Wednesday, July 6, 2016

4th of July - A true day of independence

We invited some friends over to celebrate the 4th of July with us and bought $30 worth of fireworks to try lighting off this year. The three things to make it a perfect 4th of July for me is having a flag cake, watching fireworks and having some kind of party.  We had 3 for 3 this year. 


Freddy didn't understand about keeping the burning part of the sparkler away from people and accidentally burned his little friend. Luckily, she's tough and it wasn't too least I don't think it was!

We moved to the front yard to light of the bigger fireworks. It was Chris' first time and 1 of them required a wooden trough to shoot off at the right angle. He scrounged one up and lit it off. It was impressive and the perfect 'finale.' Nature was giving us her own firework display with thunder and lightening.  I was actually glad to have our own show over, so that we could head inside where it was safe. 

Now when I say that this year it was a true day of Independence.... let me explain myself.  For years now, the kids (mostly Alec) will occasionally ask for a whole day where they can {enter some ridiculous idea here}... usually its {buy as much stuff as we want} but since they stress the fact that its JUST for ONE day like that makes it totally doable. "You know, like for ONE DAY, we could probably only get like 3 laptops and 4 or 5 power wheels, " Alec tries to be very convincing.  Well, at the beginning of the summer they asked for JUST ONE day of as much screen time as they wanted. My first thought was, 'Huh, that's actually do-able and wouldn't cost a penny' and my next thought was, 'How much screen time could they actually take in one day?...especially if it was on a holiday where other fun stuff was going on?'  I tentatively agreed to talk to Daddy about an maybe we could try it for the 4th of July.  From that moment on it was a done deal and they kids were SO SO excited about it and would talk about it with such awe.  We agreed as a family that we would need to save up some screen time for it, and not watch anything for the 3 days previous and that they would need to go to bed early the 2 days after it to help catch up on their sleep since part of the experience would be staying up as late as they wanted (capped at midnight). 

The kids went to bed SO WELL during the days leading up to July 4th because that meant they were one day closer to as much screen time as they wanted! It was super cute to see their giddy excitement. Monday, July 4th dawned bright and the kids came in our room at 5:45am ready to start! But its a known fact in our house that days don't ACTUALLY start until 7:00am, so they had to wait a bit longer. At 7:00am on the dot they started their first show. I'm trying to remember what it was, either Phineus and Ferb or Lego Ninjago. The morning flew by for them and they were still going strong around the early afternoon. We made them pause it for meals and eat at the table (Charlie wanted to eat lunch in the living room so he could keep watching).  We had friends coming over for an early dinner and I thought they would be ready for some play time. Nope! Their friends just joined them on the couch but at least convinced them (just before dinner) to switch out Netflix for Wii to play some video games like Mario Cart. 

They paused to eat dinner and have cake, then went back at it. I was shocked. Aren't their brains, eyes and backs just hurting from sitting still staring at moving pictures for almost 12 hours straight?!?  Nope! We got them to pause it again to come out back to light off fireworks and sparklers for an hour or so. But when that was over they happily plopped back on the couch and continued to play. We put Freddy to bed around 8:00 and told the kids that they can still watch but its parents choice after 8:00.  We tried to pick something boring so they would fall asleep. Chris thought that watching HIM play xbox would do the trick. It worked for Gwen, she fell asleep next to me around 9:30. The sports xbox game was too interesting for the boys so we chose an old school made in the '80s, an Agatha Christie mystery set in the 1920's: Poirot.  That did it for Charlie, he zonked out around 10:30. Alec loved it and was still ready for more. We talked about not wanting to watching anything too scary right before bed, so he decided on a gentle Sofia the First episode. That put me to sleep and I fell asleep around 11. By 11:30, I woke up and declared the day over and sent Alec up to bed mildly protesting in his 1/2 awake, 1/2 asleep state.  

The kids were decidedly cranky the next few days, but told everyone they met for the next month that they got to watch as much TV as they wanted for an entire day and even stayed up late! I'd say it was a success and that the kids won - apparently I'm a terrible judge at their screen-time stamina. 

My favorite part was the FIRST thing Charlie said the next morning: *in a super whiney voice that Charlie is a complete pro at* "Yeah but our friends came over and we had to stop watching to play with them so we didn't actually get a WHOLE day of screen time. We wasted it!." Hahaha. I guess having a party and lighting off fireworks is a big waste of a day. Man oh, man. I will bet anyone $10,000 that the kids think they get to do this again next year because doing something once often makes it a family tradition in their mind and I'm not sure what I'll say. Should we do it again, or not?

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