I'm told that it wasn't actually that "great" of a balloon launch because the weather wasn't ideal. Apparently there are usually closer to 40 balloons that go up and there were only like 7 tonight. My kids sure didn't care. They thought it was completely amazing!
The first thing we did was visit this walk-in balloon that the kids could run around inside. Fletcher was not so sure about it at first. In fact, I had to drag him there crying, but it was too crowded for me to leave him out. Once he got in and saw all the happy children, he was fine.
After the walk-in balloon, we claimed our spot and sat down to our gourmet peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Actually, the kids were asking for seconds, so I guess I didn't do too bad on the meal. And by the way, this cute polka dot picnic blanket that we got as a wedding gift has never gotten as much use as it has this summer. Thanks again, Sue and Missy!
We finished our supper just in time! Once the balloons started launching, they were enthralled, especially Fletcher. I love this picture of him with the binoculars. Most of the time, he was using them backwards. People would walk by and smile when they saw him.
We couldn't call it an official visit to Kenny Anderson Park if we didn't test out the playground, right? This is another one that's connected to a school playground, which means, lots of equipment. I didn't take a lot of pictures of the playground, though, because I'm trying to be conscious of the people around us and the fact that they may not want their pictures plastered on the Internet. With the balloon crowds, it would have been nearly impossible to get many pictures without a lot of other people in them.
This was the most old-school piece we've seen so far. In fact, I distinctly remember one just like it at Horace Mann. And I distinctly remember my little sister falling from it and breaking her nose. And most importantly, I distinctly remember that she was wearing clothes that belonged to me and that she had not asked to borrow when she broke her nose and bled all over everything. The first in a long line of incidents that involved my sister, my clothing, and the "accidental" destruction of said clothing.
The kids absolutely LOVED this roller slide. There used to be one at Laurel Oak, but I don't remember seeing it the other day. This was the first one we've encountered and it was a hit.
These past couple of weeks have been so much fun, visiting parks, taking so many pictures, and making so many memories. For some reason, though, as I was watching these three fly down this slide together, I had one of those, "I'm going to remember this forever and I'm so grateful for it," moments. It was one of those moments where your chest feels like it might burst from the emotion of it. Overwhelmingly, what I felt was gratitude. Gratitude for these four precious lives that God has put in my hands. Gratitude for a husband who is willing to work long hours to support his family and who sees the value in these little things we do together, even though my lack of full-time employment means we won't be going on any big Disney vacations or driving fancy cars anytime soon. I was feeling so giddy with emotion, I was even thanking God for the City of Sioux Falls and the fine parks system that has provided so much entertainment for my family! Aaaaaaand...Then I started to think about the fact that Bill was working tonight, which meant I was going to be getting everybody home and in bed by myself. Sappy moment officially over.
Fletcher ended up with a splinter in his foot from the wood chips, which meant he needed to be carried to the van. Just a little birdwalk here, but it's no wonder I find my left arm is way stronger than my right when I lift weights. That kid is heavy, and for that matter, so is Grier's carseat, and I always carry them with my left arm. I suppose so my dominant right hand is always available for more skilled tasks, like grabbing stray children and opening car doors. Anyway...By the time we got back to the van, I was done for and we still needed a picture by a sign. When will I learn to do the sign picture first? There were two options. The one that only says, "Kenny Anderson Park" is along 6th Street and would have required us to walk some more. Movin' on. We went around to the other side of the park where I could practically pull the van right up to the sign. Let Leah and Bo out of the van, unbuckle and carry Fletcher to the sign, go back for Grier and camera, hand Grier to Leah, snap a picture, let's do it all in reverse. Home. Bed. Fun night is officially done.
P.S. Anne Sullivan Elementary is an Early Childhood site, so they had a playground that was perfect for the younger crowd. It's lower to the ground and the slides are shorter. No platforms to fall from towering heights. All thumbs up!
P.P.S. Just had to throw in the crocodile pic. Fletch was so excited about that thing!