Friday, November 29, 2013

A Christmas Tradition

One-month-old. Santa admonished my parents for bringing me out in the cold.

Then Eric shows up.

Santa's face! WHAT ARE THESE TEENAGERS DOING ON MY LAP?! After this year, you can see the annual photo still happened, but we found alternatives to Santa.
Neighbor's Santa cutout.

Santa was out. So we borrowed his set.

Eric's hair is so Swingers!

This is at my house in Elizabeth City. Eric must be 18 here, so we were allowed to stop. Also, I think the next year I moved to Yuma.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Balloon Festival Weekend

While living in Yuma, Jeffrey and I got to experience the Colorado River Crossing Hot Air Balloon Festival. We both agreed it was something we wanted to share with Ada. Someday we'd like to go to the Albuquerque balloon fiesta, but for now, the Yuma festival is the perfect experience.

We went down Friday night. Shirley came with us and bravely drove the rental car through the Arizona darkness in driving rain. Jeffrey helpfully kept finding songs on the satellite radio no one liked. Ada and I napped.

Saturday morning we got up way too early and headed over to the West Wetlands Park where the launch was to take place. Due to the uncharacteristically rainy weather, when dawn broke, there wasn't a single balloon preparing to go. We were cold and sad. At least we ran into the Molenar group and Ada immediately took to Savannah, their nearly 7-year-old daughter. Finally, an intrepid balloon pilot took to the field and was then followed by three more. it was not the massive experience we had hoped for. The rest of the day was spent resting and digesting our massive breakfast from the hotel package.

Saturday night wasn't much better as the glow didn't happen as promised. Fortunately we had other plans! Our friends Ann and Charlie hosted a little party for us complete with birthday cake for me. The day's disappointments were slowly healed by "dark and stormies" (dark rum and ginger beer with lime) and a delightful spread of snacks, chili, and the Molenars brought rolled tacos from La Fonda -- a nostalgic favorite. 

We slept well and then got up not as early on Sunday for the second day of balloon launching. The weather was much improved and two waves of balloons, about twenty total, ascended. Ada was a bit tired and seemed nervous about the roars of the fire blasts, but she was happy looking at all the balloons and helping me pick out her favorite ones. Day Two was definitely worth the trip. Shirley even helped the balloon sponsored by our old newspaper, The Sun, to get going. Matt Molenar and his mom Jane got to go for a ride so we had friendly faces to wave to as they ascended.

Ada immediately glommed on to Savvy.

She always looked a little unsure around the balloons.

The balloon glow had a few vendors including face painting. 

Little tiger!

Sunday morning was a LOT more exciting on the field.

Matt Molenar and his mom, Jane, help "crew" the balloon they were to ride in.

Ada was getting tired waiting for our friends to go up.

Somehow, of course, Shirley ended up manning part of the equipment. The balloon lady, whom I'll call Doris because was a gruff little old woman wearing a sparkly hat which is what Dorises do, told Shirley, "That's the most dangerous piece of equipment in the setup." The cold air fan. Great!

"You need to wear gloves."

Ready to launch! (Note Shirley holding the balloon down as she is now part of the crew.)

This is a great shot Jeffrey took of the flame.

Jane giving a hearty wave as they took off!