Monday, March 7, 2016

Seeing double

This Mama feels like seeing double. The dress! The shoes! The girls! Let's not get started on the general bossiness... huh.

But, yes, we are very pleased to announce that Upik had grown enough to inherit that Crocky shoes of her sister. And also the batik dress. We may not keep ALL of Kecil's old clothes and shoes, but we do keep some of the better ones. And we do love these shoes.
The good thing about the shoes is that it was worn while Big Sis was still small. The shoes look almost brand new. I guess there is only so much damage a tiny toddler can do to a pair of shoes. Between their light weight and lighter activity, the shoes still win by a stretch. In comparison, Big Sis' shoes from when she was older were in no way fit to be passed along. I guess I shall enjoy 'reruns' of cherished items while it last, then. Cheers!

And just in case you really can't tell, the first 2 pics are of Big Sis, while the last 2 are of the Little One. *grin

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

2016 Balloons

4 Balloon Festivals, and this Mama just realised that they all happened during the Valentine's day weekend. This Mama can be slow at times. Realisation came through checking our record here, of course. Here's our first attendance in 2012, 2013 and last year (We seemed to have missed 2014). Last year was Upik's first time at the Balloon Fest, and this year was a bit different.

This year, instead of just going as a family, we had a few addition in tow, thanks to the ever-growing-stronger-tradition of weekend sleepovers. Ha! Ami had been to the festival with her family before, while Jessica had never visited one, but all three of them were stoked about going to the festival TOGETHER. Haha... I guess friends do double the fun.

Anyway, so the girls slept over at our house on Saturday. We woke them up at 4 am on Sunday just so we can reach the venue in time for the balloon rising. The festival had grown in renown through the years and it had gotten sooo crowded! Good thing we knew an alternative route to the venue so we managed to avoid the long lines to the parking.

The lines at the entrance were equally intimidating, but were thankfully pretty quick. And once you were past the ticket seller, it was pretty OK.

... except that we had three loud girls who apparently can only be appeased with some ice cones....
Oh, look at the fourth little girl looking over Daddy's shoulder! I bet she wanted some too!

Then it was past the huge hangars to the balloons ahead. Our Puny one was big enough to be carried on the shoulder this year.

We took the obligatory family wefie (failed! Can't see the Tiny one!) and a few other pics while waiting for the balloons to go...

The girls also got some franks for a 'faux' breakfast. It was exciting to see all the balloons slowly inflating and rising one by one.

Soon the sky was dotted with balloons, both the normal shaped ones and the more ... unusual ones. Most notably this year we have a baby dragon, a hatching dinosaur, a scarecrow...

... the boy and girl head, a clown head, even a cathedral!

(Thank you, Daddy, for taking some of the pics with Mama in it, even if it looked like Mama's head was sprouting a few balloons, hahaha....)

Soon, as the balloons moved further and further away, it was time to move on to other, more important things, such as flying kites. We bought each (big) girl a brand new kite from the nearest stall. The kites turned out not too good as the bamboo sticks had a tendency to break or slip away, but apparently the size is just perfect for the girls.

They tried their hand at flying the kite at the runway, mostly involving running around, getting the kite to fly for a while. This Mama saw a good tool to encourage kids to run there, haha....

And then the Big Girls were bullying the Little Girl, so Daddy had to feed them to the jets.

Whaa? I'm just kidding. Those jets are just for show, there was no engine inside, but the whole was just the right size for some naughty little girls, haha....

The Puny one was ready to do some exploring on her own, equipped with her own lemonade, no less!

Our walking around then brought us to the Philippine Segway booth, where you can use the segway to tackle a small obstacle course next to the booth. Kecil's 2 friends wanted to try it, but Kecil said she'll wait till next year.

It was quite a long wait for our turn, but at least we managed to make ourself comfortable. Why, the Puny one even managed to fall asleep!

When it was her friends' turn on the obstacle course, Kecil just cheered from the side. I guess those huge wheels were quite intimidating, haha...

The segway was the last activity we did in the festival. We wanted to buy some miniature balloons and windsock, unfortunately there was snaking queue at the stall. Perhaps they should open more than one stall next year.

Right before the exit to the parking lots, there was a bouncy castle set up, and the girls begged for a chance to play. While the 3 big girls bounced and screamed and slid their 20 minutes at the castle, Mama took the Puny one to the tiny zoo next door where she tried her hand at feeding the rabbits.

Actually Mama ended up doing most of the feeding since Upik simply threw the grass on the ground instead of holding it in front of the rabbits. But she did try to reach for the rabbit. Perhaps she'll do better next time.

That was all from this year's balloon festival. We ended quite late, quite close to lunch time, in direct contrast to the previous year where we finished around 9am and managing to get our loot of windsocks, kites and balloons. Well, perhaps we'll learn better for next time. All in all, we had a good time. How was your Valentine's weekend?

The Philippine Hot Air Balloon Festival is a yearly festival held in Clark around Valentine Day's weekend. You can check for more info at their website which would usually come alive with countdown, ticketing and list of activities a few weeks before the D-day. The nearest toll exit from SCTEX is Clark South but traffic from that direction (and Friendship highway) is usually crazy ridiculous with long lines of cars just to get to the parking area. We took a long roundabout by taking the Clark North exit (taking the SCTEX further down in Tarlac direction) and followed Google Map to the site from the opposite direction to the lines. It was further, but definitely much faster. The route is also recommended for going off the festival as not so much traffic actually goes towards Clark North. Going SM Clark is NOT recommended unless you are prepared to brave the long lines towards parking and everything else. Just saying. Cheers!
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