It’s a birthday party! The fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. In fact, it probably competes with Christmas for the top spot. When I was growing up, we spent every fourth of July at my parents’ lake house, and we did the day right. Fireworks (some years we watched from our boat, other years from the beach), sparklers, barbeque, bonfire. Y’all know I love summer, and the fourth of July is the quintessential summer day. Last year we sort of missed out on celebrating, as we were attending a wedding that day (in the middle of a hurricane) and while I was so happy for the friends getting married, a piece of my heart was at the lake, of course. (It was raining there, too, so I guess we didn’t miss much.) Anyway, since we missed out on Independence Day fun last year, I was determined to make up for it this year. Warning: photo bomb ahead. We just had so much fun, I couldn’t stop snapping pictures.
We kicked off our weekend in traditional fourth of July style, at a Japanese restaurant. Okay, that’s not traditional. But it sure was delicious.
Peanut was mischievous.
And Nugget was cuddly. He’s getting good at guiding what he wants to his mouth. Usually, what he wants is my hand. Anyway, while Nugget enjoyed a knuckle sandwich, we enjoyed a tasty Japanese dinner at Sato. Hubby put together an amazing looking sushi spread, but I went for the ramen. Sato is a relatively new addition to the Buffalo dining scene and they’re already justifiably famous around here, because of the ramen. I ordered the veggie ramen with fried tofu, and it was AMAZING. (I’ve had it before, but without the tofu. Adding it this time was inspired. The tofu was the best part and I’ll definitely get it again.) Peanut ate buttered ramen noodles, a side of avocado, and a piece of California roll.
I don’t have any pictures from Friday – we spent the day lounging around the house. Peanut and hubby swam in the pool, Nugget and I snoozed in the rocker, and I read. It was a nice, cozy, relaxing day – just what we needed. On to Saturday.
Nugget had a tough night on Friday, so hubby nicely let me sleep in on Saturday. I came down to this adorable scene – Nugget napping in his swing, and Peanut lounging in an impossible position and watching Super Why. I dunno, this doesn’t look like a comfortable way to watch TV, but I guess it is. I fed Nugget, got my own breakfast, fed Nugget again, and then we were off to Canalside.
Fourth of July doesn’t feel quite right to me unless it’s spent by the water. I’ve passed one or two fourths without finding my way to the waterfront and it always seems like something is missing. Knowing that I like to celebrate Independence Day around the water, hubby suggested that we explore Canalside. It’s been awhile since we were last there, and they’ve since put the finishing touches on the canals, and the big recreation area is pretty much done. (They’re still working on a big, nice new hotel, but that doesn’t really impact our enjoyment of the area right now.) So we headed downtown.
Our first stop was the big sand pit. This is a large area filled with sand and sand toys, and it’s always bumping. In fact, as we approached the sand pit we saw two of my Stroller Strides friends, who were there soaking up the sun and fun with their husbands and little ones. What fun to randomly bump into them! Peanut got to play with her buddies for a bit, hubby got to meet the other dads (he’s met some of the Stroller Strides dads, but not these two) and I chatted with my friends and introduced them to Nugget. (Stroller Strides ended last fall, when I was pregnant, so Nugget has never gotten the fun of attending a class – poor guy). They snuggled him and we planned a workout, then they were off to search out live music while we stayed and enjoyed the sand for a little bit longer. I called it a day when I saw a cup of sand inching its way toward Peanut’s mouth, and we wandered off to look at the boats.
There were tons of people out kayaking and water biking around the area, and I was itching to get in a kayak myself. We’ve been talking about kayaking as a fun date night activity, but we need to coordinate babysitters. Maybe later this summer?
BFLO Harbor Kayak rents stand up paddleboards, too! Another thing I really want to try.
We had a great time looking at the boats and the water, and then hubby suggested wandering down to see the completed canals.
But first I wanted to get some pictures of the kids in the Adirondack chairs that dot the Canalside area.
Peanut was delighted to be getting to hold Nugget. Nugget, while he adores his sister, wasn’t convinced that this was the best idea. You sure about this, Mom and Dad?
Canalside is the terminus of the Erie Canal, but it’s become more about recreation than business. A local group has been renovating it for years now, and last fall they put the finishing touches on a new canal area, just in time to open the canals for ice skating. With Peanut being so little, and me being so pregnant, we didn’t skate there – but I know we will be there next winter! It was such a cool area.
The new canals were adorable – shallow and winding. I can see how they’d be fun for skating in the winter, but in the summer it was all about the BOATS.
Remote control mini sailboats! Too fun.
We walked the perimeter of the new canal area, and then it was time to head home. We were all a little loopy from the sun…
And we crashed hard when we got home.
Afternoon naps over, we threw together a very casual dinner, then did the normal bath and bedtime routine (or not-bedtime, if you’re Nugget). And then it was time for another favorite fourth of July tradition…
ALIENS!!!!! Yes, I do watch Independence Day every fourth of July (and sometimes in between, too – it’s a classic). I have a thing for nineties disaster movies, what can I say? So much fun. Love Will Smith – “I could’ve been at a BARBEQUE!” And Bill Pullman – yum. How does he keep his hair so perfect, even after flying in a raging air battle against evil alien invaders? That’s talent. Hubby thinks that my need to watch Independence Day every year is completely ridiculous, but he indulges me anyway. Nice guy, knows what’s good for him.
On Sunday I woke up to this happy face…
…and then we headed out for a short family hike to Knox Farm.
We could sort of tell that Peanut wasn’t going to make it through our favorite extended loop, so we just did a short loop around the near stand of trees. It was enough for a good stretch and…
Nugget crashed hard. He didn’t even wake up when I took him out of the Ergo – it took buckling him back into his car seat for that. And then he promptly fell back asleep and snoozed through our quick family errand (Lowe’s, for a new market umbrella – our old one didn’t survive the move – and a pot for me to move my basil into). We headed home and spent the rest of the afternoon alternating between lap napping and cooking.
Later on Sunday afternoon, my inlaws came by for a swim in our pool, and dinner on the patio. No pics of the swim, because I was having too much fun dunking, treading water, dipping Nugget’s little toes in the pool, and checking out the shark (floating pool thermometer) with Peanut. But dinner was definitely photo-worthy.
Raw corn salad, roasted cauliflower salad, pulled chicken on Costanzo’s rolls (a WNY institution), and watermelon. And for dessert…
A s’mores tart. Does it get more all-American than that? I doubt it.
Best enjoyed poolside, with the summer sun just starting to set.
Happy (belated) birthday, America! Hope all of my friends had a fun and safe party weekend.