck in traffic by the pentagon.

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    1. I can't even imagine the horror of being trapped in a car in bumper to bumper traffic with a baby, plus explosions! No, mama, you sit this one out - we'll celebrate again next year. :)

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  5. Your Tiara was darling! I need one, but alas, I am only surrounded by boys. We are pretty light in the Tiara Department around here.

    I actually let my kids eat about as much artificial "food" as they wanted today...neon orange cheese balls, those little barrel shaped bottles of psychedelic "juice", red white and blue ice pops...they were stained purple and blue and orange and green and happy as clams. I will be paying for this in the worst way tomorrow, but I'll take them to the lake and let them get all their yayas out in the water.

    Oh, and we had an EPIC snap pop battle...even the 2 year old! (He nailed Daddy with a whole handful!) It was a GOOD day. Even if my thumb is still smoking a little from the poorly directed fuse I was lighting...

    Now, if the neighbors wake my kids up with all of the crap they are still blowing up at 10:40 PM, I will make sure a Roman Candle will light up where the sun don't shine ifyaknowwhatImean...

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    1. I DO knowwhatyoumean - surprisingly though, the pyrotechnics seem to have actually lightened up around here earlier than they did last night, so I MIGHT not have to smack anybody around for a change.

      Right on cue as I finished that sentence, they started up again. #$&*#@!&^!!!

      I'm so glad you had such a great day! I let my little ones go wild with the food too, and then my sister in law offered to let them sleep over at her house tonight! What??? Um, okay, call me tomorrow after you peel them off the ceiling. :)

      P.S. I'll send you one of our tiaras - this place is lousy with 'em.

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    2. It finally died down around 11ish, only to be followed by another terrific thunder storm that had me playing musical beds with the children. First The Bigger got in our bed, when he fell back asleep The Little started crying so Bigger went into his bed and Little went into our bed...by this morning, I had BOTH of them in bed with me, several karate kicks to the kidneys, a splitting headache, and a back ache from subconsciously trying to squeeze my big ol self onto a 8 inch ledge of bed without falling off...sigh...my hubby is so lucky that he could get up at 8 to go to work...

      Oh, and they are playing SO nicely together this morning...I don't understand...I let them eat chemically laced non-food ALL DAY yesterday!!! Why aren't they clinking to the curtain rods like they normally are? They should be crazy insane rabid spider monkeys and *I'M* the one who feels like crap!

      ...i'm so confused...

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    3. That sounds so... restful. Oh no wait, the other thing - horrific. The kids are probably calm because their bodies are working to process all those chemicals. Nutritious food is easily converted to bounce-of-the-walls energy, whereas junk puts the body into survival mode (it must be the end of the world, because we're eating styrofoam). That's why it's nothing but twinkies over here.

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  6. "I will convince the children that mosquito bites are patriotic, and that every time a kid whines about being itchy, a bald eagle dies."

    Between this and the birds and the bees talk you had with Zoe I'm going to have to start taking notes. You give great parenting advice!

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    1. Thank you very much - my kids would very heartily disagree, though. :)

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  7. So does that mean that you'll be getting a baby sitter?
    We haven't been to our fireworks show in ages...looks side eyed at the child who hates loud noises. Pft.

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    1. Ha! No sitter, I was home with a sleeping baby by 8pm. Sigh. Maybe in 17 years or so you and I can see fireworks again. Dare to dream!

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  8. So did you have fun? We love the 4th in our household, too. And we went all out this year with tons of fireworks and sparklers and smoke bombs. We prefer to just have fun in our own yard, and this year a few neighbor kids joined us. Our girls were old enough to have fun and not be scared (though a little healthy fear of fire is probably good!), and the boy across the street told us it was his best Fourth of July ever, so I think it was a success!

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    1. Nice - that sounds great! So glad to hear you had a good time! I did end up having fun - it wasn't AT ALL what I had pictured, but actually when I looked back at my list I did do all the things on it (even if the fireworks were in a video played on the laptop), so I'd have to say mine was a success too. :)

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  9. You are my mommy hero! LEt them eat crap! LEt them get bitten by mosquitoes. What else are summer memories made of????

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    1. Exactly! We didn't have the pleasures of DEET back in our day - we just tried to get an even coating of bites so we didn't look too lumpy. Thanks for the support. :)

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  10. I like to tie my kids to myself in case I end up drinking too much so that they can't wander off too far. I know, I know. I should write a parenting book.

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    1. I have a wrist to wrist thingie that my 4 YO doesn't mind, yet the rest of the public does. Would they rather he got lost in a crowd or snatched by a pervert murderer? Tie em to ya Sister, I say! And tell the rest of the world to suck it and mind their own business.

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    2. I don't like the funny looks I get when I tie the kids to myself, so I just chain them to a post in the yard.

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    3. OMG. Just snorted my drink from laughing.

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  11. Please tell me pickle slices aren't flammable. If so, I have to go put a padlock on the fridge. I may need to do that anyway, as a precautionary measure.

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    1. Come to think of it, my diet would be easier to follow if I padlocked the fridge and gave the key to someone else. Or I could just put the key with the cleaning supplies, or someplace else I never go.

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  12. i loved the bald eagle line, also. you make me laugh. sorry i lost the margaritas. but i did enjoy watching last year's washington mall fireworks display with you and junk and stuff. oh, and i think you meant to say "GOT TO BE home by 8 with a sleeping baby instead of trucking back to my sister-in-law's only to find out she'd invited the other kids to stay the night so i didn't really have to drive back there and could have been home the whole time getting my drink on." or something like that. hmm. hmhmhm. hmm.

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    1. mmmm, good point - that IS what I meant...

      P.S. to readers: He did not actually lose real margaritas. That would be A) really hard to do and 2) borderline unforgivable. He did lose 2 margarita flavored jellybeans, which he got for me because I was in the mood for margaritas, which was pretty awesome, except for the part where they mysteriously disappeared.

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  13. I hope you had a great 4th! The forth is all about overeating and fireworks! What if else if the forth about- eating crappy food,lol

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    1. It was a good one - fake fireworks on the laptop but real food, which is better than the reverse!

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  14. What a fourth of July! Wish I could say my was potentially so exciting! I didn't do anything for the fourth this year, what with the state on fire and living on a military base where fireworks are prohibited, I've had to live vicariously through your post! Thank you for making my day! I hope you enjoyed your day! Visiting from Mama Kat's.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that! If it makes you feel any better, despite my grand plans I ended up watching a video of last year's fireworks at the Capitol on the laptop, where the only fire hazard came from the cat trying to curl up on the warm keyboard. :)

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  15. I'm mainly just loving that she was rocking' the tiara--makes the whole scene seem more sophisticated, wherever you roll out the 4th ;)

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    1. Thank you for putting such a positive spin on it! That was the most dressed up we've been in a long time. :)

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  16. The ante is upped for me each and every Independence Day. Because it's not just about fireworks and sparklers. It's my hubby's birthday. Yup, thanks Babe for ruining my second favorite holiday.

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  17. What?!? That takes it to a whole new level. Are you sure he can't just move his birthday to a different day? Marriage is about compromise, and I think you've suffered enough!

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  18. Naturally EducatedJuly 2, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    "Every time a kid whines, a bald eagle dies." This actually made me laugh out loud! I haven't been anywhere to see fireworks since my oldest was born 8 years ago. One year, we could see some from the kids' bedroom window. That was a party and a half. Good luck this year!

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  19. So you feel my pain! Best of luck to you, too - here's hoping one of our windows had a great view, meaning the highest fireworks barely peek through the treetops. ;)

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  20. Oh believe me, I've tried. He just looks at me funny when I politely ask him to be born some other day.

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