Happy Independence Day

The most vivid memory of 4th of July celebrations is one from my Uncle Walter and Aunt Rosie's house when many of our families on the Stricker side celebrated together. There was a circle of lawn chairs on the front yard surrounding coolers of beer and watermelon, and all of us kids stayed busy running back and forth re-lighting punks, grabbing more firecrackers and finding things to blow up. I remember holding a firecracker a little too long in my hand before letting it go and refusing to allow myself to cry or go tell someone about it because I didn't want my fun to end with a lecture on how dangerous it was and that I shouldn't be doing it.

I think I remembered this particular celebration because I must have been about Jakobs age...10/11, and watching him with his friends at an "end-of-baseball-season-party" and then again at home lighting firecrackers caused me to catch a little glimse of me. Tim, Joshua and Jonathan are all in Scottsbluff...tim for work, the boys to be at Grandma and Grandpa's and then Tim staying to help Dad in the hay fields, so we spent this Independence Day seperately. Jakob kind of took over the role of being in charge of fireworks. He lit them all, handed the little things out to the other kids and helped pick it all up. We went through 24 parachutes, 4 Roman Candles, 6 artillery shells, 16 champagne poppers, 7 boxes of snappers and of course some of those little spinning flower things....and then Jakob lit off 600 firecrackers.

When our fun was over, we watched the neighbor's (the ones I always watch add new things to their home and yard) display. They lit off fireworks for 8 hours...not necessarily consecutive...they took a few small breaks, but they started at 3:00 and lit the last huge one at 11:15! The last hour of their show was big, loud and bright...fun to watch. Who needs to go to Lincoln to watch fireworks when we have neighbors with hundreds of dollars worth to watch?

This week has been unusual in the way of routine. We've not really had anything major in the mornings, so we've tended to stay up until 11 and sleep in until 9. (Jakob rolls out of bed about 11:30 or so) It will be good to re-establish routine next week. It's been too hot or too wet to mow or really work a lot outside. We spent one afternoon at the pool, two nights at baseball games, one morning at the dentist's office, one morning at the grocery store and one night at a baseball party, and went to church, so it hasn't all been sitting at home.

I will say that usually going from 7 to 5 (or 4 to 3 or 6 to 5,4,3,2 or 1) is relatively easy, but this time, given the fact that my 2 that are gone are bigger ones and Tim is gone too, it has been tiring to say the least. I feel kind of bad because at the ball game Thursday night I was exhausted, frazzled, and frustrated and I probably didn't do a very good job of indicating how full my life is with seven children, rather how absurdly crazy it is instead. Would've made me think that it is no fun if I was the one(s) watching! I maintain that Benjamin is something else. He certainly has been the one to cause my exhaustion. He pushes as many buttons as he possibly can!!

With that, duty calls and my day today begins. :)