But it was a good Fourth.
We started our celebration the night before.
Anne invited the kids and I to her family's beach house. Located across the street from the beach, it's a spacious house with high ceilings, tile flooring, and Tamara's Perch, a wind shielded roof top deck that just begs for a glass of wine.
When we got the kids tucked into their quilt covered beds after a trip to the park, we mixed a couple of drinks and stayed up until nearly midnight chatting about online dating, craft projects, and if a place that breeds Golden Retrievers could call itself a ranch.
The next morning, the kids slept in until nearly 8. Which never happens and makes me want to move to the beach on the off chance it was the ocean air. We ate breakfast and then walked the two blocks to the parade route.
Chairs and balloon archways lined the street. Churches handed out popcorn, the smell of salt and butter mingling with the tang of the ocean. We met Tara and Jen and their families, chatting and handing children back and forth. The kids traded sunglasses, wedged themselves into chairs together, and held their own conversations.
Everyone around us laughed as she struck a pose.
We put the kids in their suits and walked to town to check out the peddlers' fair and sandcastle contest.
The peddlers' fair was filled with typical fare. Food booths advertised corn dogs, sharma, BBQ, and hot dogs. We wandered through, tracking each other's children, and trying to keep a head count on the ones under our noses. We stopped and looked at wooden birdhouses crafted into diners and wineries, we looked at sun hats, bought shoes, and then, we saw the paintings.
The first to catch Joseph's eye was titled "Plastic Indigestion" - a Lego minifigure trapped in a shark's mouth. Pulling me to a stop, he begged to look. So we did. Giggling over the Lego Monkey on a banana boat and laughing at the honey bear watching a light saber battle. We might have all three gasped "Oh my gosh!" and rushed from painting to painting, drawing the attention of the artist who patiently explained each piece to Joseph and Elizabeth.
We finally made it to the beach in time to view another sort of art before high tide washed it away.
With a final burst of color, the fireworks ended. We scrambled into the cab of the truck and headed home, so tired the kids fell asleep in minutes.
It was a wonderful Fourth of July.
Now if only we had the Fifth of July off as well.