The Fourth of July is tomorrow!!!!!!!!!

Ah! I am SO excited. So stinking excited I can hardly wait!!!!!

The Fourth is a VERY big deal around here. Not that it isn't in every other home in America, but it also is here.

My husband, my beloved, my betrothed....

He is....

How do I say this???

He's a pyromaniac.

For sure.

I should call him I pyrotechnic probably, but we're going to go with maniac.

And this is the first year in our entire seven years marriage where I have not given him a fireworks budget.

I won't even tell you how much he spent!!! It is under $1,000 though.... Lest you think he has completely lost his mind.

And we have spent the last TWO weeks shooting off fireworks in our backyard!! Even Stella (Who up until this year has been so deathly afraid of fireworks she has refused to leave the house for the entire month of July) has relaxed a little and started to enjoy them. She sits outside with us and even if her face is initially buried against me, she starts to watch them once they're up in the air and making pretty sparkles.

Scarlett thinks when they crackle in the air they say, "Sparkle, Sparkle." It's adorable.

And then we have Stryker. I am convinced the boy just found his calling in life.... He is obsessed.


And I'm so happy for Zach. The first time Stryker saw fireworks, he responded with giddy awe. His mouth dropped open and he stared at the sky completely mesmerized. And then they ended and he clapped wildly, grew a HUGE grin and ran over to the stack of waiting explosives, pointing and jumping up and down for more.

Zach has his legacy.

Thank the Lord, because neither girls were ever going to show enough interest to satisfy Zach. Stella, like I said, is afraid and way too careful to get caught up in all the loud noises and bright lights. And Scarlett likes them, but she gets bored and wants to do something else after a while.

Stryker?? We have to drag into the house kicking and screaming and then try to calm his tears and temper tantrums.

And we love it.

So, not only does Zach invest in his explosives, he also knows all of the firework-tent guys,I swear. Every time he goes to one, he comes out with all this free stuff. Like... expensive free stuff. Like $40 cakes and such.

Anyway, so other than our private shows we've been having almost nightly....

Which, PS, is one of the amazing things about living out in the country!! Zach can shoot off his huge showcase ones and other things that make loud noises every night of the week and he just blends in with all the other houses around here. Every night our neighborhood area has been rumbling with the sounds of celebration. It's wonderful.

I'm going to miss the country!

Ok, anyway, other than what we do here, Zach's family has this big 4th party every year. It's mostly the same three families every year and then we add and subtract numbers from there.

But what doesn't change is Zach, his brother Aaron and the five other guys that go in together to create this end-of-the-night show.

Together they spend thousands of dollars to make the night special. They have even built their own finale, to which they then fill with.... I don't really know. I don't get how it works. And honestly, for my own peace of mind, I don't really want to know....

All I know is that this year they also built a huge box to fill with sand so that they could set all of their fireworks in to make the evening more safe.

I appreciate how far we've come over the years. When we first were married, all of these same boys would do an annual Roman Candle War.

Which is exactly as dangerous as it sounds....

One year, my brothers head caught on fire.

No. Joke.

And then, when they grew too old to chase each other around with live explosives, they started this thing called the Walk of Fire, to which they would set off a pile of a TON of black cats that would go off constantly for 30 minutes, while the boys took turns jumping over it.

This one was worse, because they would all come in the house with shrapnel sticking out of their shins!!!

They've matured, thank the Lord.

Although, since becoming a grown up this spring, (Yes, just becoming a grown up. I equate what stage of life I'm in by the number of insurance companies I pay monthly. And this year it grew from 1 insurance company to 4!!!!!! I'm officially a stinking grown up....) we do have life insurance on Zach now. So fire away boys, I'm covered.


Just kidding.

Anyway, we LOVE the fourth around here. To Zach it's just as big of a deal as Christmas.

No lie.

And honestly it about much more than a pretty fireworks show at the end of the night.

Although that definitely helps! :)

But we are very patriotic. Very. In fact, Zach actually just got a huge George Washington tattoo on his entire left arm.

And it's the sexiest thing I've ever seen. Oh, deep breath... Lol.

Part of that has to do with my obsession with tattoos however....

Anyway, back to the point.

People ask me, "Why George Washington?" And my initial reaction is, "Do you really have to ask??? Don't you know what George Washington did for this country???"

Plus, uh he had wooden teeth. Ok, me and him would have been soul-siblings back then. We probably would have gone to the same dentist. Maybe I would have used him as a referral. But one thing is clear, if I lived when Georg Washington lived, I would totally have wooden teeth.


But I always end up explaining to people that "Well, we're really patriotic."

And it sounds corny! But it's true.

Initially I may blush, or feel embarrassed, but the truth is, that in America I know that I don't have to explain away my patriotism, or even defend it.

Or at least I didn't used to.

This is a country united. Standing shoulder to shoulder. Brother to brother.

Against all odds, against all backgrounds, against all political differences, we believe in one unifying concept: Freedom.

And it is undeniable.

We have it. We are set apart because of it. And I really, truly believe, that when it is threatened we will choose not to lose it.

We will choose to fight for it.

I used to be very, very open about exactly what I believe when it comes to politics.

Recently, I have cut way, way, way back in how upfront I am.

Not that I have forgotten who I am, but I usually find it so frustratingly annoying when those with a platform, not related to politics, spout their political beliefs and manipulate their fan base.

I believe in the intelligence of the American people, and that we can cognitively look at our past, present and what we are voting for our future and decide the best path to take.

This theory has definitely let me down in the past. But I will always believe in a united spirit that weaves it's way through the thread of our foundation.

I believe solidly in a two party country, in which the opposing viewpoints keep each other in check.

What I do not believe in is when our rights, the rights and constitution we are built on, are threatened.

George Washington, or Georgey-Boy as I like to call Zach's arm.... said this, "Government is not reason and it is not eloquence. It is force! Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action."

Profound isn't it?

And that is what tomorrow is about: Reminding ourselves of everything great in this country, of our life, of our liberty and of our pursuit of happiness.

We have choices to make in the upcoming months, with the pending presidential election.

Important choices.

And they stretch far beyond our feelings over which candidate we like best, or which political party carries the most negative connotations.

These choices seep into our future, spreading their roots deep into our constitution and declaring what, As Americans, we believe in.

We have a lot to think about until November.

And tomorrow will bring it to the forefront. Not that we will sit around discussing politics and arguing over the health care debate. But that we will relax with our loved ones and live inside the freedom that is ingrained in our blood.

As Americans we don't know what it's like to not be free, to have our liberties threatened or our moral rights stripped away.

That is why we celebrate.

We celebrate because there are those that have died for those rights, those that have fought bravely and valiantly and offered their lives in exchange for our freedom.

Starting with George Washington until today where our brothers and sisters still fight to protect those rights.

We celebrate because the hope and dream we live with today will be passed down to our children, and our children's children and the promise of their future is good.

Independence Day.

And we call it ours.

Men and women have always had to fight for freedom. And because of what a rare and treasured gift it is, they will always continue to fight.

Francis Scot Key.

Do you know the story?

He wrote our Star-Spangled Banner. On a British ship, as a prisoner, during a British invasion of Washington.

James Madison was president and the British had marched into Washington and set it on fire, including the White House.

Francis, who was on board a ship in Baltimore could watch the city burn from where he was 40 miles away. He was actually a lawyer and there to negotiate the release of an elderly prisoner, but the British, knowing they were sending more troops in for another invasion, refused to let him go until after the battle.

There he sat, through the night as the capitol burned and the sounds of war echoed through the night.

Imagine that. What it would have been like to be a spectator, as your newborn country was threatened from a more than formidable opponent.

They had finally gripped true freedom in young America, probably for the first time in the history of the world, and yet he sat aboard an enemy ship and watched the symbol of liberty burn. Imprisoned. Choking on fumes.


He stayed up through the night, afraid that Britain would win. That in the morning there would be no more hope, no more promise of things to come, that what they had fought for before was a fleeting thought that would float away in the wind with the rest of the ash and debris.

But there. In the predawn light. Across the water, and flying tattered and torn, was our flag. The flag of the United States of America.

And that is when he penned the first verse of the Star Spangled Banner. With hope, courage and freedom restored.

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

In light of such an incredible and unexpected victory, don't those words seem so much more important?

Francis Scot Key wrote four total verses to the Star Spangled Banner, although most of us only know the first.

The last verse however is powerful, the finale to his great anthem and patriotic legacy and I wanted to share it with you.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And that is exactly right. We are the land of the free and the home of the brave. And tomorrow I hope you celebrate, not just with fireworks and libations, but with the reminder of what we are celebrating, how precious a gift and sacred an honor to claim that freedom and liberty are not distant concepts or far off dreams, but constitutional, inherent rights granted to each and every citizen.

Happy Fourth everyone!


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