Sunday, July 08, 2012

A Very Historical Fourth of July

 We had a really fun and history-rich Fourth of July this year, thanks to my insightful husband who gets the vision for these things and carries them through!  (If it's me as a mom who makes birthdays "happen," it's definitely John as a dad who makes the historical holidays "happen"!)  The day began with John reading the entire Declaration of Independence to us as a family at breakfast.  I think it has been since high school government that I read that document!  I completely did NOT remember all the list of grievances in the middle of the Declaration, which did require some explanation from Daddy since it uses words like "perfidy."  Great little history lesson over breakfast!

Then, John had seen online that a famous historical home in our area, Locust Grove, was offering free admission on the 4th.  (I still cannot believe the fun family activities you can do for free in America!)  So we braved the heat and went for a visit.  It's only a few miles from our house and was truly fascinating.  George Rogers Clark, the founder of Louisville, spent his final years there since it was the home of his sister, her husband, and their large family.  The family often entertained guests of distinction, including several presidents, John James Audubon the naturalist, and others.  There was an interesting (air-conditioned!) museum section that we all enjoyed and then we were able to tour the house and meet various historical personages (two pictured above) dressed in their period costumes and interacting with the guests.   It was really fun!  Even for me, who doesn't get as excited about history and was tempted that morning to just stay home in the cool and read a book, I really enjoyed it!  We visited the museum, toured the house, and then the girls were delighted to find drawing paper and pencils for sketching while sitting outside on the back porch.
 John and I enjoyed looking out over the grounds and the beautiful gardens there before we all traipsed out to have a look at the outbuildings.  The stone building directly behind John was the kitchen.  Can you imagine carrying pots and dishes of food to the house and dining room in all sorts of weather?
 We came home for a brief rest and then went to join in on a fun party at our friend's the Kimbell's home.  Could their baby J be any cuter?!  She's a doll!

The kids had a great time eating and playing together...and evidently so did I since I neglected to take any more photos the rest of the evening!  It was a great evening of fellowship and good food--everyone brought something yummy--and fun to have time to sit and talk.  My girls played so happily that at the end of the night, we had to go because I was tired, not because they were done!  

But the day wasn't over yet.  We actually managed to see several really fun neighborhood fireworks displays as we were on our way home, so much so that at two places we actually stopped and parked for a minute to watch!  Then, after arriving home and as the girls got ready for bed, John selected three fun books to read as a final celebration of the Fourth of July.  One was an elaborately illustrated picture book with all the verses of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again" and so he sang it to them, which they thought was so fun.  The next was another great picture book with Longfellow's "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" which he put his best dramatic voice to--"One if by land, two if by sea!"  And finally, we ended the evening and the holiday by singing "America the Beautiful" together  (we also have a picture book of various American scenes with that text.)  What a fun way to end the Fourth!

Happy 236th birthday, America!  How thankful we are for this country; though certainly not without its flaws, we are humbled and grateful to be born into this place with its freedoms.  I enjoyed our historical Fourth of July and look forward to learning more about our nations' history as I study with the girls in the future!  Hope you all had a safe and wonderful Fourth of July celebration!

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