Tuesday, July 26, 2011

celebrating my parents

A little over a week ago on July 17th, my family threw my parents a big party for their 40th wedding anniversary (June 5th). My parents have 4 kids and all of us are married. The 8 of us had a great time planning the party. It ended up being quite a big job to throw a party for 200 people. And we like to decorate and plan big, so we did. The 4 kids all took a few minutes to give a tribute to my parents. I think it was great and I am sure my parents felt loved. I got pretty emotional while talking to my parents but that is because my parents are amazing and that is just not worth containing. I was probably a little long-winded in my tribute but I wanted to tell a few stories. Here are some of things I love about my parents.

Dad, thank you for caring about my life and what I was doing as a child. You taught me how to laugh and not take life so seriously. Thank you for teaching me to value people more than things.

Mom, thank you for teaching me to value apologies and forgiveness. You showed me that it is worthwhile to spend your time doing something that you love. Thank you for going out of your way to show me love.

Mom and Dad, thank you for caring about my interests and for taking time for them even when they didn’t match your interests. You knew that God always provided for us and passed that belief onto your kids. Thank you for showing me what loving your family looks like. Thank you for praying for me and letting me hear your prayers. I know that you invested everything you could into our family. I am incredibly blessed to have a mom and dad that are still married and still love each other and like being together. Thank you for being available to me and for allowing God to guide you in parenting me.

Thank you for all of the love, time and energy you invested in my life. You pointed me to God and allowed me room to grow to be the person God is still molding me to be. I love you and congratulations on 40 years of marriage. I pray that my marriage will be as loving and fruitful as yours.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

the space shuttle era has ended

The Atlantis Space Shuttle landed safely today at Kennedy Space Center. This was the finale to the very successful space shuttle program, retiring all space shuttles. This is sad to me because I dreamed as a little girl of rocketing into space someday aboard a space shuttle. The Challenger began my interest in space in 1985 and it continues as I follow NASA to see what is coming next. How will Americans get into space next? What will be our next NASA funded, human-carrying space vehicle? This is all still getting worked out. Rockets and spacecraft are still being designed and funding is hovering over them like a big cloud to see who will be awarded some money.

I am so satisfied that I got to witness the last space shuttle launch. And to top it off, I got to watch it with my two boys, sister-in-law, two nieces and one nephew. It was a complete pleasure with a few mishaps thrown in. The launch and the mishaps will never be forgotten. Stories will be told to our kids forever. They will never forget this trip because we will keep retelling it to them. It was one crazy adventure to drive over 3400 miles in 7 days. We had 3 days in Florida and we made the most of them. We went to the beach in the rain on day 1. Day 2 was spent waiting for the launch for 5 1/2 hours, watching the launch for 1 minute and sitting in 6 hours of traffic to go 45 miles. Day 3 was enjoyed at Disney World's Magic Kingdom. All 3 days were quite a blast! The highlight was definitely the space shuttle launch. The low light is a lengthy story involving lots of poop and 5 kids and being stuck in traffic.

I set out to enjoy the launch with my eyes, not through my camera lens but I did get a few pictures. Here are my favorites. Our group photo has the vertical cloud formation from the rocket exhaust to our left.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

call me crazy...for space

I am pretty sure I am crazy. I convinced my sister-in-law, Chrystine, to drive to Florida with all 5 of our kids together in the hopes of seeing the last space shuttle launch. We took 2 days, 28 hours in the van to get to Orlando from Minneapolis. The drive went surprisingly well for our two six years old, my five year old, her three year old and her three month old. There was much less fighting than expected. More adult conversation than expected and more fast food eaten while driving than anyone wishes.

We got to Florida as a tropical wave was coming in. Sounds like it is bringing lots of rain. We decided to try to take today easy after all of the driving and give the kids lots of wiggle room today. We decided to go to the beach and check out the public shuttle viewing areas. The beach was extra messy because of the rain soaking everything with us. And everything we seem to do takes more time than expected. We are going to get up insanely early to get a viewing spot for the possible launch on Friday. It is looking pretty unlikely but we don't want to miss it. There are already lots of people camping out in prime viewing locations but we should still be able to find a good spot around 6am Friday. Stay tuned for more of our adventure.