Monday, July 13, 2020

4th of July Weekend

Fourth of July weekend turned into a long weekend thanks to a Covid scare at daycare. Hubs had the day off as a holiday and felt it was best not to tempt fate since he has yet to be sick (thank you mask wearing through this entire pandemic!), so I requested daycare not be open that day. I'm forever thankful for the amazing, understanding families I have. Naturally, we couldn't just sit around the house, but we did (and still do) find it important to socially distance ourselves. 

It was a perfect day for exploring and having fun! First, we took my grandparents donuts from our favorite donut shop that just re-opened from being closed since the middle of March. Due to rehearsals and dance schedules, we had missed out on my grandparent's and grandpa's celebrations the evening before. My grandparent's celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and my grandpa his 84th birthday--that can't go without celebrating! It was a quick stop by, but we got to see them as much as we can right now. Seeing them put us all in a great mood as we made our way to our second stop of the day: Newton, Iowa.

We stopped by Maytag Park to get some energy out. It was hot and humid, so we didn't last long. The previous weekend, after the drive in, I drove the minis around Colfax, Iowa. My aunt lived there for all of my childhood and I remember these places fondly when I spent days with her each summer. I LOVED to dance on the bowl stage each summer when we came with friends. There's now a sign asking people to stay off of the stage so we obeyed it (actually, truth be told, I encouraged my kids to hop up there for a quick pic, but my kids are rule followers and wouldn't do it). The kids played on the playground for a bit and Zeus was disappointed there was a 'no dogs on playground' sign.

On our way out of Newton, we picked up Moo's BBQ to take to our adventure for the day: Rock Creek State Park. We found a covered picnic area overlooking the lake and ate our food (quickly, because there were wasps around). Then, we went to the beach area to swim. There were a few short trails we could have hiked but due to a puppy who can't go far and the hot temperatures, we found it best to skip any trails and just go to the water. 

The beach is small here, but it wasn't very crowded. This was a unique State Park because we could see neighborhoods and cornfields from the beach. We didn't exactly feel like we were in a State Park area. We still had fun though and enjoyed talking with the locals about the lake and our dog (Zeus draws a lot of attention). 

We got a family dinner (that feeds 4-5) plus one brisket meal and extra Texas toast all for under $60. It was great and we had so much leftover that we ate it for dinner too!

Zeus instantly ran for the water, then the shade provided by chairs and umbrellas. He couldn't get comfortable for a nap until I wrapped him in a towel and held him. He's a big baby.

Zeus couldn't figure out the bubbles coming from Max's mouth.

Another stop in Newton on the way home, this time for Gezellig Brewing. The minis, dog, and I waited in the car while Hubs grabbed a variety six pack for us to try out.

Much like the previous weekend (in between Dolliver State Park and the drive-in), we had just enough time to shower and then get a spot for fireworks in Altoona. We took advantage of the empty movie theater parking lot and set up. Zeus was so excited about all of the people around us and insisted on walking around to visit. As usual, people loved him and his friendly personality.

Not bothered by fireworks, but bothered by the humidity.Poor Zeus.

After fireworks, we got stuck in the parking lot due to traffic for an additional hour afterwards. We got home VERY late and everyone fell into bed (or kennel if you're furry).

Last year for the 4th of July we were in Washington DC. It was memorable and amazing. This year's celebration seemed a little too laid back for us, but we did what we could. We had a socially distanced picnic in my aunt's front yard, Harrison caught a toad, we caught up with family we haven't seen since March, we played in the our inflatable pool in the backyard, we did a few (tame) fireworks of our own, and we watched the neighbor's show late into the night. Not the Independence Day's we're used to, but it was good. Since we had had several late nights, we chose to keep Sunday chill at home. The kids got to destroy a broken lamp, they played in the sprinkler, the house was cleaned. Typical Sunday stuff.
Harrison's toad he caught. I made him let it go later that day. He released it on our backayrd. We now have a toad living in our backyard.

Cake and toads. The kids were in heaven.

While the kids rested, I went to visit a friend and introduce Zeus and "meet" her baby bump. It was a fun, quick, socially distanced visit. Zeus crashed in the front seat of the car on the way home because it was a big day for a little pup!

We did fun quiet fireworks, while everyone around us put on a full show. I was positive we wouldn't be seeing fireworks this year and as it turns out, we got numerous shows!

Sunday morning snack of Honeycrisp apples and corn on the cob.

I love our weekends exploring. We're gearing up for a lot more adventures the next few weekends and I can't wait!