Aug 21, 2010

Fun and Sun

I had so many pictures to post I'm going ahead with the 3rd post in one week. A record!
We finally got out the bigger pool this summer and this time put it on the deck. Much better.
The girls loved it.

We had fun playing shark. Dax taught Hannah to sing the little two-note theme from Jaws and Chloe liked doing it too. We've had a problem with a raccoon visiting our trash cans some nights. He or she was back last night and now I don't know if the animal decided to take a swim or not. Guess I'll empty out all the water and clean it out to start all over!

I like to find new playgrounds for the girls, especially shaded ones, which are harder to come by here in Texas. I remembered one the other day that technically belongs to business, but it's gates are always open and it's closer to the lot than the building. Anyway, the girls liked the tiny rock bedding and mostly played with that.

Colin napped under a tree. That's the life.

"Who, me?"

The disappearing Hannah trick.

When I was growing up, hot-air balloons were frequently over our house in Cordova, TN. We loved watching them from our backyard. There have been several balloon festivals here in Texas but we've never been able to attend one. Then I saw signs for a festival that was just down the street just 5 minutes away! It was still debatable, though, since the take-off time was scheduled for 7 am. To get everyone out the door and to the park by 6:45 was going to be a challenge for us. I was afraid the girls would be cranky...but they weren't! They were excited when I woke them up in the dark and told them we were going to see a surprise.

I've always wondered about set-up and storage of these huge things...and if they really used wicker baskets like you see in the Remax commercials. Well, they do. The balloon is made up something called stop-tear (or is it tear-stop?) nylon. When a tear starts, it automatically hits a stop to limit the damage. It's wrapped up and stored in a large bag which is stored in the basket which rides in the back of a truck or van. Simple, right? Due to the size, though, I didn't realize how many people on a team it actually takes to pull out the balloon, set it up, and control it. It was fun to watch.

Now the girls realize something is going on. Poor Hannah had her hands over her ears convinced they were going to pop. Dax and I just couldn't find the right words to convince her otherwise. Explaining physics to a 3 year old is a no-go.

There was a friendly announcer who kept the commentary going with all sorts of interesting facts. The pilots (and they do have to have a pilot's license) have to check for wind obviously. So they send up a pilot balloon to test. It may seem calm on the ground, but wind speeds pick up as they rise. They were also watching the top of a tall tree nearby and sure enough, even though we felt the slightest breeze, you could tell the wind was really blowing up there. Three out fifteen pilots decided they were going no matter what. They took off right away.

Chloe waves goodbye to the Remax balloon.

The next one takes off. This picture actually makes me teary. It's so great to look at a beautiful sky, a beautiful man-made invention (originally invented and then dismissed for the military!) and everyone smiling and waving. Everything is innocent and good in these moments. And it's what I always like to think of when humanity is portrayed negatively. Look how childlike we can all be, and that's how God created us.

Goodbye! I forgot the name of this one, but they were all named interesting things.

The daybreak shot. Can I become a hot-air balloon photographer? Is that a job? I would love it.

Daddy with his kids. The weather was so nice. It hadn't reached the hot temperatures yet.

The remaining balloons were set up just for us to view because the wind picked up too much for it to be safe. The announcer said at events like these, they never require a pilot to take off if he doesn't feel comfortable. As for the other three, they headed off above the lake and tried to do a "splash and dash." That means getting the balloon low enough to touch the basket to the water for an instant. If it fails, it's called a "dunk and sunk." : ) See? We learned lots of stuff. We also saw several people holding what were called crown ropes, ropes tied to the crown of the balloon. When the balloon was not planning on leaving, these people held it in place and were frequently rushed forward or backward by the balloon shifting in the wind. When it was time to put everything away, they pull and inner part of the nylon out from the top of the balloon, which had been acting as sort of a cork for the air push up by the fire- which was a lot larger flame than I realized. Maybe I'm getting carried away, but I loved all of this as you can tell.

Headed off to find a drink.

Everyone drifted toward the lake nearby before the festival officially started. What a great view.

Finally Hannah got to feel she was on a beach just like Dora is in her beach adventures.

We tried to teach them how to skip rocks. Dax was the only one with success.

I wish we could have stayed longer, but we could feel the heat coming.

I'll definitely have to spend more time at this spot when it cools off.


melody said...

WWOOOWWWW!! all these pictures are amazing- the balloons and the kids by the lake! i'm really glad the festival worked out and that everyone woke up happy- i think it was a great idea to make it a surprise.

also, i teared up when i saw that picture, too! it was so funny because i teared up and just about cried at how beautiful it was and the people waving- and then you had written below exactly what i felt!

The Robertson Family said...

I still think I would like to ride in a hot air balloon! Yall have a lot of neat events in your town.