Our 4th of July actually started on the third because we were invited to Greg’s dad and stepmom’s house to watch the fireworks over Little York Lake. They live not even a mile from the park where the fireworks are set off and they have a GREAT view. We’ve been going for the past few years and it’s always a good time–typically there’s swimming and cookout foods. Greg’s dad and stepmom rent out the camp behind their house to the same family every year, which means I get to see my friend, Kate, whom I only see once a year at this event. It’s a good time to catch up on each others lives while we wait for the sky to darken enough for the fireworks show.
Our first year taking Zoey, she was only a few days old and I was worried about the sound of the booms on her little ears. But she seemed fine. Last year, she saw a few of the fireworks and then promptly fell asleep while I sat in a chair on Emmett and Karen’s dock. THIS year, Greg and I were looking forward to seeing what Zoey thought of the pretty colors of the fireworks.
Zoey had spent the day at her Aunt Kim’s house and even though she had napped there, when we got home from picking her up, it became evident quickly that she had had a big day–she was fussy to the extreme–so much so that we were wondering if we should even try to go to Emmett and Karen’s house for a while. But then we mentioned Emmett and Karen’s hot tub and Zoey was all about going to see Grampy and Grammy.
The ducks were nice enough to pose for this picture
Everything was fine for quite a while after we got there. Miss Zoey clung to her cousin, Lisa, who is just so wonderful with little kids–Zoey just adores her. Lisa and her friend, Megan, finally coaxed Zoey into the hot tub with them for a while and she had a blast splashing and just simply hanging out with the big girls.
Hangin’ with the big girls
While Zoey hung out in the hot tub, Mommy enjoyed a wonderful strawberry daiquiri:
So, everything was going great and then it started to rain. And I mean RAIN. We stood under the awning on their deck and watched the raindrops hit the water of the lake. Zoey thought it was great and had no problem standing underneath the very edge of the awning so that the water fell on her hair and face.
And when the rain stopped:
So, it looked like everything was back on track for the fireworks show. Except that a couple houses down from Karen and Emmett’s house, someone was setting off firecrackers and every time we heard a boom, Zoey completely freaked out. The first time, she just started crying and a few minutes of cuddling with Mommy settled her down enough so that she wanted to go back to playing with Lisa. The second time someone set off the firecrackers, she was in the hot tub with Lisa. Even though Lisa, her friend and I continually told her that it was okay, she still burst out crying and kept saying she wanted to go inside the house.
She and I went inside with Greg and Zoey started begging to go home. Greg and I were torn. We knew that the people down the road would stop with the firecrackers when the fireworks show started and then Zoey would be fine. But she was so upset and she was holding onto me so tightly. I told Greg that if it happened again, then we really couldn’t stay. They way I saw it, putting Zoey through that every time someone lit off a firecracker wasn’t worth it for a fireworks show that she’ll end up seeing every year when she’s older.
She did settle down, though, when Aunt Kim offered her a banana to eat.
The third time they set off the firecrackers, Zoey was actually already in my arms, as she and I were sitting in a chair on Emmett and Karen’s deck. She already was so close to me, but it didn’t matter because as soon as she heard that boom, she was done. I kept whispering to her that she was okay, she was safe, Mommy was right there with her, but it didn’t matter. She started crying–and not only crying–there were screams entwined with her cries and that was pretty much when I said that that was enough.
I turned her around in my arms to face me and she wrapped her arms around my neck and put her cheek against mine, something she does when she’s unsure or scared. She was still screaming and crying and she kept asking for Daddy, who was on the other side of the house. We walked through the house, past the other somewhat stunned guests (they weren’t expecting such a freaked out baby to walk through the room) and out the back door to find Greg.
As soon as he saw Zoey and I, he said, “I’ll get our bags.”
It was just too much. I mean, she was so freaked out and as far as Greg and I were concerned, it just wasn’t worth putting her through that. We figured we’d try again next year.
I put her in her car seat while Greg gathered our things and said our goodbyes. As I was buckling her in, Zoey asked, “Good girl?” And my heart broke. She was asking me if she was a good girl, like she was possibly worried that we’d be mad at her for getting scared and leading us to leave early.
“Oh Baby,” I answered, “You are SUCH a good girl.”
I sat in the backseat with her and held her hand the entire way home.
I can’t even tell you how relieved Zoey was when we neared home. She always recognizes the four-corner light near our house and as soon as she saw it that night, she started saying, “Home! Home!” all excitedly. And when we pulled into our driveway, she honestly looked so incredibly relieved.
I think it was kind of like the perfect storm–she had had a big day at Aunt Kim’s house and we knew she was probably already tired when we headed out to Emmett and Karen’s house. But then the firecrackers were scary to her and that just sent her over the edge. When we got home, she asked to go ‘Night Night’ and she and I went upstairs to cuddle; she fell asleep within minutes.
After I carried Zoey into her crib, I went downstairs and joined Greg in our kitchen to view a bit of the fireworks show on the lake. Because the land is pretty much flat from our house to Emmett and Karen’s house, we were actually able to see the same fireworks they were seeing–but without the crazy loud booms. We could still hear the booms, but not nearly as loud.
But maybe they were loud enough because just a little while later, Zoey woke up crying and shaking. It’s possible she had a bad dream, but it’s possible she heard the faint booms from the fireworks and it scared her again. Regardless, I scooped her up out of her bed and comforted her. Greg told me that Zoey could sleep with us that night because she was so upset–she sleeps the best and deepest when she’s in between Greg and I in our bed (and I’ll be honest, there’s nothing better than waking up to feeling a little hand on your arm–because she just wanted to feel you near her. Not to mention, recently, I woke up one morning to a little someone tickling my chin. You can’t help but smile when that happens). So, the three of us settled into our bed. And as my little girl cuddled up against my side and fell back asleep, I heard the fireworks finale start faintly in the distance.
The next day, Greg and I decided to hang out around the house to give Zoey a day to kind of rest and regroup. We played and watched Dora the Explorer and tried very hard to stay out of the oppressive heat outside. Every time we opened the door simply to let one of the dogs out, the heat was like getting slapped in the face with a hot towel. It was awful.
And then–relief. My niece, Skylar, called and asked if we wanted to join her family for a barbecue and swimming at their house. ABSOLUTELY. We had wanted to get Zoey together with her cousins for a playdate in the near future anyway, so it was perfect timing. Greg, Zoey and I jumped in the car and headed to my sister, Colleen, and her husband, Seth’s house.
The whole family was there–my sister, Cristy, and her fiance, Nate, and my parents. Zoey was so excited to play with her younger cousins, Keagan and Rowan, whom she refers to as Kee Kee and Row Row. And they were just as excited and wanted to show Zoey their rooms and the trampoline outside.
Keagan, Rowan and Zoey
In the air
Rowan and Keagan tried to teach Zoey how to play Duck Duck Goose while on the trampoline and for the most part, she kind of got it, but I think she was just much more excited to be included by the older girls. And she LOVED bouncing on the trampoline; there was no end to her giggling.
After they played on the trampoline for a while, the three girls, Greg and I went to look at the neighbor’s horses:
The horse field is right at the edge of my sister and brother-in-law’s yard, so the kids get to watch the horses as much as they want. Greg, who loves animals, was all about petting the horses and taking their pictures. Zoey, though, liked looking at them, but wasn’t really into petting them all that much.
After we visited the horses, we all decided to take a dip in the pool because it was still ridiculously hot out. I wrestled Zoey out of her dress and into a swimmie diaper and a bathing suit with a life vest built-in (we bought it specifically for pool swimming, where the water would inevitably be over her head). Greg got on his swim trunks (I had put my bathing suit on underneath my tank top and skirt before we left home) and along with Keagan and Rowan, we all headed for the pool.
I had forgotten how much I love swimming
We played in the water for quite a long time before my mom walked out on my sister’s deck and yelled to us that dinner was ready. As with any family gathering we have, there was lots of food:
Pic courtesy of my sister’s Facebook timeline
But the best part to Zoey was the dessert–cupcakes. She insisted on sitting next to her cousin, Rowan, while she ate:
It was obvious Zoey felt super-cool as she sat next to her big cousin
Then after the girls were done with their cupcakes, it was back to the pool for more swimming.
We ended up staying until around nine-thirty or so, which is way, way, WAY beyond Zoey’s normal bedtime. But Greg, Zoey and I were having such a good time that none of us really wanted to leave. In fact, Zoey didn’t even act remotely tired until we finally climbed in the car to go home–and then she was out like a light before we even got a quarter of the way home.
And when we got home, I carried her upstairs, laid her in her crib, took off her shoes and socks and changed her diaper–and she didn’t wake up. Good thing Greg and I had changed her back into her comfy dress before we had left Colleen and Seth’s house. She slept the whole night and woke up around six the next morning. And when we put her in bed between Greg and I, she fell back asleep and slept for another couple of hours. Girlfriend was exhausted after partying so hard.
So, thank you to Karen and Emmett for dinner on the 3rd–we’ll try Zoey with the fireworks again next year. And thanks to Colleen and Seth for the awesome evening at their house on the 4th. Both events made for a spectacular holiday.
For more pics from our 4th of July celebrations, click here.