I have a thing about the California Missions. I don't know why. I never did the "build a mission" project when I was in elementary school, nor have any of my children, although most kids in our state do them around 4th grade.
But I love the missions. They're such a fascinating part of our history.
And since we studied California history this year, and since we were going to be in San Diego anyway, and since it would be prohibitively expensive for our "not quite group rate" sized family to go to any of the touristy attractions like the zoos, I decided we were going to see a mission while we were down there.
And not just any mission, but the very first mission in California.
You may remember we went to one of the missions last year. I've always thought it would be really cool to do a road trip, hitting every other mission on the way south, and then catching the ones we missed when we head north again.
Visiting the missions is not only historical, it's also tranquil. They're very peaceful and this one was just gorgeous, with flowers everywhere.
We walked around, enjoying the sights and taking pictures.
My boys. I just adore them. I feel very safe when I walk around with these guys.
Last summer, I took a picture of Zach, Josiah, and Sam, as "my big boys." But suddenly Eli is taller than me, and Jack is a teenager, and I realize... they're all big boys now. I'm so proud of them. I really enjoy spending time with them.
The sanctuary here was very similar to the one at the mission in Sonoma, except this one has benches, as it's still an active church. In fact, there were candles lit at the back when we came in.
This is the bell tower. We've been reading a kids mystery about the mission bells at several missions, so it was neat to see them in real life.
The girls were fascinated with the idea of people throwing money in the fountains. Reminds me of the book From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, wherein the children live off fountain coins while staying in a museum. (affiliate link)
I've threatened to send this picture to Eli's Spanish teacher. Escuela means school, hence the ew face.
There's a small museum on the mission grounds,
with interesting local artifacts.
Sheet music has come a long way! I'm guessing this hymn is in Latin.
I loved the tiny replicas of all 21 of the California missions.
This is the one in Sonoma, which we visited last year.
And this is the one near Paul's work.
And this is the one we stopped at one year on the way home from Monterey.
When I was a kid, I found a flag at my grandparents' house that only had 48 stars on it. This one was even older, with only 13 stars!
History reminds us that sometimes the best of intentions have disastrous results. I wonder how different things would be if, instead of trying to convert and westernize the Native Americans, the European settlers had respected their rights, their lands, and their way of life. If we had come alongside them as equal neighbors, and realized they had things to teach us, as much as we had things to teach them.
My boys just liked the swords, of course.
Jack was a little horrified at the effort that the handwritten books of that time would have taken to create. "And they didn't have erasers! If you messed up, the whole page was ruined!" We really have so many blessings we take for granted these days.
The grounds here were so lush and pretty that we couldn't help but take lots of pictures.
Miss Katie matches the blooming geraniums.
The center fountain was very pretty, and the gentle sound of the trickling water reminded us to be thankful for fresh, safe, running water in our home--a convenience that many people in the world are still without, even today.
And it made a lovely backdrop for more pictures, too.
Certain areas of the mission grounds were off limits.
So these photos were taken through a gate.
We've talked about mortar & pestles before, so it was neat to see ones that the Native Americans here used to grind acorns.
And the domed ovens they used to cook in.
Between Brianna and I, we took so many flower pictures that I decided to do a collage rather than share photo after photo after photo with you.
We didn't do a whole group picture while we were here, but this was pretty close. I think someone was in the bathroom when we took this. (We're missing Brianna, Paul and Josiah here.)
There's a fenced off not very active looking archaeological dig.
House of the Fathers had all these little QC codes that you could scan with your phone to have videos explain what you were seeing. It's an interesting spin on self guided tours.
When the mission was secularized, these rooms were used by the highest ranking military officer and his family.
It was a beautiful day to see a piece of history, and I hope someday I can see the rest of the missions. 4 down, 17 to go!
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