The 4th of July Celebration / by Brooke Courtney

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I can honestly say that the 4th of July is my favorite holiday, second to Christmas. Growing up, it was a time that our family would get together and I'd get to see cousins who lived far away. We'd spend hours outside, eating picnic food, running through the sprinkler and playing with sparklers. (And the terrifying "not legal in PA" fireworks that my Uncle would bring up from North Carolina every year. 😂)

Two years ago, when June was five months old, we took her to the same parade I grew up going to, but nothing more. She was too little and it was too hot. Last year, we took her to the parade and she had the time. of. her. life. Which looking back makes a lot of sense, all of her favorite things were driving by one after another -- trucks, drums, horses, puppies, buses -- and they were throwing candy at her. After the parade we went into the park briefly, but didn't stay long, nor did I bring along my real camera. Which of course I regretted. Isn't it always that way!?!? Take it with you and you never use it. Leave it at home and you're like "THE LIGHT IS PERFECT. Myyy lifeeeeeee."

So this year I made sure to take my camera. And thank goodness I did, because I got one single image that proves June had a good time, despite being a hot mess the entire time. 😂 I don't blame her, it was SO hot out. And she just couldn't deal with it. #bless Below is said image.

In fact, it was so hot out that I forgot to take a single picture of all the awesome food we ate. We'd finish shoving something into our face and I'd be like "Noooooo! <licks fingers> I didn't take a photo!" So, please use your imagination for the following.

<insert photo of "Ham & Cheese Soft Pretzel Log">

<insert photo of "Fresh Lemonade & Bacon on a Stick>

<insert photo of June spitting out her soft pretzel realllll dramatic like>

<insert photo of "Burger from Lancaster Burger Co. w/ Fries>

<insert photo of me considering whether or not I could eat anything else, aka Fried Oreos>

My Dad, who has been a Children's & Family musician for almost 30 years, has been playing the Lititz Springs Park 4th of July Celebration since I can remember, which is partly why I have so many memories of spending the day in the park -- winning goldfish that would die later that week, and staining circles of color around my mouth from all the snow cones.

It's so fun to watch my Dad play now that both my brother and I have kids. June, and my niece Pearl, are always a little uncertain as to why my Dad, their "Norkey", is standing up there in front of everyone singing. It usually takes June awhile to warm up to the idea... but that's the story of her life, so nothing new there.

Everyone had fun at the show and danced their pants off. Honestly, it was so hot I wish I could have danced my pants off. Also, look at how little Baby Gray is in his stroller! (My nephew.)

This year was the first year in a long time that I didn't stay/come back for the fireworks. But, I'll tell ya, growing a baby is a lot of work and I was so tired by 8pm, I was out for the night. Have you ever taken your kids to fireworks? How old were they when you went for the first time? There is just no way in heck we could take June at least for a few more years. Maybe when she's finally ready I'll be done growing babies and we can have the energy to go together at 10pm. Ha!

All in all it was a great day and I'm glad I took my camera along to capture at least some of the memories we made. 🙂 Tell me, what's your favorite holiday?