We’re baaa-aack! Okay, we’ve actually been back since Monday but it literally took me 2 whole days to pick out my favorite pictures from the 4th of July. If that’s not a sign of a good trip, then I don’t know what is!
On Wednesday morning we hopped on a plane, drove a couple hours, and ended up in Clearfield, Iowa, USA. It’s the kind of place that just makes you smile…so pretty, so quaint, and so very American. What better place to spend Independence Day, right?
I have so many great memories from my mom’s teeny-tiny hometown…and even though Arden won’t remember this trip, it was special for me to share one of my favorite places with her.
So let’s begin, shall we?
We stayed at my Aunt & Uncle’s farmhouse just outside of town. It used to belong to my grandparents, but my uncle has farmed there for as long as I can remember–and now my cousin has joined him, which I think is so cool. Chris, Arden and I got the entire basement to ourselves (I miss having a basement so much, so I was pretty thrilled!) and my parents stayed out in my Aunt & Uncle’s new RV. I’m not even kidding when I say I could live in this thing! How many more years until you retire, Chris?!? 😉
That evening we had dinner and hung out at my Great-Aunt and Uncle’s house in town. They actually live in Alabama, but own this house in Clearfield basically as a 4th of July home. Does that tell you anything about how awesome this celebration is?! Their house is always the place that our family congregates and my favorite thing about it is that it never changes. It always looks the same, smells the same, and there are always tupperware dishes full of cookies in the kitchen. It’s wonderful.
After Arden went to sleep that night, my dad and I walked down to check out the tractor pull.
The smoke and the lights made for such a cool picture, and I just noticed that you can see my grandpa’s old carwash in the background. I love it. Oh how I wish Boyd and Cleota were still around to enjoy all of this with us…but I’m just happy that we can carry on some of the traditions that they started.
My sister’s family arrived the morning of the 4th, which meant free entertainment and lots of attention for Arden. She didn’t mind one bit!
First up on the agenda was the baby contest. I wasn’t sure if there would be a talent portion, so we brought Arden’s kazoo just in case. Ha! Turns out though it was not at all like Toddlers & Tiaras…every baby won a prize (Arden’s was “mommy junior” if you can imagine that!) and there were no flippers or hair pieces involved! However, Arden’s name was called last, which we decided totally means “Ultimate Grand Supreme” 🙂
Next it was on to the rest of the kids games. I remember how exciting these races were when I was little and it was so fun to see Maren, Norah and Will enjoy them too. Norah even won the foot race in her age division. She’s got a couple of quarters and a ribbon to show for it!
After naps, we headed back down to Broadway for the parade. Tractors, fire trucks & small-town beauty queens…and of course, lots of candy. It may have been mostly old people candy but the kiddos didn’t mind 🙂 Arden was so happy to just sit on Chris’ lap and watch the parade go by. I think she loves this festive stuff as much as her momma…
After the parade, it was on to the carnival…I know, the most fun-filled day ever, huh?! Arden stayed up three (um yes, THREE) hours past her bed time…but hey, that’s what holidays are all about right?? She loved watching her big cousins ride rides and bounce around in the moon walk. Luckily she’s not old enough to realize that she would probably like to be doing those things with them!
On the walk back to the house, my niece Maren looked at my sister and said, “Mom…thank you for taking me to Iowa”. It just melted all of our hearts. I can’t wait for the day when Arden will really get to experience the 4th of July in Clearfield and appreciate it the way Maren did this year.
When the little munchkin had finally reached her limit, we took her back to the farm where she passed out immediately. It’s hard work winning pageants and watching parades, folks! So with the monitor in one hand and a beer in the other, I joined Chris in the yard where we had a great view of the fireworks back in town. A perfect end to a perfect day!
You may only be home to 300 people, a cafe, and a couple of churches…but you sure know how to throw a party on the 4th of July. It’s a small-town celebration that just can’t be beat, and one that holds a special place in my heart. Now how many more days until we can do it all over again? 😉
…and Little Miss Mommy Jr. herself…