Friday, July 17, 2015

So dreamy!

On our recent date, Addie and I went to the Dashanbe Tea House. Upon seeing one of the waiters, Addie was instantly smitten. Sometimes these moments take me by surprise. Sometimes I wonder if my girls are more boy-crazy than they should be. Even so, I try not to make them feel embarrassed about their feelings.

ADDIE: Oh, Mommy! There goes my heart!
MOMMY: Oh? How so?
ADDIE: Look at that waiter. He's so dreamy!
MOMMY: Oh, he is cute! What makes you think he's so dreamy?
ADDIE: I really like his long curly hair. He looks like Hic-Up!
MOMMY: Oh, I understand that one. I love it when Daddy's hair is curly and long.
ADDIE: But mostly I love his beard. Well, it's not really a beard, but it kind of is.
MOMMY: Oh, you like it when it looks like the beard is just starting to grow in, but isn't quite there yet?
ADDIE: Oh yes! (sigh)
MOMMY: It's called a 5:00 shadow.
ADDIE: I don't care what it's called. When I get married, my husband can call it whatever he wants, as long as he is just as perfect!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

National Geographic

January 2010

July 2015

And now both Michael and I can claim that we both worked on projects that made it to the cover of National Geographic. How many couples can say that? Life is good.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


I have to say, it makes me smile seeing that Pluto has a heart feature on its surface. It turns out Pluto is much more than a cold rock in the middle of space! Who knew? It's kind of pretty, don't you think?

And for those of you who would like to know more about the features found on Pluto, this tickled me. My personal favorite is the jpeg plumes! 

And what's next for that heart of Pluto's? This may be the saddest planetary love story I have ever seen. Poor Pluto.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

New Horizons

This year has been quite an interesting one when it comes to parenting. In many ways I've played the role of single parent for extended amounts of time. Why, you might ask?

Michael plays a significant role on NASA's New Horizons mission, which flew by Pluto on July 14th, 2015. He plays a few different roles. He's Payload Systems Engineer, RF Engineer and helped a lot on the REX sensor that's on board.

It's been an interesting journey for us. Michael started working on New Horizons as his first project straight out of college. He's been on the project ever since, even though he now works for a different employer. He was present to watch the launch in early 2006, when New Horizons launched as the fasted moving manmade vehicle in history. And he and the rest of the team has been patiently waiting for 9.5 years for New Horizons to reach Pluto.

9.5 years! Think about that. In fact, New Horizons was a planet when it launched and was demoted since! 9.5 years to see the fruit of your labor. WOW.

I suppose you know you really truly "made it" when Google changes their search logo to match the project you're working on. Not many people can claim a connection to that milestone.

The New Horizons team experienced a big hurdle a week before launch when their main computer went down and the system flipped to the back-up processor. They didn't get the system up and running completely until less than a day prior to encounter. 9.5 years of travel, and they nearly missed the window of opportunity by 8 or so hours!

When the day finally came, I dutifully stayed home with the girls to watch NASA TV live, not sure what to expect. We watched them countdown to the closest encounter (which actually ended up being a countdown to the wrong time, but really... 9.5 years of travel, you can expect your calculations to be only so close).

So just how far away is Pluto? Ellie tried to put it into perspective.
ELLIE: If you were to go faster than fast, faster than you can imagine, even faster than any plane, it would take you 9.5 years to get to Pluto!
ADDIE: (un-phased) Oh yeah? But how long does it take Flash to get there?
ELLEI: I think it would even take Flash 9.5 years to get there too!
ADDIE: (now her eyes are popping) WHOA!!! That **IS** far away!
(For the record, I looked it up. The Flash would take significantly longer than a measly 9.5 years to reach Pluto)

And now it takes 9 hours, round trip to send a command and receive an acknowledgement. Michael says they're communicating at 1982 modem speeds, so the data will take over a year to download. 1982 modems? Did such a thing even exist?!

Later in the day, we watched as the New Horizons team re-established communication with the spacecraft (Michael makes an appearance right around the 2 minute mark). The girls got a kick out of Daddy being on TV so much and they kept yelling at the TV "Daddy, stop clapping and wave to the camera!" or "Daddy, stop hugging that person and wave to us!" Alas, he never waved. He was too caught up in enjoying the moment. And it was a moment that he truly deserved to soak in.

Monday, July 13, 2015


Addie playing restaurant, acting as my waitress...

ADDIE: Hello. I'm Rosie. I'll be your waitress tonight. It is lovely to see you!
MOMMY: Thank you. It's nice to be here.
ADDIE: Are you celebrating a special occasion?
MOMMY: Why yes we are! We're celebrating our anniversary!
ADDIE: Oh, congratulations! I think you now have a baby in your tummy!
MOMMY: Why would you say that?
ADDIE: That's what happens when you celebrate anniversaries! I'm so happy for you!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Naming the future generation

ELLIE: If I had a baby girl I would name her Amanda and if I had a boy I would name him Henry.
ADDIE: I would name my babies Mr Freckle Bumps and Mrs Froggile Wiggles

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


You make me smile like the sun,
Fall outta bed
Sing like a bird,
Dizzy in my head
Spin like a record,
Crazy on a Sunday night
You make me dance like a fool,
Forget how to breathe
Shine like gold,
Buzz like a bee
Just the thought of you can drive me wild
Oh, you make me smile

* Lyrics to Uncle Kracker's "Smile"

Monday, June 29, 2015

There once lived a princess...

... who quickly grew into a beautiful into a beautiful soul. The only thing that seemed to grow quicker than the little princess was her heart.

The princess possessed a special kind of magic that allowed her to love bigger than big.  She ruled her kingdom with one motto:  I love everyone and everything.   When most would run from a bear, the princess would stand brave, ready with a great big bear hug of her own.  Though it was typical for a prince to win the heart of a princess through acts of bravery, perhaps by slaying a dragon our two, she chose to defend the majestic creatures. Her heart would be won by love.  Some say she had the heart of a bear and a dragon soul, but I think she just had the ability to see kindness where others would not even try to look.

The princess was very polite and patient. She held a certain kind of confidence that told those around her that she knew the day would come for her to be great. If a challenge presented itself to the princess, she seemed to know that eventually she would conquer it. Having this foresight gave the princess a great deal of peace for she knew that life was too short to worry about the small things standing in her way. 

The princess had an old soul and whenever she smiled, she would do so with her eyes. No doubt the kingdom was a more cheerful place because of her sunshine.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015