Thursday, April 28, 2011

Butterfly Field Trip

Today I went with Jackson and his class on a field trip to the Museum of Natural Science. We loaded onto the bus first thing this morning. Can you tell he was excited?

JD on the bus

When we arrived at the museum, the kids got a snack and some juice and waited "patiently" while we got our tickets.

Paige & JDJDJD

Then we made our way inside where he got to experience his first movie...IMAX in 3D...I think he's spoiled now! It was a film called "Born to be Wild," and Jackson LOVED it! At first he was reaching out to try to touch the orangutans and elephants in the film, but most of the time he was totally mesmorized. Of course, he asked a few questions here and there, but overall, he did great! Here they are lined up and ready to go in!

Room 4 Lined UpJDJD in 3D Glasses

After the movie we took a short break outside to let some other groups get ahead of us, and we attempted a group photo of the kids...

Cooper M. & JDRoom 4

Next on the plan was the Butterfly exhibit. Here are the kiddos getting instructions not to touch!

Butterfly Exhibit

There was a big caterpillar to climb on at the beginning of the tour, so everyone wanted a turn!


After wandering through the informational section that talked about all kinds of bugs, we made our way to the live butterflies! It was amazing to see so many in one place. I got several good pics, but these are a few of my favorites.

Blue ButterflyBlue ButterflyButterflies

From there we made our way across the street to a park for lunch and to let the kids run around before loading back onto the bus to go back to the school.

JDMs. Monica & Friends

Jackson crashed on the ride back. We both had a wonderful time! I don't think he'll forget this experience! Thanks Ms. Monica and Ms. Evelyn!

There are lots more pictures of the fun in the album.

Non-Traditional Easter

This year we spent a good chunk of Easter day traveling home from the Dripping Springs/Wimbereley area of Texas where we spent the weekend celebrating the marriage of two friends, Pam and Jason. It was a gorgeous and fun wedding. It was outside in the hill country, and during the ceremony you could hear birds chirping and see butterflies floating by. There were so many fun, creative details that really made their wedding special! I decided not to take my camera, but...ohhhh...I was dying to walk around and take pictures of everything! I know they had a great photographer, so I'm looking forward to seeing their pictures!

I do have some pictures from the rest of our weekend and Easter celebrations though. Saturday morning we met up with some old friends from Austin, Sara and Mike, and their two kiddos. We went to Zilker park, and the kids got to feed the birds and play to their hearts content while the adults caught up a little. Jackson enjoyed throwing fistfulls of bird seed, while Audrey dropped one grain at a time.

JD and MikeJD and MikeAudrey

My Dad joined us for the weekend too, which we are SO grateful for! He helped out a ton at the park and let us go to the wedding without the kiddos, so it was a nice, relaxing evening!

Jackson and Audrey got most of their Easter presents in the car to help keep them occupied, but the Easter Bunny left a surprise at home along with candy-filled eggs around the yard.

Jackson had a stomp rocket that he loved, but it didn't always work well and was getting a little torn up. The Easter Bunny knew he was in need of something a little better! Of course, the first rocket launched landed in the gutters, so we quickly learned to move this stomp rocket a little further into the yard. If you can't tell, he's pretty excited about his new toy.

JDJDJD & Audrey

Audrey got involved too, but she has discovered how to climb the ladder of the playhouse and slide down the slide. Every time we open the back door now, she makes a bee-line for it!


Audrey also enjoyed shaking all of the eggs with candy in them.


As for other Easter activities, we had a little egg hunt for Jackson and Audrey in our back yard on Palm Sunday.


These are just some cute pics from the same day that I have to share...


The Easter Bunny came to visit the day care, and I got to take pictures of just about every kid at the day care getting an egg from the Easter Bunny...every kid but ours! Both Jackson and Audrey were a little intimidated by the bunny. Here's Jackson's reaction. I didn't get Audrey's on camera, but there was crying involved.

JD and Monica

Jackson's class did an egg hunt too, and these are some of the after pics. In this one his teacher, Ms. Monica is helping him with his "bunny teeth".

JD and MonicaJD

So we didn't get to go to church on Easter Sunday, and we didn't have a big meal with friends and family. We did find other ways to talk to Jackson about the reason we celebrate Easter, which quite honestly is hard to explain to an almost 3 year old! He constantly surprises me though, and when asked why Jesus had to die on the cross, he responds, "Because He loves me." Pretty sweet!

As usual, there are more pictures in the album.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

National Robotics Week

I've been into robotics since I started graduate school and my company has recently started building robots and putting our 3D sensors on robots, so, when I heard that Congress had designated a week in April as National Robotics Week, I quickly started lobbying my company to help with an event to get local kids (and adults) excited about robotics activities in our area. Last weekend was the inaugural National Robotics Week JSC Block Party. I spoke with friends at JSC and we arranged to host an event at Space Center Houston. All in all, we had 5 local companies come show their robotic work along with 7 groups of kids that compete in robotics competitions or have robotics clubs. It was a fun event and I think the kids that came to check things out really enjoyed it. Here are a few pictures and there are a bunch more in the album.

3D cameraJSC Space Exploration VehicleLaw Elementary

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Eco Car Marathon 2011

The annual Shell Eco Car Marathon was this weekend, which means the Tims were in town! Barbara and Carter spent the day with me and Jackson on Friday while everyone else was busy working. Then we made our way to Discovery Green for the car races on Saturday.

Friday morning we went to Space Center Houston where Ross was busy coordinating a National Robotics Week event. I got to be their unofficial photographer for a little while, so I'm sure there will be a fun post on that event too. The boys had a blast checking everything out. This was actually Jackson's first visit. Here are a couple of pictures of the action.

Carter & JDCarter & JD

After lunch and a nap, we made our way back to Froberg's Farm to pick some more strawberries. Jackson remembered the rules for picking and made sure Carter did it right.

Carter & JD

Jackson was much more interested in carrying the bucket than actually picking the strawberries this time. Carter on the other hand was all about finding the good ones and filling up both his bucket and Jackson's!


See everyone...


Friday evening we caught up with Ross and Audrey for dinner at Lupe, and they all got to play to their hearts content...i.e. they slept well that night!

The National Robotics Week event continued on Saturday, so I loaded Jackson and Audrey into the car and headed to Discovery Green to spend some more time with Barbara and Carter. The kiddos loved the play ground and splash pad!

AudreyJDCarterCarter & JDCarter & JDAudreyAudrey

It was a little chilly to be playing in the water, so the boys eventually decided they were ready to dry off and warm up. We grabed some lunch and headed to the LA Tech cheering section for the Eco Car Marathon where Ross was able to catch up with us.

JD, Audrey, & Carter

The LA Tech team had two urban cars and a proto type competing this year, and when we left that evening the results were posted putting LA Tech in first place for the urban car competition for the day, as well as breaking an American record with 513 mpg! Way to go! Here are some pictures of the boys with the urban car that broke the record.


It was SO much fun to see everyone! There are more pictures in the album, and I'll post the final results when we find out more!