If you are a mom of multiple children, you already know preparing to watch fireworks, an all day event, is WORK! I began preparing for the celebration the day before, Sunday. We planned to watch fireworks in El Paso at Ft. Bliss. Since this particular base is an hour away, it is imperative that I have EVERYTHING that we need. My kids range from 15 down to 4 months so you can only imagine how much stuff we had to take with us. Thank God for my Honda Odyssey!
Sunday morning I did as I normally do, make the kids and hubby breakfast and I enjoy a cup of coffee and look over my Day Designer to see what I have planned. About 3 hours later, the babies were ready for their naps, getting really fussy. So once I lay them down I get my Day Designer out and plan for what exactly needs to be done in order to have a happy 4th with my family. When I make plans, I think long and hard about every single aspect of the day. I’m thinking, who needs what and how much to bring. After some brainstorming, I made a very detailed list as to what I need and from which store. I kiss hubby good-bye and am on my way. First stop, the greatest place besides Disney World, Target! Believe it or not, we do not have a wagon. We do have a double stroller, but I’m thinking that will be way too much, even Elijah which is 3 can’t do too much walking. So I’m thinking I can wear my girl Kelsey in a carrier and put Jerry and Elijah in the wagon. I really wanted to order a wagon with a canopy from the Radio Flyer site, but time was of essence so I had to buy one in store. Luckily Target did have one in stock. It is not the particular model that I wanted, but it was still really nice. I got the Radio Flyer Grandstand 3 in 1. Sadly we did not have a canopy, but I can still order one off of the Radio Flyer website. I also bought a canopy tent. It’s an open crescent shaped tent that basically is covered and allows seating space. My plan was to lay a blanket on top so my babies could get out the heat and sit down on something soft. We were short a stadium chair so I got one from Target as well. Then I went next door to Albertson’s and purchased some of their cut up seedless watermelon and grapes, which happens to be the boys favorite snack. I also purchased 2 boxes of Mickey Mouse apple juice, a 24 pack of water and apple sauce. Then I made a special trip to Bed Bath and Beyond for a shower curtain for the master bath lol. Now I’m headed back on base, but first a stop for nachos and a lemonade! I went to the Exchange and purchased a larger cooler because the one we had been too small for an entire day at the park.
Monday, the festivities started at 4, but I wanted to get there early at 2 so we could get a good spot to set up. I began preparing everything once the boys went for a nap around 11. I wanted to leave the house at 1 since it takes us a solid hour to get to Ft. Bliss. I first began to get Kelsey’s things together. 2 changes of clothes, 3 bibs, 3 birth cloths, 8 diapers, a pack of wipes, Tylenol, Baby Orajel, and gas drops. I always take medicines with me because you just never know what can happen. Then I filled a small Thermos with hot water for her milk. I also got 4 bottles together and an unopened can of milk. Next was the boys. I only packed one extra outfit for them each. Then I ironed the clothes they were going to wear for the day. I also packed children’s Advil as a “just in case” and also children’s Imodium AD. Every mom should keep Imodium AD in their children’s medicine kit. I make sure I have 2 pair of extra undies for Elijah and 8 diapers for Jerry and wipes for both boys use.
The time is now 12:30 and I can tell that we will not be leaving at 1 as I planned to, especially since Jerry was still sound asleep. I went ahead and got Elijah ready and hand him an iPad so I can continue getting things ready. Hubby helped to get the snacks and the cooler packed up. We make a pretty good team! As time passes and I’m packing things up and hubby is putting things in the car, Kelsey wakes up. I get her bathed and dressed and fixed her hair, now Jerry is awake. I’m constantly having to keep my teen, Antonio on target because he’s so attached to his cell phone. He forget pretty easily that we have things to do! I have him jump in the shower and I got Jerry ready. Now everyone is dressed. Before we leave, I have to clean up last minute messes. Who wants to come home to a mess? I washed the dishes, changed all the bed linens and turn back the beds because we will be getting in super late. After all that is done…. TIME TO PACK UP! So a couple of weeks ago we took out the middle seat in the second row so that Antonio has easy access to the third row. The second row has Kelsey behind the passenger seat and Jerry sits behind the driver seat. In the back, hubby puts in the wagon, our 40 gallon cooler on top of the wagon, then the 3 stadium chairs on top, and the tent canopy on the side of it all.
We stopped by the Exchange to get come cash, around $100 in case the food vendors don’t take cash and bought snacks for the road. That’s usually an incentive to get Antonio moving. We arrived at the park exactly one hour later around 3:30. As we are unpacking everything out the car, Elijah has tears running down his face. I have no idea why he cries when he has to potty. So I reassure him we can get him to the potty really fast and everything will be ok. So now we are unloading extra fast. There is a long line to get into the park! No one was allowed in the park until the festivities began which was in a half hour! That was NOT good. Firstly it was over 100 degrees. Secondly, the bathrooms were inside the park! Well, I just had to level with the workers that there’s no way my boy could wait, we needed restroom access NOW! Elijah had a small accident but nothing too bad, besides, only his undies got wet and we had 2 extra pairs. See! Preparation is everything! Who would want to use up all the extra stuff within the first few minutes of getting there?
Before we knew it, it was time to enter the park. We got a really nice space under a shady area. We set up and had fruit, crackers, and juice for the boys before we got dinner from the vendors. We had a wonderful time. We listened to the band which Jerry really enjoyed. He did not want to leave. It was pretty hard walking around the park in all that heat, but after some time, we got back to our place in the shade. The fireworks did not start until 9 so we just chilled out, ate, talked, walked around a bit, and played in the park’s playground where there was about a million kids playing. I get really nervous in crowded parks. Luckily my boys were ok and no one got hurt. After the boys played, it was time for the fireworks to begin. What a show! The boys and Kelsey LOVED the show. Kelsey could not take her eyes off the sky. Even Antonio enjoyed seeing all the fireworks.
We pack up but Elijah insisted that he pull Jerry in the wagon. He absolutely would NOT let anyone help him steer. Once the car and all the kids were packed up, we headed home. We had to stop 6 miles into the trip to give Kelsey some loving. She is pretty high maintenance. When she wants mama to love on her, we have to stop! It’s funny because all she wanted was a hug and a pat and ONE single ounce of milk! We made it home around 11:30. The boys were tired, but they were absolutely filthy from the park. We did give them a quick wash off and off to bed they went. They sleep much better anyway when they are nice and clean.
Today I decided to not let Elijah go to preschool and just sleep in since he had such a long day. He had a great time, all the kids did. Even Antonio, although though he was annoyed I wouldn’t let him make friends with a group of 20 something year olds lol. I wouldn’t change too much about how we did things for this event, but every outing is a learning experience. You get better and better about remembering, organizing, and being prepared for any situation.