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Friday, July 4, 2014

Building Traditions in Military Life

Our first 4th of July together in 2006

If there's one thing that comes with military life, it's instability, which isn't exactly conducive to building lasting traditions. Even though we've been married for almost 7 years now, I don't think we've ever done the same thing two years in a row for any holiday. Sometimes Todd is home, sometimes he's deployed. And because we live so far from our closest friends and family, we always seem to be traveling over some holiday. This is probably one of the hardest aspects of military life, because I like to have established traditions, preferably in our own home now that we have children.

 July 4, 2011

Grilling his 4th of July hamburger in 2011

Our very favorite holiday is the 4th of July. There's a lot to love about it, but what we love the most is how carefree it can be. There is nothing worse than an over-programmed 4th. By the end of the day, you're hot and cranky and hate everyone around you.

I learned a long time ago that flexibility is key to military life (please note: me = notoriously inflexible and hates change). We can't get too attached to very specific activities with this lifestyle, but we have certainly been able to create our own holiday traditions by sticking to two rules: 1) lower our expectations, and 2) create traditions that can be done anywhere. We may not be able to go to a specific parade or watch a certain city's fireworks display, but the activities we love the most for the 4th of July are simple and easy to find anywhere we go.

Scarlett's first 4th of July in 2012

Two weeks old

Todd and I grew up doing different things for the 4th of July, so we are nostalgic for different aspects of the holiday. We've pared down our requirements for the day to what makes both of us happy -- Todd has to have a hamburger, I have to go to the pool, and we must see fireworks. And SOMEHOW, the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest has made it's way into the annual plan. I have no idea how it happened, but over the years it has become must see TV and I set my DVR every year so we don't miss it.

July 4, 2013

This will be our first 4th of July spent here at Altus AFB (even though we lived here a year ago, we were travelling). It's somewhat daunting to make plans when you have no idea what to expect (again, me = notoriously inflexible and also a serious planner). But I know we will participate in our traditions that we can do anywhere. We'll put out our flag, don our patriotic clothing, and enjoy the celebrations at church and on base. We will eat a hamburger at the pool and watch fireworks later that night. And just like that, we've done everything we want to do!

Happy 4th of July!


  1. I followed your link from Kelly's Korner! Very cute blog! I have twin boys, they are 22 months old! Thank you for writing about your traditions and how you try to be flexible. I am flexibility-challenged also,and I was starting to throw myself a pity party because I couldn't get my family to the beach for this holiday. But after reading your post I sat down and thought about 2 things that I really look forward to for the 4th of July, Fireworks and picnics, and realized I can so make those happen! Maybe we will have the beach next year!!

  2. Hooray! I hope you were able to have a great 4th! And it's so exciting to find somebody else with twins! And thanks for stopping by!

  3. Hope you enjoyed your 4th! With over 20 years of military life, you've found the secret - being flexible. And the adventures make it fun.

  4. You are so right. In military life having something even on ething that is consistent no matter where you may be is so important.