The Great Pumpkin Hunt of '14

We left it kinda late this year.

Between our Albuquerque trip, school, illness and life in general, this was the first chance we've had to visit the pumpkin patch with the little girls.
Skipping it was not an option. Going to get pumpkins is one of Leia's very favorite things.
Doesn't matter that she'd already been with Mary; going with Grandma and PopPop is tradition.

Both girls had their school Halloween party and parade today - and no school tomorrow; when did Halloween become a school holiday??? - so both were costumed and ready. Leanne opted to not wear her Ariel princess dress, going instead with a sparkly little ballet outfit.

The pumpkins were a bit picked over but the girls didn't care; they had fun climbing haystacks,
chasing through the maze,
pulling each other in the wagon (which didn't work out so well when Leia was riding and Leanne was pulling.)

All in all, a nice, spooky afternoon.


Ballooning, Day 3

We didn't even bother getting out of bed for this morning's balloon launch - which ended up being canceled due to high winds. The Balloon Fiesta had really bad luck this year weather-wise.

Instead, we slept in, then headed out to Petroglyph National Monument.
We stopped at the ranger station to pick up a map and a petroglyph book for Addy.
Pop quiz - what's the difference between a petroglyph and a pictograph?
According to the book, a petroglyph is carved and a pictograph is painted.
Addy thought that was pretty cool, especially when the book said some paints were made from animal blood. (Ewwwwww)
The trails we chose were very easy, with lots of carvings. Addy had fun looking the glyphs up in her book.
That was her favorite thing until we spotted this guy - a roadrunner!
Not a great picture but he was a beautiful bird, quite willing to stand around and let us admire him as long as we wanted.
We tried going to an arts and craft show at the race track, but the winds were blowing so hard they shut it down to keep the tent from blowing away.
Lunch was wonderful - fresh, well-prepared seafood with fried alligator as the appetizer. Addy was determined not to taste even a bite. I tried bribing her with money - $5, then $10 - but it was no go until I brought out the big guns .... the stuffie (stuffed animal) of her choice if she ate - and swallowed - one bite. Victory! And best of all, she actually liked it!
And she loves her new bear (Rosie, on the right) and Beanie Baby dog (Bones, under her chin). The rest of the animals? Four came from home, the rest were acquired on this trip. Addy does love her babies!


Ballooning, Day 2

We got up early again today to see Dawn Patrol, but after sitting in traffic for an hour and getting nowhere near the balloon field, we gave up, went back to the hotel and back to bed. Turned out to be a good decision - within 20 minutes of our giving up, officials said all parking was full and started turning people away. Lesson learned; next time we'll, A) go on a weekday when it's less crowded, and B) use the park and ride buses!
The rest of the day was more fun.

We took Addy to see the dinosaurs at the natural history museum - she's a huge fan and they have some nice displays.

Then we hopped on the park-and-ride bus (lesson learned!) and headed back early (more lessons learned!) to the balloon field for the evening glow and fireworks.
Arriving early had its benefits. We did a bit of shopping,

staked out a place on the grass,
and enjoyed a picnic while waiting for dusk.
Unfortunately, dusk arrived about the same time as the winds from a thunderstorm that mainly skirted just south of the field.
A few balloons inflated, but not for long.
The lightning strikes were a bit too close for comfort, the winds were getting stronger,
and then the rain started. Most people packed up and headed for their cars.
We thought the fireworks would be canceled too, but they went ahead as planned.
And what a display! Easily one of the best shows we've ever seen.
The only drawback to riding the bus in, was having to ride the bus back out. The line was awful, so we did a bit more shopping then snuck in joined the much shortened line and headed out.
Even with the extra time it took to board, riding the bus was definitely the better choice. The wait time to escape exit the car parking lot? Two hours.
Tomorrow - petroglyphs!


Balloon Fiesta 2015

Despite the threat of rain, Albuquerque's hot air balloon festival was a "go".

We got to the field about 5:45 am, which is officially still the middle of the night, my time.
Dawn Patrol was delayed a few minutes by light sprinkles, but that was the last we saw of morning rain.

We did a bit of shopping, and Addy got her face painted,
while we waited for dawn and the main events -
Inflation and
mass ascension of the balloons.
Once the balloons started inflating,

Addy was so excited she could barely focus.
She took pictures of everything.
None of us had any room to talk though -
Rachel and I were both using two cameras;
our cellphone and our "real" camera.

There were a lot more special shapes ballloons than I remember from previous Fiesta's.
I'm not sure if today was mainly for them,

or if that's what professional balloonists are focusing on now.
Not knocking it though - they are a lot of fun to watch.

We were heading off the balloon field by 8 am, and after a short nap, took Addy to the ABQ Zoo,

where she told us amazing animal facts and added to her stuffie collection (a harbor seal and a Tasmanian devil).
The evening events, both balloon ascension and fireworks, were washed out by rain,
but the forecast for the rest of the weekend is sunny skies and warmer temps. So stand by for more balloon pics!