Friday, July 8, 2011

Family Traditions #6: The 4th of July

"Family traditions give identity and belonging to each member." - James Dobson

I feel like this holiday is extra important for us. If we do not make it special it will pass completely unnoticed. I want my boys to feel like Americans. I want them to be thankful for their country and its heritage and know why. So those are the goals.

1. Decorations Up by July 1st: This year I didn't get everything up until the night before the 4th. The wreath wasn't even on the door until right before lunch. That's what this year is for anyway, just laying a groundwork for us to build upon. We'll probably leave them up for a week or so.
Jimmy was so sweet to help me with the flag. He got the board cut for me and also the things to hang it. I got the idea from here.
When the boys came into the kitchen for breakfast they pointed up at the stars. They knew something special was going on.

2. Music: Jimmy put together a patriotic playlist and we have been listening to that all week. We have been singing patriotic songs at night out of the hymnal for the boys' night night routine too.

3. Traditional American Food:
Well of course we had to have an apple pie! The best part about baking just for your family is that you get to eat it right out of the oven... even if it's close to midnight!
Jimmy made hamburgers and onion rings (they were awesome!) and I made potato salad.
The dinner table is also a time when we can pray together as a family and thank God for our nation. We can talk about those involved in the founding of our country and remember all those who have kept it free. That is what we are celebrating.

4. Talk About Our Map: Since we get to travel the States every couple years on furlough, I thought it would be fun to have a visual for the boys of where we've been as a family.
The red flags are where their family lives. The green flags are where we have supporting churches (Jimmy thought those flags should be green... haha). The yellow flags are places we went just for fun. The circles on the bottom are for blank flags we can add later.
I got the idea from here. The backing is linen and cheese cloth. I still have to refinish the wood frame, it was a $3.00 thrift store find when we were in the States.

For now, this is as deep as it gets when it comes to 20 month olds and maps:

5. Fun in the Sun: This will be just family time in the backyard that involves water. Maybe eventually we will dig a pool in our backyard, but until then we will use kiddy pools and sprinklers. Our sprinkler turned out to be a little to powerful... it sort of hurt! We can pick up a different kind next time we're in Santa Elena.
The boys enjoyed squirting Lucha! She is our only dog that loves water. She would have played in the sprinkler all day long.
The hose by itself is fun too!

6. Traditional American Fireworks: As in nothing that would be illegal in the States. We'll save the ones that explode in the sky for Christmas and New Year's. These kind of fireworks were hard to find, but Jimmy got some little tanks, sparklers, and mini fountains. We are going to be on the lookout for snakes and poppers for next year. I think these small scale fireworks were great for the boys at this age.
A tank was the first thing we set off, it was a little worrisome.
Jonah was thrilled, but Silas was pretty sure he hated it at first. He eventually calmed down and started to enjoy them.
I tried to get a photo with Silas watching the fireworks, but when I knelt down, he did too. He thought it was supposed to be a squatting photo! He's such a clown.
With each new thing he was still a little cautious. That's just Silas. By the end of whatever he's usually more of a daredevil than his brother. Jonah usually just goes for things right away, there's no warm-up period. He's fearless if one of us stays within view.

*Over the next couple of years as our boys get older I hope to incorporate stories about our Founding Fathers. Those are the kind of heros I want my boys to look up to. It will be fun!


  1. I think it's great you have your traditions. I have lived out of the US for most of my adult life and really didn't realize what a big holiday it was until we were home on furlough last year. (Duh...)

    Now that we're back on the field, I celebrated it this year too!

  2. Hi! We didn't do much in years past either. Kids change things!


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