Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Happy Birthday John-Michael!

So my little guy turned one on May 1st. I still can't believe it. We held a small party for him at Chick-Fil-A near our house. I decided against having a big home party as 1. the mosquitoes would have chased us inside and 2. the last party I had, I cleaned up cupcake from one end of the house to the other. LOL

Here are some pics of the event!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 14, 2010: A Space Odyssey

Our Space Odyssey started a few months ago. Joe and I had heard on the news that NASA was discontinuing the space shuttle program and was retiring the fleet. Joe and I agreed that we thought a launch would be something we all would want to do.

Fast forward a few weeks ago. I was laying in bed one evening playing with my iPod before going to sleep. I checked out the new apps and found the NASA app. I thought that was pretty cool, so I downloaded it. After it loaded I was checking it out and discovered that the Atlantis was having a launch on May 14th. I quickly checked our schedule and saw that we would be returning from Miami that day. I woke Joe up and asked him how awesome it would be to see that?? So I began inquiring about tickets. They were already sold out, and WAY expensive on Ebay, so I posted a Craigslist ad. Through an awesome guy, Mr. P, we were able to obtain a pass at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Center(KSC).

The Journey Begins:

Friday morning, we wake up and turn on our hotel tv to the NASA channel. All night the night before, they showed streaming footage of the beautiful shuttle on the launch pad. This morning, it showed the beautiful bird in the Florida morning sunshine. As we begin to remove the sleep from our eyes, we hear an announcer proclaim that everything was going as scheduled and that we were T Minus 3 1/2 hours until launch.


We jumped out of bed and Joe began saying "I thought it was..." just as the announcer was stating the time of the launch. I grabbed my iPod and went to sit on the lid of the toilet as that was the ONLY place I could get a wi-fi signal. I checked and it was still set for 2:20 liftoff, but it was 7:30 in the morning. Huh? we thought.

Joe grabbed a quick shower while I got the kiddies dressed and finished packing our toiletries (I had packed everything else the night before). Then I heard the announcer state (at 8:00 am) that we were entering into a built in 2 hour holding pattern. Ahhh... So that was it. I then grabbed a shower, we ate breakfast in the concierge lounge and we were driving out of Miami, on schedule, at 9 am.

Our drive went well until we hit the 407 just outside Titusville. As we came off the exit ramp we were immediately engulfed in bumper to bumper traffic. This was at 12:30. It took us approx 20 minutes to get to the 405 and I had Joe call Mr. P to say how thankful we were for the pass and that we were sorry we would not be able to meet him. We exchanged our car types and we said we would look for one another as he passed the traffic going into the KSC.

Well, time kept ticking and we kept inching along. I spotted Mr. P, rolled down my window, honked my horn umpteen times like a crazy lady and waved. I'm quite sure the people around us thought we were lunatics. LOL

So we crept along and crept along and I remembered the radio station that we were listening to was going to broadcast the launch. We turned it back on to listen b/c we had turned it off to talk on the phone. As we listen we hear "Well, if you aren't parked and have a spot by now, you are going to miss it. It seems that everyone in Central Florida has come out to watch the launch today."


So it's getting closer, I want to say about 1:30 at this point. And I creep to the left side into the median a bit to see if I can see in front of us. Then I see the bridge is up on one of the causeways. I also see cars being diverted around to the other side of the road and they were parking and getting out.

"Joe! They aren't letting anyone else in! They lifted up the bridges!!"

That my friends, began the THAT moment in a marriage. You know the kind, the "I-Told-You-So" moment. The kind where I start saying how I KNEW we should have left earlier and where Joe states, I didn't think traffic would have been this bad.

At this point we were starting to wonder if we were going to have to watch it from the side of the road like everyone else. I began to observe our surroundings closely. I noticed that all of the people on the otherside of the road did not have colorful placards like most of the cars around us. That gave me hope. I also saw the bridge came down and if I squinted my eyes, I could see cars going across.


Well, we crept along and finally reached a checkpoint, which promptly motioned us forward and off we went (in no traffic) across those bridges. We started laughing and smiling again, as we still had 30 minutes left!!

We arrived at the KSC VC and drove around per our instructions and were able to park very quickly. We even were able to have a potty break, lather up the kids in sunscreen and chekout the lay of the land.

We parked right here beside the Rocket Garden. That is an actual Saturn V rocket! Our van would be just to the right of this picture.

Joshua had just woken from a nap and was tired. We put him in the Becco until he woke up. Joe had the important duty of filming.

Our little redhead, grinning from his shaded spot. I needed my hands free so we opted for the stroller for him.

Joshua was still trying to wake up. We waited until T-5 minutes before taking him out of the Becco so he could see.

"Good luck, godspeed and have a little fun up there," launch director Mike Leinbach told the astronauts just before liftoff. (Mission Control on the Jumbotron)

The "Parking Brake" (per the astronauts) comes off!!!

T - 1 minute and counting!!!!

Engine Start!!



So we stayed until the Big red fuel tank was disengaged. This was about 9 minutes in. We started looking around and noticing people heading to their cars. Since we still had approx 9 hours to go, and some very tired kiddos, we beelined back to the car to get a jump on everyone leaving. We were some of the first people leaving the KSC VC and we STILL got caught in traffic. It took us close to 2 hours to get back on the interstate.

Let me tell you, the state of Florida needs to hire the South Carolina State Troopers to direct traffic. If the SCST can clear out a tiny town of Clemson of the million people that descend upon Death Valley for a football game; they can easily clear out shuttle watchers in a short amount of time. ;)

We got home at around 11pm. Exhausted, Happy, and Excited. Everyone that Joshua meets, he has to tell them about the "Rocket Ship" He saw "Blast Off!" And it seems that EVERYTHING in the house now "Blasts Off." The count(up) begins - "1,2,3,4,5 BLASTOFF!!!" (We are working on the counting down for blastoff, he does count backwards, but not for blastoff for some reason).

We are looking ahead and seeing schedules for the next launch in September. Maybe we can take the time and get a room nearby. I will probably be stalking the KSC website for tickets when they go on sale. We would love to be able to tour the museums that were there and to really take everything in. With a whirlwind week we had in Miami, plus the 12+ hour drive home, we just didn't have the energy to really take it all in. :(

All in all, we had an AWESOME once-in-a-lifetime trip!! :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...