Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's A Wrap

Before I jump right in, THANK YOU ALL for your encouraging words about the stick chandelier! You encourage me in so many ways and I appreciate all of you! Thank you!!!

And now, I need to recap our last official day of travel in Texas. You've all been kind to come along with us via the blog!

Saturday night was supposed the be the nicest night of our travels. We stayed at "The Hilton" in Houston. I'll spare you the details, suffice it to say, The Engineer looked at me right before climbing into bed and said, "I feel like I'm stuck in a really bad B-movie from the 80s."

We hung out in the lobby while The Engineer brought the car around - such a gentleman! And then loaded up and headed to the Space Center Houston.

We had a blast (no pun intended) and learned so much.

Like, how to go to the bathroom in space and how to stay in your bed while you sleep...

The Engineer was in heaven!

So was Little Man.

We took a tour of the facilities...

We got to see where NASA staff work on products for the International Space Station and some of the areas where they train astronauts.

While on this tour, I let Sister use the camera. I wasn't paying attention to what she was doing. I turned to check on her and realized she had turned around in her seat and without asking, was photographing the couple behind us. Thankfully they were kind about it. However, they didn't speak much English and whatever it was they were saying sounded nice. They were smiling. Who knows.

The Engineer explaining things to the children. These were the smaller rocket engines. There was a Redstone rocket standing up vertically which was pretty impressive. The Redstone is about 70ft tall but less than 6ft in diameter. Consider that the first Americans in space sat on top of one of these rockets in a one man capsule, I think that is pretty cool.

When we went inside the building we went from pretty impressive to I-can't-believe-we-actually-built-something-this-amazing. The picture above is the Saturn V rocket, the one that took us to the moon 9 times (I know not all those missions landed someone on the moon, but the rocket still sent men all the way there). This rocket is 363ft tall and 33ft in diameter, quite a bit bigger than the Redstone. In my mind there is nothing else that better captures the daring, the risk, and the achievement of the USA than the Saturn V. It made me sad that as a country we have been riding the coat tails of the great accomplishments of former generations. At the Space Center we learned that soon all of the Space Shuttles will be retired, and that Russian rockets are now the vehicle of choice to carry crews to the International Space Station. I left the Space Center amazed by past success, astounded at our countries capacity for ingenuity, and angry that no great achievements are on our horizon.

Post Space Center, we began making tracks for home. We spent Sunday night with family - which was quite a treat. And made the last leg of the journey Monday. It was a lovely trip. I learned a lot. I learned that this world is BIG. REALLY BIG. I learned that where my family is, that is home. I've returned, still loving my house, but loving my precious family more than ever! My kids are super cool. Being on the road together helped me gain a better perspective on what is lasting. That probably sounds crazy, but it happened, nevertheless.

We saw some beautiful sunsets...and there's nothing like driving down the highway with the ones you love, rockin' out to some good tunes, and watching God paint another beautiful sunset. I have decided, I LOVE road trips with my fam!

While we were off on our adventure, Little Bit bedded with the Grands. We NEVER could have done this without their help! Thank you SO MUCH!!!

She and Abby were quite the team.

Little Bit got some time in with the Greats...I think she enjoyed the one on one time!

PS - Mr. Appliance Man fixed the fridge on the spot. The part: $29.99. Time: 20 minutes. Bill: $146.

I'd mentioned to him that our dryer seemed to be taking quite a while to dry. Per his suggestion, I pulled the dryer out from the wall so the vent hose could breathe better. That afternoon she dried beautifully! And much faster. However, about the time The Engineer got home, she started to smell like she was burning. He spent the evening taking the dryer apart. Turns out when I moved it, I knocked some lint loose, which fell on the heating element. No harm done. He cleaned her out, put her back together, and she works wonderfully!

And then, coffee got spilled on my laptop. I spent that afternoon (Tuesday) in front of youtube watching computer guys walk me through taking my computer apart. NO ONE thought to do a youtube video on putting it back together. And I know, you just start with the last thing you took apart and work your way back, it's just that I'd never seen the inside of a computer before and it was a bit intimidating. I kind of felt like throwing up. But I figured it out. The inside of the computer is fine. The verdict's still out on the keyboard. I'm hoping with another 24 hours it will dry out completely and work. And The Engineer was gracious, to say the least. His reaction: "We have young children and that's just part of having young children. It's ok."

Oh, and Warrior. That sweet thing tore up the new bed I JUST made him. Whatever. Seriously, whatever.

But, today was the first day of homeschool and it ROCKED. I cannot think of a more satisfying way to have spent my morning. More on that later.


  1. Sooo jealous of your NASA tour.

    I wanted to be an astronaut for most of my childhood. I used to check out books from the library to study shuttles and even wrote to NASA.

    I was obsessed all the way up to 11th grade pre-calculus. That's when I began to realize I might not have adequate math skills to excel in a an aeronautics program.

    Hmmm. Yup. I think a tour might be my best option.

  2. What a great series of posts J! We were able to go to NASA in Florida when we were there 2 1/2 years ago...we saw some of the same equipment as you...AND the CanadaArm ~ special! Fun times and memories! :)

    How wonderful that homeschool has begun! ENJOY ENJOY ENJOY!!! :) I am hoping to get up my last (for now) homeschool post soon...I think of you when I am writing.

    Love to you my friend!

    P.S. As always, your photography inspires take such gorgeous shots.

  3. Is it bad that I missed Little Bit and was so excited to see her sweet face!!

    What a fun trip! The NASA visit seemed so awesome! You've made me want to take a trip, but since I can't, thanks for letting me come on yours!

    I'm so glad homeschooling went off with a bang - I hope the whole year is as great as the first day!!

  4. I DO feel like I was there with all your great posts! Love the chandelier, btw!
    Oh, and the dryer and laptop stories are hilarious! So something I would do :)
    Happy Homeschooling!

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  6. gs at said: Of course I know just who you are! And look at you, stylie, artsy, and homey too! I think it is so fun to see what you are up to with your family. We've really grown up huh? :)

  7. Way to go J! I've loved reading about your trip and so !happy! that the first day of school went well. love you!

  8. Great trip! So glad you had a great day today with school! It seems it just gets better!!!

  9. You are fearless... taking apart your laptop?! Way to go. I hope everything has dried out nicely now.

    What fun, fun trip! My husband has family in Orlando and we're hoping to make it down there for the shuttle launch and a tour of Kennedy Space Center later this year. All of your photos have gotten me excited about it!