Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Happy 239th, U.S.A.!


Good afternoon from the haze of the infamous smoke plume, our Canadian summer visitor, which is becoming everyone's constant July companion around here.  Every morning before I look out the window I think, "I wonder what that plume is up to this morning?"  I took the following pictures yesterday because I planned to write this post yesterday but two factors stopped me.  The main problem was that the wireless internet kept disconnecting all day.  The second one was a three year old boy who would...not...leave...me...alone.  At all.  Mondays are bad because he us still in weekend mode where he usually has done something fun or had extra people around to entertain him and regular life seems boring (he has NO IDEA!).  Usually the only way to get him to leave me alone for awhile in the afternoon is to turn on Netflix in the bedroom and let him watch Curious George until he gets bored or falls asleep.  No wireless means no Netflix so I got zero done yesterday afternoon.   I managed to hang some of the maternity clothes that have been shoved in a box in the corner of the bedroom on hangers finally.  I almost just left them in the box.  Was it worth hanging them up for three more months?  
Anyway, here are some pictures of the smoke plume yesterday.  Everyone in ND and Western MN knows this by now but if you are not living here I will fill you in.  There are wildfires burning in Northern Saskatchewan and Alberta.  This haze may continue through the month of July, of course blowing here and there so not every day will look like this:

Like most photos of weather phenomena, these don't quite capture the real experience of being there but for an idea, there is a water tower in the distance on the horizon, right in the middle of the picture.  It is pretty far from here and would take about 15 minutes to drive to.  It is white on top with a blue post and blue around the bottom of the round part.  The colors are usually easy to see even from this distance.  Yesterday we could barely see the tower at all.  I probably would have missed it if I didn't know it was there.  There were a few bad days last week but yesterday was the worst so far.  We could even smell the burning yesterday.  It is quite amazing how it seems like the fires could be a few miles away but they are so far.  In the words of everyone, the smoke is annoying but at least we aren't near the fire.

As you know, Saturday was the 4th of July, and the smoke plume was in full force in Eastern ND that day.  Social media was full of photos of outdoor fun and they all had a unique hazy cast to them.  We did the same things we always do on the 4th.  If you want an idea of an uninhibited 4th that is experienced to the fullest, you'll have to head back to my post from...oh...2010.  This year, I went to my hometown's street dance pregnant and drank a huge glass of Diet Coke at 11 pm and then was up all night from the caffeine (whoo hooo!).  I stayed home from the demolition derby, the event that I love to mock myself for loving, to watch Tessa and my niece and my cousin's daughter.  But it was still fine.  I saw two of my best friends from high school at the dance who I usually wouldn't see at the same time and I got to watch the kids enjoy the parade. Also, I got to enjoy the summery salads, cookies, chips and dip and grilled foods that are the essence of the 4th of July!

Here are the kids roaming around with my dad before the parade started.  Tessa is not the best age for a parade...she's too unpredictable!  She loved collecting candy though!  I am glad I bought those 4th of July shirts for them on clearance last year because they are probably stained beyond help!  Tessa kept trying to eat those fruit flavored tootsie rolls and drooled pink all over herself. 

There goes every fire truck in several counties!  I hope there's no fires!

My brother drove his classmates around to commemorate their 10 year reunion.
Here is Tessa and her cousin.  They are the oldest babies and the two who are still in love with their pacifiers. 

This was after lunch as meltdown mode was closing in.
Justin took Ben with him to the derby. Here he is at the "car show" as he called it.  It's a car show, alright.

He didn't make it to the end! 

On Saturday after the derby we went to the lake where we were just in time to swim before dark.  I don't know why anyone around there would buy fireworks because there is a free show all around from everyone else's!  The neighbors were blowing stuff up an hour before it was even dark.  This time of year I see a lot of people complaining about fireworks on the internet but I love them, even though they are loud and a waste of money.  Next year I want to get the kids the ones that have little parachutes that float down after the explosion.  We did sparklers but Ben was afraid of them. 

Here is Tessa in her lifejacket.  I love it because it is so cute and bright.  She, believe it or not, also loves it.  Most kids who don't have logical thoughts to understand that wearing them means doing something fun hate them.  She threw a fit when we took hers off!

I bought this inflatable toy at a rummage sale when Ben was a baby and behold...it is still intact and holding air!  Usually those cheap pool toys don't last a day after they are opened. 

Here are Ben and Tessa kayaking with Justin.  Ben went tubing behind the boat but I wasn't nearby to get a picture.  He didn't seem scared but he also didn't want to do it again the next day so who knows.  I'm sure he will like it a lot as he gets older as he seems to enjoy other thrilling activities. 
So the U.S.A. starts another year...Happy 239th birthday America!   

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