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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*