Seven Years....

Sunday we celebrated our 7th anniversary. How quickly time passes and how steady love grows.

Saturday night we went out to a swanky Mexican restaurant in downtown Houston (Armandos). The food was amazing (and I expected nothing less with the price tag :)! Then we booked second row seats for the Houston Symphony at Jones Hall. The nights performance was Wagner's Ring without words. It was a very nice night out and much needed.

Happy Anniversary to a wonderful man who has been there every step of the way. Here's to making the coming years as wonderful as the ones behind us!


MOD Open Access Family Day at JSC

Today we got to experience something that few civilians get to tour on the floor. Jared told me last week they were having a MOD (Mission Operation Directorate) Family Day. About once every five years they have this day and open most of the facilities. The last time we went we got to go on the floor but today they had all the astronaut training modules open to walk through AND we actually got a tour pool side of the NBL (

Neutral Buoyancy Lab). Which made me nervous having Eliza standing 24" from one of the largest pools in the world by volume. This baby is 40' deep.

Poolside at the NBL

One of my favorite tours was walking through the full size space station mock up. I get really claustrophobic, as even I had to duck through the capsules openings. Jared kindly reminded me that in space you can use all the area and not just the floor so it seems “bigger”. Floating or not it's tight quarters for six months.

Inside the Space Station Astronaut Training Center
It always amazes me to visit JSC and learn about the shuttle program and today as I watched Jared share his excitement about space flight with Erin (who is a budding space geek) it made me sad to think we are looking at the end of an era. The shuttle will retire this spring, possibly summer if we are lucky.

I think one reason they opened up everything today was for company morel. Come the first week of October, 1/3 of the people in Jared's area are getting laid off. We were blessed to make it through this cut, but its sad to see people who have worked so hard say goodbye. It makes for an unsure year for everyone. It will be interesting what the next step will be in space flight.

Kaminari Taiko drum concert

Last night we took the family to the Kaminari Taiko Drum performance at Miller Outdoor Theater in downtown Houston. This is one of my favorite venues because they have so many different types of shows and its all FREE.

And the theater itself is an open air amphitheater. You can either get seats (which we did tonight because the weather was iffy, thanks to Brittany and Derek getting there early) or bring a blanket and sit on the only hill in the city of Houston. People go all out and bring dinner, wine and cheese and you have everyone from families with little kids to college professors.

The performance was spectacular! Erin was memorized by the drumming acts (not so much by the Samurai warriors :). And I didn't realize the Taiko school is actually located in Houston and you can take lessons.


Interpretation of the "Chicken Dance"

I love my kids, I love how incredibly individual their characters are from one another.....and I love how Issac inherited his father's dance moves :D


The Kayaking Mishap

League City Lighthouse

I have been trying to get out on the water for over a month now and life has been nonstop. So on Labor Day my friend Kallie and I decided to take “Sally Forth” (my inflatable kayak) out to sea. Well at least out to Clear Lake.

As always we like a little adventure and Monday Houston was on the dirty side of Tropical Storm Hermine. It had been stormy all day but the radar looked semi clear so we thought we would port in between rain bands.

Our goal was to row over to the old League City Lighthouse. It's under lock and key, but you can row up to it from the lake. The homes were beautiful, its a part of League City you never see driving because it a gated community tucked away.

Bridge 270/518

On our way to the lighthouse it was getting dark but we were almost there so we pressed forward. By the time we took a few photos the sky was turning black with rumbling in the distance. We both paddled like mad and about half way back to where our car was the wind picked up, the waves began to whitecap and our boat felt a little heavier than it did six miles earlier.

We decided to head for Nassau Bay and digging as hard as we could we passed a sign on a buoy that stated “BEWARE OF ALLIGATOR”. We took a moment to ponder if it was a good thing or not the word alligator was in its singular form. Inflatable boat + rough seas + electrical storm + large pride-of-the-community alligator could really make for a bad day.

We finally made it to a boardwalk, not know how far it was to the car. We climbed up the ladder, heaving our air kayak, which now really (weighed 80 pounds) up on the walk, watching the water pour out of it. Needless to say somewhere in the alligator's back yard we managed to put a 10-inch split in the bottom of the boat. But FYI it stayed afloat.

Taking shelter from the storm

So we starting walking down the streets of Nassau Bay, mutilated boat in tote, attempting to find our bearings in the pouring rain. Guess it must be a common occurrence because no one even looked twice. And that is how our day on the lake went. Sally Forth is currently in for repairs and well Kallie and I have photos of the lighthouse.


A Picture Worth One Word....Seriously?

I was helping Erin with her homework and thinking (in my perfect world) Isaac and Eliza were playing so well together. And then he walked in. Eliza decided to use him as an art board "because she didn't want to mess up her drawing". There was no screaming involved so he was 1. thrilled for the attention or 2. knew that screaming would only make her do something more extreme.

Thank goodness for washable markers!

Bring On The Rain

Its been a hot, dry summer so the rain this week has been welcomed. Ike LOVES to splash in the puddles. This week I have been caught in two separate torrential downpours on my bike pulling the trailer. The first was fun and Isaac and Eliza stayed fairly dry (and I was in biking attire). Today however we were just picking up Erin from school and Isaac ran out in the downpour to play in the puddles and I was soaked (in khakis, ugh!) from chasing him down, so I figured we would just make the 3/4 mile trek home.

Erin sobbed uncontrollably all the way home on her scooter. I am a horrible parent because I couldn't help from laughing as I watched Erin's gracefully gliding through the downpour yelling at the top of her lungs between the sobs "I hate this!". Drama Drama :)

A couple of days ago the girls were out running around with rain jackets and umbrellas and Ike ran out in just his clothes (as always).

Photo One: Ike joyfully playing in the rain
Photo Two: Mom walks out to see Eliza sudsing up Ike head with HAND SOAP.
Photo Three: Ike's playtime in the rain was interrupted by soap in the eyes and dad came home to mom holding a screaming child under the outdoor hose spicket...in the pouring rain.