25 April 2007

The Very Good, Wonderful, Not too Hot, Terrific Day

Before the girls friends got here from WV, I made plans to visit the NASA Space Center in Houston. We have wanted to do that since we first moved here. It was a very fun day. We packed a lunch and headed out. For me the traffic wasn't so fun. I am not a city driver, and as we got nearer to Houston, we started having two lanes with no shoulders surrounded by cement barriers on either side. We took a tram tour of Johnson Space Center and saw a mock-up Mission Control room that was used for the Apollo era rockets. There were exhibits of all kinds. The kids had a few hands-0n opportunities such as operating a MMU - which is basically like operating a jet pack that moves you around outside of the spacecraft in a weightless environment, and practice at landing a space shuttle. (BTW - I was the worst at this!) We watched a lot of shows about different aspects of being an astronaut, what life is like in space, and learned about all the technology we've gained by missions to space - such as cell phones.
We met a real life hero - a man who served in and was awarded a Purple Heart for being shot down in WWII. His name was Frank. He also served in Korea and Vietnam. The kids stood and talked to him for a long time as he was sitting inside a mock-up of the space shuttle. He was very friendly - he liked the kids a lot. He kept calling the girls "beautiful". I asked him if we could take a picture of everybody with him, and he was happy to comply. He had more decorations on his hat than I think I've ever seen.
After visiting NASA and learning more about space than you could ever want to know - we ate Chinese and I got to have my fill of sushi! (yum yum) I had promised Jessie a trip to Sonic which I will make good later this week! She was gracious and allowed me to take a rain check!
I had decided the day before to take the kids to Galveston Island - which is only 30 minutes south of where we were in Houston - and make the NASA trip and the beach all in one day. The only trouble is that it was a very overcast, extremely windy day. That did not stop the six of them from jumping right into the ocean. I sat to watch them on the sand, and was freezing! (I was also covered with a fine grit of sand and salt!) The ocean was beautiful though - the powerful wind and waves causing me to worship the Creator.
There was so much salt and moisture in the air that few of my pictures out there appear to be very focused. I took them with the panoramic format in order to get the ocean splashing up on the rocks behind them.
Another fun thing that happened was in part due to my navigation of our route home. We left the beach around 8 pm - and found that you can take a ferry across so that you can make just a short 2 hour trip to our house. I knew that we didn't live far from the coast - but I didn't realize it was just that short of a trip. I was also surprised to find that the ferry is free - provided by the TX highway department. The kids were thrilled to get to ride the ferry. Jessie had never been on one before.
It was a very long day. We packed so much into that 24 hour period. We didn't get home until around 11:30 - held up half an hour by the near-miss accident. But it was a super day none of us will ever forget.
BTW - Kullen was there - and wondered why I never took any pictures of him - I explained that it was like trying to hit a moving target. Here is one of him in the ocean. Trying to get him to be still is like trying to nail jell-o to a tree!


  1. HOW COOL! I have been to Houston a few times over the years. But my favorite trip was the one in which my friend and I made the trek to Galveston. SOOOO beautfiul! There was a hamburger joint where you ate on the roof. Life was good. =)

    IT sounds as though the day was long, but well worth every minute of it. I can't wait to see how you scrap the pics!

  2. sounds like sooooo much fun!
    well except for the concrete barrier things... i hate those, i would have had a panic attack.

    my husband loves galveston island.

  3. That sounds like a great day! Years ago, about 25, I visited Johnson Spcae Center, I still remember a lot about it. After that I wanted to be an astronaut, a dream that lasted oh, about 3 weeks!
    When I lived in Houston, I went to Galveston all the time. From our place in South Houston, it was about a 45 minute drive, which was nothing! being a girl from the praries of Alberta, i took every chance I could to hit the warm gulf waters. One day I have to get back!

  4. I HATE Houston - traffic every hour every day. My husband and I were going to spend several days in Galveston several years ago. We drove over from Houston, found our hotel (supposedly top notch). We were appalled at the beachfront area, and our hotel was terrible. We went back to the desk, turned in our key, and drove home. I personally think we have a much nicer beachfront here in Corpus. Nothing in Texas beats the water at South Padre though. Your pics look like it was super nice - glad you had a safe trip.

  5. Sounds like fun! Maybe someday your kids will like to come to the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center for space camp. (It's about 20 minutes away from us) I've been told it's the only space camp but I've never researched that fact.


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