For the last several years, we've opted to do our own personal Independence Day celebrations on the night of the 3rd. I believe it started at one point when Camp Harlow was opened up on Sunday the 3rd, and therefore Michele and Michael were able to celebrate with us (they have a perpetual date with his family during the afternoon of the 4th).
At any rate, it's my excuse to get our side patio looking good, a chance to make yummy foods, clean up our yards, etc. With all of the other activities that we had going, Thursday afternoon was one busy time for me - I was a "blur" (quoting from Kung Fu Panda) trying to mop the kitchen floors, shower, mow the lawns, make a cherry pie, etc., etc., etc.
It really was all worth it - and as John set up the new white lights on our outside canopy, it felt downright magical. We had a wonderful bbq full of all of the great foods I crave, watched an entertaining episode of "Wipe-out", made a big 'ol s'more worthy fire, and finally, snuggled up while watching Dennis and John set off the Costco pack of fireworks. The only real disappointment of the evening was missing out on Travis' company. He discovered, the bad way, that he's allergic to sulfur-based antibiotics so he had to stay in bed. Stephie came, though, so we had half of the Whites with us. Oh, that and the terrible case of heartburn I had from eating too much too fast - when will I ever learn?