Hot dogs, friends, family and fireworks

Our fourth was jam-packed with fun, friends and family. First thing in the morning, I went down to our church. I’m planning a 40th birthday party for my husband. The party won’t be until the end of August but I’ve already been planning for weeks. I’ll be hosting the party at our church’s cafe. I needed to go down and get some measurements for…well, I can’t say just yet because he might be reading this & all the details are top-secret. He knows that I’m throwing a party but doesn’t know any of the details yet. After the birthday party planning, Ken, the boys & I went to our pastor’s house for some good old Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. NOT for those with a weak stomach. It’s a bit of a tradition to watch this but I don’t think I’ve watched a combined 10 minutes of the competition. I watch it like I watch a scary movie: with my hands over my eyes, peeking out every once in a while.

After watching grown men shove dozens of hot dogs in their mouths we headed to Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island with the whole family. We’ve seen the fireworks there once before. Six years ago my parents stayed at a B&B on the Island for their anniversary. It must be nice when all of American celebrates with you (their anniversary falls on the 4th of July). We wanted to recreate the day, this time with my brother and his family. The residents put on their own firework show and you’re right in the middle of it! It’s amazing because each one tries to outdo their neighbor. This year, we were a little further away from the residents’ show and closer to the Bistro’s show. 

We arrived early enough so that the kids could enjoy the water. Here’s my niece Molly with my mom. She loves the beach!

Jackson was addicted to the waves as well. It was a quite windy when we first got there so that made for some good waves. If you’re not familiar with the Gulf of Mexico, let me just tell you that there aren’t many waves. It’s really calm compared to the Pacific.

Ethan enjoyed the waves, too.

It never did rain but the biggest rainbow hung around for the longest time!

Right before sunset, I snapped this shot so you could get an idea of the amount of people who come to see the show. This is actually nowhere near the amount of people. 

So…fireworks. I looked up how to shoot them, took some notes, watched a video (I recommend watching this or reading this – both are great explanations). This is where being so close to the show wasn’t a great thing. It was really hard with my 50mm lens to get far enough way from the fireworks. I kept getting shots with half of the explosion in the picture. And since we were right in the middle of all the fireworks going off, there would be one in front of me, then a few seconds later one behind me, then a few seconds later, one to my right. You get the idea. While it’s amazing to see in person, it doesn’t make for the easiest photography. Here are some that I captured.


This year we were further down the beach than we were six years ago. I really think that our original spot gave a better show (we could see it from where we were). We all had a great time anyway but next time we’ll go back to our original spot. 

How did you celebrate the holiday?


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