We did not do much for the Fourth of July. Russ took Lydia, Anna, and Nicolas to piano lessons in the morning while Caleb and Seth and I headed for the Woodland Mall. Several stores were offering additional percentages off clearance items and we thought we would look for a few good deals. The mall was pretty empty since we arrived shortly after it opened. Unfortunately, it made me a pretty easy victim for the kiosk people. Not exactly sure how it happened, but I ended up sitting in a beautician chair in the middle of the mall having an extremely feminine guy ("Call me Mimi") demonstrate a hair staightener/curler. "I just love your hair! It is just like...angel hair pasta." ??? Caleb was really freaked out when he informed us that he used it himself every morning. He had a funky "shaved on one side, long on the other" hairdo. Since the nice little apparatus cost $250 we just left it there. At noon we met Russ and the others at a Culver's near the mall to treat the kids to lunch. I took Anna back to the mall after we ate because I wanted her to try on a few swimsuits that were marked down quite a bit. Lydia joined us. The highlight of their shopping trip with mom was that mom lost her car keys! We had parked outside of JCPennys and so when we were done shopping in the mall went back to JCP. The girls were disappointed we were done shopping so I told them we could get on the escalator in JCP, ride up to the girls clothes and browse a little bit. Anna even tried on a few things. When we were ready to leave and were going out the door, I had trouble finding the car keys in my purse. We sat in the entryway between the two doors on a little bench and looked again--no luck. Anna thought we should look and see if they were in the car. You can't really lock the keys in the Honda very well, because the safety feature is that the automatic lock doesn't work with the door open. You have to lock all the doors with a key on the outside. Anyway, they weren't in the car either. Lydia thought she remembered seeing them in the dressing room, so we walked back through the store, up the escalator, and to the dressing room. The girls ran ahead and when they came running back out I knew they had good news. Anna was so relieved, and Lydia was so proud she remembered that she saw them in the dressing room. They rehearsed all the way home who was going to tell Dad which part of the whole story.
While on the way home I also realized that we had never done fireworks with our kids. No sparklers, firecrackers, snakes, nothing at all. So I called Russ and asked if he would be okay with me running to Meijer and getting something special for the kids to light off that night. Fireworks are pretty big in Michigan. From about 9:00 until at least 12:00 when I finally fell asleep it sounded like a war zone outside, or at least what I imagine a war zone must sound like with all the bangs and popping. Meijer was plumb out of sparklers, but I found an inexpensive pack of what I call "driveway" fireworks--cones, spinners, etc. The kids were pretty excited. Lydia was fun to watch as she bounced on her knees on her lawn chair squealing and clapping her hands at the colorful showers of sparks. Now, they have seen big fireworks before, and someone in our neighborhood shot off quite a few big "in the sky" ones that we could watch from the girls' bedroom. But there must be something about doing it on your own that is appealing. I have fond memories of Dad buying fireworks in South Dakota and our anticipation of lighting them on the driveway before the city lit theirs. We fought over the punk, jumped out of the way of stray spinners/jumper thingys, and just made lots of fun memories. The city of Grand Rapids does a firework display, but we weren't brave enough to fight the traffic to get in and out of downtown to see them. Maybe next year? We had a nice day with the kids and they are already planning next year's holiday!