Since the Island King has started helping his brother he had to work on the 4th this year - which hasn't happened since he left EMS 18 years ago.
The kids and I decided to go to Henderson State Park during the day but that left the question of where to watch the fireworks from that night.
I knew parking at the usual places would be horrendous and I didn't feel like dealing with a huge crowd so I started thinking about alternate firework watching spots.
As we were getting ready to go to the beach a storm came up and cancelled that plan.
We were going to wait it out and then go but before I knew it all 3 of the kids were asleep and I decided a nap in the rain wasn't a bad idea at all.
We woke up late in the afternoon and by that time none us really wanted to go to the beach so we went to one of those fireworks tents and spent entirely too much money.
But we got some fun stuff.
All that was left was to find the perfect spot to watch the professional fireworks.
It occurred to me that the public dock at the end of my street is directly across the Bay from Boggy Bayou in Niceville, which is where they launch their fireworks from.
We could walk down to the dock and watch Niceville's fireworks and then walk home to do ours. No parking and no crowds - paradise.
So we walked down to the dock about 8:30 and as you can tell from this picture, the Island Girl thought this was the lamest idea ever.
She thought we were too far away from the fireworks and after about 3 minutes told me she was going home.
Ok. I'd much rather have a grumpy teenager at home than hanging out with me.
It turns out she missed quite a show.
Two other families walked out on the dock as well and at 8:45 the Niceville show started.
We could see the fireworks but they were across the Bay and it wasn't the same as sitting under them on the beach.
At 8:50 the Destin fireworks show started and it turns out we could see most of those fireworks through the trees behind us.
And of course those were much closer.
It was a lot like watching a tennis match. Look to the left, then the right, then to the left again.
The boys and I agreed that this was pretty cool after all.
Which is when the people on the dock just across the bayou started launching the fireworks they'd gotten in Alabama. (It's illegal to sell or possess any fireworks that actually go into the air here in Florida but there are real fireworks stores all along the Alabama border that get a lot of Florida business)
Nice, big fireworks.
While that was happening another family walked out onto the dock we were on with their own Alabama fireworks.
Just after the guy on our dock launched his first firework some people showed up on the beach at the foot of the dock and started setting off their fireworks.
It was amazing! There were fireworks EVERYWHERE we looked!
Once the fireworks were over we walked home (can I say again how much I enjoyed the no parking, no crowd thing?) and it was time for the boys to set off their fireworks.
Which consisted mostly of smoke bombs.
Did you know that if you set off smoke bombs in your driveway and the wind is blowing towards your house that even if the doors and windows are closed that putrid smoke smell will permeate every inch of your house?
I didn't then but do now.
It was an unusual 4th for us but we still had fun and saw a very unique fireworks show.
And we ate a LOT of watermelon.