Balloon Fiesta

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For years now we’ve tried to make it an annual event to head out to our local hot air balloon festival. Christy has a fondness for the things and the boys seem to enjoy seeing them each year. This year we decided to scale things up a bit by flying to New Mexico for the largest hot air balloon event in the world (Wikipedia says it so it must be true).

We flew out late on Thursday so the boys wouldn’t have to miss a day of school. We then immediately drove to the hotel and settled in for bed because we had to be up well before the sun came up to get dressed, drive to a nearby parking lot, and grab a bus to get us to the event.

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It was a little chilly but the boys didn’t seem to care since they had their electronics.

We found ourselves some breakfast (I won by opting for a green chile breakfast burrito) and waited for the fun to begin. Just after the sun came up a truck pulled up and they started unfurling a massive balloon right in front of us. Christy was beyond thrilled.

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MUST. TOUCH. BALLOON.

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The photo doesn’t really do justice to how massive this cow was.

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Boop.

After the boys were done poking cow hooves, we decided to start wandering around looking at the hundreds of other balloons.

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There’s a lot of these photos.

For some reason the boys insisted we go in a certain direction. It’s almost as if they saw something…

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…something green…

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We found this guy hanging out around there.

The trek for Yoda put us on the far end of the field, which gave me a pretty good view of things.

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It was a little crowded.

The boys eventually found themselves tired of looking at balloons and we decided to let them have a little fun off to the side.

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What if you were inside the balloon?

Owen decided it didn’t look like his cup of tea so he sat that one out.

Mid-day at the Fiesta is a bit of a lull, so we had to go find some other things to keep us occupied. Long ago when I was in Albuquerque I remember making the long drive up to Sandia Peak. I thought the kids would find that interesting, so after lunch we hopped in the car and headed up there.

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Max found a rock and immediately had to climb it.

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Monkey see, monkey do.

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It was a little chilly up there.

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What up, Dave?

We wandered around for a while, checked out the gift shop, then headed back down the mountain and back to the Fiesta for the evening events.

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Owen changed his mind.

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They kept trying to run into each other.


Bubble Boys

I still don’t know why I didn’t ask to go in there too.


As night fell, we managed somehow to connect with the Rockwood family and hung out for a while checking out balloons while the boys played around. Sadly, it was too dark to get photos of anyone together, but it was nice to see them!

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I did manage to get this one, but there’s a little more light in it.

After we were done with all the evening fun, we headed back to the hotel so we could all get plenty of rest and start all over again in the morning. We got there early enough to see a pre-dawn lift-off, which the boys thought was pretty cool.

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Neat!

The rest of the morning was pretty much a repeat of the day before. We looked at some balloons, the boys ran around in some bubbles on the water, then we headed out for the mid-day lull. We had some other plans for the afternoon, though.

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Dog plans, apparently.

We wound up hanging out with my cousin Ben and his kiddo for the afternoon, since he lives in Albuquerque.

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The boys built some LEGO stuff first.

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Then they played some video games for a bit.

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Then Owen got rich on Monopoly money.

The next morning we decided to forego the Fiesta so we could go hang out with the cousins for a little longer. I think the boys were happy to not have to get up quite so early in the morning. After a quick breakfast at the hotel we headed out to a park that had a decent view of the balloons.

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…and the mountains.

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I think they were kind of over the balloon thing.

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At least they were having fun hanging out with their cousins.

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Why yes, I’d like to play too.

After we played for a bit we noticed that one of the balloons was flying a bit low nearby. We walked over to check it out…

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…and sure enough…

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…it landed in the field right next to us.

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The pilots were kind enough to let the kids check out the basket.

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Owen got to sit up there too. He made them promise not to make the fire go while he was up there.

Later that day we were catching a flight home, but we still had a little time left to burn after our balloon adventure. Ben told us he knew of a place out on the mountains where the kids could check out a cave, and the boys were up for it so we drove out there.

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This is what happens when the boys get to pick the car at Enterprise. They called it the “hamster car”.

Thus began a hike that twisted and wound all through the hills.

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Ooh, scenery!

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The boys took a few detours here and there.

After a nice long hike, we finally found ourselves at the cave.

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Kieran showed Max around the place.

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Shannon got a teensy bit dirty.

On the way back down Owen threw a bit of a fit because we didn’t want him scaling various rock faces. He decided he was going to descend on his own and that we must stay well behind him at all times. I took advantage of this to admire the scenery.

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Oooh, a caterpillar.

We eventually made it back down the hill in one piece and got back in the car so we could head to the airport. It was a crazy weekend and we had a ton of fun, but it’s always nice to get home.

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The boys were certainly ready.

If you want to check out some more photos from the week, you can click here. Otherwise we’ll be back next time with a slightly less eventful week.

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