Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Summer Activities

As I'm sure everyone knows, because like me you were probably following it with intense interest and spent all your available time scouring all the news articles you could find to get every last detail, last week was the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11. It was obviously a big deal for NASA and they celebrated here by inviting current and former employees and their families to attend a celebration at the Space and Rocket Center that afternoon. Over 7000 people attended! Needless to say, it was cool! I could easily spend a full day there by myself just looking at stuff. Here are some of the things they have on display.

I think this is the capsule from Apollo 16. Maybe 14. I can't remember which, darn it. Not much room in there for 3 people but it dwarfs the Gemini and especially Mercury capsules.

A mockup of a lunar lander. WSTF, where I used to work, has a mockup of both stages of the lander that we used to be able to climb in and on. Again, for 2 guys to live in one of these for several days, with spacesuits and other stuff in the way, they had to be pretty comfortable with each other.

Not the best picture of Cameron or me but we had to take it quick because people kept getting in the way.

From the left, Ares V, Saturn V and Ares I (yay! woo hoo! clap clap clap) The way things sound coming out of the Augustine Commission and with the slashed NASA budget, I'm not confident any of the Ares vehicles will ever fly and I'm also not too confident I'll have a job much longer. I'll be sure to send a letter to Obama thanking him for the "change". But that's a rant for a different forum.

How cool would it have been to see one of these things lift off?

Here's Cade trying out a sleeping back like they use on the Space Station.

Here's a mockup of Orion, the new crew capsule. It absolutely dwarfs the Apollo capsule. It's huge!

Looking inside and at the 6 seats. Not a great picture, but you get the idea.

The boys are in a mockup of a capsule. Ready for liftoff!

The very next day, Kevin celebrated his 11th birthday! Eleven already? Doggone, where has the time gone? Given his choice of where/what to eat on his special day, he chose to stay home and eat fried chicken. His birthday "cake" was Aunt Sandy's special treat with ice cream sandwiches covered with whipped cream and smashed Butterfingers.

Birthday boy opening his presents. I took the next day off and planned on taking everyone to the local waterpark but the weather ruined that. Instead, Kevin, Cam and I went to watch Transformers 2 at the IMAX theater. Not such a good idea. The screen was too big if you can believe it.

Last weekend, Dana, in all her wonderful planningness, found a bicycle trail in Tennessee that looked/sounded pretty neat so we loaded up the bikes and headed north. It was beautiful up there and the trails were paved and easy enough for Cade. I'm still shocked at how well he can ride his bike at only 3!

I tried a couple of shots like this and some were better but I like how Dana's waving in this one. Immediately after taking this shot I overshot a turn and crashed down a cliff into the lake. Not really, but I risked my life taking pictures from a unique angle just for your viewing pleasure. You'd better enjoy them.

We got to ride across a wooden bridge! The water looks super green here but it was actually very pretty.

At the end of one of the trails.

Dana! The woman, the myth, the master weekend planner! Is she purty, or what? Hubba hubba.

Cade even volunteered to wear the Camelback after Kevin started complaining about it. (It's Kevin's) In all, we rode over 8 miles and Cade pedaled and pedaled and pedaled the whole time like the little trooper he is. He had a couple of "moments" where we unexpectedly hit some rough patches of pavement hidden in the shade and his feet came flying off but he held it together and never crashed. Unfortunately, after all that pedaling, about 1/4 mile from the truck he hit the wall and had a meltdown. We just wore the poor little guy out.
After an exciting summer, our posts will probably be slowing down now. School starts in 2 weeks and soccer starts about the same time so our weekend adventures will be much more limited. The good thing is that it won't be too much longer before we can start posting Fall pictures!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

NM Vacation Part 2

On to part 2 of our vacation to the Land of Enchantment.

When we left off, the Fourth of July had come to a close and Cade was plum tuckered out. We pick up again the day following those last events...

Our Life Group planned a nice get-together/lunch for us at the Viera's house. The kids played in the pool and tore around the house while us adults hollered at each other over the noise. It was really nice to see everyone again. Good friends, those people are.

We spent our last full day at the lake with my mom and dad (or Pa and Tootie). This was also Mom's birthday! Happy Birthday again!!!

Cade and Pa playing catch. Looks innocent enough.

Until Cade got the idea to really get Pa wet. He's "soaking" the ball to get it extra wet in an attempt to make a bigger splash when he throws it to Pa. Unfortunately for him, this ball doesn't absorb any water. But good try anyway.

Just playing around and looking cute.

Cameron took to the water like a fish. We practically had to drag him out of the lake to apply more sunscreen.

Enjoying the good life. It's rare for Elephant Butte to be this smooth after 8 am. Being a weekday helped.

I took advantage of the smooth water, and my last chance to get on a boat until who-knows-when, to ski. I can still slalom! For a few minutes. Then my knee and ankle and lower back start feeling like they're going to fall off.

Kevin tried to ski too but didn't have much luck. He got pretty close a couple of times but he was fighting a losing battle with the skis. On his first attempt I floated out with him and told him what to expect and what to do and everything I could think of. The only very minor detail I forgot was to let go if he falls down. Minor detail. When he was almost ready I hollered to take the slack up and that got interpreted as "go". The boat took off, Kevin wasn't ready, I was holding onto his life jacket to steady him... poor kiddo didn't have a chance. He plowed through the water for about 3 feet (at which time I lost my grip), popped out of both skis and disappeared under a spray of water for about 30 feet. He came up coughing and sputtering and on the verge of tears because the water shot up his nose the whole way. I think it's hilarious. He hated it at the time and still only sees very little humor in it.

Getting ready to load up and call it a day.

And Cade is tuckered out again. Mom is having to hold his head up on the way back to the marina.

After returning home, we did some riding at a local track. We rode and rode until we couldn't ride no mo. Except Cameron. He was a riding machine and was the only one who wasn't ready to go home. I think for the first time in my life, I was just too tired to go do any more laps. Besides, I'd had a good day with no crashes so why tempt fate? In this shot, Cameron is in the front and Kevin is giving chase.

The Machine!

Dana bought a summer pass to the pool and takes the boys swimming two or three times a week. Not sure what to say about this picture other than the 3 Stooges comes to mind when I look at it.

Every night when it's Cade's bedtime, we play hide and seek one time before he gets in bed. His favorite hiding place lately is in this corner. You can't really see him here because he has his eyes covered. You can only see him when he peeks out.

I took the boys fishing in the creek that runs through town last weekend. It's really nice to leave the house and in less than 5 minutes be parked and ready to catch some dinner.

Kevin started out with my pole. Some little fish were really hitting our worms. Kevin must have used 10 worms because he kept losing them.

Cameron caught his first fish (ever) after about 2 minutes of fishing. He hollered and before I could take 3 steps he popped the fish up on the rocks.

Cameron's fish. It landed in this little puddle and played dead until I tried to pick it up. Then it suddenly became very much alive. We threw it back but we should have kept it.

Cade never got a bite but had a lot of nibbles as well.

After Kevin and Cade had given up, I gave him Kevin the pole Cade was using and told him to try that one since the hook was a different size. Minutes later, Kevin hollered that he got one. I figured it was another little one. As I got closer I could see that for all the reeling he was doing, the fish wasn't getting any closer. The pole he had doesn't have any tension adjustment and the fish was overwhelming the reel. I really wanted Kevin to feel the fight but I ended up pulling the fish in by hand while Kevin continued to madly reel the line in. He was so proud to have finally caught something (catfish) worth keeping. He's only caught one other fish in his lifetime and it was a little, tiny catfish 5 or 6 years ago. It was so small I threw it back without a second thought. A moment later, he caught it again. The fish must have had a death wish. The second time I chucked it as hard as I could and never saw it again.
Now we just need to catch a few more so we can have a fishfry!
Did I mention I had never cleaned a catfish? Geez Louise! What a pain. I'll have to work on my catfish filleting skills.
I almost forgot to mention. Kevin first named his catfish Jerry. A few minutes later he changed it to JTD - for Jerry the Dinner. I don't recall ever thinking about naming my fish but then again this is the same kid that named his Angel Fish after himself - Kevin the Fish.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

NM Vacation Part 1

We recently returned from our 1-1/2 week vacation to NM and have all kinds of pictures to share so I'm going to break it up into 2 posts. Here's the first half.

Waiting for the shuttle at the airport. It was hot and humid and even hotter and humider inside this waiting area. I tried to warn them.

Out of the way. Reynolds clan coming through! Don't you just love Cade's little backpack on wheels?

Just about the time our flight was scheduled to leave, they announced there was a mechanical problem with the plane but a mechanic who was a "miracle worker" was going to fix it quickly. Then a line started forming at the desk and word leaked out that the flight would be delayed by 3 hours. So I got in line and quickly learned it would actually be 5 hours. After standing in line for about 2 hours, I got us on another flight that took us to Chicago and then to Albuquerque. That flight was scheduled to leave at the same time as our delayed flight. All other options, including our delayed flight, included an overnight stay somewhere. So after hanging around the airport ALL day we finally left for The Windy City. When we arrived, we found we had a zero minute layover for our next flight. We hustled and Cade ran through the airport and were the last ones on the plane but not before we were told "something happened to our tickets and we had to be reseated." Don't you just love how it wasn't anyone's fault but instead something out of everyone's control happened? So Kevin sat alone and the remaining 4 of us were in the very back of the plane between the two big, loud, dumb, vibrating, humming engines for 3+ hours with no snack or dinner or anything for us to eat to quench the hunger pains that were forming because none of us had eaten since our early lunch when we thought we were flying out several hours earlier. Fortunately, our sob story moved the stewardess enough to give us a couple of meal packs (that you can purchase for a mere $4) for the kids to eat. Dana and I were on our own. By the time we landed in Albuquerque with splitting headaches from those obnoxious engines I was starting to wonder just how filling a Sky Mall magazine would be. The paper has some nutritional value, doesn't it? Ron picked us up at the airport (after trying to cause a minor disturbance with the guards) and got us to Inlow just before midnight. Long day but we got there safely and our luggage arrived with us.

The next 3-1/2 days were spent visiting with everyone from Dana's side of the family and playing and having a really good time.

Jeremy, Cameron and Zack-Attack in the tree house.

Kevin on the climbing wall.

Cameron stretching to touch the top handhold ball holder without a ball thing.

And even Cade made the climb.

Cameron and Zack were attached at the hip.

While big brother Kevin was connected at both hips to Ryan and Tyler. These 3 spent a lot of their time in Tyler's Man Cave playing video games. Nice hair, Ryan!

We all went for a nice walk and rode mountain bikes and even played dodge ball several times. That dang Kevin won most of the time. The twerp is good!

After leaving Inlow we headed down to Las Cruces (thanks to Ronney and Karen for letting us use their Excursion!!!) to spend some time visiting my family and several of our friends. But first we spent a day painting our dumb bathroom to make our house look better. Did you know blue is taboo? That's what a realtor told us - about 50 times in 10 minutes. So now it's brown.

Here we are at (my sister) Stacey's wedding on July 4th. I've said it before. Usually Cameron is the one making the faces but lately Kevin seems to be filling in for him. This shot cracks me up.

Cade looking cute as always.

Mr. and Mrs. Hokit and us. Whew! No funny faces this time.

I like this picture.
The chicken dance!!! Kevin's gettin' down back there.

And then it's on the fireworks! Cade loved throwing and stomping on the Pop-its.

Watching the action.

We wore Cade out.

I'll post the rest of our vacation whenever I get around to it.