April 28, 2016

Texas Travel 2016

There’s definitely a part of me that loves the comfort of home and the stability of a regular schedule. Then there’s the side that loves to travel and explore new places! It’s all about balance, right? So while I’m working on incorporating more destination weddings into my schedule, I’m so glad for the couple weeks of travel my family takes every year to get away and do something different!

It had been quite awhile, so it was good to be able to head back to Texas. It’s a place I have mixed feelings about. I have a bit of family there, love the history, enjoy San Antonio, and can’t believe how friendly people are! But the possibility of having had to move there when I was younger always has me measuring it against California and coming short. What other place can match the west coast beauty and weather?! ;-)

Anyway, besides the stress of everyone having to finish taxes before we left, it really was the most perfect time of year to visit Texas! The wildflowers were in bloom, and, forgetting the one morning of (horrible) humidity, the weather was glorious! All the trees and green fields reminded me how beautiful Texas really is, and actually has me wanting to go back sooner than later!

 

Besides family, one of the best parts of the trip was visiting new places, including NASA! We all love history and it’s so much more fun getting to see the actual places where things happened. And walking in a life size replica of a space shuttle? So much better than looking at diagrams on paper!

Houston NASA and space shuttle tour for Texas travel photographer.

  • T-38 Talon planes used for training by astronauts
  • Freedom 7, the first capsule for human flight in space
  • Boeing 737 and a space shuttle replica

 

Mission Control and Saturn V for Texas travel photographer.

  • where mission control is housed at NASA
  • literally where the magic happened–the original mission control
  • mission control today
  • Saturn V

 

Tips for visiting NASA:

  • We planned for 5 hours but still left without seeing everything. Plan to get there when they open because it’s better to be done early than to have to leave without experiencing it all.
  • The tour shuttles can have long lines that do get shorter later in the day. Do most of your exploring at the beginning and jump into the red or blue shuttle linesĀ  when it’s not so long of a wait. Just make sure you have enough time to do both before the end of your visit!
  • To reiterate, do both the shuttle tours! We ended up doing only one and are still sad we missing seeing the astronaut training center. Both have their last stop at Rocket Park, but you can always just jump on the next shuttle leaving the second time around as that stop can be however long you’d like!
  • The cafe prices are actually pretty decent and when you’re there for 5-6 hours, you’re going to need something to eat. Bottled water from the outside is allowed but take a time out to stop and eat. Oh and the cafe area has free wifi!
  • Speaking of eating, if you’re going to be there on a Friday, you can purchase a ticket online to eat with a real astronaut!
  • BEST TIP: While I recommend watching the documentary at the Destiny Theater, it was especially cool because as we finished and the doors were opening, an older gentleman came in to lead us on the tour on the whole history of the United States’ space exploration museum including stories and facts you can’t find anywhere in history books! It turns out he actually worked for NASA for years, including helping to choose the landing locations for trips to the moon, and donates his time for fun to lead these tours. But you have to choose your day carefully because he’s only there on Thursday afternoons!

 

 

Cousin visits, play monopoly, and celebrate Easter together for Texas travel photographer.

  • watching my cousin’s daughter, Emily, play softball
  • Easter with cousin’s kids
  • Sunshine, the cat, “hiding” in a water bottle carrier
  • the monopoly game that made us laugh until cried
  • books and more books–yes, we’re related!
  • gotta eat Mexican food in Texas!

 

It’s no secret that I have amazing family and getting to go see their new house and live with them for a few days was amazing!

Cousins in living room by destination travel photographer in Houston, Texas.

 

Sunshine the cat by destination travel photographer in Houston, Texas.

Maggie the dog by destination travel photographer in Houston, Texas.

Cousins together by destination travel photographer in Houston, Texas.

A confetti egg fight, monopoly where we loaned each other money to unite against the hotels on boardwalk and park place, Blue Bell ice cream, watching A-Team, staying up late to talk, Blue Bell ice cream, eating like kings, matching Siennas, worshiping together at church, Blue Bell ice cream, Starbucks stops…

Kids running with bubbles by destination travel photographer in Houston, Texas.

And oh, all the teasing and craziness that just comes with being with family! One night it got dark quickly as I took pictures of the kids making bubbles so one person had the idea of mixing in glow sticks to the solution. While the bubbles didn’t really glow, after fight broke out, we sure did!

Glowing bubbles by destination travel photographer in Houston, Texas.

Kid glowing in the dark by destination travel photographer in Houston, Texas.

Glowing kids by destination travel photographer in Houston, Texas.

After some days in the Houston area we headed out toward the hills to see our aunt and uncle. They had moved since our last trip and between scoops of Blue Bell ice cream (notice a trend?) we discussed furniture arranging, politics, cats, guns, plants, and I can’t remember what else!

House at sunset in field of blue bonnets by destination Texas travel photographer.

Live oak by destination travel photographer in Houston, Texas.

Bitsy kept us from missing our two kitties so much!

Bitsy the cat by destination travel photographer in Houston, Texas.

Model airplane by destination travel photographer in Houston, Texas.

It’s tradish, we know at some point when we get together that we’re going to be practicing our skills with gun. It’s in Texas where we first learned to shoot, and while we didn’t have time for the crossbow this time, past trips have included throwing tomahawks and boomerangs.

Rifle shooting by destination travel photographer in Houston, Texas.

Long distance shooting by destination travel photographer in Houston, Texas.

Rifle barrel blast by destination travel photographer in Houston, Texas.

Pistol shooting by destination travel photographer in Houston, Texas.

Target shooting by destination travel photographer in Houston, Texas.

Roses and lily pads by destination Texas travel photographer.

 

In a round about way to San Antonio, we met up with the cousins one last time in Round Top. Little did I realize that the antique fair we were visiting is known around the country! I was able to find a couple of smaller sugar molds I could fit in my suitcase but I’ll probably always lament the chest with all the small drawers just like I’d always wanted!

Oh and when you’re stuck in traffic, sometimes it’s handy to just pull out a map! Coming back from Round Top it was estimated that it would be hours to go just a handful of miles. But looking on her phone, my cousin realized there was a road just a hundred feet back that would take us right around to the other side of the antique fair, right where we wanted to go! After sitting in traffic, there might have been a little hooting and hollering when we finally were able to fly down the road!Shopping for Antiques and eating brisket in Round Top for Texas travel photographer.

  • sign outside the pie house
  • cute little church
  • can’t go to Texas and not get brisket
  • or see a longhorn
  • the endless drawers I will never forget. road trip anyone?
  • wildflowers everywhere

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