Tuesday, July 27, 2010


up. the sequel. without the dumb talking dogs.
this is a long post. it won't hurt my feelings if you just look at the pictures.

a couple of weekends ago we attended a fundraising event for military couples. there was a silent auction and one of the items up for bid was a hot air balloon ride. i joked to mr.a that we should bid on it. but, after our recent home improvements, things are a little tight in the ol' checking account. so, the balloon ride was forgotten.
until last week when a friend from the fundraiser called and said there were actually two balloon rides donated and they wondered if we would like to go!
i was so excited i got all choked up.
i had just said to mr.a, we need to do something really fun before you leave. but the aforementioned budget restraints were limiting us to a really fun night of...netflix, cheap wine and maybe third base (if we didn't fall asleep first).
so this was a huge surprise and something we never would have been able to do without the generous donation of our balloon pilot and the fundraising efforts of
dr.gary and barb rosberg and their team.
anyway, when i got the call i thought it would be fun to keep it a secret from mr.a. (isn't everything better when it's a surprise??) so, i didn't tell him until yesterday that we would be going on a little adventure that evening. his dad came over after work to stay with the girls, i told him to dress casually in something that would look cute with his bindfold (ha) and we took off for the
indianola balloon field.
the blindfold ended up being completely unnecessary, because mr.a was konked out as soon as we hit the interstate. doesn't he look handsome when he's sleeping?
don't i look handsome when i'm excited?
the unfortunate side of keeping your destination a secret from your passenger is that they can't help you when you get yourself lost. yes, i drove about 10 miles past the balloon field. but, in my defense, mapquest doesn't really give very specific directions when your destination is: field. but, i turned around and found it eventually.
mr.a was totally surprised. when i told him to take off his blindfold he was like,
"uhhh, sweet. a field." but when he saw a guy with a ballooon on his t-shirt and huge baskets everywhere, it clicked.

ballooning is like this little community that most of us know nothing about.
we learned so much from our pilot. it was a really incredible experience. each balloon has a crew of 3-5 people that help get it into the air, "chase" it, help plot a landing, and then help with the landing and loading. our pilot, rob, keeps it in the family. his mom and dad, wife and kids are his crew. his first ride as a child was in the same balloon that he now owns and flies. isn't that neat? the whole process of getting it ready for take-off is really amazing, too.
it's hard to describe what it's like watching this enormous balloon fill up with air. seeing it grow and expand...i felt like i was a child in a fairytale. like in james and the giant peach or in willy wonka watching violet turn into a huge blueberry. it was surreal.
and then it's time to climb into the basket!

i got a little nervous when i realized the basket was not even waist-high. i felt really exposed. and all of a sudden....we begin to lift off the ground. light and weightless, you just start to float! it's quiet and peaceful and it seems wrong that you are up in the open air. without walls or seatbelts or stewardesses! my stomach has butterflies even now as i think about it.
this was my first glance down... 

it was a beautiful summer night. not too hot, not too muggy, not too buggy. an occasional breeze was welcomed because the flame that lifts the balloon was like standing next to a campfire. but it's only in short, sporadic bursts. it doesn't run the whole time. 
because ballooning is completely dependent on the weather, when the weather is right, there are usually multiple balloons heading out for a flight. there were about 6 other balloons last night. look how huge this balloon looks next to the barn!
our balloon was called the yellow brick road.
can you see why?it was cool to watch our shadow...
and our reflection...
iowa's fields are so beautiful. especially from above...
i love this picture. it's classic iowa...
eventually, the sun began to set and it was time to come down.
our hour in the air flew by and i was sad to descend.
but i'm so glad i got to share this incredible experience with this boy...
i love him so much i could give him a knuckle sandwich for leaving us.
but i won't. his nose is crooked enough.


  1. What a wonderful surprise for your man. I love the way you love him!

  2. Yay! It looks like it was ABSOLUTELY PERFECT! :)

  3. Your blog is fantastic! I love following along--what a great way to spend some time together as a couple!!

  4. Gorgeous! Beautiful! Breath taking!!

  5. my stomach got flip flops just looking at the pictures. what an amazing memory. you guys are too cute.

  6. One of my favorite childhood memories was waking up Thanksgiving morning to this surprise from my parents! I love hot air balloons and I love the idea of surprising someone with it as a gift! Sounds like I have hubby's birthday gift all figured out! Thanks!

  7. I just LOVE your blog. I read it everyday! You make me laugh, cry, and find joy in the precious/mundane things in life. I have to say that this is the best blog on the web! And you are the most descriptive/fascinating writer, EVER! Well, at least in blog land you are :)

    I promised myself I would never comment on your blog (since I don't know you and you don't know me). But the past few weeks of reading your blog have inspired me. So, thank you for sharing!

  8. anonymous! you are a stinker. you made my cheeks blush & my heart go pitter-pat. i may have a commenter-crush on you now.

    actually, i think i just have reader-crushes on all of you. thank-you for your kind words!!! i want to have a group hug with you all! can someone arrange that?


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