Dallas, Texas

A weekend well spent in Dallas, TX. Family fun time at the Perot museum and Deep Ellum on Saturday, then a solemn Sunday morning spent at the Dealey Plaza. The Perot museum was a multi-floor STEM focused museum. Hunger drove a quicker pace through the final mechanical engineering floor, so if we revisit, we will start from the bottom up on a full stomach.

I recommend visiting Deep Ellum in the daylight hours, it turns into a party area at night, with bar culture that spills into the streets. We ate Tacos, and attempted to ride the bus back to our hotel – but after waiting at the stop, and watching our bus speed past us without a glance in our direction, we chose to walk. Parking in downtown Dallas is reminiscent to any major city, where paying to park at every location can eat into your travel budget in the most frustrating way. I once paid $30 to park for two hours in a parking garage in Los Angeles, never again. When we travel, we walk, or we try to use public transportation to avoid tons of parking fees and sketchy parking situations. Downtown Dallas is more walkable in some areas than others, so just plan accordingly.

The JFK Assassination site and Sixth Floor museum visit was an austere examination of a painful moment in American history. Though a dark and tragic entry point to the life and legacy of JFK, the assassination site experience solidified for us the lasting impact of his work, and provided a meaningful place for reflection on the highs and lows of American potential. Our propensity for both good and evil is expressed to both extremes, often. Explaining this to children in a way that emphasizes the good can be a challenge, but we work hard to highlight the instances of love we see in every bad situation. When witnessing tragedy, it’s prudent to “find the helpers,” as Mr. Rogers says.

We look forward to visiting Dallas again soon, but perhaps Houston should be our next travel destination — I’ll take any travel tips you have for the biggest city in TX!


White Sands National Park

When we moved from Arizona to Texas at the end of 2020, we made a stop at White Sands National Park. We had a great time sledding down the hills, ascending and descending various peaks, and collecting gypsum in nearly every seam of our clothes. White sands is a misnomer, the powdery substance covering the 115 square miles of the park is gypsum, a fine mineral that resembles sand. Believe me when I say I was vacuuming gypsum out of my car for over a year after this, and it’s still embedded in those shoes.

We were grateful to have an outdoor travel opportunity during our mandatory move amid the Covid-19 pandemic. It was incredibly stressful traveling during a time when vaccines were still in development, and nobody was really sure how susceptible children were, and how risky the symptoms would become. Every trip into the public was rolling the dice. Who else is relieved the darkest days of the pandemic are behind us? We still have not had Covid, and with 3-4 vaccines each, we’re hopeful we will never get it.

I highly recommend a visit if you find yourself in southern New Mexico or West Texas, and strongly suggest you also see Carlsbad Caverns!

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Pumpkins and Peccaries

Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo

Our last few Halloweens were frigid. It was traditionally 10 below with snow berms taller than the kids. This year, with our military lifestyle taking us to Arizona, I was so excited at the prospect of warm weather trick-or-treating with the kids, setting up Halloween decorations and carving pumpkins!Javelinas Fort Huachuca | Yea Yea Pueblo Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo

I had a feeling we put our decorations too early, but we’re Halloween People, and I won’t apologize for my zeal. I did, however, make one big mistake.

I unintentionally put out a royal feast for the local wildlife.

Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo We recently had a great time picking pumpkins and produce at Apple Annie’s u-pick produce in Willcox, Arizona. Our delicata squash was delicious, and our Apple Butter jar emptied quickly. But the pumpkins didn’t last as long as I wish they had. Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo Sunflowers | Yea Yea Pueblo Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo Corn Pit | Yea Yea Pueblo Corn Pit | Yea Yea Pueblo Ardoin Family Photo | Yea Yea Pueblo Corn Pit | Yea Yea Pueblo

Five pumpkins went in the front yard; a few warty ones, and a few smooth, orange ones. I had plans to carve them the week before Halloween, but it didn’t occur to me in the slightest that they’d be eaten up well before then.

Six peccaries set up camp on our front yard this week. They wouldn’t run off when I tried to scare them away. They napped rebelliously on the lawn. They were little monsters with skinny faces and sharp teeth, unafraid of my spooky Halloween decorations, and content to destroy my Jack-O-Lantern dreams.

Javelinas Fort Huachuca | Yea Yea Pueblo They drove the dogs crazy, and just before our dinner get together with friends, Moose slipped through the gate and went after the javelinas. He chased them into a ravine, then up into the hills. We gave chase up the hill, but all I could see was Moose leaping above the knee-high grass, tail wagging, tongue swinging, and face filled with glee. I couldn’t see the javelinas, or their reactions to his attempt to turn strangers into friends.

Eventually Moose came to me, and after dragging him back into the house, we noticed blood dripping from his neck. He ended up with a puncture wound, and is currently on antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. He’s also wearing the cone of shame. The hope is that he heals expediently, and doesn’t require surgery later. Pumpkins | Yea Yea Pueblo Javelinas Fort Huachuca | Yea Yea Pueblo Javelinas Fort Huachuca | Yea Yea Pueblo Dogs and peccaries do not mix. And pumpkins are not for peccaries, although that rule is a hard one to enforce. Guess we’re going to have to settle for ceramic, plastic or inflatable jack-o-lanterns here in Arizona.