Monday, June 29, 2009

Sea Shells by the Seashore

Today we ventured to a nearby island, Sanibel Island, to do some shelling. We have never seen so many shells in one spot. Sanibel Island is supposedly the third best shelling location in the world. The kids (and their mommy) were so excited! Brian even got in on the action. He was the "digger." There was hardly any sand on the beach. It was solid sea shells. When the waves rolled in and went back out, you could hear the "tinkling" of the shells against each other. Each shell was unique in it's own way, just like each one of us. Just a reminder of how awesome and powerful our God truly is. I think shelling could almost become an addiction of sorts because you never know what you may find the next time you go shelling. I'm looking forward to hitting the beach again tomorrow to see what we can find. Brian had the find of the day, though. He found a banded tulip shell. After some research, we discovered they are a rare find!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rocket Launch

Saturday we spent the day at the Kennedy Space Center. Truly amazing when you stop and think about what needs to happen for a rocket or shuttle to take off. We had another run-in with a thunderstorm this afternoon. Found out today by many, many people that Florida is the lightning capital of the world. Guess it's something they are proud of, but they kept saying it over and over and emphasizing that they don't want anyone to get hit by lightning--not what my kids needed to hear. We were at the lookout tower to see the launch pad when the storm hit. Needless to say, we found cover fast. But as we're finding out, the storms pass quickly down here, and the sun came out and we continued our tour.

The true highlight of the day was the opportunity to see a rocket launch. It was originally scheduled for Friday evening. We were truly hoping to make it to Cape Canveral by Friday evening to see it, but we just didn't have enough time in the day to make it that far on Friday. Lucky for us it had been rescheduled for Saturday!!! NASA wasn't certain that it would even go off Saturday because of the weather. They kept delaying it and finally got a green light for takeoff at 6:51 p.m. Needless to say, it was an awesome experience to witness firsthand a launch of a rocket from within the Kennedy Space Center. We could hear mission control prepare and countdown to the launch. Brandon caught it on video. Now you can enjoy it too (without having to drive 15 hours :-)
Unfortunately, this was as close as they would allow us. Even so, it was still quite loud. We saw the rocket before we even heard it. We could even smell the burnt fuel (According to Brian, it smelled like burnt fireworks). I was so glad the timing worked out that we could see it. Definitely an experience for our kids to remember.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Sunshine State?

After a full day of driving, we finally crossed the border into Florida only to find out that the so-called Sunshine State wasn't so sunny. Soon after crossing over into Florida, we heard on the radio that there was a tornado warning. They were suggesting motorists traveling on 95 south find an alternate route. We were driving straight into it, so we quick made a left turn and headed for the east coast. There were 3 tornadoes in the Jacksonville area, but we were able to avoid them and later safely arrived at a Jacksonville hotel. The sun came out and it was a beautiful evening. Tomorrow our travels take us to Cape Canaveral to see the Kennedy Space Center.

Our travels begin

We left this morning at about 3:30 a.m. The kids were so excited--it was so cute. I've never seen them wake up so quickly! We bid farewell to our dogs--Belle seemed to sense something was up. I've heard that dogs do not have any concept of time--I hope that's true and it doesn't seem too long for them.
They are in good hands. Grandpa Sauder will be sure to give Jazz good belly rubs! So far traffic has been really light. We made it around Washington, DC with no problems.. After getting in the van, the kids were way too excited to sleep right away, but eventually took a little cat nap. Currently, we are in Virgina around the Richmond area. Brian has his laptop along with a wireless broadband, so I am able to type as we drive. Hopefully that helps the time go quickly!