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For this year’s 4th of July, Matt and I decided we’d do something patriotic with our kids. So we took them to the annual Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Contest in Coney Island, because what’s more American than watching people stuff their faces with hotdogs?

We’d only ever seen the contest on TV, so we were beyond thrilled to be there in person. We were mostly excited for our boys, Nico (3 1/2) and Lucas (15 months), who, in theory, were going to have the best day ever. Unfortunately, reality didn’t quite work out that way.

The scorching heat alone was enough to ruin any fun day, but having to stand in it, in one spot, surrounded by thousands of fellow sweaty bystanders, only made it worse. The boys, hot and miserable, grew restless. Watching people eat hotdogs was just not their idea of fun. And, frankly (pun intended), I don’t blame them.

Matt and I tried to make it up to them by taking them on the cute kiddie rides at the famous amusement park, but they remained sweaty and miserable, as they went round and round the hot merry-go-round.

The boys napped on the car ride home, and when they woke up the temperature had cooled a bit, and the kiddie pool in our backyard was filled. Finally, we saw smiles.

I brought out some refreshing festive snacks (watermelon and blueberries). More smiles.

Later that night, we let the kids stay up past their bedtime to watch a local fireworks show from our driveway. It was a lovely ending to a long day.

Nico and Lucas may not have thoroughly enjoyed the hotdog eating contest this year, but I think that at a more suitable age (10 and up perhaps), and with the proper tools (i.e. handheld misting fan), it could’ve made for a great family-fun-filled 4th of July.

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