Monday, March 30, 2009

Productive Weekends Make for Exhausted Weekends!

I had a great first week back at school after our super fabulous, extra long Spring Break. Then the chaos began! Friday Isaac's parents came to town for the weekend, and we went non-stop! They got Cadilac Bar reserved for our rehearsal dinner; it's going to be such a fun nigiht. Saturday we picked out our cake flavors and designed them. You'll have to come to the wedding or wait for pictures to know what they'll be like. Saturday afternoon we also did a run through of my hair with Sandy, my fantastic stylist. Bridal portraits are on Saturday and Monday, so we needed to be ready! Sunday we met with Karen, our wedding coordinator at church. She is so very organized, and said we were doing everything right. Yay!

However, the best event of the weekend was Saturday afternoon. My granddad bought me a Rugers 10/22 rifle. WHOOP!

No worries; there's not even a clip in it!

All in all, it was a great weekend, but I was ready for the bubble bath I allowed myself tonight. Now it's off to bed!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

West Coast=Picture Perfect Wedding

On Thursday morning, Isaac and I flew to Lake Tahoe, Nevada for Will and Michelle's wedding. We had a beautiful drive to the Hyatt (amazing hotel!), and a fabulous evening at Michelle's parents' cabin with their family and friends.

Friday morning Michelle and I went for manis and pedis to get her all ready for her big day!

In the afternoon, Isaac and I had some time to play in the snow and stand in awe on the shores of Lake Tahoe. God really out-did Himself with this fabulous place! The water is so clear, and with the snowy mountains in the background, it was truly a beautiful sight.

Then it was time to get ready for the wedding. Will and Michelle decided to get married at the Chart House restaurant. The lawn and party room are on the side of a hill, overlooking Lake Tahoe through the trees. It was a perfect place for a wedding!

What a cute family!

The Tanners

Mr. Isaac, Maddy, and Miss Laura

Princess Madisyn

Fabulous sunset kiss!

The Clear Lake Kids!

Apparently you can do magic on your wedding day!

I love this picture!
We love you Will and Michelle! We're so very happy for you!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Best Wishes, Will and Michelle!

Today is the big day for our dear friends, the new Mr. and Mrs. William Tanner! I grew up with Will at UBC, met Michelle after college two years ago, and Isaac became good friends with both of them too! We have had lots of fun times as couples the past year and a half. Isaac and I are so blessed by their love and support of us, and we are very excited we were able to come to Lake Tahoe to celebrate in their joy! We love these two fantastic people so much, and love their godly wisdom and friendship. I can't wait for us to be married friends together! Know that your new marriage is being covered in prayer by so many people who desire God's blessings on you. We love you, Will and Michelle!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

East Coast to Midwest

Monday officially began my Spring Break from teaching. We drove down to Avon Park in central Florida to visit Isaac's grandparents who are snow birds down there. They scheduled an air boat ride for us through Arbuckle Creek and Arbuckle Lake. It was so fun to glide across places (like rock and grass!) where boats shouldn't be able to go! God has some interesting creatures there, too.
Standing on a crashed plane in the swamp.

On the airboat
Tuesday we flew back to Ohio, just in time to leave tomorrow morning for Lake Tahoe! I can't wait for Will and Michelle's wedding on Friday evening. They are two of our favorite people, and we are very excited that we get to share this special time with them. Isaac and I wouldn't miss this wedding for anything. We're praying for you!

Today we did get to hang out with Isaac's family and his mom's daycare kids. I love all of those kids, but Olivia is my favorite! I want one that looks just like her some day! Olivia did have to share me today though with the other two babies. Michelle, I thought of you every time I had to decide which baby to hold: the 6 week old, the 9 month old, or the 14 month old. :)

Olivia and me

On a side note, I was very saddened when I found out Natasha Richardson had died this evening. I always admired her and Liam Neeson for having such a wonderful relationship kept out of the Hollywood spotlight, not to mention she was a phenomenal actress. And, maybe, I was always a little jealous that she was married to Liam Neeson, who I've had a crush on since I was about 8. Seriously though, I can't imagine losing my mom in middle school as her two boys have had happen. Natasha's death is just another reminder of how precious and fragile life is. Thank You, Jesus, for each breathe!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

3...2...1...Lift Off!

"I am speechless. I'm astonished and amazed...." -Steven Curtis Chapman, 'Speechless'

Shuttle Discovery, STS-119, launched beautifully at 7:43 pm, right after sunset. What a sight! I truly was speechless.

Isaac and I had began our day with lots of prayer time for the launch, a long walk on the beach, and an ultimate sand castle building session. It was a peaceful, joyous Sunday morning.

Isaac's moat and my sand castle :)
While we were being architects in the sand, Kelly called to tell us she'd moved our names to the VIP list for the shuttle launch. That might not sound like much, but to us, it was super exciting. The VIP guests get to sit in front of Banana Creek, on the bleachers at the Saturn V Center. It also means there's an air contioned building with lots to see and do, including a restaurant for the 2 hour wait before launch. We were some of the first people there, so we were able to stake out seats on the top row on one section of bleachers. It was a perfect spot! To be only 2.8 miles from the launch pad is an incredible feeling!

At the Visitors' Center

The blue countdown clock I've watched all my life on TV!

Our seats on the bleachers at sunset.
As the clock ran down the time with no pauses or stops, the excitement kept building. I stood still as Lee thanked ground control and all of NASA for making the launch possible. At lift off, I cried and prayed. Me being the emotional basket case that I am, I've been crying at every launch since Columbia. I always watched the launches with excitement, but after losing a crew, I realized just how precious those moments really are. While my family was spared losing someone we knew in the Columbia accident, it's a constant reminder that we could.
In the darkening sky, as the rockets ignited, all we saw for the first few seconds was an orange burst of light. As the shuttle cleared the tower, it looked like it grew five times in size. I could see the shuttle, the external tank, and the SRBs clearly, but my camera could not. Oh well. The magnificence of the moment is in my mind. After about 6 seconds, we finally heard the rumble from the ignition of the main engines. The vibrations moved our clothes! As the shuttle gained height and speed, the light from the setting sun reflected beautifully off of the plume of smoke from the launch. God has so much fun with science!!
Orange glow from lift off.
The sun reflecting off the smoke plume.
SRB separation
After we returned to the Vistors' Center, we looked up to see the ISS passing overhead. NASA was right on (duh!) launching Discovery into the right orbit to be able to play chase with the ISS until they dock on Tuesday. It's so amazing how it all works together. It's amazing that our Abba God allows humans the imagination, intrigue, and intelligence to be able to do such fantastic things. It's been an amazing day of prayer and thanksgiving as I've stood in awe and speechless at all our Lord has made.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

No Go For Launch

On Wednesday, I woke up at 3:45 am to fly to Orlando. Isaac met me there, and we drove to Patrick Airforce Base. Why? Lee Archambault is the commander of STS-119. I have known his family for over 11 years. I babysat Jamie, Matt, and Mari when the family first move to Houston so Lee could begin astronaut training. Now, Mari is in my World Geography class at Space Center. Lee and his wife Kelly were gracious enough to invite Isaac and me to the launch. We've been waiting for over a month for a final launch date. Wednesday was a beautiful day. The reception for Lee was phenomenal! Right after we checked into the hotel, we received a call saying the launch had been scrubbed due to a hydrogen leak between the ground and the external tank. Boo! Isaac and I changed clothes and went to the beach instead! Two hours later, we found out the launch was scrubbed until Sunday. Oops! Our plans were to leave Saturday for Ohio, as this weekend begins my Spring Break. Isaac checked his schedule and realized he didn't have to be back in Ohio until Wednesday for his only final of the quarter. After some reservation swapping, we changed our plans to stay until Tuesday morning, giving us two nights to see the launch if needed. Yay for Spring Break. Honestly, God's hand has been in this whole trip. Had the launch gone as scheduled earlier in February, we never would've been able to extend our plans if needed because of school. The weather has been perfect, and although we had to change hotels today because our original hotel was booked for the last three nights of our trip, we've ended up in a super nice hotel for the same rate!

Mari and me at the launch reception.

Isaac and me with cardboard Lee.
Thursday morning we woke up before dawn to walk on the beach. The sunrise was gorgeous. I won't bore you with all of the pictures I took, but God was having oh so much fun with His fingerpaints that morning! The dolphins took advantage of the sunrise to show off as well.
Sunrise with a pelican.
We spent the rest of Thursday at Kennedy's version of Space Center Houston. It's certainly different. They have a ride that 'simulates' a shuttle launch. I think 'Mission to Mars' at Epcot is much more realistic, but that's Disney for you. Isaac was definitely in his element all day long! I loved seeing him be absolutely giddy as he told me everything there is to know and then some about NASA. I'll be back here again in about 15 years for his first launch, I'm sure. He's determined, and I'm so very, very proud of him.
The shuttle is on the launch pad in the background.
On Friday, we were absolute beach bums! What a treat! We walked two miles on the beach, soaking in all of the sights and sounds. Galveston is special because it is home, but the Mississippi River has certainly ruined Galveston Bay in comparison. The water is just gorgeous here! The beaches are fantastic, with little debris. We bought beach toys at Wal-mart so we could dig and play. No, there is nothing wrong with playing in the sand at 24 years of age!!
The sand castle and starfish we made.

Beach bums!

The Cocoa Beach Pier has some really nice restaurants, and we decided to try one for dinner since we knew we'd be moving down to Melbourne Beach on Saturday. It turned out that we got there for the 'early bird' specials, so we had a tasty dinner for a very decent price. Yet another little blessing as we're trying to be careful with our money since we decided to stay three extra nights to see the launch. The restaurant had glass windows all around so that we could watch the waves and the sunset. It was wonderful in every way! After dinner, we drove down to the Bannana River. Cocoa Beach built a park there with an observation deck to see the manatees.
Sunset at Manatee Park

Saturday morning we woke up before dawn and went to Manatee Park and were graced with the presence of a playful little manatee. God started our morning off right to enjoy His creation all day! After checking out of our first hotel, we went to the Brevard Zoo. The Brevard Zoo is truly one of a kind. They allow so much interaction with the animals! We started our day kayaking with a guide around all of the Africa exhibits. There was nothing but the water between us and giraffes, rhinos, gibbons, lemurs, and ostriches. There's a wild river otter that has taken up residence in the zoo river where people kayak, and he decided to follow us on our entire trip. He was so playful with the kayaks and our paddles. The whole trip was incredible! Then we fed birds in the aviary before seeing the rest of the animals at the zoo. We ended our day at the giraffe exhibit where you can feed the giraffes and love on them if they come up to you. I was in high heaven!!!! Did you know giraffes like their horns scratched? I learned that today! There are two babies in the giraffe exhibit; Stephanie turned one on the 11th, and Melvin turns 3 on Sunday. They weren't tall enough to reach the treats, but they had plenty of other food to eat.

What are you staring at?!!? (Emu)

Isaac feeding nectar to a lorikeet.

The cockatiel sang to me, so I tried to sing back to him.

We love the zoo!
Pygmy marmosets. They were so cute!

Rafikki is the daddy giraffe at the zoo. We bonded. :)
Isaac got to play with Rafikki, too!
Tomorrow, we're praying for a safe and successful launch. I pray for many more launches to come, with the shuttle and with new vehicles that have yet to be produced. I belive that NASA and its endeavours into the vastness of the universe pleases our Maker, as He created all things for His own glory and for our pleasure. While unnecessary risks should always be avoided, life with no risks would've never proved that the world is round, that wonders of unimagined splendor cover our Earth, that airplanes can fly, that Everest can be summited...if we don't keep exploring, who's to say we won't miss out on the next great adventure that the Lord has in store for man kind? What other inventions that have come our way due to the creativity of NASA engineers will we miss out on using in our daily lives if we quit now? Thank you Lee, Joe, Pat, Steve, Mike, and all of the others who have taken the ultimate risk to show us outer space. Thank you, Isaac, for wanting to continue on the dream.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Aggie Basketball

Saturday was the last home game in the regular season for Aggie Basketball. That also means it was Laura's last game on the Aggie Dance Team. She's had four awesome years dancing for TAMU, and it's been super fun watching her on the court and on TV this season.
The whole team dancing during a time out.

George '41 was at the game to cheer on the Aggies!

Michelle and Will came to the game and brought Madisyn to A&M for the first time. I think we have a future Aggie on our hands! Maddy sat with me most of the game so we could watch Miss Laura dance up close. She loved that we let her on the court after the game to see "Mr. David's Laura"!

Mr. David and Madisyn

Laura and Madisyn

Maddy, me, and Laura

David and Laura after the game.

After the game, we had a party to celebrate Laura at her apartment. Her family was there from Canada, along with lots of her friends and my family. I love this girl, and I am so glad she chose my brother!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Let the Blogging Begin!

After reading the blogs of friends for ages, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and create one of my own. I have a huge new part of my journey on this Earth about to begin, so I might as well share the joys and pitfalls with those who will pray for me and encourage me as I fall deeper in love with my Daddy God, Isaac, and Bailey.

I'm sure the next several months will be filled with posts about wedding plans! Check back soon for new posts and pictures!

Isaac and me at Mercer Gardens

Daddy, Bailey, and Mommy

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