Plano Balloon Festival (with a Half-Marathon Thrown In)

I think I’ve mentioned before that my sister lives in Plano, Texas.  This weekend was their annual Hot Air Balloon Festival and since all of the men in our family have become ridiculous long distance runners, they all signed up to run in the race that accompanied the festival.

The actual event lasted the entire weekend, but we only showed our face on Saturday night and Sunday morning for the race.  We wanted to see the balloons light up on Saturday night, so we kept the children up past their bedtimes.  It was well worth it.  Hot air balloons are amazing things anyway, but to see them all on the ground and lit up is truly spectacular.  The only thing that could ruin it would be a band doing some of the worst cover songs I’ve ever heard.  Nothing worse than watching majestic hot air balloons light up the night with the Black Eyed Peas “I Gotta Feeling” playing in the background.  It really sets the mood.

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Sunday morning we rose bright and early to head out to the race.  Luckily, we arrived just in time to watch the balloons coming in for their landing.  It was so awesome!  And no terrible cover songs in the background this time!  Woohoo!

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While we waited for the guys to finish the race, we gorged ourselves on funnel cake.  They’re burning 5,000 calories, we’re eating them.  Makes total sense.

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The guys did so well in the race.  Both Michael and David came in around 1 hour 45 and my dad at 2 hours.  Not bad at all.  Michael said he wanted to finish faster than he did at the last one and he accomplished that goal, so he was pretty proud of himself.  My dad said he just wanted to cross the finish line without the assistance of a wheelchair.  Goal set and made!  Nice job, guys.  My hat is off to you.  I could never have done it in a million years.  It makes me proud to know the men in my life are such disciplined, hard-working people who set goals and then do whatever it takes to meet those goals.  They are excellent role models for our children and for ourselves.

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Of course, this means that I can no longer complain about ANYTHING being too hard for the rest of my life without Michael mentioning training and running in a half-marathon.  Good grief.

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The Last Weekend of Summer

Yes, I realize there will be more weekends and yes, I understand that I shouldn’t be complaining because I’ve had the whole summer off while everyone else had to work, but I’m still going to make this weekend a big deal, okay?!

We really didn’t do much, which was perfect.  The weekend before school starts should be as relaxing as possible.  Every other day after this will be a whirlwind of grading papers, calling parents, and meetings.  Oh, and teaching English somewhere in there, too.  So, all I wanted to do this weekend was hang out with my family and try not to think about Monday.

The weather was amazing this weekend.  High’s in the 80’s in August?!  Thank you very much, Arkansas.  We’ll take it.  We took advantage of it and spent Saturday morning at the park.

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Who needs expensive playground equipment when you have rocks?

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Saturday was also Nani’s birthday and she wanted to eat at Hardin Farm and Market in Scott.  It was in the boonies, but so good!  I recommend the shrimp and grits.

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Bennett recommends the beans.

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Happy birthday, Nani!  We love you!

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I can’t say I didn’t think about Monday at least a few times this weekend, but overall, it was the perfect, relaxing weekend before the official first day of school.  I can’t believe school starts Monday!!  Ahhhhhhhh!!

Museum of Discovery

We spent the morning at Museum of Discovery in Little Rock with Michael’s side of the family.  It’s been recently updated and I LOVE what they’ve done with the place.  There’s so many cool science and engineering related activities for kids to play around with, which is right up my husband’s alley.  I told him he needs to schedule a field trip for his robotics students this year.  They would go insane.  (You can read about his upcoming Robotics class here)

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We each took a turn lying on the bed of nails.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t too bad.  I’m not saying I would take a nap on it, but it was fun for a few seconds.

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I think the grown ups had more fun than Bennett with some of the exhibits.

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The museum has a room for kids 6 and under which is adorable.  Lots of room for them to run around and lots of things to climb on.

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This thing was so cool!  You would put a piece of material in the pipe and air would blow it all around and then it would fly out and float to the bottom.  Do you see the pink one floating down?  Bennett had so much fun with this one.

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They couldn’t resist pretending to be newscasters.  Thank goodness it didn’t get too out of hand.  We were at a CHILDREN’S museum after all.

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I really appreciate the push in society toward science and engineering even though it’s nowhere near my neck of the woods as far as teaching goes.  I think it’s important to produce people who know how to think critically and problem solve.  It just makes for a smarter student in all subject areas, not just Science and Math.  And that makes for a smarter person in the world taking care of us when we’re old and dusty.