We had a pretty great Fourth of July this year. For starters, Collin wasn’t deployed! The Birmingham Zoo had free entry for vets we couldn’t pass up. Its older and small, but really nice for what they have. I thought we’d be there for just a couple hours max, but 3 hours later we were rushing to see what we wanted. We did catch the lion feeding. They have seven lions there! Their elephant program is the first of its kind with all males. The females push them out of the family when they reach adolescence, creating a problem in a zoo setting. There’s a new giraffe exhibit with 4 or 5 giraffes where you can feed them at eye level which was pretty fun. Those suckers have really long tongues.

After all that, we had the traditional 4th with some friends and we were wiped out. O was so tired the firecrackers next door didn’t keep him up.

Alison Bell is a lifestyle photographer currently living in Okinawa, Japan specializing in families. Contact her at abellphotographer@gmail.com for booking. She lives with her best friend and Marine, and their four lively boys.