We had a busy Independence Day weekend. For the first time in the ten years since we moved here, I attended the parade that is held in The Woodlands. As The Woodlands has grown, it has evolved from kids riding their bikes with streamers on the handles to consisting more of organized groups.
We participated in the Cub Scout group for the parade. This year is BSA's 100th birthday in the United States, and the parade's Grand Marshal was supposed to be someone with Boy Scouts. Our district within Sam Houston Area Council had two floats, which were decorated trailers pulled by pick-up trucks. I think we probably had over 100 Scouts who participated this year. Zoe and I were able to ride in one of the trucks, Zach rode on a float with some of his friends, and Darren walked beside the float.
After the parade, which was a lot of fun and very well-attended (BSA won an award for the largest group, BTW), I had to rush home and shower to prepare for my friend's husband's funeral. She is in nursing school with me, and her husband died very suddenly of a heart attack on the Monday before July 4th.
That evening, we attended the free patriotic concert that the Houston Symphony puts on every year at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. It's fun, because you can bring a picnic dinner (fried chicken, of course!), and sit on a blanket and listen to the music. The evening is capped off with a performance of the 1812 Overture, accompanied by cannons. We've been a few times to the concert, but not for several years. It wasn't very crowded this year, and we met some friends there. The only downfall was that it had rained all week prior to the concert, and the grass was very muddy. We spent a lot of time watching kids running down the hill, and ending up sliding on their butts in the mud. Zoe had a great time running around and visiting other groups nearby during the concert, and was not scared of the cannons.
On Sunday, we lazed around for most of the day, until I went to the grocery store and bought ingredients for a cookout. Darren requested apple pie, so I made that from scratch, along with macaroni and cheese, and he grilled bratwurst in beer. Yum!
Around 8:00, we hopped on our bikes and rode to Town Center to view the fireworks. There was a festival down there as well, with a band and refreshments, but we skipped all of that. We left our bikes at the library, and walked down to the Waterway. We ended up on top of a hill across the waterway from the Pavilion, and had a great spot to watch the fireworks. Zoe spent our time there drinking all of the water out of my Camelbak. She thought it was the coolest thing!
After the fireworks, it took us an hour to get home on our bikes, but I think that was faster than it took most people who drove their cars. We had to dodge pedestrians on the pathway in Town Center, then when we got back to Woodlands Parkway, the lights were set to allow traffic to flow from Town Center, so it took a long time to get a walk signal. We arrived home, sweaty and tired, around 11:00. We all had popsicles to cool off, and the kids didn't go to bed until midnight. There weren't nearly as many people shooting fireworks this year as in the past, so we were all able to sleep that night.
It was a really fun holiday weekend, but it would have been nice to have had a party or have been invited to one. We really miss getting together with friends, but in recent years, it has seemed that unless we do the inviting and host the party, we don't go anywhere. I'm glad I like to stay home so much...