Ethan was SO excited for the Forest Park Balloon Glow last Friday. For a week he told everyone who would listen about how incredible the hot air balloons would be—though he’s never actually seen one up close.
He asked Stu to get home early so we could go. And even though I probably shouldn’t have, I packed dinner and we all jumped in the car to head over as early as possible.
Our friends had secured the perfect spot to watch all the prep…when we arrived the balloons were just giant lengths of fabric strewn across a huge grassy field. Then suddenly, they were all rising into the air.
I can’t believe I’m doing the classic “belly hold” in the above pic…totally unintentional and ridiculously dorky. Like you can’t tell I’m pregnant.
Ethan could barely talk, he was so intensely watching the action. Bright colors + giant flames = tons of fun.
Though the field was mobbed once those ropes came down, we couldn’t help but feel as if we were in a bubble of magical-ness. The darker the sky grew, the more magnificent those flames became.
Almost ten years ago (could I feel any older saying that?), Stu and I had this great apartment in the Central West End, just steps from Forest Park. We were either just about to get married or just barely married, can’t quite remember. But anyhew, we somehow ended up walking over to the Balloon Glow, having no clue what to expect. It was held on the Pavillion hill, not a giant field, and there were maybe 10 balloons. It wasn’t very busy, we just meandered around and talked to the pilots. While it was completely unplanned and not really all that big of a deal, it is still on my list of my favorite St. Louis events.
Back to today.
I’m not sure what was keeping us away all these years, I guess we just never made the effort to go. Ten years just flew by. This event is now HUGE. There must have been 40 balloons. And a mini-carnival. And a billion people. And it’s still top on my list of favorite STL traditions.
It won’t be 10 years before we come back.
I swear I only held Ethan like this for two minutes, it was a shot I just couldn’t resist trying to be a part of. The evening included very little walking and was a very relaxed. We figured it couldn’t hurt to get out a little bit…I’m already missing out on what seems like everything.
The event was too cool to miss. I had to see that crazy-amazed look on Ethan’s face.
Did you go to the glow? What about the race lift-off the next day?
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The past four years have been filled with baby celebrations.
My friends have become first-time mamas and welcomed second (and third!) children into the world and I’ve been over-board excited for them. We moved back to St. Louis JUST in time to meet dozens of tiny toes and even throw a few showers.
I admit it, I’m that friend who constantly checks in, wants to throw a shower, and is banging down the door to visit days-old infants…but I always text or call first, bring food, and try not to stay too long.
I can’t help it.
And my girlfriends are all the exact same way.
So when they asked about throwing me a “sprinkle” for Peanut #2, I only put up a little bit of a fight. Celebrating babies is too exciting to pass up! But when I found out we’d be having another boy, I asked for books in lieu of clothes or gear…we have bins FULL of baby boy clothes and every bit of gear we can handle.
Last Saturday was the party and perfect doesn’t quite cut it. Walking into a room full of friends, some old and some new, eating a delicious brunch, opening packages containing beautiful baby books and a few other goodies, made this final trimester feel more complete…even if I have another six weeks to go. And, because they know me so well, the girls held the sprinkle at one of my favorite St. Louis bakeries, Sweet Art. It’s just across the park from our house and serves the most incredible quiche I’ve ever had…plus cupcakes, cookies, pastries, and totally amazing vegetarian fare.
Since the space doubles as a studio and is filled with original artwork by the owner, Cbabi Bayoc, the girls brilliantly kept the decor gorgeous but simple, maximizing the book theme. Kraft paper and burlap, stacks of books under bright flower arrangements, a banner made from the pages of Dr. Seuss, and colorful paper fans were the perfect touches to make the place feel like a party.
Those are artichokes in the arrangements. Artichokes. I may never put flowers in a vase without including an artichoke from here on out. And how funny artichokes were one of my biggest cravings in trimesters one and two?
I had the two cutest helpers for gift-opening. The mini-redhead is Marley, half of Kate’s 14 month old twins, and the tall beauty is Claire, Catrina’s four-going-on-16-year-old. Claire didn’t just come to hang, she full on co-hosted the event. Girls just like their mamas.
The grand finale was our new diaper bag, which I’ll go on and on about in a future post, graciously given to us by my mom. I searched high and low for the perfect bag and we’re looking forward to getting four years of use out of this one like we did the last one.
There’s something about children’s books that just warms my heart.
They are my favorite gifts to give and receive…our library continues to grow and someday will be passed on to our kids. Ethan was extremely excited to see this haul come through the door and has already put most of them to good use, practicing so he can read them to his little brother.
Imagining snuggling up in the big orange chair with both my boys…
…we are so excited.
I can’t say thank you enough to my beautiful friends for “sprinkling” us with gifts and celebration for our new little guy. You are the best!!
What is your favorite book to give as a gift? Any of the above on your bookshelf?