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Friday 8 July 2016

Fourth of July 2016

This past Monday we celebrated our fifth Fourth of July since we moved to America. I still can't believe that we've been here for almost five years! All three of my girls have now spent more time living in America than they have in Australia. 

Like we've done in the past we spent the afternoon at the festival held at Berkeley Marina. Before we headed down to the marina the girls played construction workers and built the White House. No, not out of Lego or blocks, but out of cookies! I couldn't resist when I saw this White House cookie kit at Trader Joe's. Just like a gingerbread house for Christmas! It doesn't look quite as nice as the real thing but it sure does look tasty!

We headed down to the marina just in time for lunch. Like always, all three girls wanted corn dogs, their favorite festival food, for lunch. We bought our corn dogs and headed to a grassy area to sit down and eat while watching the sailing boats bob about in the marina.

After lunch we decided to go check out some of the fun attractions on offer. Pony rides are always a big hit with the girls at festivals and we knew there would be ponies somewhere so we headed towards the end of the marina and, sure enough, there were the ponies. Lola and Mathilde were pretty excited about going for a ride, but Ava's attention was grabbed by something else. Right next to the ponies were big inflatable balls with kids bouncing around inside of them. Apparently it's called bubble soccer. It looked like loads of fun so Ava had a go at this instead of the pony ride. She had an absolute blast and the rest of us had fun watching her doing somersaults, rolling around, and, the funniest part, getting stuck upside down with her legs in the air! Make sure to watch her in action in the video below.

Once Ava was finished playing bubble soccer it was Lola and Mathilde's turn for fun. Lola was pretty excited about the pony ride as was Mathilde. I was a little worried that Mathilde might chicken out at the last moment (like she has always done in the past) but this time she happily sat on the pony's back and smiled the whole time - as long as I was right next to her, of course.

We then headed right down to waterfront to take in the views over the Bay. It was a pretty clear day here in Berkeley (until early evening) but that famous layer of fog was hovering above San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge pretty much the whole day. I would've loved to have taken the girls for a walk out onto the pier that you can see in the photos below but it has been closed for just over a year now due to it being unsafe. On a side note, that pier was once the way to San Francisco before the Bay Bridges were built in the 1930s. Cars would drive out onto the pier to meet a ferry at the end. The pier went out about 3.5 miles into the bay. That's a long pier!

On another side note, anyone else have a nine year old who refuses to smile for photos anymore? She even asked to have this photo taken but still wouldn't smile. Ha!

We then checked out the entertainment on the stage. We listened to a band play covers of eighties hits while eating ice cream. There was a man dressed in a pirate hat dancing in the far corner and Mathilde decided that she had to go dance with the pirate. Okay. I guess dancing with a pirate isn't something you get to do every day! So Mathilde went and danced with the pirate while the rest of us watched. She was given a flag to wave which she held while she stood there bopping to the beat and watching the pirate, totally in awe of his dance moves. You can see them in the video below.

We then headed to an area filled with inflatable obstacle courses and bounce houses. Ava and Lola had a turn on the big obstacle course while Mathilde bounced in the bounce house. 

It was getting late in the day by now and I knew that at some point the road out of the marina would be blocked off due to the upcoming fireworks. We didn't want to get stuck down at the marina all night without jackets or anything else warm, especially seeing as we were on foot, so we started making our way home. By the time we reached the pedestrian bridge crossing the freeway, University Avenue (which leads to the marina) was already blocked off to traffic heading towards the marina and the freeway off ramp was closed. Within half an hour the road was blocked to traffic leaving the marina too as was the footbridge. In fact, friends actually got stuck in traffic attempting to leave the marina and had to get a police escort to make it out with their young kids. This was around 7pm and the road was blocked until 11pm. It sure would suck being stuck in your car that long.

Later in the evening those same friends came over to watch the fireworks from our roof with us. By now it was really quite cold and fog had settled between us and the marina. We've always had a pretty good view of the fireworks in the past, but this time we could only see the bottom half poking out from under the fog. Before the fireworks display was done the fog had descended even lower and we were only able to see slight flashes of light and hear the bangs. There were plenty of other fireworks going off around us though so we still got to see quite a few although they were quite a bit smaller as they were either further away (Oakland and Emeryville) or they were small fireworks coming from backyards. Unfortunately I completely forgot to take my big zoom lens up to the roof for the fireworks so I wasn't able to get any decent shots. Also, it was too busy up there for a tripod and my hand was shaking from the cold. Bay Area Summer nights - ha! Seriously, I could see my breath the whole time we were up on the roof!

If you want to see what the fireworks usually look like you can see them here.

Well that's another Fourth of July done and dusted. I still can't believe that it was our fifth - although only our fourth actually in America as we were in Australia for it last year. We still celebrated last year though. You can see it here.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.

Ava & Lola's dresses and Mathilde's top from American ApparelMathilde's shoes from Piper Finn
Ava & Lola's shoes from NativeTutorial for Ava's headband here 

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