the 4th

For our Independence Day,

we played ping pong...

(Which R keeps making fun of me for just learning that it is not a very American sport - apparently is it rather popular in Asia but I didn't know this fact until last week.)
Clearly we need to make sure our children know such important facts prior to their 30's. ;)
we did sparklers

we decorated wagons and motorcycles and had a parade & breakfast  in our circle with our neighbors

"Where is this parade going, anyway?  It feels like a giant circle!"

Kids on parade

This dog won for "most creative" in our parade
Cute neighbor kids
This is E - the boys' expressions in this picture makes me laugh out loud
Neighborhood kids in front of our home plus Sam the dog
God provided 2 great babysitters 3 houses away!  The kids love Miss L & Miss B!
We did some kid friendly little fireworks in our street
(Don't they all look so enthused?  You can just taste the excitement! ;))
Will, Kate, Ethan, Piper, & James
After one of our fireworks blew up the other night, Will was very scared...
when he saw how relaxed the other kids were, he finally calmed down and was able to enjoy the little show

Playing in our yard (have I mentioned how much I love having neighborhood kids?!)  
Ellie swimming with her Lovie
Wild Thing Will
Ellie & long time family friend, Gina, giving lots of love to Ellie
Ellie & long time family friend, Jane, playing games with E
a major watergun fight between Michael & Will & R & Tom R & John C
My favorite quote of the day was by Michael, a recent grad from Univ of VA - "I just outsmarted a 3 year old!"

My favorite Will quote:
upon being offered a watergun to defend himself, he declined and said, "I don't need it, Mommy!  I have a bucket!"
(He seemed to think a bucket of water was a good defense.  It was not.)

Ellie giving sweet poolside hugs to Dr. Rick
and flirting

R & Will watched the Boston Pops show from the dry couch while it rained gloriously.

a few random thoughts about Independence Day:

You know what freedom and protection I am so thankful for this year?

I am thankful that my children have protection.  When I was pregnant with Will, someone suggested to me that if I chose to give birth to him (as opposed to abortion,) then I would probably need to consider an institution.  We informed the person that under no circumstances would our child be put in an institution.  Is that even done in the USA anymore?

I often read Julia's blog.  She adopted a little boy with the same condition as Ellie just a few weeks after Ellie's birth.  She gives a voice to thousands of children who have disabilities or differences in other countries and are trapped in institutions under horrid living conditions.  No child should live in such a place.  It is appalling.  It is heartbreaking that the children who society considers the "least of these," those who are often too vulnerable or weak to stand up for themselves or speak for themselves are therefore removed from society.

How thankful I am to be parenting in a time and place where my children have such freedoms, where they can attend any school, are embraced by others, can travel and go to restaurants and stores...where their differences are just a small part of the whole - rather than their entire identity.  How thankful I am that parenting them at home is the norm in our country.  

We are so blessed and thankful for this country that gives a voice to the vulnerable and that sees value in each member of its society.  I am thankful for those who fight to protect our freedoms and to protect the most vulnerable in our society.

It was a very full, very fun Fourth!
Hope Your Independence Day was Full of Fun Too!

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