Monday, July 05, 2010

4th of July, 2010.

It's that time of the year again. The annual 4th of July celebration.

I love this holiday. Apart from the joy of a long weekend, I love how perfectly it celebrates what I love best about being an American. Can there be a better way to cherish your freedom than by getting together with friends and family, eating loads of food in the comfort of your home, and enjoying the freedom to say and do pretty much what you want? I try to avoid jumping on my soapbox too often, but darn if I don't get a wee bit annoyed sometimes when I hear people complain about our lives here. We have it so lucky, compared to about 90% of the rest of the world.

All right, back to what I do best. Food.

Appetizers laid out and ready for noshing. We had an assortment of things - homemade and store bought. Hummus, chips, cheese, mango salsa. As well as jalapeno poppers, white bean dip with rosemary, tomato, basil, mozzarella, and Pioneer woman's homemade chex mix.

There's nothing I like better than a hot, sweaty man behind a grill.

I'm just kidding. What I like better is what's on the grill. Rib eye steaks.

Some veggies.

Oh, these things are dangerous. Living where we do, we have become experts on this delicacy known as Korean chicken wings. Speaking as an upstate NY kinda gal, just toss out that recipe for Buffalo wings, and get yourself some of these things. Oh.. my.. God.

The feast. Steaks, ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, wings, corn, salad, chick pea salad, mixed vegetables, pasta salad, couscous with pine nuts and artichokes.

Not that the kids cared. In the backyard, they amused themselves, despite the record temperatures.

Mina. Gun. Slightly scary.

Not sure what the rules are here, but baseball and slip and slide sound like a fun idea.

As long as you have a fair umpire.

The kids made it to the deck to eat. My kids were notoriously absent.

Yep, there's one of them.

Dessert was served soon after - firecracker bites

strawberry shortcake

berry trifle w/whipped cream

Then I made the announcement that dessert was ready. The stampede followed.

Happy kid. I did make him eat a few bites of dinner first. The look on his face for that picture sort of kills one's appetite though.

Backyard sparklers.

Mina too.

And again. This year was the first year we let the kids stay up late enough to go to the town fireworks. Together with our guests, we walked down the street to the local high school. We found a spot on the curve of a hill and watched the fireworks unfold before our eyes. The kids were delirious with glee at seeing the fireworks up in the sky. Or they might have been delirious because they didn't get to sleep till almost 10:30. Completely unprecedented.

The next day, it was time to undo some the damage. Off we go to the town 5k. Again, record temperatures. At least I have a good racing watch though. Yay.

It was so flippin hot. We ran at 9:00 ish, and the temperatures were already in the 90's. I was trying to beat 30 minutes this year, so I tried really hard to put more speed into the race. Unfortunately, I couldn't do it. 31 minutes. But I did manage to avoid throwing up, a feeling I had to suppress repeatedly over the course of the hills.

post race, me and Nataliya.

waiting for kids race

lined up for the kids race, listening to directions

They're off!

This was the first time the kids did a race, and I had no idea what to expect. We got off to a shaky start when Jordan tripped and scraped his knee, and Mina got upset because all the big kids raced past her in a second. But, the three of us held hands and I encouraged them to just finish it. That was the most important thing. And as we headed up a slight hill, I wondered whether we'd even make it to the top, let alone race around the block. Funny thing though, something kicked into Mina, and she charged. Mina, running, down the hill solo.

I think I might frame this and call it "Determination." Little Mina had the small crowd of bystanders cheering her on. They loved her.

We will definitely need to talk about finish line etiquette. I don't know what possessed her to walk across the line, like she was going for a stroll after dinner.

And then she suddenly stopped, as if to savor the moment just a little longer.

Here comes Jordan, charging right behind.

And his own personal cheering section.

Mina, thumbs up

post-run - Jordan w/ribbon .

And Mina too. A new runner is born.

Happy 4th everyone. Happy Birthday, U.S.A.!
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