Monday, July 05, 2010

July 4th Weekend

We went to my parent's house this weekend, and got to view the damage from the storm last week.  Their yard is like a golf course -- wide, flat, green, and with huge, beautiful trees.  One of the trees sadly didn't survive the storm.

I think it's amazing how it looks like it was yanked up by the roots.  Even the grass around the tree looks like it's in shock.

A Weeping Willow just looks even more weepy laying on it's side.  It's not just weeping anymore; now it's a Devastated Willow.

We went into town, bought a few fireworks, and then headed out to Schells Brewery in New Ulm.  It's not just a 150-year-old historic brewery, it's gardens, wildlife, and a museum.  It's one of New Ulm's claims to fame (There are several, one day when I have extra time I'll do a post on them.  So that will be in exactly.....never.).

Every once in a while we go out there just to wander around.  We've been doing that ever since I can remember.  We used to live close enough to walk there.  It's great fun for me to bring my kids there now.

First things first.  We checked out the gift shop, which I don't recall even existing when I was a kid.   Instead of buying the kids something like we normally do when touristing, Mark and I got new t-shirts.  I figured, the kids shouldn't wear shirts with beer logos on them anyway, right?  Zack did try on a hat, though.

Then we wandered the gardens a bit.  The automatic sprinklers were running, apparently they didn't realize it had rained that morning.  We dodged the sprays and ignored the mud and had a good time anyway.

Peacocks wander around freely at Schells Park.  Grandpa thought AJ should get closer look.  AJ did not necessarily think so.

AJ would not really pose here, but he did repeat the word "pose?" which is almost as good as actually posing.  No, I take that back.  Having waited for so long for these boys to start talking, saying "pose" is better than posing.

Aliza, of course, totally gets the concept of posing.

The gardens weren't as lush as I recall seeing them in years past and it was an overcast day, but I managed to get a couple of good flower shots.

We didn't see much wildlife this time, apart from the peacocks who really aren't that wild, but we had a nice time anyway.

Next we had lunch at a park, which more or less involves grandma, grandpa, daddy and I taking turns chasing Zack and AJ with food while they tear around.  This park had a water fountain, and unfortunately my boys can't read (or very easily control their impulses) so posting this sign 12 times around the fountain was an effort lost on the two of them. 

We managed to keep them from throwing themselves into the fountain, fed them, and then took them to water they were allowed to frolic in.

See what I mean about the posing?  A bigger challenge is to catch her not posing.

This pool has fountains and a great tube slide in the middle.  It's a little bitty pool, nowhere more than 2 feet deep, perfect for toddlers, and I've never seen it crowded.  I'd love to have it right near my house, but if it were in my neighborhood it would be filled to capacity every single day.

AJ is just gleeful.  That kid is a water baby.  He kept bending over to dunk his face.  I probably took 30 shots trying to capture that, but he's fast, and uninterested in repeating acts for the sake of the shot.

In a swimming pool, AJ is happier than a pig in slop (thanks hon, for that analogy).

Zack is a little more cautious and solitary.  He tends to find a spot in the pool that is his happy place, and stay there for the first half hour.  Takes him awhile to venture out and explore.

Closer to the end of the day, Aliza and Grandpa set off the fireworks they'd purchased earlier. 

Okay.  I have a confession to make.  I'm not a huge 4th of July fan.  Not because I'm unpatriotic; on the contrary, I'm enormously sentimental (shocker, I know) and grateful for the opportunities I have thanks to the sacrifices of our patriots, both present and past.  I love being an American.  I have just never been a big fan of fire.  You know the kid who hangs back fearfully, holding the running sprinkler, ready for disaster, while everyone else stands enthusiastically round the smokebombs, sparklers, and Roman Candles?  That was me.  Oh, I was a ton of fun, believe me.

But we only had a few small fireworks, and I don't know if it's because I'm grown or if the firework manufacturers have reduced the danger factor/explosivity, but they weren't as fast, loud, and unpredicable as I recall them being when I was a kid.  They were pretty tame.  Now of course it's daylight (as light as it ever really got that day, anyway), but check out this lame sparker.

The bigger sparklers were a little more exciting.  See how she holds it far away from her body like her paranoid mama taught her.

I'm not sure this tank was even 55 cents worth of joy.  But it was cute.

The blue smoke bomb was sort of cool, though.

I took Aliza to see fireworks at night in Apple Valley, along with around 40,000 other people.  I was a drag.  I wouldn't let her run around and we had to sit for an hour to hold our spot, which wasn't that great to begin with, to wait for the fireworks to start.  But at least she did get to see some, so we can check that off our summer list.

Hope everyone had an extremely safe 4th, and if not, hope your recovery goes smoothly.


Kristiem10 said...

Your kids are adorable!

Kim and Steve said...

It looks like you all had fun! Glad you were able to get out of town for a bit!

Salt in Suburbia said...

Have I told you how much I love your blog? I've tried to comment before, but have had technical difficulties (this, coming from an IT professional). Happy belated 4th and keep blogging!


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