What the More is For

Today was the final day of space camp, and honestly I am pooped. We didn’t even wake up until a trainer knocked on our door. Oops. I rolled over with a groan because (a) I couldn’t sit up as there was not enough room between my head and the ceiling to do so and (b) my top bunk was so hard I literally thought I’d be crippled for life. But I’m the mom so I climbed down the ladder and began packing us up. Took a quick trip to the bathroom and tripped over a ginormous pair of panties that someone had left behind. “How could you not know you lost your underwear” I asked when I got back in our habitat. My mom told me it was probably an dirty pair so they didn’t notice it was gone. Okay eww. We got our flight suits on for graduation and hauled our gear out to the car. My mom snapped a quick farewell picture as we said goodbye to our habitat home.

Then we hurried over to breakfast with 15 minutes left to eat before we were we’re off to our last period of free time to explore before graduation. We went to the gift shop first because there were a few souvenirs each person had their eyes on. Then the girls rode a shuttle experience ride and we headed to the discovery theater for graduation. It was actually surprisingly cool to be official alumni of the space camp program. I felt all smart and tingly and so proud of the girls and SO happy for Brian who has dreamed of this for DECADES!

Then off we went to the airport so Brian could fly back to Arizona for work and we could fly to Chicago to visit family. Of course the hurry wasn’t strictly speaking necessary as his plane was delayed 3 hours and ours an hour and a half. The wrist band we had to wear all week was bothering my skin and since we were in an airport there was nothing sharp to remove it with. But I spotted a police officer and got an idea. I walked up to him in all his tough guy gear and asked if he had any weapons he could use to cut off my band. I mean he would have to right? So he pulled me aside and asked me if I trusted him. “Sure” I said and he pulled out a big knife and cut it off. I said thanks so much and walked off wrist band free! A few people must have seen what happened but obviously had no clue what really happened because they looked at me really weird as I walked by.

Soon after Brian had to get on his plane and I cried, love that guy so much. Then we grabbed a quick dinner before getting on our delayed flight. And I was sitting there after dinner feeling a bit miserable (tired + missing husband + digesting weird airport chili = ðŸĨī) and I got to thinking about my problems. I know. Never the best idea but it’s hard to keep my mind on the right track when I’m exhausted. And once I started down that road I got all kinds of ideas:

  • I’m sleep deprived because we’re flying to Chicago after spending the last three days at Family Space Camp and our plane was delayed.
  • I’m chubby (please don’t check the BMI chart because they use a bit of a harsher word).
  • I miss my husband who flew back home for work.
  • I miss our adorable pets.
  • I’m get frustrated with my kids more easily than I’d like (wish I was Mary Poppins).
  • I’m a lousy housekeeper (dishes and laundry are not my thing or bathrooms or dusting). My husband refers to my style as (there appears to have been a struggle). Can’t argue.
  • I dislike exercise and being uncomfortable.
  • I enjoy food more than I should.
  • I don’t like camping but my family and friends do.
  • I have keratosis pilaris on the backs of both arms, and if I’m being completely honest on my outer thighs as well.
  • My skin is glow in the dark white and doesn’t tan.
  • I’m terrible at making time for myself, I get stuck in give give give mode or give so much I become a hermit for a few days.

Wait, is my list supposed to be this long? I was just BLESSED with a wonderful experience at space camp. I’m on my way to spend time with family that I love. My husband has a job that he adores that provides for us to be able to do these things. I’m able to understand, love and bond with our great pets. I may get frustrated more than I’d like but I do have quite a bit of patience and love. I haven’t had to develop amazing cleaning skills because we have help. I am physically capable of exercise when some can’t. I have food, I’m a great cook and I love sharing that ability with others. I have friends and family who want to do things with me. I could spend more time exfoliating my skin and using creams if it was important to me. It’s actually not good to tan your skin. And I have gifts to share with others. Genesis 12:2 talks about blessings this way: “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” Oh. Right. We are blessed NOT so that we can complain that things aren’t our version of perfect, but so that we can bless others. And we are all so rich in different ways. Usually we think financial or material but blessings could be of talents, abilities, time, encouragement, salvation, or any number of things! We have all been blessed with things like these – so we can share with others and be a blessing in the lives of others. God trusts us with a lot and He expects a lot from us in return. And you know, He wants us to have even more than we have now… but we can’t forget what that more is for.

Today I forgot for a moment. I wasn’t blessed with this family and this summer of travel and so much more to complain. I am blessed so that out of His abundance I can bless those around me. So as we head to Chicago and begin this next phase of travel I want you to know this:

  • I am ready to explore what God has for me to learn.
  • I am ready to be a blessing and not a stumbling block.
  • I am grateful.

We landed in Chicago about 10 pm and arrived at my parents house in the western suburbs about 11 pm tonight. After hugging the stuffing out of grandpa, their big fluffy dog and 3 kitties (and having a snack) the kids were bundled into bed. By this time it was 12:30 and I read bedtime stories until 1 am. Can I go to bed now? After I take a shower, because I REALLY need one! Goodnight dear readers. 👋ðŸŧ

FDO is go…

This morning began at 6 am when Claudia woke me up because she couldn’t find Stuffy (her teddy bear). We are both sleeping on top bunks and she was certain he fell down. So I shown my phone light down and looked around with half open eyes. We though we spotted him below so she decided to climb down and retrieve him. I laid back and tried to pretend I was still sleeping. But momentarily I heard “mom” whispered in my direction. “That wasn’t Stuffy. It was Madeline’s shoes.” I sat up and started feeling around her bunk – I could reach it from mine – and located Stuffy. I laid back in my bed again just to hear “mom” again. “Is it morning?” And as we all know when a child asks this question it might as well be, as you certainly won’t be getting any more sleep.

We all met at 7:30 am for team breakfast. Honestly, I could have done with no breakfast and good strong coffee. But most people seem to like giant breakfasts with rather questionable coffee. Oh well. I drank 2 cups of steaming hot brown water and hoped for a miracle. Just as I was finishing my drink we were led off to a bus which would take us to launch the rockets we built yesterday. They were supposed to launch straight up, deploy a parachute and float to the ground. Most did. Some landed in the road and were smushed. Some lodged in nearby trees. Others didn’t launch at all. And when young kids are involved in this the reactions go everywhere: excited, sobbing, blank, squeaking and my personal favorite “that wasn’t my rocket, I was just launching it for my dad”.

As soon as we got back it was off to flight command training. I was chosen to be the Flight Dynamics Officer (FDO), which means I watched and reported back to the Flight Commander on the engines. My husband snapped a picture of us hard at work, practicing to retrieve a team of payload specialists from the ISS and bring them back to earth.

FDO: We are T-Minus four minutes and counting from beginning final launch preparations. Swing arm is retracting. <– Just one of my lines because I sound so knowledgeable & important. ðŸĪŠ

Next up was our turn on the multi axis trainer (MAT). All the kiddos got to go first and the adults would only get a turn if there was time. Brian was so sad he might not be able to try it since this whole camp had been his dream since he was six! I told him he would get a turn, we’d make it happen. Which of course I did and he was the first adult to get a turn. He was SO happy and fun to watch. I took so many pictures but here are a few.

Afterwards we actually needed to perform our mission. Like yesterday you practice the mission for an hour before you actually attempt to complete it. It went really well, which was GOOD, because our three girls were the payload specialists we were retrieving from the ISS. “Welcome home girls.”

Next up lunch. Seriously I was staring at every meal. We were running like crazy this whole camp trying to fit in more and more. We ate who knows what, I honestly can’t remember, but it gave us energy to move on to (drum roll). Family free time! Madeline and mom went back to the habitat (again) to take a nap. I wanted to, but went adventuring with Brian, Beatrice and Claudia. There is so much to see (and take goofy pictures on)!

We met back up at 4:15 pm to try our hand at space walking. The hooked us up to a weighted chair on a spring and we had to try and get across a test area. It was hard but not impossible. Super bouncy with lots of hang time. I just kept pretending to be tinker bell.

Dinner was up next and I thought I was starving but then when I went to eat I wasn’t actually. I just ate my salad. I think my tummy actually wasn’t super fond of bouncing. Oh well, it’s not like I can’t stand to miss a meal! Afterwards Madeline and grandma went back to the room again. I honestly don’t blame them. We’re ALL so tired. But there were two more things on the schedule.

First we learned more about the ISS or International Space Center and that their mission control was actually located here in Huntsville, Alabama. We also got to walk through a life size replica of the shuttle and flip switches. Kids love flipping switches. Second we had a presentation on astronomy from a guy I’m certain is Johnny Depp (when he was 20) back in time. His wacky mannerisms were straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean. We built telescopes and took them outside. But by this time it was 9 pm and I was beyond so ready for bed. So we all said goodnight and headed to bed.

It is now 10:15 pm and I am beyond sleepy but we are all tucked in. Goodnight and sweet dreams! Hope you’re enjoying reading along on our summer travels.

Spoiler Alert: Tomorrow we graduate Family Space Camp and fly to Chicago!

1 Tranquility Base

Woke up (against my will) at 8am. All the kids were still sleeping but Brian was super excited to start our day. He hopped in the shower and I got clothes together for the kids. I think it took an hour to make it down to the lobby for breakfast as we moved s-l-o-w-l-y. Seven hours of sleep is not enough for my children, or me! #hibernateplease ðŸŧ But we’re living and we are our free breakfast and headed back upstairs to pack up.

Starbucks was our next stop as I missed my coffee yesterday. Venti iced americano please! We had an hour until registration so sitting with a big old cup of caffeine (my last good cup as a civilian) was savored. #starbuckshasmyheart ☕ïļ P.S. Why is my mom always so beautiful? I want to be like her when I grown up which means I need to smile bigger, lose 50 pounds and work on my hair game.

We made it so space camp!!! First was registration, orientation, getting fitted for flight suites and setting up our habitat. #homesweettinyhome ðŸ“Ķ

I love love the quote posted outside our habitat and had to snap a quick picture with our girls: “Through these doors enter the world’s future astronauts, scientists and engineers.” Then we skiddered off to orientation and met the leader of our little group – Team New Shepard. She hurried us off to our first stop which was amazing… a lecture by Austrinaut Lawrence DeLucas. #totalfangirlaction 🙆🏞‍♀ïļ He is an American biochemist who flew aboard NASA Space Shuttle mission STS-50 as a Payload Specialist. He talked all about how he became an astronaut and he’s adventures along the way. So so cool.

Then we built rockets that we will launch tomorrow and headed to prepare for our first mission. I was Commander of the international space station and NASA was flying some scientists up to work on experiments with us. There was a script for the mission as well as steps and experiments that needed to be executed. After practice we had dinner and a guy spilled orange soda all over my mom. She really is such a good sport. #everythingissticky 🍊 Then we returned and actually did our first mission. Very cool experience, which showed the importance of teamwork and being to multitask like a fairy godmother in charge of three princesses.

After our mission (don’t worry, it was a success) we had a lecture on sustainable farming before crawling on our tongues to bed. #pleaseletmesleep ðŸ˜ī So now it’s 9:30 pm and I’m laying in my little bunk in habitat 308 putting the kids to bed with a sleepcast about trains from Headspace. There is nothing in the world for putting kids to sleep like those! (And although I would love to pretend I subscribed to the app to learn better meditation practices… it was really for the sleepcasts.

So I’m going to sign off now since we have to be at breakfast at 7:45 am SHARP tomorrow and I’m still tired from our late night yesterday. Guess I can sleep when I’m dead right?! Here’s a picture of me in my flight suit. I really hope to get one of all of us together. #maybetomorrow #oratgraduation #ornever #reallife ðŸĪ·ðŸžâ€â™€ïļ

6C and Jet Setting to Alabama

This morning was brought to you by the number 6 and the letter C. We are traveling from Arizona to Alabama as a party of 6 (three adults and three children). Although I just got my period yesterday and I feel like that should count as a whole other person. #forreal 🙄 So after taking Aleve for my rotten headache on an empty stomach because I was running about like a crazy mom, I thought I was going to puke. Of course I didn’t think about puking until I was in the car and my awesome husband offered me a Starbucks for the road and I said “no thanks, I’m so sick to my stomach”.

At that point my mom pulled a one pound brick of cheese from her purse, complete with a knife, and offered it to me. At first I thought… umm… I’m good, but my husband told me to eat the cheese. So with a “thanks” I took the huge cheese and cut some slices off. Unfortunately I was not feeling great still, and missed my Starbucks. #sob 😭 Oh well, one lost Starbucks opportunity won’t kill me. Probably.

By the time we got to the airport I was feeling mostly better. But I still had that headache thanks to my trusty period, so I guess making myself sick with pain medication on an empty stomach was just a bad call made by a rushed mom packing for a family of five. But I’m going to have to admit that the check in process made me slightly lose my cool. When I used those nifty new computer booths I got 1 bag check tag, one blank sticker and 3 receipts for the extra $90 I paid to check bags. No tickets. Hmm… about half an hour later things were sorted out, only 1/3 of the children were begging to find a potty and we still needed to get through security. #notenoughheadspaceforthis ðŸĪŊ Deep breath, search for bathroom.

Now here is a tip I’m going to share to save time, embarrassment and your modesty. Do NOT attempt to wear overalls through the security checkpoint. Just don’t. While my kids all sailed through the metal detector with their shoes & watches on I made the thing scream like a chicken. They had me try again. And again. And again with my hands covering the buckles. And again. Nope. It screamed every time. The guy pointed out that it might be all the metal on my overalls, I agreed with him but assured him and his friends that I really couldn’t take them off. #mombod 😝 Fortunately they were very understanding and sent me to the full body X-ray machine. I lit that sucker up like the Fourth of July. Which means that I was headed for the pat down. After locating a woman to perform the full body once over I was fully examined for “stuff”. She looked disappointed to discover that the only thing in my overalls… was me.

At this point you grab a train to the correct terminal, look for $10 sandwiches to take on the plane, fill water bottles, use the bathroom AGAIN and find your gate. We arrived just as boarding began. My mom was a SAINT and sat in the row with our three girls and my husband and I got to sit in the row behind. I slept on his shoulder the whole way from Arizona to Texas. It felt like we were on our honeymoon. I don’t remember being so cozy and feeling so loved since… this morning when my husband washed my hair in the shower. #husbandgoals ðŸĨ°

Quick dinner was grabbed in the Houston airport during our layover. My youngest daughter and I got taco bowls and she declared that to be her new favorite food. Have to admit I’m a fan of taco bowls myself and I’m guessing it’s a veritable staple food in Texas. Our connecting plane was delayed an hour due to storms but we didn’t care at all. Gave us a chance to check out the chocolate shop we walked past! #chocolateismagic ðŸŦ Then we boarded our next plane to Alabama.

That flight we were seated as two, two, two. I sat with our littlest peanut and they dimmed the lights. She got out her stuffy and blankie and popped her thumb in her mouth. #lovethatshestilldoesthis 💖 I just knew this was going to be the snuggliest flight ever. And I was RIGHT, which if you have been reading this whole post from the beginning (yes it’s long) you know my day started out a bit stressful. The flight attendant even slipped me a bottle of Chardonnay with a secret wink and pressed a package of sherbet gummies into my daughter’s little hand. Score!

Reminds me of Isaiah 43:18-19 which says, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” This is such a key #momlife 🙏ðŸŧ verse because it encourages us to forget the hard times and embrace the resulting joy. Which isn’t easy because we can get stuck feeling like the world owes us some unresolvable debt. But it’s not true. At all. It’s such a greater testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit to forget what happened before, and not to even consider that old stuff so that we can perceive the work God is doing NOW. I admittedly don’t do this well, but it’s certainly a goal of mine.

Huntsville, Alabama was our destination today and we arrived about 11 pm. With children who usually go to bed promptly at 6:30 pm this was a stretch. My middle daughter was yawning at 3 second intervals, but other than that everyone was doing fine. We got our luggage (all of it). Rented a car (without a glitch). And played I spy with a sweet little girl on her way to her grandmother’s funeral. She was really good at it. All our luggage fit into the rental car and our hotel was 5 minutes from the airport. By 12:30 am we were in our room and by 1 am all the kids were SOUND asleep. #bestsleepers ðŸ˜ī

Goodnight everyone. Today was a good travel day. Now I get to curl up with my handsome hubby and join the kids in dream land. Thanks for sharing our summer adventures through this blog.