Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th of July

This year's celebration of America's birthday was pretty much perfect. The fellas (Gpa, Dad/Adam, and Spencer) headed off to a Nationals Baseball game on the eve of this big holiday, so Emma, John, and I headed over to Grammy's house to make good on a puffy paint plan. Trina and Emma had spent a good part of Monday designing red, white, and blue t-shirts. The girls got super artistic. John "helped" make Spencer's shirt, and I did some firework bursts on a onesie for a complete set of patriotic puffy painted t-shirts. 

The next morning, we were off to the Leesburg parade. Favorites this year included Kylerok (a boy in a neighboring ward who is launching his music career), lots of fire trucks ("wee-ooohs" according to John), and the Bolivian dancers who win for best costume. Love that they are a standard in the local parade circuit. Randomly, when Adam and I were in Argentina a few years back, there was a big parade going on in downtown Buenos Aires. Bolivian dancers? You got it. Different country, different culture, but some things remain the same. John and Emma were perched on shoulders for parts of the parade - best seats in the house.

Spencer was up late, late, late the night before since the Nats game was in the evening. He was a willing participant but opted to sit on the curb or in the shade of the too-small stroller to reserve his energy. He caught snippets of the passings by. 

We stood with Gma, Gpa, and Laura, all of whom took turns holding Johnny up so he could see. Parades are serious stuff, and he was taking it all in.

Favorite quote of the day: There was a float for the Battle of Balls Bluff, a local Civil War battlefield. There were a few men dressed as Yankee soldiers shouting "Go Yanks" and an older gentleman dressed in Confederate uniform. He shouted out "Down with the Yankees...Up with the Red Socks." I was dying. A perfectly diffused situation. So sad I don't have a picture to better color the anecdote. Too busy holding small children and enjoying the parade this year to photograph it. 

 We left a bit early from the parade to beat the crowds to an event I was SUPER excited to learn about - free tours at Dodona Manor, the home of George C. Marshall (author of the Marshall Plan, secretary of state, secretary of defense, emissary to China). I had toured the home once before with Gpa Bezzant, but it had been a few years, and I was happy for a reason to return. This beautiful home is located in downtown Leesburg and was the Marshalls respite from D.C. It was only the second home they had ever owned since Marshall was career army, and they moved frequently. Parts of the home date back to the 1800's. It was, at one point, a girls school and was also pressed into service as a hospital for a time during the Civil War. 

Fun fact about George Marshall: according to the docent, he was a very poor student in high school (although he read widely from the classics even at that age). His older brother was an accomplished student at VMI and was overheard by George telling their mother that George had better not attend VMI or he would tarnish the family name. That sealed his ambition, and to VMI he went upon graduation. I think it fair to say that he did okay by the family name in the long run. 

The friendly folks at Dodona Manor hosted an ice cream social. We took the tour and then enjoyed lounging in the backyard/patio area with other locals enjoying freeze pops and ice cream sandwiches. Love my cute town!  I even saw a few friends from high school, one of whom was performing in the barbershop quartet that was featured at the social. My 3 kiddos feasting on frozen confections.

Here is my cute family, posing in front of the house.

A shot of the extended group. Love this family I married into. Also, do take a moment to notice John cheesing it up in this photo. That kid is pretty darling these days.

Spencer called Gma over to take a photo. Here's the pose he had in mind. Spence is one cool kid.

Observant John, whose main goal in life is to do what Spencer does, was not far behind. He beckoned Laura to another pillar and struck his pose.

Laura was basically a celebrity with our crowd. Everyone wanted to get in on the photo action with her. HAD to post this photo of these beauties. Emma and Laura look absolutely stunning here!

It was a perfect morning with big time small town appeal. We retired to the respite of our home (air conditioning is a beautiful thing) for lunch and naps. Afterward, it was time for some red, white, and blue food crafting. 

The kids did an awesome job putting these together: watermelon, mini marshmallows, and blueberries. 

We took the end product over to Gma and Gpa's house for a barbecue. There, we watched "The Music Man" and enjoyed a leisurely evening until it was time for fireworks. We watched from the church parking lot, thereby avoiding all the traffic and as a bonus we got to sit by loads of friends. The evening ended without any major meltdowns and only minimal arguing from the two kids in the backseat. I call that a holiday success. 

Happy Birthday, America!!


merilee said...

Wow, what a great day you made of the 4th!

Melinda said...

Hahaha John's little pose is HILARIOUS.