On Labor Day, we decided to surprise the older children.  The night before, I set warm clothes out for them to wear (it is the high-plains of Colorado, after all), and S woke them bright and early on the big day.  He didn’t tell them why, only to get ready and quickly eat breakfast.  Of course, seeing as how our children are all early risers, and since they all share rooms (boys in one room, girls in another), an early morning for 2 kids means an early morning for mommy and all the other kids too!  In any case, S loaded JR and M into the van, headed out just around sunrise, and arrived at the Hot Air Balloon Festival just as the winds kicked up (a bad thing).  First, they had to find parking, and being the cheapskates frugal people we are, S decided to park in the closest “FREE” parking spot he could find.  That meant they all had to walk about a half mile or so to get to the festival.  The winds delayed the balloon launch for about half an hour, during which time, S, JR, and M got to strike up a conversation with a balloon owner and learn all about hot air balloons.

Warming up the balloon apparatus.

JR and M with a balloon basket behind them.

Finally, the first of 2 launches started, and JR and M absolutely loved it!  First, they sent up a lead balloon, to test the wind speeds, and demonstrate what pilots were supposed to do with their balloons.  The lead balloon is the Red, White, and Blue one in the next photo.

Inflating a balloon.

http://youtu.be/_FwEozP_h2w

Colorful balloons

Smokey the Bear balloon

A sky full of balloons

One of the events of the day is for the balloon pilots to compete by taking a very controlled dip-and-drag of their basket through the lake.

http://youtu.be/8D3-8gEDPb8

After they tired of watching balloons, the “free” festival got a little costly as S splurged to let the kids play some of the activities provided.  It was a date, though, and I think these hard-working, homeschooling farm kids are totally worth a little fun!

M in the hamster ball

You can see M struggling trying her very best to race the ball across the field in this video:

http://youtu.be/hAJfGBaTJao

Then, you can see the bouncy house fun.  Note that the bouncy houses were placed in such a way that the kids could use easily-accessible entrances on some, and then just bounce over the tops to get to others.  The funny thing in this video is that M had no problem bouncing over.  JR, on the other hand…..well…..you can see for yourself.  Poor kid!

http://youtu.be/UB0zWH8cl98

Fun Day!  Mommy and the littles just might have to go next time.  Do you think S would race me in the hamster balls?

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