The Halls Head West – Part Three

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The Mission San Luis Rey grounds feature an area that the friars used to bathe and to wash their clothes.

First, the brothers would descend this expansive stairway.

This would lead them to a aqueduct-fed bathing area. Yes, those are goldfish crackers in the bottom left of the photo (historic/beloved food of kids ministries everywhere).

Water would pour out of the gargoyle’s mouth. Mmm, tasty!

Another view of the area.

Heading back towards the Mission, we saw:

The oldest pepper tree in California.

The pepper tree is through the archway, to the right.

We then walked through the graveyard.

The Franciscan Burial Crypt. Let’s get closer!

Locked and barred to keep Lara Croft from doing any tomb raiding.

Loved the metal work on the crypt gate.

Our trip to Mission San Luis Rey was amazing. I enjoyed how peaceful the Mission and the grounds were. Also love that this is still a working Mission used for theological studies.

King of the Missions, indeed.

The Halls Head West – Part Two

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After Disneyland, our trip was a bit more low-key. We had a chance to see my Grandma (who I hadn’t seen in two years), play some Dutch Blitz with my Mom’s family, and even go bowling.

My mom won both games. That seemed to be a theme throughout our visit no matter what we played.

Tab and Wyatt studied California History this past year. So we went and visited Mission San Luis Rey. As someone who holds a degree in History-Political Science, I was super impressed with the mission’s museum.

A sheep skin hymn book.

The door from Walt Disney’s Zorro.

A letter from President Lincoln giving the Church their land back.

After touring the museum, we headed outside to walk the grounds.

If you missed Part One, click here

For Part Three, click here

The Halls Head West – Part One

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Had a good visit with my parents last week. Hadn’t seen them in two years! Was nice to visit them in Southern California, enjoy the weather, and tour some of the local sites.

Our plane flight, out of Gregg County, was a bit bumpy. Our pilot had to dodge thunderstorms while flying into Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW).

View outside the plane as we took off from Longview, Texas.

Nothing like a little turbulence as we flew around thunderstorms.

We eventually landed at DFW and made our way to our second flight. The flight boarded but we had to sit in the plane as a second wave of thunderstorms made its way into the area. Tab and I caught up on much needed sleep (we were so excited that we hadn’t slept the night before).

Fun Fact: When lightening hits near the airport, a clock starts a countdown to an all clear (so much time has to go by). Apparently airport workers cannot work out on the tarmac when lightening has struck nearby. Safety first!

Landed in San Diego without incident. Loved flying on what appeared to be a new Airbus! Tab and I watched Netflix’s The Highwaymen, with Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson, on the flight. Super good movie about two former Texas Rangers hunting down Bonnie and Clyde. We had about 30 minutes till the end of the movie when our plane landed. Can’t wait to finish this film.

My parents picked us up in San Diego. The weather was cool, cloudy, and drizzling. Such a relief from the 80 degree humid weather we’ve been having in East Texas.

We made our way over to Old Town San Diego, ate lunch, and toured around.

I can’t imagine traveling in a wagon like this. Talk about back issues!

While there, we walked into Seeley Stables (which was pretty amazing and free). Came across some old gaming machines… something that one rarely sees in a museum. I was impressed.

THE JUDGE!

THE OWL!

Rolling history.

After a bit of walking around, we braved the traffic and headed to my parents house.

The next day, we woke up and headed to Anaheim. Spent the day at Disneyland. Wyatt loved it (his first trip) and we all walked quite a bit.

I do not have a ton of pictures from Disneyland. We spent the day being in the moment and absorbing the magic of Walt’s original park.

Highlight of our day was Wyatt getting to meet Darth Vader. Wyatt tried to pledge allegiance to him… and Lord Vader seemed pleased. He told Wyatt that when he was of age that Wyatt would make a great recruit for the Imperial Army. I’m taking this as a parenting win!

Click here for Part Two

Adventures in Odyssey will help me discuss puberty with my son

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Jimmy Barclay was going through changes. Or as Mr. Whittaker put it, he was going through “adolescence”. Jimmy was growing up. He noticed that:

  • His voice was changing
  • He was angry at people for no reason at all
  • He was in love, with Connie Kendall
So flat. So boring. Captive audience on an 8 hour drive.

So flat. So boring. Captive audience on an 8 hour drive.

As we listened to “Coming of Age”, an episode of Adventures in Odyssey, Tabitha and I laughed. There is something surreal about listening to an episode on puberty with your seven-year-old in the car. We were driving home from vacation. The boy was in the backseat, running a high fever, and had no clue about what was plaguing Jimmy.

I told Tabitha that when Wyatt starts to go through puberty, I am going to make him listen to this episode. Odyssey can explain everything. Poof! An awkward conversation bites the dust. Who wants to talk to their parents about changes anyways?

Let this be a lesson to all parents: Media is a fantastic substitute for all major life conversations.

This important lesson is provided to you by JohnnyBGamer, tongue-in-cheek.

Back Home

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Finally back home after a much needed vacation. Loved having time to spend with family, enjoy the So-Cal weather, and even bump into a friend from high school in the airport bathroom–go figure–. Also played a bunch of Hearthstone while I was away (not sure what to think of it). Anywho, I’m back and ready to get blogging. Pictures incoming.

The Great Secret

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I dislike it when I have to keep quiet about something that is exciting. So here it goes, my wife and I are buying our first home!

Now, this isn’t just any old home. No, this is the home that has sheltered my wife’s family for decades. The house has no doubt seen many storms of both the physical and emotional; the house has no doubt been a place of great joy and deep sorrow. As we anxiously await the finalization of appraisal, survey, and other loose ends, my wife and I can only dream about our future in our very own home. To say that we are excited is to try and contain an enormous amount of energy in something that was never meant to store it. We are ready to put our own mark on the house and make it our home.

A Worthless Journey

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” What happens though when the journey is beautiful but mundane and the destination turns out to be a complete waste of time?

This past weekend I journeyed through the lands of Journey on the PS3. When all was said and done, I had no clue what had just happened or what I had just played. So, I took to Wikipedia to make sense of my experience. The Wikipedia entry only confirmed my suspicions that not much had just happened. To further illustrate this, the following is a quote from the developer’s web site:

Journey is an interactive parable, an anonymous online adventure to experience a person’s life passage and their intersections with other’s.

I can admit that I thought it was cool to travel across the desert, plunge into the dark depths of despair, and finally rise above a wintry landscape onto the mountaintop of hope. What I disliked about the game was it’s stark simplicity. The interactions with other players, while nice, especially in the dark depths, were pointless. Beyond the amazing stylized graphics and tight game play, the narrative journey of Journey fell short to me. If Journey was a movie, I’d be asking for my $15 back.