This past weekend we were invited by a few friends and our realtor to a fall festival in town. It started early - 8am to be exact, as there was a pancake breakfast, pumpkin patch, and tethered hot air balloon rides. We loaded up the kids and the car and arrived just past 8:30am. The whole event was packed with hundreds of people and we barely found a place to park. James had his walking sticks and we were without the stroller - which may have been a stupid move on our part - but our agenda was to get a hot air balloon ride.
As we got to the registration table we were firmly told that they weren't taking any more people as they were maxed out for the day. The organizers didn't feel as though they would get through one hundred groups ahead of us and they had been turning people away for a while.
Disappointed, I mentioned in passing that James loved hot air balloons more than anything. We would have to come earlier next year they said, perhaps at 7am, to get our name on the list and ensure we got a ride. The little dragons headed towards the pumpkin patch with James stopping every few feet, pointing his walking stick in the sky at the hot air balloons. He kept talking about the hot air balloons, as he is more persistent than any person I know; it has paid off for him on more than one occasion. He has persuaded several people to give him their personal balloons, so he definitely has a gift of stubborn persistence and persuasion beyond the average 3 year old.
Maisie went about picking a pumpkin while James was being a stickler for the hot air balloons. He told everyone around us about them, pointing in the sky. We attempted a few pictures in the pumpkin patch but it just wasn't working; too many kids around, and our kids not paying attention, etc.
Out of nowhere a man ran up to us, and said, "If you want to go in the balloon, we have to go NOW", and so we grabbed our stuff and quickly followed after him. He took us to the very front of the line. "I want to make his dream come true," the man said, before disappearing into the crowd. We were told the kids would be too small to go in the balloon, and that we wouldn't be able to go up together - but a consult with the balloon pilot revealed all of these concerns to be false.
After a brief wait, Jimmy and I loaded the little dragons into the hot air balloon and went on a brief tethered ride up at the park. It all went by so fast and before we knew it, we were on stable ground once more. The kids absolutely loved it and want to ride again. We are so grateful for the guy who gave us a chance to let our kids do something they've only dreamed of.
Following our hot air balloon ride, we picked out pumpkins and caught up with some old friends. James met a lady with her own walking stick and Maisie danced to the music in the park. We went to the farmer's market for fresh vegetables and fruit. For the rest of the morning, we adventured around Lookout Mountain, climbed rocks and watched paragliders, then headed home.
The little dragons were so hungry and exhausted they devoured the better part of a 10 inch pizza for lunch, then ate a whole steak with potatoes for dinner. I thoroughly hope to see the scale tip past 22 pounds at next weigh in.