Today was a very fun, though tiring, day. The girls and I went to the Great Forest Park Hot Air Balloon Race. This was St. Louis' 35th annual Balloon Race and there were thousands of people there. (Last night was the Balloon Glow, where they light up all the balloons in the dark. It's supposed to be awesome, but it was pretty cold and windy last night, so we decided not to go.) Don had to study today, we we ate an early lunch and headed off to Forest Park. We wandered around petting the dogs, getting Hannah's face painted, snacking on freebies, rolling down hills (Hannah, not me), talking to sem friends we ran into, meeting new friends, and eating grass (Elizabeth, not me). Finally, when it was about time for the race to start, Don was able to ride his bike over and join us to see the balloons launch. To say the least, it was very cool.
Here's how it works: the first balloon to launch is the Energizer Bunny Hot "Hare" Balloon. The balloon is 166 feet high - 15 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty and the tallest balloon in the country. Its ears alone are 60 feet tall, which is the size of an average hot air balloon. It takes 30 million BTUs to power him up into the air - or the equivalent of 50,000 gas grills cooking half a million burgers. Once it's off the ground, the other 70 "hound" balloons begin to inflate and take off. Whichever balloon lands closest to the bunny wins. It was so fun seeing the different colors of balloons, the different shapes, hearing the burners lighting, and watching dozens of balloons floating right over our heads. Check out the slide show below:
In other news, Don is still working hard on Greek. He's using electronic flash cards, write on/wipe off grids, and study groups with friends. Hannah is thrilled beyond belief that her Noni will be here in a week. Also, she starts preschool this week - Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8-3. Elizabeth is still a happy fun baby. She loves Mommy so much she wakes up 2-3 times a night to visit with me (well, not me so much as my boobs). zzzzzzzzz oh wait - what was I saying? Oh yeah, Bethie isn't sleeping through the night and it's driving me bonkers. In the next couple days, we're going to set up the air mattress in the den for Don, warn our neighbors, and tough out the crying. Hannah was about the same age and (according to Don's memory) it only took about 2 nights of crying and she began sleeping through the night, which she's done ever since. So pray for us!
I've been getting involved in some Bible Studies and classes...in fact, one of my prayers lately is that I don't over-schedule myself, something that would be very easy to do around here. I'm taking After the Boxes are Unpacked on Monday nights. This is an 8-week study helping women to settle in and adjust to changes - whether first year or fourth. Then on Tuesday mornings, I'll begin a Beth Moore study (Believing God) at St. John (our field work church). This one works out great because I'll have an hour or so after dropping Hannah off at preschool and then I'll go to Bible study with Bethie. Then Thursday nights is one of either Today's Light (reading through the Bible in 2 years), a mothers' class, or a wives' class (differs depending on the week). The last two are taught by Myra Richardt, a pastor's wife who moved here from California in part to be able to teach these classes to sem wives. She opens her home and teaches solely from the Bible. I attended the first mothers' class this past Thursday and already gained so much from her wisdom and ideas. What a blessing! (Oh, and these classes don't include any of the Tuesday night wives' classes offered by the Seminary or attending MOPS twice a week at St. John. And that's not to mention squeezing any tutoring in there. See what I mean about over-scheduling?)
Finally, I want to say a huge "Hi" and "I miss you" to my (former) MOPS group at St. John's in Bakersfield and WarmLine (also of Bakersfield). When I realized the other day that MOPS had had their first meeting of the year, I felt really sad. I didn't realize how much harder the move and transition would be on me once everything "back home" kicked into gear again. It's so hard knowing that two groups that were such a huge part of my life have both moved on and I'm not there to participate. So I just want everyone to know that you're all in my prayers and in my heart. I wish I could be there and I miss you tons. That's about all I can say, except thanks again for reading, for your prayers, and your support.
Love to all,
Stacye and the ballooners