This 4th was one of my favorites.
We headed over to the Ladera Ranch parade with our friends the Woods. And this parade was pretty cute. When we picked our spot and waited a minute for it to start Jude sat in his stroller like, "Oh my gosh. I can't believe they hauled me here for one of these" which made me laugh because that's usually how I feel about parades.
At Disneyland I do not, and have never at any age understood why people aggressively stake out their space and protect it for hours during their expensive day, missing out on other attractions, to watch things roll by with a lot of loud music playing. On Thanksgiving mornings my Grandma McOmber would urge me to be respectful and watch the Macy's parade but I just did not see the draw. Once it started though, and the candy started flying our way, Jude perked right up with Dum Dum in mouth.
(I'm really starting to hate Dum Dums, by the way.) And as for parades being a waste of time, this particular parade was the exception because it included some friends, and if not kids we knew personally, cute kids who'd decked out their bikes, one pulling a tiny wooden cart with a doll/beauty queen sitting in it with its arm up waving. :) One golf cart drove by singing a song about paying homage to Ladera Ranch that seemed a little too full of reverence, but really, we were glad we went and that we participated in some community stuff. Next year I want to do the 5K I didn't think to register for until the morning of.
After the parade the streets were still blocked off and Jude had some running around in the middle of the street to do. I thought "Why not?" since he'll never have the chance again, but he fell and got himself his first skinned knee. He didn't even notice, but of course I was a little spooked.
After naps, cooking, etc., we went to celebrate at the home of our friends Ben and Courtney. They rented a bounce house with a water slide; Jude enjoyed about 3 minutes in the bounce house with his Pop. I made Anne Romney's trifle (or rather the trifle she pinned from somewhere on Pinterest and I repinned), and we had a great time with old and new pals. Going anywhere but our family room, kitchen, and back yard always turns Jude into a danger to himself and/or others. At this party he was always 2 seconds away from pulling plates off tables, knocking over the fancy tv set out with movies for the older kids, swallowing un-filled water balloons that were strewn across the ground, etc. etc. etc. I am a premium chaser these days.
Later that night we got a visit from our lovely friends Bruce and Karren, and they not only brought us crackers, cheese, and cookies, but joined us for fireworks. We kept expecting Jude to crash before then, and then maybe he'd sleep through them in the stroller, maybe not. But no, this crazy kid was going strong until after the show was over and we wheeled him up our driveway at 10pm. I'm so glad he was awake for the explosions, though, because his reactions were worth millions. He would clap for the fireworks (maybe he thought the sky was clapping with each crack), give his classic "Whoa" and "Whyayyy" (he says that a lot...it sounds like he starts saying 'why' and then moves into 'what' and back again), and a few shrieks. We love this good egg of ours.