Celebrating all day long: 4th of July 2011

Arlee Parade: They started off with a flyover by some F15 fighter jets.

 Damn, it's sure a lot of work to have this much fun.

When I went to get things ready for our July 4th activities the night before it occurred to me there were way too many things to get ready: clean-ish clothes for the parade, all the kids' dance stuff for powwow, swimming suits and towels, dry clothes (or at least another layer of clothes) in case it was colder at midnight than 9:00am. When I started piling everything up in my living room I soon had many stacks of clothing covering my couches and coffee table.  I realized I'd spent more than a hour tracking everything down, and it looked like we were leaving for the week rather than the day.

It probably would've been a much faster process if someone would come fold and put away my clean laundry rather than just throwing it all on the counter. I never did find one of Zoran's moccasins. I'm always missing at least one moccasin.

Zoran & Lex waiting for the parade.
In the morning my kids started whining when it was time to leave for the parade. I expected they'd find and bring shoes, brush their hair, wear shirts, all sorts of these cruel and outrageous expectations. They didn't want to get ready. I told them they better not tempt me with just staying home because cleaning up the house, locking them all outside and sitting in the quiet, air conditioned house didn't seem a bad way to spend the day at all. They must have sensed I really meant it.

They all made it to the car. A couple of them even brushed their hair.

Racing for candy
Yaya & Grandma helping Lex with his candy gathering.

Right after the parade on the 4th is probably the worse time ever to go to the Arlee Powwow. It's hot and crowded and sort of miserable. It takes about a half an hour just to drive the half mile over there and then it seems to be packed and the crowd doesn't seem as local as most other times. I hate crowds to begin with but at least they are a little more tolerable when the chances are good I'll run into someone I want to talk to.

Lining up for Grand Entry
We still haven't got around to making Zoran a roach, so we went with cutting and dyeing his hair to work as a substitute.
The kids were not at all excited about outfits and dancing and all that, but Grandma really wanted to see them dance and hadn't made it down to the powwow yet at all. So, Grandma got to watch eight great-grandkids dance at least a  few intertribals, because sometimes it's important to give grandmas what they want.

It wasn't really dancing as much as a bunch of little girls wrapped up in their shawls moving in a  giggly pack and boys shuffling around the outside of the circle unenthusiastically, but it was probably not a bad compromise.

Zoran getting a little help from Yaya with some of the pieces of his outfit he he forgot.

Jenna and Azia doing a little shopping.
Multi-generational powwowing. I wish I would've had time to adjust my camera settings to throw the rest of the crowd more out of focus, but I still really like this picture of Grandma, Mom and all Gwen's girls. (Though I selfishly wish it was my kids in it instead of Gwen's!)
After the hundred degree heat the kids were really excited about getting to water. We usually go out to Cordier's for the 4th and my kids love this part of the day. Swimming and socializing, their two favorite activities (and some of their favorite people live there) so it makes sense that they were counting down the days for the entire week before.
They ran to the pool and I don't think they got out until I pulled them out hours later after a half hour of asking them to do it on their own. We hadn't been down to Missoula to the fireworks for a few years because we always just stay here, but the kids did want to go meet everyone down there again this year. Until we actually needed to leave to make it there. Then they weren't really enthusiastic about the idea.

 There was all sorts of delicious food and desserts and they couldn't even take a break to eat.

It's a pretty great spot to watch the fireworks everyone else in the valley does.
Everyone was excited once we got south, and the the rest of the group saved us a spot right in the parking lot near the music & stage. Dad brought all sorts of food and drinks and Lex found an entire package of stray cookies that fell out of the bag in the car rather than making it to the BBQ, so they were happy again.

They also got to sit on top of the car to watch the fireworks, which was even more exciting. It was also a fairly unsafe plan for the younger boys, but when Lex was not on top of the car he was so excited by the fireworks he could not stay in one place. As soon as they started he sprinted down the isle of the parking lot jumping as high as he could, fists pumping into the air. He didn't stop at the end of the row (why I still expect Lex to sometimes do sensible things like this I do not know) so I once again found myself chasing him.

After I got close I could hear him yelling,  " I can FLY!!! I'm Fast! And on FIRE! And fllllyyyyyiiiinnnngggg! On fire!!! On fire!!" 

I guess it isn't very often the entire sky seems to be on fire. It probably is pretty exciting seeing it for the first time. He wasn't very happy about me catching him and pulling him back to the car. About two minutes later he was off again and added darting between cars and into the different rows to his jumping and flying as to better evade me. It was a very effective tactic.  Since it was getting dark and I was having a harder time catching him, once I retrieved him again I put him back on the roof, told him to sit down and hoped it was better than him out dodging cars in the dark.
And we didn't actually need that extra layer of clothes for this part of the evening. Lex is wearing only shorts at 11:00 pm, but it was still over 80 degrees.

The only bad part of the fireworks was trying to leave the parking lot. Zoran asked why we weren't moving and when I told him to look out the window at all the cars he said, "This again! We've been in jams all day!"

Yes we're from Montana. Two,  half hour waits in traffic is as much as were likely to see all year (if we can avoid the summer road construction) and we had them in the same day. Not a big fan of the "jams."

But overall a fun day. Next year we are going to do better about talking and remembering why we are all celebrating this day to begin with, but the South Dakota trip and all the stuff we read and visited a couple weeks ago was a pretty good lead in to the 4th this year.

Today we are working on digging out our house and car and putting things back in order after a week of doing nothing but going, going, going. Swimming, boating, lakes, waterpark, powwow. . . we'd come home long enough to grab new clothes and dump the car & make a huge mess of our house or a few times to sew or create things that made an even bigger mess. The Fourth seemed a good culmination to the craziness. Maybe now we'll have a couple calm days.

I never count on it.


  1. Looks like the very best way to spend the weekend. LOVE all the colors in your photography. Fantastic!

  2. Wow, what a fun filled weekend! I love all of the colors in the attire and outfits. :)