Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Celestial Buddies Invade Space Coast Home, Photobomb Wedding, Spread Cuteness and Space Love

Before we became a couple, I took my husband Nathan to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. I had walked those streets and admired those exhibits many times before, but he had never been. I wanted him to see me surrounded by my element, geeking out and loving every minute of it, and I hoped that he would enjoy it as well. We took a bus tour with my friend and favorite tour guide Stephen (read his space blog here). He had a large space shuttle plush toy to use as a prop for guests who were unfamiliar with the anatomy of a space shuttle. I expressed my love of it with such enthusiasm that Stephen allowed me to hold it during the rest of the tour.

That's Stephen at work.

Before we left the gift shop, Nathan bought me a Space Shuttle Atlantis plush toy. This was the continuation of a tradition that began with him buying me a CNN teddy bear when we toured CNN Headquarters in Atlanta together. I'm quite fond of this tradition. I was the kind of child who had dozens of stuffed animals growing up and it was painful to part with them when I eventually donated most of them to charity, keeping only a few with great sentimental value. Being gifted stuffed animals from my husband is an innocent little joy that unlocks my inner child (which admittedly isn't locked away tightly and gets out often).

Nathan was very excited to give me my Christmas present this past year. He hinted that it fit me really well, that it took him a long time to find, that I would love it. I had no idea what it could be. Whatever it was, it sat in a big box under the Christmas tree, lightweight, mysterious, and inviting speculation.

When Christmas finally arrived, I was surprised that such large objects could fit in a box under my tree. Nathan had gifted me the Sun, Earth, and Mars! The Earth was immediately recognizable with its large covering of blue water and green land masses, although the continents weren't quite formed. Its tiny black dots for eyes and mouth stared at me. Its legs dangling and its arms were wide open as if asking for a hug.

Mars' hair was the give-away: the little fluff of white polar ice caps on top of its head. The red planet was really more brown with patches all over. The Sun wasn't instantly recognizable, but it clicked the minute I realized the size compared to the planets. It was twice as big, not to scale with reality of course. Its orange and yellow mane stuck up every which way, almost hiding its little eyes and mouth.

I soon learned that these are Celestial Buddies. They are apparently “in” right now because some of them were sold out when Nathan was making his purchases. Each plush was embroidered with its name on one foot and labeled with astronomical facts on a card on one hand, written in the first person. They are adorable and I loved them immediately. They quickly made themselves at home on my living room couch armrests along with the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

A new buddy joined them on my birthday a few weeks later: the Moon! This little guy was smaller than the rest and was gray and covered in spots. “Where are the rays?” I asked rhetorically. My man is an amateur astronomer with better stargazing skill than I have, but he is an economist, not a planetary scientist. I had to explain to him the process of impact crater formation and regolith ejecta and show him a picture before he was convinced that rays aren't just shadows. Being so close to Christmas with It's a Wonderful Life still on my mind, I immediately thought, “Nathan lassos the Moon!”

“What is it you want, Laura? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon, Laura.”

Yes, I am a romantic.

A few weeks later, our wedding day was upon us. Nathan surprised me with a wedding gift: Venus! Why the second rock from the Sun? Because women are from Venus and men are from Mars. Awww! Venus is a beige cutie with long eyelashes and a pink heart for lips. The goddess of love and beauty, indeed. The Mars buddy doesn't look much like a warrior, but they went Roman with Venus.

Mars and Venus made an appearance in our wedding photos. The idea was too cute to pass up. This bride is a proud space geek and her husband appreciates her childlike geekiness. Our photographer thought the idea was so cute, she posted one of the planetary love photos on her public Facebook page as one of seven “teaser” photos. I'm so excited to see the whole set in a few weeks!

And because I can, here's another one of the teaser wedding photos from our photographer, which has nothing to do with space.

Celestial Buddies can be found here.

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