This past Fourth of July, however, bypassed special and leaped into the realm of extraordinary. We played so hard that it felt like we squeezed an entire month's worth of fun into a single day (leaving us extraordinarily tired.) I think the photos pretty much chronicle it all.
Field Club Parade
Even though we no longer owned a home in the field club area, we still crashed their adorable neighborhood parade. Here's Papa Kay helping Mr. Eli out of the mini-van. He's pretty much too big for any help now, but seems to like the attention anyway.
A quick photo in front of one of the old homes. Sure miss that neighborhood, but it certainly helps that our new neighborhood is just as charming.
Around our house, Fourth of July morning is spent searching Pinterest for cute hairstyles. A million thanks to cousin Alesia for pulling off Brooklyn's adorable flag!
Alesia also did Talia's elegant star.
Eli tolerated his headband for about fifteen minutes until everyone started removing their hats as the United States flag passed by. He seized the moment to purge himself of all unwanted hair accessories.
And last but not least, Miss Annika, also donning a patriotic star.
Oh wait, can't forget Miss Eila in her adorable red bows and Patriotic shirt as well!
Yay! Parades! Candy! Hooray!
I kind of love this picture. The Fourth of July just wouldn't be the same without Papa Kay's flag shirt.
Cheering on the groups as they circle the block.
Eli and Alesia--always best buds.
Annika holds her flag with pride.
Cutest patriotic bunch around.
This "float" was my favorite.
Of course, these puppies were a close second.
Brooklyn and Talia got to march in the parade with their Girl Scout troops. Brooklyn was extra generous with the candy in hopes that we would save some for her.
Check out all of the patches!
Turns out Talia doesn't actually have quite so many badges. She had to borrow a friend's vest since hers had already been shipped to Salt Lake City. Keep the child well-supplied with candy, and she doesn't care!
Yes, Annika's sweet dreams all came true.
Our next stop was Big Boy at Lauritzen Gardens. Since starting school, Eli hasn't been visiting his iron friend nearly as often. I wonder if the train has missed him.
So silly, my purty little ladies.
Once inside, we enjoyed the license plate birdhouses representing all fifty states.
Alesia gets a snuggle from Annika. Still luvs our cuz!
Brooklyn and Talia in the rose gardens.
Eila's found something pretty to look at as well.
Eli, Talia, and Brooklyn pose in front of their favorite Lithuanian sculpture of Egle, found in the Children's garden.
Annika just loved playing house by this cute little cottage.
Feeling zen by the Japanese gardens.
Big steps, Eila!
Omaha's sister city from Shizuoka Japan recently constructed with beautiful little pavillion. The perfect place to rest and meditate for a bit.
We didn't rest for too long, however. Our next destination was the Wildlife Safari. The female elk were all enjoying a dip in the pond to cool off.
The males, however, were content to show off their antlers from the wooded areas near the road. (By the way, did you know that mature male reindeer drop their racks in fall after mating, meaning that any reindeer with antlers at the end of December are most likely female?) #littleknownfactsaboutrudolf
Overall, Eila seemed to enjoy the ride.
Too bad she missed the pelicans right outside her window.
She didn't miss the goats, though! This little gal just loved giving them hugs.
Even big cousins enjoy sharing the goatly love.
Not sure if the kids were exhausted, but the adults were certainly plenty tuckered out!
Add in sparklers, the zip line, a lawn full of fireflies, and a whole neighborhood full of fireworks, and it was an extraordinary day--quite appropriate for a country that despite all of its difficulties, is one remarkable nation.