Saturday, April 28, 2012

Three Years Old!

I've been quiet on the blogging front lately because I've been busy working on a certain space robot party for two certain space robot astronaut boys. It's tomorrow and I still have some things to do, but I wanted to share some pictures of the boys over the past three years. What a blessing they have been! And so delightfully weird!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Inner Astronaut

Since the boys have been hardcore obsessed with space for the past four months, I've accidentally picked up some space knowledge I didn't have before. I can tell you how much interest I've had in astronauts, space shuttles, rockets, planets, space robots, and the moon in the past: zip. Zero. But it's amazing how two little obsessed boys who make everything into a space shuttle, including every elevator we ride in, (yes, they do the countdown each time, even when the elevator is full of strangers) can change what you think about. Also, thinking about space is infinitely more interesting than thinking about ceiling fans. 

This morning I wrote about this curious learning phenomenon on DC Metro Mom.

Eating astronaut granola before seeing the shuttle (they eat anything I call "astronaut")

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Welcoming Discovery

This isn't going to be much more than a photo story, but I want to let everyone local get a glimpse of how awesome the Smithsonian's Space Shuttle Discovery welcome festivities are before they're over tomorrow. We went today and it was amazing. The boys love the Udvar-Hazy museum anytime, but this four day welcome party blew their minds. Our friend Eddie who works at NASA gave us all NASA space shuttle program shirts for Christmas, and we decided to pull them out for the occasion, even though the boys' are just a shade too big. If you're local, and especially if you're local and have kids, you should get to this tomorrow! The boys are obsessed with NASA's Robonaut thanks to a National Geographic Kids magazine and online videos, so they loved seeing R1. We thought it would be R2, so we were a little disappointed, but next week at the Science and Engineering Festival at the Washington Convention Center, they will have R2, the robonaut the boys are in love with the most. There were a ton of cool exhibits and hands-on activities for kids. Here are some pictures.

Mars suit

looking at 3D Mars landscape

Robonaut 1-- almost as cool as R2

transporting Teddy Bear Astronaut from Earth to the space station

space shuttle simulated cabin-- 2/3 scale

driving a Cessna "to New York, but we're still in New Jersey"

the Space Shuttle Enterprise from the observation tower-- NY bound

They survived the airplane simulator!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thursday Thesicle

It's not a real day if rockstars don't rock out on your couch.

The Discovered Discovery and Ambivalent Duck

The space shuttle Discovery made 39 missions to space in 27 years and made its last trip to space last year. Yesterday it was flown from Florida to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum by Dulles airport here in Virginia. There's a cool history of the shuttle in pictures here and of the space shuttle era here.

Everyone was buzzing about where the best place to see it flying over would be. At first I planned to take the boys to a park near the airport to watch it come in with some friends. Then I read somewhere that the best place to see it would be the parking lot of the museum. Then the night before I saw on the news that it was going to circle the Capitol, White House, and the monuments downtown and never be very high off the ground. On a wild and crazy mom-whim, I decided to change plans and not pay the $15 to park at the museum and watch it in the parking lot, but instead to head downtown to see it in a free and more scenic setting. 

On the metro ride in, I read that the best place to see it would be the west side of the Capitol, east side of the Washington monument. I have no idea how they made those assertions, but I was clearly deeply affected by everything I read for some reason. We stayed on the metro a little longer than I had planned and got off right at the Capitol. We met Uncle A, who came bearing a bagel for the boys and coffee for me.  

After strolling to the front of the building, we decided to go ahead and camp out there. Plenty of people had gathered, including some punk school kids who thought it was hilarious to every once in awhile gasp together and point to the sky to confuse everyone. Workers from the Capitol building poured out on the terraces (if that’s what they’re called), waiting for the sighting. We met some friends there and sunblocked all the kiddos and hung out. We could see people on top of buildings all around us. It was kind of a goosebumpy, unifying experience there for awhile, as we all just waited expectantly for the flyover. There were news cameras with chunky microphones, toothy field trip students in matching lanyards and braces, and perfectly-dressed Capitol Hill staff.  The occasional nerd in a space shuttle shirt. An elderly couple telling their life stories to the polite PBS reporter. Everyone waiting.

We saw the plane with the shuttle on it coming in from the north, but it didn’t get terribly close and then just went down the river toward Alexandria. Certainly that wasn’t the “circle around the National Mall,” right? Everyone stuck around, so we knew either it wasn’t, or they had changed plans and disappointed a lot of people who expected to see much more of it. After awhile we saw it coming by again, this time clearly heading toward us. Aaron and I were each holding a boy and at several points I tried to take a video on my camera, but it makes me sick to even look at the footage, it’s so shaky. I got a couple decent pictures, but nothing great. Mostly I hope the boys remember coming to see the space shuttle fly in, and the excitement it created. They are so obsessed with everything space related, that I wanted to make sure to make the effort to get them to see it.

There are a bunch of great videos of the shuttle flying over and landing, and some awesome pictures. Here's a good quality, short montage of its flight. I saw pictures of people stopped everywhere looking skyward. A friend said her husband pulled over with all the other drivers on major road in the area and someone invited him to sit on top of his car and watch it with him and some other guys. So great.

After the space shuttle excitement we took in the insect zoo at the Museum of Natural History, where the boys touched a caterpillar, watched a tarantula eat a cricket, crawled like ants through a pretend dirt tunnel, laughed at bee poop, and enjoyed that part of the museum more than they have before. We got ourselves some Ollie’s Trolley grub, this time with our real friend Ollie, his sister Ella, and their parents. With Ollie at Ollie’s!

I’m excited for this weekend at the Air and Space museum. They have all kinds of festivities surrounding the arrival of Discovery. (Read about them here.) The Space Shuttle Enterprise is the shuttle that has been on display here that is moving up to New York since we get the seasoned, historic Discovery.Enterprise has never been to space. At some point tomorrow Enterprise and Discovery are going nose-to-nose in a passionate space shuttle kiss. I'm actually not joking about that.



Just waitin' on the steps

Awesome. Shirt.

The boys and me

Waiting with space shuttle picture on the newspaper


The Capitol empties

Everyone stares

Here it goes across the Mall

Coming around (notice people on the buildings)

....and more people on buildings

Woohoo! Piggybackin' 

Circling around again

The fountain for afterward entertainment

The ambivalent fountain duck that slept through it all
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