Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Car for sale!

My car should be fixed by noon tomorrow. It will have a new clutch, slave cylinder, and a couple of other widgets. All this for only $1350. ----I was just interrupted by a spider crawling across the floor. I killed it and was greeted by tens of little baby spiders scurrying around. I'm going to admit to the world right now that it was a manifestation of my nightmares. I HATE SPIDERS!---- Okay, back to cars.

So, I guess it is worth the money to be able to drive my car again but I am getting pretty close to replacing it and it hurts to spend so much right before getting rid of it. Anyway, anyone interested in a used 1999 Firebird TransAm with some new widgets? I'm actually not quite ready to sell (I need to get my $1350 worth) but this made me realize that I don't have any pictures of my car in the photo album. That's kind of sad. There was a time when that car was pretty high up in my priorities. Oh well, life goes on, but I am going to miss the memories! ~sigh~ Here's a pic from the glory days.

Ross' TransAm

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Car trouble

My car decided to quit working this morning. I started it and tried to pull out of the garage but it just jerked and died. Basically, my clutch is shot (I guess) because it is either fully in or fully out so I can't get it to go anywhere. It's particularly annoying to be without a car this week because E is working 3pm to midnight meaning I have to go pick her up in a couple of hours. Anyway, I had a tow truck come and pick it up tonight, so we'll see tomorrow how it goes.

Overdue Update

Ok…I know I’m awful. I haven’t contributed to our blog since March! I have been busy, but that’s no excuse. I’ll try to fill you in on what we’ve been up to without going on forever, but I’ll warn you…we’ve been busy!!! I put links to the albums for the things with pictures.

Restoration Band Concert – our church, Gateway Community Church, has one of the most awesome praise and worship bands, and they put on their first concert on March 19th. It was awesome! One of the guys from our life group, Brandon, plays guitar for them. At one point in the concert he was playing 2 guitars at once…now that takes some talent! They actually did a live recording of the concert, but the CD hasn’t been release yet.

Girls’ Night – A group of girls from our life group had girls’ night back in March. We went to dinner and then to the Painted Potter where we spent hours talking and painting pottery. It was a lot of fun to do something creative.

Chloe’s B-day Party – Two of the youngest members of our life group, Annalyse and Chloe, turned 4 in March. We were able to attend one of their birthday parties. We had such a hard time deciding what to get her. When you don’t spend much time around kids, it’s hard to know what they’d be into these days. There were way too many options at the store, but we finally decided on something. It was so much fun to watch the kids running around playing and tearing into presents. They are so cute at that age!

Life Group “Multiplication” – Our life group has grown a lot over the last year, and we all came to the agreement that it was time to divide into two groups so everyone could get the most out of the time. Our church doesn’t like the negative sound of dividing because our goal is to lead more and more people to be fully devoted followers of Christ not to tear people apart, so they call it multiplying. It was a hard decision because we all enjoy spending the time together, but ultimately our life group time is about developing our relationship with God and gaining a greater understanding of Him through the studies that we do. We had almost 20 people in our group, which is too big to have a productive discussion. Fortunately, one of the couples in our group, Katie and Jason, was interested in leading a group. The hard part was deciding who would be in each group. After a lot of deliberation, we all agreed that the most logical division would be by our stages of life. All of us are young married couples. Some already have children, some are expecting, some are hoping for kids soon, and some don’t even want to think about kids right now, so that’s how we ended up “multiplying”…with kids or wanting kids soon and no kids now. We had a transition period that has really helped us all to keep in touch. During the transition period, both groups continued to meet in a common location and socialize as a large group before breaking into our new groups to do the study. When that study ended, so did our transition period. We are now meeting as separate groups and doing different studies, but we are all continuing to do things with each other outside of the life group time. It has been a sad and hard transition at times, but I think we are all seeing the benefit of it.

John’s Surgery & Carter’s Birth – We made a trip to Shreveport in early April because we found out that Ross’ dad, John, had another tumor on his kidney, and this time they were going to have to remove the entire kidney. This ended up being Easter weekend, so we went to church that Sunday with my parents, but we spent the rest of the time with Ross’ family…at least until we found out that our best friends, Barbara and Heath, were headed to the hospital in Minden (30 minutes away) to have their first baby. Both John’s surgery and the arrival of baby Carter happened the morning of April 10th. We were able to be with John and Ross’ mom, Susan, as John was prepped for surgery; to run errands and take care of things for them during the surgery; to be there when the doctor reported how well things had gone and when he came out of recovery; to pick up Ross’ sister, Leslie, and John’s cousin, Dick from the airport so they could visit; and to be at the hospital in Minden as one of the first visitors to see baby Carter after he was born. It was a busy day, but we felt so blessed to be there for such important moments in the lives of our family and friends. The surgery did in fact go very well, and John has been recovering well. However, the pathology report following the surgery was not what we would have hoped for. They found cancer cells in John’s blood. They have since done several tests to determine if the cancer has started growing somewhere else in his body and have started him on a treatment plan. So far the side effects of the treatment have been minimal, and we are hopeful that it will be effective. All of your prayers are appreciated! On a brighter note, Carter and Barbara are both doing very well. He is a very healthy and happy baby!

Wicked – The day we got back from Shreveport, we went to see the musical Wicked. We went to dinner at Brennan’s of Houston before the show, which was delicious. If you ever have the opportunity to see Wicked, do it! It was great! Even Ross enjoyed it.

Emma & Chris’ Baby Shower – We helped throw a couples baby shower for our friends Emma and Chris. It turned out really cute. It had a cowgirl theme, so we served BBQ and had cute little pink boots filled with flowers as center pieces. Everyone decorated onesies for the baby girl. Some were cute with little flowers, and some were funny with sayings like “Can’t touch this” with an arrow pointing to the butt.

Increment 15 Begins – Work…the new crew was delivered to the International Space Station on April 9th, which marked the beginning of Increment 15. Each increment is ~6 months long, and each flight control system has a lead for the increment. I am the Increment 15 Lead for ODIN, which means my stress level has increased and my free time has decreased.

Crawfish Boil – We had our annual crawfish boil on April 21st. We had about 60 of our closest friends and family over for crawfish, corn, and potatoes. We didn’t get a lot of pictures because we were too busy cooking and talking and having fun, but you can check out what we got.

Wendy & John’s Adoption Celebration – Our friends, Wendy and John, are adopting a little girl from China in a few months. We got together with some of their friends to help celebrate by showering them with some of the things they will need when they bring their little girl home. After the long and grueling process that they have had to go through to get to this point, it was time to celebrate!

Lauren & Dave’s Wedding Shower – We helped throw a couple’s shower with Katie and Jason and Emma and Chris for our friends Lauren and Dave who are getting married in July. It was a beautiful day. We set up outside by Emma and Chris’ pool. We served all kinds of yummy food, but my favorite was the dessert…an ice cream sundae bar complete with brownies, ice cream, hot fudge and caramel sauces, and of course cherries to put on top. Those of you who know me shouldn’t be surprised that I’m still talking about this…I love dessert! Back to the reason for the shower though…Lauren and Dave are such a sweet couple, and we are so excited for them!

Advisory Board Meetings, BME Building Dedication, and The Order of the Engineer – In early May we went to Louisiana Tech for the Spring advisory board meetings and the Biomedical Engineering (BME) Building Dedication. The BME Building dedication was a pretty big deal for Tech. They had several important people there giving thanks to Tech and the people who donated to the funds that made the building possible. We got to wander through the building and check out there plans for the rooms, but I have to say…it’s not nearly as nice as the Institute for Micro-manufacturing building next door that my dad designed. ;-) Every Spring the senior engineering students present their final projects at the Senior Design Conference where the advisory boards evaluate them and offer feedback to the programs. Ross and I are both on advisory boards for the college, so we spent our Saturday morning listening to a brief summary of what the students have spent the last two quarters working on prior to graduation. There were some really good projects this year, which I was very happy to see. A new tradition was brought to LA Tech a few years ago called the Order of the Engineer. I was inducted last year, and Ross had the honor of being inducted this year. Check out the cute photo of him after the ceremony (yes, I made him pose like that).

Jason’s Graduation – One of the guys in our life group, Jason, graduated this semester with a double major in Sociology and Criminology with minor concentrations in Legal Studies, Work & Occupation and Criminal Justice…I can’t even begin to imagine how much studying he had to do for all of that! To top that off, he’s married to a beautiful woman, Christie, and they have two kids, Christian (10) and Chloe (4). I don’t know how they did it, but they did! We celebrated with their families on Saturday by having a big lunch and hanging out. I’d say Jason could finally relax now, but he starts his new job on Wednesday!

Clara and Ben’s Births – We’ve welcomed two new additions to our life group family over the last couple of weeks. Emma and Chris had a beautiful baby girl that they named Clara, and Tara and Joseph had a handsome little boy that they named Ben. We’ve had fun visiting everyone and doing what we can for the families. We’re looking forward to watching them grow and learning from the new parents in hopes that we’ll have a little one someday too.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

10 year high school reunion and MySpace

I started thinking a couple of weeks ago about my 10 year high school reunion. It's hard to believe that it has been 10 years! Anyway, with summer rapidly approaching I realized that I hadn't heard anything about a reunion. Not knowing exactly where to look, I began searching the internet. I started with I signed up there probably 5 years ago and haven't really been back much, but it seemed like a logical start. Well, I didn't find out much except that there were a couple of other people wondering about it as well.

My next thought was MySpace. I've avoided MySpace because I generally tend to stay away from what everybody else is doing (blogging not included) and it doesn't exactly have the highest reputation. Anyway, I figured that there wasn't a much better place to find a bunch of 27 and 28 year olds so I signed up. So now I have a MySpace page. Well, sort of. I haven't gotten a custom URL or made my profile fancy, but at least people might find me if there were looking (which I'm sure everyone is).

Long story short, MySpace was the key to success! I found a MySpace group and profile for the C.E. Byrd High School class of 1997 and this led me to the page. The reunion will be August 25, 2007 so I haven't missed it and I think I'll try to go. As long as a Shuttle flight doesn't get in the way, I should be able to.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Whirlwind Trip to KSC

This weekend, I took a trip to NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for work. It was a quick trip, but an exciting one. For every Shuttle flight, we make a couple of trips to KSC for equipment testing. The reason I titled this "Whirlwind Trip to KSC" is because I left Houston at 8:50 am on Friday, spent ~12 hours at KSC that day and got back to Houston at 4:00 pm on Saturday. For this trip, we were on the launch pad so I got to see the Shuttle in its vertical position and we worked in the payload bay area. Check out the pictures in the photo album including a couple of me in my bunny suit. You'll probably notice some spots on the external tank that are lighter in color. This is where they repaired the hail damage that originally delayed the launch.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A long couple of weeks...

E and I have been crazy busy lately, both at work and home. Last weekend we traveled to Ruston to visit friends, serve on advisory boards, and participate in ceremonies (biomedical engineering building dedication and Order of the Engineer induction). It always amazes me how hard the following week is after a trip like that. It's like you don't really get the weekend to reboot. Of course, we wouldn't have wanted to miss it. Anyway, E has lots of pictures from various events over the last month that we'll eventually get on the site. Stay tuned...