Saturday, July 6, 2013

Celebrating the Fourth

Our town has a cool festival every year and we were so excited to take Benjamin for the second year in a row! {That's luck and we're thankful a million times over.} We parked at a nearby parking lot and were shuttled in by a school bus. First school bus experience for the kiddo. He loved it, despite his serious look in the photo below.
Loving the bounce house (2nd time in one, and he was definitely standing a bunch!) and characters he saw.
We took a break in the middle of the festival to visit our water park that was located across the street. We go about 4-5 times a week and this was Benjamin's first time in the sand pit. He loved it, of course.
The festival is unique because it has about 15-20 hot air balloons that you can actually ride, depending on the weather. A month before we were engaged, in May of 2007, we took a hot air balloon ride over Temecula, CA, dropping us down into orange groves to pick oranges... and then had champagne afterwards. That same champagne (Wilson Creek Winery) was served at our wedding for the toast. It also helps we're Wilsons... the namesake didn't hurt the choice.

While we don't care to go inside the hot air balloon again (you're stuffed like sardines!), it was a cool experience and being around hot air balloons takes us back to that special weekend. And did I mention the guy who was to propose with a fancy engagement ring the following month gifted me with diamond earrings, also princess cut? Said he was testing out the shape to make sure I liked it. And I've been rocking the same on my hand ever since June 15, 2007. And I wear those earrings every single day.

Let's take a trip down memory lane... shall we?
We look 17. But really, 24. Proof that grief ages you FAST. Any Californians know the band sweatshirt I'm wearing?
Helping the balloon process & packed in like sardines (see?). How romantic. Hah!
Orange groves they dropped us into (we picked 3 oranges!), halo above the clouds...happy couple (still happy).
Wearing my new sparkly diamonds, but a bit hard to see with the hair...
So needless to say, we kind of like hot air balloons. And it's kind of cool that they're like 2 miles from our house at this festival every year for a little nostalgia and exploring. We hope Benjamin is just as adventurous.
We're definitely those parents to keep our kids up late to watch fireworks. Life's too short to worry about missing sleep. And, he slept in until 10:15 the next morning. Which means, so did we. They probably would've kept him awake anyway...
A little flashback from last year. That balloon is called the "Andy" balloon, and obviously that's really special to us. Benjamin was just 4 months last year in front of the Andy balloon and this year he's 16 crazy toddler months and in front of the same balloon. I asked the owners about the Andy character, as I was sad to see it gone. They told us it had a long life and over time, the balloon must be replaced. The majority of the bottom half was replaced, and the Andy character went along with it. While sad to see it go, they still call it the Andy balloon and announce it as such. I hope they come every year so I can take a balloon picture of my boys in front of it to honor and remember our very own Andy.
Impressive that the husband still has (and wears) that hat, right? I've told you before, but he loses hats like they're disposable! (Wrote that post 6 months to the day before Andrew died. I hate the 5th. Of every month.)

But the 4th? It's all good.


Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

I love your town more and more. Hot air balloon is, and has been for awhile, a to do on my bucket list. Maybe we should make a Lisle trip in July 2014 :)

Brie said... [Reply to comment]

Don't tell me its unwritten law. If so, we have even more in common than two strangers should. Awesome sauce.

Melissa said... [Reply to comment]

I love that he tested out the diamond cut by buying you earrings! Very romantic Mr. Wilson! I love this festival! I would go too!

Darcey said... [Reply to comment]

How cool would that be if that balloon is there for years to seeing pics of your little man!!

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

<3 Love the Andy balloon still. And love that you have pictures of your boys in front of it.

And how big is Benjamin looking? All grown with all that hair? Hunky!

Finally, I love the earrings + necklace combo- very sweet.

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

Love the earrings/story and the Andy balloon as a little tradition full of big meaning. I'm sure B will be just as adventurous as his crazy cute parents (you guys don't look that much older than 24 these days...)

Ben and Katie said... [Reply to comment]

Ummm hello I'm coming to your lil town! There always seems to be something fun going on! And I'd love to see Chicago too!
Love the balloons, love the Andy one as well...always in your hearts and close by sweet lil Andrew is!

Party of Three Heads said... [Reply to comment]

Can I just say how much I love his little thumb in his mouth in the majority of the pictures.... precious!

Nicole said... [Reply to comment]

You live in a really neat town! How cool is that?!

Diamond earrings then an engagement ring! Way to go, Mr. Wilson.

B looks like he loves being out and about with y'all. He's so cute!! Love his hair!