Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ellie's First Fourth

I hope you all enjoyed your Independence Day! We had a fantastic day and I think Ellie's first Fourth of July was a smashing success.

I love the Fourth of July. I love the parades, the fireworks, the cookouts, just the overall summery feeling. It's one of my favorite holidays. However, this Fourth of July we weren't really sure what to do to celebrate. We have done lots of fun things each Fourth since moving to the city, including the Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest, a Revolutionary New York Walking Tour, and last year we watched the fireworks from the west side of the Hudson on our first Hoboken Independence Day. But, none of those outings included a baby. This year, we are plus baby. So what to do?

Our day ended up being pretty low-key but super fun. After breakfast and the Ellie/Achilles photo shoot, we went out for a little family walk around town.

It was nice and sunny, so naturally we all wore our shades!

Left: My sweet patriotic girl, enjoying her day!
Right: Our happy little family!

After our walk we stopped back home for a bit, changed our clothes, then went back out - this time to Newport Green, that park along the Hudson River where we took Ellie to the beach on Memorial Day. This time we didn't go for the sand, however, we went for the water features on the playground. They're very cool - all sorts of different fountains, buckets, sprays, etc. Basically, lots of different ways to get soaked! When we got there we had to wait a bit for Ellie to finish up a little stroller cat nap, but once she woke up, she and Daddy hit the water.

Resting up for play time!

Let's hit the water!

Uh oh, not sure what to think!

She was not a fan of a stream of water splashing her arm.

My loves!

Eric said the water was colder than he expected, but Ellie really did really well. I thought she would, though. She's usually a hot, sweaty little baby (poor thing!) and she loves being in the water at bath time, so I thought she might enjoy it. I think the splashing was still a little much but she had no problem getting wet! And I think she had a nice time with her Dad.

Left: Looking back at the park where they played
Right: Ellie and her Daddy sharing a fun afernoon

After the water park fun, we went back home so the little one could take a good nap. And nap she did - for almost four full hours! Somebody was all tuckered out! When she woke up, Eric and I had hot dogs, watermelon and macaroni and cheese for dinner, and then got ready for the final part of our fun day: the fireworks! We got Ellie dressed in yet another adorable patriotic outfit (that girl loves her some red, white and blue in her wardrobe), strapped her into her carrier and off we went!

Casual and comfy for the fireworks!

We're ready to go!

Honestly, we really debated whether or not to take Ellie to the fireworks. For one thing, with their 9:20 p.m. start time, she would be out way past her bedtime. I was also worried about the noise bothering her. But, we decided to just go for it. We got some of those moldable earplugs for her just as a precaution, and timed her long nap to be later in the day so she could last longer into the night without a meltdown. We also kept her in her carrier in the hopes that being close to me would comfort her if she got scared, and I could put my hands over her ears as needed. We put her in there facing forward for the first time so she could watch the action, because that girl is all about checking everything out these days.

Ellie is sporting ear plugs, but I'm going for noise reduction the old-fashioned way.

I am so glad that we decided to go for it and take her to the fireworks, because she loved them. She was far more offended by me putting her earplugs in her ears than she was by any of the booming noises. As soon as the show began, she was entranced. She just stared up at the beautiful fireworks above her.

Ellie at the fireworks


And a beautiful show it was! Naturally, NYC always puts on a great show. I have to say that we had a much better spot this year than last. We learned our lesson last year and this year knew that to have a good view, you really have to go further north in Hoboken. The fireworks are set off from four barges lined up along the Hudson River, and last year we miscalculated our proximity to the lowest barge and ended up being further south than we wanted to be. This year we were up by Maxwell Place (around 11th Street or so), and we had a perfect spot between two of the four barges, with the Empire State Building lit up in festive red, white and blue directly in front of us. I believe people had started camping out for spots there early in the day, but we were able to just walk up about five minutes before the fireworks began and still have a clear view from the sidewalk (what a change from being in NYC, when we had to go hours early!). Our timing was perfect - we left the apartment with just enough time to walk up to a good spot, and as soon as we settled in the show began. We were in a perfect position to see a great display.

Fireworks, with the Empire State Building in the middle!

Saturn fireworks!

So pretty

Smiley faces

Three barges and the ESB


The big finish!

In addition to our pictures, I took a short iPhone video of the finale:

VIDEO: 2012 Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks finale (taken on an iPhone)

Did you notice how the fireworks really stopped bursting and just sort of fizzled out at the end? They also left some really black smoke. I'm thinking that's not what's supposed to happen, no? We watched it on TV when we got home and you couldn't really tell in the broadcast, but it was definitely noticeable in person. Only one of the four barges seemed to really keep firing. Oops.

However, the full display was made even more amazing by an unbelievable nearly-full red moon rising above the city just as the show began. Spectacular!

See the red moon there at the bottom? So cool.

All in all, it was a fantastic Fourth of July! And as soon as we got home, Ellie posed for one last picture then passed right out for bedtime. My poor, sweet, tired American girl!

Her First Fourth was a great one!

After a fun day like that, I'm still on a high today. I'm just so in love with my little family.


Lauren said...

Looks like you had a great first 4th as a family :-) LOVE all of Ellie's cute outfits seriously can't get any cuter! Those fireworks look amazing, love the heart ones we didn't have any of those :-)

Becky said...

Such a wonderful family day for you! The fireworks looked awesome, too. So glad Ellie is going to be a fireworks girl!