So in true holiday form, I am two days behind on my top ten for this week. But since I’ve been celebrating our nation’s founding, I figured it was a good excuse to miss a couple of days of posts. Forgive me?

Here are my top ten reasons to love the 4th of July, even though it’s in the middle of the summer (my least favorite season.)

10. The U.S. Birthday – Perhaps for some of you this seems like it should be #1, but for me, it’s a surprise I even put it on the list. I am grateful to live in a country where freedom is expected, but to be honest, I’m just not a “My Country Tis of Thee” girl.

9. Food – While I don’t eat the traditional hot dogs and hamburgers, I love the way food brings people together on this day and other holidays, too.

8. Sparklers – We used to get these when I was a kid, and I always try to burn at least one during the celebrations. This year, Dave’s five-year-old nephew and I burned one together.

7. Watching Other People Almost Lose Fingers – I am not a big fan of lighting fireworks, but I have grown to really enjoy watching other people – especially Dave and his brothers – light mortars and shoot bottle rockets.

6. Sailing – Saturday I spent the day on the Chesapeake Bay. It was quite frustrating when the crosswinds made it almost impossible to get back, but the feel of just resting on swaying water with a breeze in my hair – well, that makes up for the frustration (but maybe not the sunburn).

5. The Heat – Okay, so I really hate the heat . . .yet, it does make me appreciate the coolness of air conditioning and the fall. And it just wouldn’t be the 4th without some smack you in the face humidity.

4. Turtle Races – Down at my parents, the family that owns the farm has a big gathering at the 4th. They all find box turtles and race them, and the competition is so intense that they actually set up a full-scale betting system.

3. Days Off – Do I really have to explain this one?

2. Fireworks – Dave and I saw two sets, and while he loves the giant booms that come after those “sneaky” almost invisible blazes, I love those shimmery ones that make the sky look like it’s dancing with diamons.

1. Time with the People I love – This 4th I have been blessed to be with wonderful people all weekend. We have talked. We have laughed. We have sweated and reapplied sunscreen and bug spray. We have eaten. It has been amazing.

What’s your favorite part of this holiday? Or if you’re not in the U.S., what are the traditions around your nation’s founding?

Cheapeake Bay Sailing