Celebrating July 4th took an entirely new meaning for me two years ago, when a certain someone with golden locks entered our life an entire week early ( and on the very date I did NOT want to have birth happen :)). I remember like it was yesterday how the 4 kids and I went to "our" frozen yogurt place, and Nikola said "oh, hey mommy! Last time we ate yogurt , Vasilisa was born that day! Maybe the baby will be born today too!" I snickered and told him to eat his portion, but on the way home my mind kept a very keen record of the very regular contractions. I was in a complete denial state until about 5 hours later, and then in the thrilling stage of realization that , yeah - this IS it. And extremely happy: it was NOT the 4th, it was still Wed, the 3rd and I was not going to have a Fourth of July baby, we could have two holidays back to back, but not intermixed and I wouldn't have to spoil anyone else's celebration by having them tend to my birth rather then watching the parade and fireworks.

That's what I thought. But that's not what E decided. Long story short, he decided to take his time and make me labor through the night, so that he could make his grand appearance right in the prime of the day on July 4th, and giving plenty of time for everyone to adore HIM and then go and watch fireworks, which are as far as he is concerned,  of course are to celebrate HIS arrival as one of the most patriotic Americans that ever lived ( because who else would slow down his birth so that he could honor the birthday of America too? ) 

Two years later, I can say that we have on hand a very sweet, an extremely clever and absolutely stubborn little man with the very mind of his own, who gave us more run for our money then anyone else ever had. He is my "black and white" little explosive bomb, who has two speed settings only : off and EXTREMELY high. He is a man of contrasts ( picture : come for some hugs and kisses and may bite you too while at it) . He is the only baby so far that loves cuddling and got attached to a blanket; and we ALL love and adore every little bit of him. And even though I know that we are in for some serious terrible twos ( that showed up a wee bit earlier then the calendar was suggesting ) , but I am anxious and excited to see what the new year with E has in store for us all, and what life path lays ahead of him. 

Here is a little peek into the 4th. One thing needs to be said - we are not mega-big "party-throwers". I will even say more - we are VERY simple when it comes to celebrations: we need a cake and a couple of presents to make the day "official" and then we are off to have fun together.

** my anxious and very eager helpers. they they were much more interested in helping to EAT then setting it up though :) **

** when you jump so much your hair falls apart ( for the 100th time that morning too )**

** a very important decision about who sets the plates **

** although E's gluten sensitivity has tremendously improved since his birth, an almond flour cake sounded like a great idea especially considering how delicious Le Marais makes it. all his favorites in one: almonds, cake and all the berries imaginable **

** who doesn't check out what is there for him to enjoy?! ( impressively , he did not eat it right that moment! )**

** the birthday song that had him smile from ear to ear (and it was beyond heartmelting) and a designated birthday candle. we are on year 7 of using it, and I do not know what we are going to do when it runs out - we are seriously attached to it now **

** make a wish, blow the candle and... reach for your cakes and treats! **

** i love this moment so much! as every mom of two-under-twos knows it is not an easy feat, but , my heavens , is it worth it or what! they have a connection that goes beyond that which can be explained in words. I wish and dream they carry it through years to come and all the time after **

** the man and his cake **

** he has a LOT to say lately. i understand about 2% of it. but it doesn't make it any less enjoyable to listen to, but i seriously would give half a kingdom to know that it is that he is actually saying. anyone knows a toddler interpreter? we pay top dollar! **

** since the baby and I are still quite impressed by the effect of the attitude Madam Morning Sickness can have, we decided to skip on the cake and foods in general ( except for the juices ) as to not to ruin the day. so there was no need to pull the leaf out of the table and I thought this was an adorable moment : daddy and his team xxx**

** years - two. fingers - too many **

** this is what they mean by family table conversations. every second of it had my heart ( heavily affected by pregnancy hormones too!) melt to butter **

** i do not remember what exactly it was, but obviously, judging by E's expression, it's beyond exciting **

** you know the cake is good when this is what is left on the plate **

** our traditional mini-cruise around the Bay to watch fireworks from the water. fantastic as that idea was, after dealing with some AFTER the show traffic and spending THREE hours instead of 15 minutes getting home, we may re-think the tradition for the next year. but the kids had fun throughout the adventure and that was all that mattered for the day! **

** the boat , the view , the company , the conversations - the perfect four **

** the very San Franciscan fireworks : the fog covered 50% of the view, but somehow it made it even more magical. looked like stars falling from the clouds. if you have never experienced fireworks in the fog - highly recommend it! simply beautiful! **

** for those that asked: my pants are from Gap, tank is a thousand years old, and is from Nordstrom, but this one and this one are fun and similar; jean jacket is Gap; girls' dresses are Kate Quinn Organics and Nordstrom ; E is completely "Gap-ed" out ( unintentionally, but that's what happens when you inherits a ton of stuff from all your siblings and get a couple of your own) and Nikola's choice of clothing is from Gap and Peek; the stroller is Bugaboo Buffalo Escape, and the bag on the stroller is from Petunia Pickle Bottom; backpacks are Kanken ; girls' headbands are from Shop Bando. The beautiful wooden chairs at the table are Stokke Tripp Trapp ( and I cannot give them enough praise! amazing chairs!) I think this covers all, but if you have a question, ask away here or on Instagram! xo **