Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter!

Dying Easter eggs.  We did this the Wednesday before we left for Houston.

The hunt is on!

We didn't get any good pictures of M & M because they were too quick.  Most of the shots of them had only a hand, foot, or bit of hair whizzing past.

 Isaac enjoying his loot. 
All of the primary kids were sugared up for church.  It was a very happy and boisterous Easter Sunday!  Jonathan sang in the choir and I helped narrate the program during sacrament meeting.  After the choir sang Christ the Lord is risen today, I could hear Isaac yelling "Hooray!" and clapping from the back of the chapel.  Aside from that it was fairly reverent, and a lovely Easter program.  We asked a lady in the primary if she would watch Isaac for us during the times we were both up on the stand.  She graciously did so- but got her revenge when they were short teachers for primary.  I got to substitute CTR 4 and all seven of them had ants in their pants!  Jonathan stayed to help out in nursery since they were short on leaders.  He reported that the nursery children were full of busy too.  

Easter basket cupcakes with carrot cake, of course!

Our tradition "Easter rolls"  The inside is empty like the tomb.  This year Matthew and Melissa wanted to know the secret- so they helped me make them. 

On Good Friday we held our annual Easter Story egg hunt in the hotel.  Grandma Linda gave it to us when Matthew was a toddler and it has been a tradition ever since.

Happy Easter dear friends and family!  We hope you had a lovely Easter, and a few quiet moments to reflect on the Savior and the glorious resurrection.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Galveston: The Beach!

On Saturday we ventured to Galveston.

Our kids had never been to the beach so we felt it was high time they went.

There was this nice stretch of still water inland a bit and away from the waves.  It was only about a foot and a half deep.  Perfect for wading.

 Looking HOT! ;)

 The beach had massive sand dunes that the kids loved. 

Sliding down

Going up!

 Galveston is close enough to where the Mississippi River empties, that water is a silty brown from the draining river.  The kids didn't mind a bit and loved the sand, water, and waves.  The water was surprising warm.

Isaac couldn't get enough of the waves.  I took him back twice to dry off/rehydrate, and each time we left he protested despite the salt water up his nose and eyes and his teeth chattering.

It was a really, really windy day and the sand was super fine.  We were all coated in a fine sandy powder  in short order.  However, the kids probably would have stayed there all day if we could.

I tried baby powder to remove the sand before we got in the car.  It help somewhat, yet I still felt I owed our washing machine an apology upon our return to San Antonio.

All in all the trip great.  The children are getting to be very good car travelers (just in time for baby #4 to throw a wrench into that).  Matthew and Melissa thought the hotel room was one of the highlights of the trip.  I found a two bedroom, two queen bed, hotel room with a kitchen and living area for $100 a night and only a few miles from NASA.  It wasn't a luxurious place but it was very clean and it had all that we needed.  Plus the kids liked the grab and go breakfast.  That was the good part about the hotel.  From a grownup perspective that is where the pluses ended.  "Matthew go to bed.  Melissa go back to bed. Isaac go back to bed."  (repeat) "Matthew stop teasing Melissa.  Melissa you ARE tired settle down and rest.  Kids it's time to be quiet.  GO TO SLEEP ALREADY!!!"  


The kids had Good Friday off from school so we decided to take a mini family vacation.  It seemed a bit strange to go to Houston without seeing the Van Dukers, but they are off on their adventures in Papua New Guinea.

We drove to Houston Thursday night hoping the small people would fall asleep in the car- it didn't work.  Fortunately they were pretty good travelers.

Friday we went to the NASA space center.

This was Melissa and Isaac's favorite part- a massive jungle gym right by the front entrance.  

 Isaac loved the ball zone. He had fun sending the balls up pneumatic tubes and then having the balls rain down on top of everyone.  

We took a tour of the astronaut training facility where we saw the mockups that the astronauts use to practice their missions.

 Future lunar robots

Future moon rover

 Pretty Texas wildflowers outside one of the buildings

Matthew's primary request was to see the moon rocks, so we couldn't leave without checking those out!

 Space capsule from one of the Apollo missions

Matthew also had a chance to meet an astronaut and hear him speak about what it is like in space.  (And it was free!)
(Picture that Matthew received at the end of the presentation)

Colonel Michael Bloomfield piloted 2 missions and was commander of a third.  He described accelerating to Mach 25 (the speed needed to break free of Earth's atmosphere and remain in space), the two years of training required to master the more than 1,000 switches used as a pilot, working inside and out of the space station, and viewing Earth down below.  He was an engaging speaker, and Matthew's favorite part was his descriptions of eating and drinking in space.  Water molecules tend to form a ball in space making it ideal for all kinds of entertainment.  Col Bloomfield described shooting M&Ms at water at different speeds to see what would happen (all in the name of science of course!).  If you shoot it gently the M&M will stick to the outside of the ball of water.  Toss it a little harder and it will float in the middle of the water.  Chuck that M&M with all the force you can muster and it will shoot through the water and fly out the other side with a spray of water droplets.  Floating goldfish crackers in water spheres to make "aquariums" was another pastime of bored astronauts as was blowing air bubbles into the water with a straw.  Matthew laughed and laughed and thoroughly enjoyed the presentation.

We spent half a day there and saw maybe 1/10 of things to see and do.  It would have taken several days to take in everything.  We certainly did enjoy the trip and would recommend it to anyone visiting Houston.