balloon weekend in ohio...

we thought it was time to make it back to ohio to see family, so i took friday off and we made the 6-ish hour drive. i have to say that 6 hours in a car with my kids is about 1,000 times easier than 6 hours in our apartment together- i have no idea what has taken over their bodies lately, but they are angels in the car. it's like they're so used to always being stuck in traffic they just entertain themselves- this drive was a vacation in and of itself! mike and i conversed more than we have in the last month, the weather was gorgeous, and we made it 4 hours (both there & on the way back) before we had to make our first stop. i mean, i recognize a miracle when one happens, and this? miraculous. also, gas in canton was $2.07. bam. also miraculous. 

now, an outpouring of weekend photos consisting mostly of the sky.
 hey! wait though- it wouldn't be a road trip without traffic. curse you, beltway, curse you. imagine a zoomed out version- 10 lanes of this beauty, baby. (or is it 12...?) 

in case mdot is reading this, i have figured out what's wrong with the beltway (other than the drivers): the giant loop design composed of sharp turns, narrow lanes, hills and valleys, and mini merges. it's like a cacophony of chaos leading to never-flowing traffic.
analysis complete.
you're welcome.

oh, really though, this is a beauty... she always pops up as i'm saying swear words, then i feel bad for being so angry.     :-/
goldfish & pringles at 8am!
cracker barrell at 1!
milk & honey at 5!

clean eating went out the door very quickly. it's to be expected in ohio, i mean, it's like, home of great food! i can't help it.
 also, elle proposed to mike, and the cutest old man next to us sat alone, ordered his sundae, then left after leaving his $1 tip. side note: i sat in that booth as a child more times than i can count (hashtag: simple life).
my favorite ohio-turned-hawaii-turned-ohio-summer-resident, alex, and her girls met us at our hotel for a swim. she and her girls clearly are little bronze goddesses- it's crazy! we "swam" (not really, it was freezing) at the hotel, then walked across the street to try and watch the balloon launch. ok, a little about canton- so, it's the home of the football hall of fame (whoop whoop! never been! *i should do that sometime...*), and in the summer, hall of fame season means lots of parties and a big parade and balloons!!! this post will soon consist mostly of balloon pictures.
 ^^ just nanoseconds before jude impact. and to think we looked so innocent.
 ring-around-the-rosie-playing and nest-building filled the rest of our evening. 
we met some balloon-chasers (yes, legit hobby) who told us there would be no balloon launching due to the wind, so we called it a night and headed back across the street to sleep (best hotel location ever- how i managed this one, i have no idea). our new balloon-pro-buddies also told us that they would try and launch again at 6:30 am, so we figured we'd try again in the morning...
sleep, breakfast, then back across the street! hooray! only 1 lifted off, but they inflated a few more just to tease us... 
there was our sole flyer high in the sky! hey! we saw monkeys fly! (the pig one would have been more appropriate to make that pun work, but alas, he stayed grounded.)
 we changed rooms because the sofa bed we had on night 1 was awful and jude was up every hour screaming- that was joyous- our second room was huge! it was also on the front of the hotel giving us a STELLAR VIEW of the rest of the balloons flying by! these ones took off from across town and flew by/over us...
 i'm ready to make next years reservations at the hotel already. i sense a tradition coming on!
 i was so excited to go shopping on this trip. walmart. i have missed walmart terribly. (also, we ran into alex at walmart! which is so odd, right?) i've also missed kind people and courtesy. i feel like i was so much calmer and more relaxed here- it was heaven. i definitely cherished suburbia and small-town america more than i have ever before. canton felt like the greatest town on earth this entire day- i think i may have nearly cried from joy once, leaving mike fearful i was going to blurt out, "let's move back to canton!"
 now, for the real reason of the trip: to see my grandpa! we picked him up from the nursing home and went on a little adventure- first to the cemetery where my grandma is buried, then out to our favorite lunch spot, grinders! he kept getting emotional and telling us it was one of the greatest days, ever, which always makes you feel good. the kids loved him, and he adored them which was sweet to see. 
later that afternoon we realized all the ballooners were staying at the hotel next door. holy balloon baskets!

that evening my sweet cousin, rose, and her husband bruce had a "cousin reunion" at their house and had basically all 6 of us over- my sister was in town from arizona with my nephew (i haven't seen them since before elle was born!), so it was great to see them! add in my other cousin, tyler and his fiance, and my aunt dolores, and there you have it! why didn't we get a picture!? rats. it was really fun to all be together. my family is small, so it's wonderful to all be loud and crazy together.
 the kids were beat, but we knew the 10:00 fireworks would wake them up anyway, so we made a party out of it and went outside after we got ready for bed to watch the fun happen...
 clearly, they're huge fans.
 but wait! the fireworks were amazing! i've grown to detest fireworks- literally- i loathe fireworks. until now! i actually smiled the whole time! they had music with the fireworks so we danced and the kids even broke the hands-over-their-ears to wiggle and giggle for a bit. mike and i commented that there were new fireworks we've never seen before! so cool. 

here goes a bunch more pictures of the sky: 
 sunday morning- same time (6:30 am), same place (50 feet away), this time- liftoff!!!
 ^^ and there go some of the chasers in their trucks!
go, el fonz, go!
 "mommy! jude's! pitch-urr! ba-booms! cheeeee-se!"
i love this age. jude's speaking more clearly each day, and saying words right, but also just wrong enough that i don't have the heart to correct him. like "straw-baby" for strawberry, and "ba-booms" for balloons. his words are clear, deliberate, and annunciated. he's also only using the important words (prepositions are a waste of his time).
 this is our hotel, literally i made a 180 between the top 2 pictures: one side, balloons, the other side, hotel. best location ever! 
after most of the balloons took off/flew by we went back across for breakfast. springhill suites are the most under appreciated of the marriott hotel family, methinks. thanks to points, our stay was free, and it included a killer breakfast. the hotel and balloons were probably the highlight of the whole weekend- these balloons made the trip so much fun! and the weather couldn't be beat...
after a little walk, and some jumping on the beds, we checked out then went to get my grandpa. we took him to the store to get a few things, followed by lunch at milk & honey. oddly enough, we passed my cousin as we drove through a parking lot (the same cousin as the night before! that means two days in a row we ran into someone from the night before... it was the strangest thing). we grabbed him and all went to eat together. following our little lunch we said our goodbyes and headed home.

we learned it was a terrible time to leave, we hit a ton of traffic, got home later than expected, but thanks to a harmonica and windows down we tried to make the most of the traffic. oh, who am i kidding, i whined the whole time, but i still call this trip a raving success:)

1 comment:

  1. ROADTRIIIIIPPPP!!!! AMANDA! you're darling! New friend right here. Fun to meet fellow hat lovers + passionate road trippers. :) Thanks for commenting on my blog, leading me to yours! I can feel the adoration your kids have for you through the pictures. Sweet sweet family!


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