A First for the Fourth

Missy and I usually cross our fingers and say a little prayer before we load up the ol’ minivan to whisk away the girls off to some new adventure.  For all the prior planning and preparation, we still haven’t found that precise balance that separates a great family outing from a fiasco…the kind of trip where it feels like we would have been better off staying home {parent’s…we’ve all been there, right?}.

None-the-less, we’ve continued to venture out our front door to explore new things with our girls.  More and more frequently our efforts have been paying off, leading to nights like tonight…which are almost magical.

Decked out in their all-American red, white, and blue attire, tonight we took the girls to their first ever parade:  the West Des Moines Independence Day Parade {actually held on July 3rd, but close enough}.  Showers had made their way through the area earlier in the day, leaving the weather overcast and cool (low 80’s)…a.k.a. perfect for 13-month-olds. We sent grandma Cindy and Aunt Shannon early to save a spot, and once we arrived after meeting up with some friends, the fun really began:

Sienna walking!

Jovie & Daddy

Rowan is all smiles!

The girls were clearly happy just to get out of the house and stretch their legs. They were off and running as soon as we reached our blankets.  Eventually, we corralled and fed them from their new animal chairs.  Feeding them on the go is always a challenge, but tonight (with some help) things seemed to go just fine.

Say "Apple Pie!"

Fast Food

The parade soon started…complete with old timey cars, fire trucks and ambulances…

Old Cars

…and of course, all the usual shenanigans too!

Big Bike

Everyone was having a spectacular time…

The Hardinge & Novotny Clans!

Novotny's, Hardinge's, Florer's, and Setchell's...out in force!

…and feeling especially patriotic!

The handsome Aidan Novotny waving the red, white, and blue!

The girls really enjoyed being silly while taking in the sights & sounds of all the parade had to offer. Our curb-side seats were second to none!

Silly faces!


Of course, trying to get their attention for pictures while the parade was going on all around them was nearly impossible. And yes…you might have noticed another first:  Dum-Dum suckers. They’re sugary and made for a sticky mess, but hey…they kept everyone quiet and content through the duration of the parade!  We’ll take it!

We didn’t arrive home until past bedtime, but after a quick bath and a small bottle…all three passed out without a peep.  On a scale of 1-10, our parade outing was definitely a 12…independence day win!

Now lets see how they handle fireworks

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About Tom Hardinge

Loving husband to my wife Missy, loving father to my four daughters Sienna, Rowan, Jovie, and Lola. I'm a chronic over-packer who loves good coffee, good music, running, waffle tee's, fleece pants, and Jesus Christ!

5 thoughts on “A First for the Fourth

  1. Oh my gracious! Walking and totally adorable. Missy, I never really realized how much you resemble your mom. Never thought about it much until I saw these pictures. Can’t BELIEVE I have to miss this upcoming trip with Hunt. Hospital’s tightening up on our paid vacation/holidays and making us use vacation time for doc visits. But, I’ll get to hug these gals sooner or later! Love you all!

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