Happy 4th of July | Gilbert, AZ

Happy 4th of July | Gilbert, AZ

Happy Independence Day!!! This 4th of July was our first holiday as residents of Arizona, a lot was different, but a lot was the same.

The morning started with a swim in grandma’s community pool. Emi loves the water but we’re still working on the actual “swim” part. Then it was board games and chill. Matt played one called Kitchen Rush with his siblings while I took a nap and then I schooled everyone in Carcassonne. Finally we got to taste the smoked ribs Papa Brant had been cooking all day, they were definitely worth the wait. SOOOO good! Then it was time for fireworks to close out the night. Emi liked the sparklers best.

Childhood Traditions

The older I get the more I crave the traditions of my childhood. My mom’s home town, a little place called Circleville, UT, was the place to be for the 4th of July. You’d wake up at 6am because they set dynamite off and it rings through the whole town. Most of the time it was set off in the junk yard behind my Grandma’s house so there was really no sleeping through it.

They had a parade every year, I’m sure it was never very big because we often built a float to ride in it, but as a kid it was so much fun! Then there was a patriotic service in the school gym followed by a lunch put on by the scouts for a fundraiser. Then the real fun started. Every year there was a carnival with games and prizes.

We’d spend a few hours there then run back across the street to Grandma’s for a water balloon fight or play games like Signs or Mafia. When it was time for fireworks we’d spread out blankets and watch them explode over our heads. But my favorite part was the noise! Circleville is aptly names for the mountains that seem to surround it on all sides in almost a perfect circle. The fireworks pop would bounce back and forth, from mountain to mountain, until you heard it with your whole body, not just your ears.

I think what I miss most is the gathering of family that would always take place for this holiday. It was the one time of year my mom’s 6 brothers and sisters all made the journey home, bringing my 30+ cousins with them. We’d camp out all over Grandma’s lawn, play games, tell scary stories, build forts in the junk yard. It was my favorite part of summer growing up.

What are your 4th of July traditions?

Like Christmas, the magic of the 4th has faded as I’ve grown. Grandma and Grandpa don’t even live in Circleville anymore and I’ve struggled to replace those traditions with ones that fill my soul with similar delight. For Emi’s sake I’ll keep working on it. Do you have any fun 4th of July traditions? What is your favorite part of our country’s birthday?

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