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After driving for 25 hours (starting in Abilene) we arrived back home at 5:30 pm.  It is so good to be back.

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colleyville, tx

It’d been a while since I had seen Greg, Tina and Sean.  Our visit involved lots of discussions, music, good food and of course, lots of Sean-time.

Sean is now four and a bundle of joy and energy (not that he wasn’t when I last saw him, but now that he can talk and run around both factors got bumped up a notch or two).  We played lots of tag, hide-and-go-seek and whatever games struck his fancy.  Playing with him reminded me of Mai, both in the energy he had and how we’d go from game to game without pause.  Fortunately I could understand him a lot better than Mai, which opened up a whole lot more possibilities in our playtime.  Definitely a highlight of the trip and hopefully an experience we can repeat in the not so distant future.

somewhere close to luling, tx

We’re here at my uncle’s house.  He lives on 25 acres somewhere in Texas.  It’s been a wonderful visit, one we haven’t made in at least four years.  We arrived yesterday after a 10-hour drive and got to have a delicious bbq’ed chicken/hamburger dinner.  Today after brunch my uncle walked with the four of us around his property.  He’s put in a pool since we’ve been here, now giving him three bodies of water on his land (the other two being small ponds).  He’s also adding in a sunroom and a patio that leads to the pool.  After the hike around the property we ended up on the pool deck where he asked me about Japan and Mom and I sat with him and my aunt talking about school and lousy doctors.  I really love my family.

The hallway is littered with hundreds of pictures.  For someone who takes a lot of photographs, it’s an odd feeling to look at so many for which I have no background knowledge.  It’s always been an odd feeling for me but it really struck me last night as I perused the hall, searching faces I did not know and moments I wasn’t a part of.  I think the fact that this is my family makes it that much weirder.  Pictures of cousins that I have never met (well, half-cousins really) stared back at me with eyes I didn’t recognize.

don’t judge a town by its

bowling alley.

Bayou Bowl was definitely the funkiest alley I have ever visited; the walls look newly painted but everything else was ancient.  The metal arms that swung down to sweep the pins away creaked with every movement and threatened to fall apart any minute.  After paying, the guy up front handed us a giant score sheet and we made our way over to the lane.  One row of chairs faced the lanes and the last chair had no back.  I chose to sit in the next chair. Almost every time the pins were set back up, one would teeter over and when I looked closely, it seemed as though the tops of the pins had been chewed off.  We had a good time though and that’s really what counts.

not a creature was stirring. . .

False.

We were playing Taboo (which is one of the best games. Ever).  Suddenly the door opened and we all heard a deep voice say, “Is there room for one more?”  Daniel had driven from South Carolina to surprise his family on Christmas.  He had been planning to surprise them since July and they assumed he was going to be spending Christmas alone and then would fly in to see them the 11th.  When he had called an hour earlier he found out we were there and decided to come a day earlier (he had actually arrived on Saturday night).  After everyone tackle-hugged him, we settled down for some good ol’ fashioned hang out time.  After everyone else had gone to bed, Becca and I stayed up until 2:30 just talking about life.  ‘Twas a relatively silent night but a few creatures were stirring.

abilene, tx pt. 1

So it turns out we didn’t do the 30-hour drive; it only took us about 22 hours from L.A. to Abilene.  We arrived at about 5 am PST (making it 7 am here).  Driving through Arizona (on my shift) Dad took lots of pictures of the gorgeous sunset (quite reminiscent of a sunset I took pictures of two years ago on this same trip).  Our God is amazing.

on the road again

Tomorrow we’ll start road-trippin’ it for real.  We plan on driving straight through from here (Los Angeles) to Abilene.  It should take about 30 hours but with four drivers it won’t be too bad.  We’ll spend one night in Abilene with some family friends and then head out to Louisiana.  Four nights there, two nights with my uncle in Texas (whom I haven’t seen in probably about four years), two nights in the Fort Worth area, two nights back in Abilene and home again, home again.  It sounds so easy like that but it’s going to be tiring.  But I’m really excited about seeing friends and family that I haven’t seen in at least two years.  Yay for road-trips!!