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Savannah, Georgia

Dear Travel Diary,

In March 2014, Nick and I travelled to Savannah, Georgia. And though it was one of my favorite trips to date, I must admit it feels like a lifetime ago. In the picture above, I am seated at the exact spot where Georgia was signed into statehood. Imagine the changes and improvements and moments and history the city of Savannah bore witness too - would the men who established statehood recognize the city today?

In a way, my life feels quite similar. That photograph was taken four months prior to a diagnosis that completely turned our lives upside down. The smiling woman in the photograph is a mere shell of who she is today - rough around the edges, still trying to overcome the emotions and fear associated with chronic illness, yet slowly recognizing that her mess is becoming her message.

I am not who I was when this photograph was taken. I have weathered the most intense storm of my life, and come through the other side. We have but one precious life to live, and I aim to teach my daughter that though diabetes is a part of her life - it does not define her.

Forward progress.

Savannah, Georgia beautifully honors its heritage by bringing its rich history into the modern era. By celebrating the significance, we see how what was became what is and what will be. There is no other city in this country whose ghosts (both literally and figuratively) are so revered and preserved as Savannah. As I continue on my own journey, I feel grateful for my history because it is shaping my future. The general truth is, I am happy despite my challenges.

Better everyday.

And as creepy as the brick staircases that lead into the basements of century's old buildings may appear, descend - you will travel back in time.

We went on two city tours - both at night. We were granted access to areas within these building that are typically restricted to visitors. I was struck by the ornate detail work within the architecture. Look at those doors. As I stood in this room above the bar at Moon River, surrounded by chipping paint; I wondered who else in history looked through the glass.

The city of Savannah presents itself in the same way it was originally designed, with neighborhoods surrounding town squares. Within the center of each square stands a monument honoring those who helped shape the city. Savannah has strong connections to both the Revolutionary War and especially the Civil War. Even when walking empty streets around the city, you are never truly alone.

This is why I recommend wearing very practical shoes if you intend to explore here.

And though the city of Savannah has left its mark on me, Nick and I didn't leave the zip code without leaving a piece of ourselves behind as well -

Macy's Santaland - Minneapolis, MN

Dear Diary,
This time it lead us to the Light Rail, which brought to downtown Minneapolis to check out Santa's Workshop on the 8th floor of the Macy's building.





Garden of the Gods - Colorado Springs, CO

Dear Travel Diary,
First, I cannot take credit for these photographs as they were shot by my husband.
Second, they're some of my favorite!

There is a photograph with the exact same subject and composition as my husband's shot hanging in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Air Force Academy Chapel - Colorado Springs, CO

Dear Travel Diary,
The Chapel at the Air Force Academy is the only building open to the public on campus. It's been almost 10 years since Nick and I went, as we were there on our honeymoon.
It's absolutely breathtaking. Unfortunately, I couldn't locate my shots of the exterior. The way the sun shone through the stained glass created one of the most incredible light shows I've ever experienced in my life.
Could you imagine getting married here?

Edwards Apple Orchard, 2015

Dear Photography and Travel Diaries,
Nestled amongst the farm grounds in Poplar Grove, IL lies Edwards Apple Orchard. 
It is a fall destination as much as it is a tradition. 
Another free weekend lead us back to the airport, where we scored four seats to Chicago to visit family. And within that visit, Edwards beckoned.

A series: how daddy dissolves a tantrum.
*Captured by Bri*
When my MIL pointed her phone at us and said, "act lovingly," this happened. 
We have a photo just like this from when Landen was still being pushed in a stroller. And I am so happy this is one of our traditions.

*Last two photos of this post taken by LS


Dear Travel Diary,

This week, I learned something about our lifestyle - it gives us the freedom to be spontaneous, to go to the airport and put our names on a list for an open seat, and to expand our horizons beyond our zip code.

This scenario also means we miss one flight, run across the terminal to attempt another, then succeed on a third (United), only to find that it has no working bathrooms for a 2.5-hour flight. Ahh yes, the joys of flying standby.

The rest of the trip was just as eventful, for which I'll let the pictures do the talking. It was my first and the kids' first time to Houston, Texas, and the experience did not disappoint.

Sun's out, buns out

This was the scene I drank my morning coffee to. Do you think I can grow a palm tree indoors?

I fell in love with the Gulf Coast and its inlays all over again, which was affirmed with a trip to Kemah, Texas. We spent an entire afternoon playing on the Kemah Boardwalk, riding it's rides, walking through its splash pad, and relaxing with the expanse of the ocean in front of us. This was another first for the kids', where land meets sea; and I would not be opposed to owning some waterfront property.

We fed stingrays. And they freaked me out! Yes, they'd really breach the surface of the tank to get food, and then splash us when a swarm tried to move at once.

On the last day of our trip, we visited NASA with our friends. Picture this: upon entering the Space Center, four excited children stopped dead in their tracks with their eyes as wide as saucers. They couldn't wait to explore the exhibits, aiming to do everything at once. Unfortunately, it meant the four adults couldn't do much reading about the exhibits, but that just means we have to go back!

We saw the space shuttle Independence attached to its 747 transport. We saw the Saturn V rocket that was used in the Apollo missions. We toured the grounds via tram, and walked through the observation hall of NASA's main research building. Inside, there is a mock-up of the International Space Station. And we learned about NASA's future - the Orion, which will soon land on Mars.

Patriotism ran high that day, and it is an amazing thing to consider what a crazy dream can lead to. It was our parents' generation who said they'd walk on the moon, which at the time seemed unfathomable. And now, the sky truly is limitless. Landen's mind, especially - was blown.

*Captured by Bri*