Saturday, October 18, 2014

Carolina BalloonFest 2014

A few years ago I decided that I love hot air balloons, and last year we decided to check out the Carolina BalloonFest in Statesville, North Carolina.  It is about two hours from our home, so it was a bit of a drive, but the idea of hot air balloons launching in those long hours before sunset had such ripe potential to be magical.  And it was.  It was an incredible evening last year, and this year we decided to do it again.

Hot air balloons are at the whim of the wind, so weather conditions need to be favorable before pilots will risk a flight.  When we arrived the wind was too strong, and the launch was delayed long enough that part of me started to feel discouraged.  Luckily, a loud horn sounded, which was the go ahead, and immediately balloons started to take shape, and mounded forms stretched and rose from the ground.  When the first hot air balloon took flight, there was hollering and applause - we were all relieved that the launch had taken!

Our dear friends (and nearly family), the Hills.  They are our partners for so many of our adventures in this state as we are growing up our kids together.  Traditions are always happy with these guys around!

Isn't this incredible?  It's like a valley of sleeping giants, all waking up together.  Below is one of my favorite photos of the day.  Orion was only 11 months last year when we came last year, so this experience was like seeing it all for the first time.  He kept running off towards the balloons, absolutely fascinated by the flames, the colors, the giantness of it all...

A few more favorite photos.  A sweet one of Marcos with the kiddos, and Orion and I with that look on our faces.  (What were we even looking at?)

One thing particularly special about this year was the bubble man.  A vendor selling light up sticks and bubble machines walked around with a demo bubble machine, whirling hundreds and hundreds of bubbles into the air at one time, and it was so much fun for the kids.  Between the balloon launch, fair foods and funnel cake, free bounce houses for the kids, the bubble man and Albannach - my favorite Scottish band who plays a concert every night during the balloon festival - it was the perfect fall celebration.    

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Orion Bo Bion

I haven't talked about Orion for a while, and I think it is time for an update.  At this age, he changes and develops so quickly that every two months he seems to be an entirely new little being.  I think that part of me is very anxious for him to grow up past this stage (he is almost two), because he is so physical and only nominally rational, which is another way of saying "impossible to discipline". But a slightly older and much wiser friend told me recently that if she had known how difficult raising older kids would be, she would have enjoyed the younger years more. I find myself coming back to her comment time and again, and it helps me to enjoy this stage, despite wanting to pull my hair out sometimes.  

Or getting it pulled out for me, by my son.

For my update on Orion, I decided to recruit some assistance from the kids.  First, my conversation with Gigi...

Me: What are Orion's talents?
Gigi: Throwing balls, he likes balls and stuff...  Coloring and doing puzzles.  I think he likes to kick around balls.  And he talks a lot.

Me: What do you wish he would grow out of?
Gigi: Pulling my hair, and being so fighty!  Getting into my stuff and destroying my structures when we're playing legos.

Me: What is the cutest thing about Orion?
Gigi: When he says "So ONO!" when we're eating.  And when it's morning time and you tickle him and he laughs, it's really cute.

Me: What is one thing you would like to teach him?
Gigi: How to be more nicer, and how to talk more politely.

Me: Why do you love Orion so much?
Gigi: Because he's cute.

Me: What is Orion going to be when he grows up.
Gigi: I don't know.  You better ask him.  Maybe he's going to be an artist.
Me: Why do you say that?
Gigi: He colors a lot with me.

And from Orion...

Me: What is your name?
Orion: Orion!

Me: How old are you?
Orion: Almost two.

Me: When is your birthday?
Orion: November fifth.

Me: What is your favorite color?
Orion: Ball.
Me: Hm.  What is your favorite COLOR?
Orion: Blue.

Me: What foods do you like?
Orion: Rectangle.
Me: Hmm... what kaukau is yummy?
Orion: Yogurt!

Me: What toys do you like to play with?
Orion: Balls... yogurt?

Orion's favorite things right now are any kind of transportation and balls.  He is fairly obsessed. He also loves eating (pretty much anything - sushi, edamame, hummus, gyros are the recent faves...), he still loves knock-knock jokes, and he constantly asks "why?".  All. the. time.  But in the past few months he has started saying, "Why?" and then if he doesn't get an immediate answer he wanders away saying, "Because!"  There we go, problem solved.

Orion is part of a research study at UNC, and so every year at his birthday he receives developmental testing as part of the control group.  I am always caught unawares with the questions they ask me about his behavior, so in preparation for our appointment in a few weeks, I have been trying to pay special attention to the things he does and says.  Last week he came up with this great sentence and I had to write it down word for word before I forgot it.  We were in the car passing a pond and he said, "I go ride a boat right now on the water!"  This boy has so much to say.

Another of his recent changes is a big boy hair cut.  He looks so much older with his closely cropped do.  I like that there is more face visible for me to smooch.  Because that's all I do, all day, every day.  Love you tons, little son.