Saturday, April 14, 2012

Running with the bulls

Over the years, Brad has done a GREAT job introducing the girls to sports.
Brad is very athletic and wanted to make sure that his girls were exposed to sports, not just to give them physical activity... but I'm pretty sure he is grooming them to be his bike/hike/snowboarding companions over the next few years.

Ana and Keira at Nature Center : Favorite Destination
Either way, the girls have amazing endurance.  You see, if you run your kids around constantly, they get tired and sleep well.  If you keep running them around, they gain endurance and need more... running around.

At this point, the girls can handle 4 hours of swimming, riding bikes and still need to run off energy.
Brad is CONSTANTLY taking them to their physical limits and is always pleasantly surprised by the results.
Climbing to the top of Enchanted Rock at age 2 1/2?  Of course.
2 1/2 hour bike ride through mud?  No problem. 
8 hours of ski school?  "Daddy, can we play outside in the snow when we get back?"

They're incredible children.

Good news: Our girls are GREAT at hiking and demanding sports activities.
Bad news: We’ve never submitted them to mall-walks and adult shopping, so they’re like feral, wild children being brought to civilization.
Bull in a china shop.

Photo: BBC
Today's jaunt to REI went as expected.
We were TRYING to get warm weather clothes for the girls for upcoming hiking trips.  In the end, I think I brought them outside for a "talking to" once, made them sit on the ground with their hands folded twice, shook my finger in their faces with promises to End All The Fun Things, and finally... finally... I see it... a tent.
They ran to the other children in the tent and zipped themselves inside.
Thank you, REI... for making a cage for my feral children so appealing.

Tomorrow... tomorrow I go to the mall to buy pants for myself.
What will start as just a depressing expedition to buy Mom Pants will end in me stomping out of the mall, past Cinnabon's sweet smells and drooling patrons, past the part-time helpers offering free lotion testers... holding the hands of two scolded, feral children.
I will sit in the car and wait until I hear the click of the seat-belts and I'll make a thin vow to myself to never ever go to the Sad Place With The Pants again... and then I'll hear a faint question from a sorry little girl in the back seat, "Mommy?  But do we get to ride bikes when we get home?"

Saturday, February 18, 2012

"They're coming out of the walls..."

I'm glad I got the girl's hair cut.
They were starting to look like Newt.

Keira working on her 1st quilt (and a bad picture)

Saturday, February 11, 2012


You could say that I struggled with infertility.  The problem here is that “struggled” is an inferior word. 
I struggle to get the lid off a jar of pickles.  I struggle to remember the name of my High School English teacher.
You do not struggle with infertility.   
You wage a full out war.

Many battles were lost for years.  Brad and I would retreat, refocus, come up with a battle plan.
The analogies are endless here.

Needless to say, I was at the end of 4 ½ years of war when my Doctor told me to surrender.  Her words were, “Wrap your brain around not having kids.”  She told us that we would have 2 more chances.  I had the three months between October – December of 2005 to prepare myself for the last battle.

In November of that year, I came up with a post-war plan.
First, I would buy a Mercedes… a nice Mercedes… and I would name it “Daycare”.  Average daycare costs are around $800 a month per child, so I thought that I could buy into a nice car for that much.  It was going to be spectacular.
I also decided to spend a lot of money on quilting projects.  My friend, Dianne, watched in horror at the Houston Quilt Festival as I filled multiple bags with projects.  I, of course, stayed away from children’s quilts.  (Another stab through the heart).

That next January, I became pregnant with my children.
It was not the case of “just relax and it will happen” that so many people quoted to me over the years. 
(If you have ever said that to me, take a few moments to beat yourself around the face and neck.  Also, piss off.)
I got (and stayed) pregnant from an arsenal of hormones, controlled daily checks, self injections, weekly Doctor visits and modern medicine.
There was no relaxation in this process.

So, here we are… 6 years later… and DAMMIT I still have a LOT of projects to finish from that festival!

"If you are going to go through hell, keep going."
- Winston Churchill 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Keep Exploring

Columbia (STS-107) did not land 9 years ago this morning. It was an awful, sinking, hopeless feeling to watch the news footage of it breaking up over Texas. Within 15 minutes, I was at work...

Over the next few months, my coworkers scoured the fields of East Texas looking for pieces of the broken orbiter.  We documented the debris.  We cataloged the imagery. 
We hunted, desperately, for cameras.
In 2003, we were still flying film cameras onboard the shuttles.  These cameras, and any found film, were priceless to those of us working in Building 8 at NASA's Johnson Space Center.

I remember holding a Hasselblad that was delivered to me by a tired, hopeless coworker.  I held the charred camera.  The film back was still intact.  There was likely film in it.  The camera was exposed to the catastrophic reintry to the earth's atmosphere, heat, plummet to the earth, impact and then the elements of East Texas for weeks.  Rain, heat, cold... none of it was good for the film, likely ruined inside.

I was right.  The film was charred on the outer edges.  Most of the film on either side of the leaders were destroyed.  Only a few frames of the film in the very inside of the film magazine survived. 
This image:

The crew portrait.  Each crew takes one while onboard the shuttle or station.
The tears that were shed the day we found this portrait are beyond counting.
I'm not one to look towards the heavens to do anything but look at the stars or be humbled by it's vast expanse... but this?  This image that survived?
I needed that. 

I needed it to keep working and to mourn the death of my coworkers and friends.
I was at work, because Human Space Flight is the most important thing we humans do. We owe it to our friends and coworkers that we lost that morning to remember them and remember why they (and so many others) risk their lives for space travel.
Hug your fellow astronaut today.
Keep exploring.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Rock bands from the 80s would disagree

Quotes from Keira while watching tennis, "Nadal punched the air. Nothing will actually happen if you punch the air."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Master Of The Obvious

Keira, like most 5 year olds and many members of my immediate family, tends to state updates on what is going on around her. 
In my family, you can easily be labeled as MOTO... Master Of The Obvious.

Keira.  aka "MOTO"
This morning, Keira was simply rambling about her observations when Ana gave a heavy sigh and said, "THANK YOU, person who tells me things I already know!"

And so it begins.

Monday, January 23, 2012

"I've got to go to potty from all this"

Ana can ride her bike!

Could I get her to ride without training wheels?  No.
It took seeing one of her friends riding to give her the courage to try.  Peer pressure FOR THE WIN!

As soon as Ana saw her friend riding her bike, she BEGGED me to let her ride. 
Just the next day, we have this:

Keira can clearly ride on her own, but she was really not motivated by peer pressure to ride for longer than a few minutes without training wheels. (Lack of peer pressure for the win?)