Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fun in the Sun

We spent the rest of the weekend relaxing in the sand after our roller coaster of a day watching the shuttle launch. Saturday morning we had a huge breakfast at a local restaurant down the street. Then we coated ourselves in sunscreen and made our way to the beach, which was literally 2 blocks away. The house we rented had chairs and other fun stuff to take to the beach, so we borrowed them and set up camp on the beach. We brought a little tent to keep Audrey out of the sun, which came in handy at the launch too. The sound of the waves must have been soothing because she spent most of the morning asleep while we played.

Jackson & Ross getting more water

Here's a picture of Jackson's first experience with the ocean.

E & Jackson - his first feel of the ocean

He wasn't quite sure what to think of the sand washing away under his feet. He laughed like it tickled but didn't want to go back for more.

He had fun people watching and playing in the sand.

Jackson at the beachJackson playing in the sand

He liked pouring the water on the sand and splashing it in his bucket, so we made many trips back and forth filling up the bucket. Jackson would often walk to the edge of the water with us, but he never wanted to get in.

Jackson & Ross getting more waterJackson & Ross getting more waterJackson pouring water on the sand

I have to say...he makes a pretty cute beach bum!

Jackson relaxing at the beach

Around lunch time we headed back to the house to eat and take naps. We then spent the afternoon at a beautiful park before heading to a fun restaurant for dinner. It was just off of Sea Bird Island, and we were able to get a table outside so Jackson could watch the birds, boats, and dolphins!

Sunday was essentially a repeat of Saturday with different food. We couldn't have dreamed of better weather while we were relaxing on the beach, and we managed to get through both days without any sunburns! Monday morning came with lots of rain though, which made our drive back to Tampa fun. We had planned to stop at the Central Florida Zoo on our way back since our flight wasn't scheduled to leave until later that evening. Fortunately, the rain let up for a little while so we were able to check out all of the animals. Jackson's favorites were the kangaroos and the elephant. It wasn't enough for Jackson though...he wanted to see MORE animals.


We got to the airport several hours early, so we spent a lot of time entertaining Jackson. It wasn't until just before dinner that we discovered their play area. Jackson loved it! Fortunately for him, our flight ended up being delayed, so he got to go back and play more when we were done.

Jackson flying

We ended up having delays on both ends of our flight. When we arrived in Houston we found out the airport had actually been shut down earlier in the day because of weather, so we had to sit and wait for a gate to become available. Jackson had finally fallen asleep on the plane, but sitting on the tarmac without much in the way of A/C for that long was more than he could bear. Both kids crashed hard when we got home, but poor Jackson still wasn't feeling great and woke up crying in the middle of the night...not at all normal for him. We hope he gets to feeling better soon!

There are more pictures from the weekend in the album if you're interested.

Shuttle Atlantis' Final Launch

Our trip to Florida was filled with ups and downs...there's a lot to tell, so bear with us.

I managed to pick up a book called Airport the night before we left, and I'm so glad I did. I think it really helped prepare Jackson for what to expect, and he did great! He loved watching the airplanes in the waiting area, and both kiddos did really well on the plane. Since Jackson is still under 2 they both rode in our laps. Ross and I weren't able to sit together because the flight was full and there are only 4 oxygen masks per row (3 adults + 2 kids = not enough masks).

We flew into Tampa, rented a car, and drove to Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on Thursday. We wanted to make sure we knew where we were going on Friday and took the opportunity to check things out. We saw the air force museum with rocket engines and missiles, checked out the Mercury 7 Memorial, and launch complex 14 where the Mercury-Atlas 6 Friendship 7 spacecraft was launched making John Glenn the first American to orbit the Earth.

Jackson & Ross @ Mercury 7 MemorialJackson @ Launch Complex 14

From there we made our way to Daytona where we'd rented a house just 2 blocks from the beach for the weekend. We settled in and were looking forward to the launch on Friday since everything including the weather still looked good! Launch day didn't start off great for the Taylor family though. Jackson woke up at 4 AM with a barking cough and having trouble breathing. Not knowing where a hospital was (and not being able to find one quickly on our phones) we called 911. It turns out 911 won't just give you directions to the nearest hospital, so Jackson and Ross got to go for a ride in an ambulance! Audrey and I followed in the rental car for what felt like the longest ride of my life. Jackson was checked out on the ride and given a breathing treatment along with a yellow bear by the wonderful EMS lady. He was diagnosed with croup before we even left the house, and by the time we got to the hospital he was doing much better. One nice thing about going to the hospital in an ambulance is that you don't have to wait to get into a room. Once we were there he was examined again and had x-rays taken of his chest, which helped confirm the diagnosis. They gave him some medicine and another breathing treatment before he was released.

Since JD was doing better we quickly gathered our things and headed back to KSC for the launch. We parked in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) parking lot just in time to see the astronauts being driven to the pad!

Jackson & Ross @ VABAstronaut Van to PadAstronaut Van to Pad

Shortly after this exciting moment, we were stopped by security and asked where we were going. It turns out the rules at KSC are different than JSC and kids aren't allowed on site without special paperwork. Oops! We felt awful because some guard is going to get in trouble for letting us on site while we wouldn't have tried if we'd realized it wasn't okay. We spent the rest of the morning talking with security as they prepared their incident report, and then we were escorted off site and photographed! Of course, in the midst of this, Audrey had a major diaper blow out. Being in the middle of a parking lot doesn't lend itself to easy clean up. We had to deal with it and another hungry kid while being questioned by security. Despite the turmoil, all of the security personnel were very nice and understanding of our situation.

It was pretty disappointing to be so close to the pad thinking we were going to see and feel the launch in such a dramatic way only to be escorted off site and left to find another place to watch the launch two hours before it was scheduled to take off (that's how long it took to do the report). There were estimated to be 41,000 people watching, so finding a place to park and watch was a little overwhelming.

We did find a great spot though. We set up our stuff at a park in Titusville where Jackson was able to run around and play until Atlantis lifted off on time at 2:20 EDT. While we weren't able to "feel" the launch, we could still hear and see it, and it was amazing. My friend, Stephen, describes it much better than I ever could in this post from a previous launch.

Here's a picture of Jackson and Ross watching the launch (Eric and Stephen, I promise I didn't watch it through a view finder...just wanted to capture the moment and prove that we were there!).

Ross & JD watching Atlantis

Here's one of me and Jackson with the shuttle plume still in the sky.

Elizabeth & JD with Atlantis' Plume

After the launch we let Jackson play a little more while traffic cleared out.

Ross & JD swinging after the launch

Audrey enjoyed a nice nap in the shade.

Audrey napping after the launch

There are more pictures in the album, and more to come on our fun at the beach in another post...this one's already pretty long!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Audrey is 2 Months Old!

Audrey had her 2 month appointment today. She weighed in at 11 pounds 15 ounces, which is the 75th percentile, and she was 22.25 inches long, which is in the 50th percentile like Jackson was. She's still doing great with her eating and sleeping schedule too. We are so blessed to have two such wonderful, happy (most of the time) children!

AudreyJackson & Ross

LA Tech Advisory Board Weekend

Thursday we made our way to Ruston, LA and spent the afternoon and evening with my grandparents. We had a great time playing, eating, and visiting. We even got to hear the story of how my grandparents started dating. It was classic and hilarious! I'll just say it involved a yearbook and leave it at that. :-)

Friday Ross and I both had advisory board meetings for our respective engineering disciplines. This was my last meeting on the board, which was a little bitter sweet. We're not exactly sure how long I've been on the industrial engineering board, but we know it's been at least 6 years. I'm happy to report that I have seen improvement in the program over that time!

Jackson and Audrey played at the Tims' house all day Friday, and apparently Jackson and Carter did a little babysitting...too cute!

Carter & Jackson taking care of AudreyCarter taking care of AudreyCarter & AudreyCarter & Jackson taking care of Audrey

Saturday, Barbara and Carter came over to my grandparents' house to play while the guys finished up their meetings that morning. When they were done, they took care of the kiddos for a while so Barbara and I could pamper ourselves a little by getting pedicures. We returned to discover both boys had refused their naps and were still playing hard. They had SO much fun together and were so sweet with Audrey.

Barbara & AudreyCarter & AudreyCarter & Jackson taking care of AudreyBarbara & AudreyCarter & Jackson

My parents drove over to visit and have dinner that evening and were greeted with one of Jackson's signature hugs.

Nana & Jackson

We had a great time visiting with everyone and hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day! There are a few more pictures in the album if you're interested.

Jackson, E, & AudreyJackson, Ross, & Audrey

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Captured Smile

This week has flown by as we've been recovering from the crawfish boil. We have officially gotten Audrey on a schedule, and we finally managed to capture a smile on camera this week...

Audrey Smiling @ 7 WeeksAudrey Smiling @ 7 Weeks

Audrey is sleeping great both day and night. She wakes up around 9 am, eats every 3-4 hours during the day, takes 2 short naps and 1 long nap during the day, fusses a little in the evening, and is usually down for the night around 8 pm waking to eat at 10 pm and 6 am. She's also doing great with tummy time, and is a happy baby overall...now that we're through the 6 week growth spurt!

Audrey @ 7 Weeks

There are several new pics of Audrey in the album including this one, which shows off her LA Tech pride!

Audrey Smiling @ 7 Weeks