Another weekend where an adjustment needed to happen. It was not for my attitude this weekend, but more for my expectations. Actually Jeremy and I have been talking a lot about adjusting our expectations lately – mostly to do with the kids and how we expect too much of them for only being five and two. And we’ve been expecting too much of our lives – in essence wanting things to be perfect all the time or wanting to make changes too quickly. We’ve been adjusting our expectations together, so it was another joint effort when our planned weekend started looking different from what we were expecting.
For the second year in a row, we had planned to go to the Shenandoah Hot Air Balloon and Wine Festival as a way to “celebrate” Mason’s birthday. Last year, it was rainy and cold, so we cancelled at the last minute. This year, the weather looked better, so we decided to give it a go. I had booked campsites at one of the few places around Winchester, VA that allowed reservations. Jeremy and I got there first early Saturday morning and were shocked to realize it was not even close to the kind of camping we had expected. In Jeremy’s words, it was “tailgating with tents.” It was basically an RV site, with only a few options for tent camping. The sites were maybe 40-50 feet wide and right up next to each other. The entire “campground” (I use that term loosely) was right off a major road, and we could see the cars whizzing by from where we set up camp. There were no trees to buffer us from others, no woods from which to gather firewood, no “roughing it.” At first, we weren’t sure what to do and considered bagging the whole camping thing and just making it a long day at the festival. But we snapped out of it and decided to make the best of what we were given. It was going to be an adventure!
The rest of the gang showed up a bit later. Nana, Papa, and Kristin and then Meema and the kids. After getting everything set up, we headed off to the festival, ready to have some fun. We had planned to hang out for the day, enjoy the festival, and then see the sunset launch of the hot air balloons before heading back to the campsite for dinner. Once we got to the festival, though, we all had to make an adjustment in our expectations. There were no balloons in site, and word on the street was that the winds were too harsh to allow any launches that day. Even though we were disappointed, we still wanted to make the best of it all – balloons or not!
We enjoyed some yummy food (ribbon fries, anyone?), a hay ride through the beautiful countryside and around the Long Branch stables, which were amazing, and looking at the wares from various vendors.
Even though the wind died down a bit during the day, it was still too much for any balloons to launch, so we left earlier than expected and headed back to camp. Since we hadn’t planned to be at the campsite a long time, we had not brought much for the kids to play with. Luckily (?) the campground was only a 1/2 mile away from a Wal-Mart. We stopped there on our way home and got the kids some toys. (Side note – I had not been in a Wal-Mart for several years prior to this. OMG – it was huge! Gigantic! Bigger than a Costco! It ALMOST sucked me in.) Again, not how we had expected to spend our afternoon, but it all turned out fine. And we were all having a lot of fun!
The only expectation I could not adjust was the cold factor. I expected it to be cold, and boy, was it ever!!!! It was easily only 40 degrees in the middle of the night, if not colder. The kids were all snuggled all warm in their sleeping bags, while Mommy and Daddy froze in their cots. Ok, Daddy didn’t, but he didn’t sleep because he was just uncomfortable. I, on the other hand, froze my *!# off and only got a few “naps” in during the night. Never again will we camp in October!
The morning could not come soon enough. I was thankful when our alarm finally went off at 5:45am. We were planning to get back to the festival grounds early to catch the sunrise launch. Winds had died down, and we were hopeful balloons would actually take off. Off we went, watching the sun rise over the Blue Ridge Mountains, seeing farms pop up along the horizon as the darkness gave way to the morning light. We ate our breakfast within the hay maze waiting to see balloons come through the trees. We waited. We waited. We waited.
All in all, the weekend was little of what I expected, but it was fun nonetheless. We created great memories and kept up our sense of adventure! Things don’t always turn out the way we expect or want them too. But if you can adjust those expectations along the way, things might just be even better!