Tuesday, May 22, 2018

14 Years

One of the best things I ever did was edit our wedding ceremony down to 12 minutes that I can watch every year.  It is such a delight.  

This year I felt really aware of those who took part in that special day who are now with Jesus:  my piano teacher, Mrs. June, K.J.'s Pop and my Papa.  

I'm so thankful to my parents who have "given of their sons to bear the message glorious."  I'm thankful for my mom who made all the wedding day decisions because choosing things stresses me out.  I'm thankful to my dad who loves surprises.  I still laughed with joy when the cannons blew out streamers and confetti.  

And most of all I need to be thankful to a loving God, a Father who chose K.J. Pugh for me because decisions stress me out, and I couldn't have chosen so well on my own.  It's a gift to be his wife.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Summer Vacation - Monday Musings, vol. iii

This week is an exciting one for us because it's our first week of summer vacation.  My 14th wedding anniversary is tomorrow, which warranted a day off from teaching school, and our friend and Lua's husband Seth is here this week.  Both of these things together made deciding to end school a week earlier than I planned seem like a good idea.  So we are!

But here's the truth about a home-school summer, you still kind of do a lot of the same things, but with the freedom to not do them.  We'll still read books and do some creative writing.  And I'll make the kids do a page of math now and then, and maybe we'll even do the occasional science experiment?  Who knows?!  But we'll be free to enjoy the most beautiful time of the year.  It will also give us time to really take advantage of living in Paris proper for the next month.  If all goes well, we expect to be moving into a place of our own in a suburb of Paris in the next month or two.  All the moving logistics that will need to be taken care of are another good reason to be done with school in the month of June.  I just realized I'm giving all kinds of reasons for ending school at the end of May because when K.J. let that drop to a French man we were speaking with, I felt like he thought we were irresponsible parents since French kids go to school into July.  I promise we haven't been taking all these holidays French kids have had the past couple of months!  I kind of felt like I needed to say.  

I can't believe it's our last week with Lua.  She feels like part of our family, and she's been such a blessing to so many in our community here.  We thought she would be here longer, but hallelujah, her green card interview has been scheduled for early June so she'll hopefully be joining her husband soon, which is where she belongs.  We'll let her go right after she babysits for us so we can go out for our anniversary.  😊

"If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man, 
Compare with me, ye women, if you can."
- Anne Bradstreet -

Friday, May 18, 2018

Friday Favorites, vol. vi

This week seemed to go by really quickly!  Here are some of my favorite things from the past seven swiftly-passing days.

1.  reading The King in the Window to the kids

K.J.'s mom found this book about a 12-year-old American boy in Paris that she gave us for Christmas, and since it is filled with locations around Paris and Versailles that we'll get to see, and has humor aimed at middle-grade kids, it's been such a fun read this week.  We're about halfway through it.

2.  looking through old family photos

Thank you for all your kind words on my Mother's Day post.  It was pure nostalgia!

3.  attending a small group at a lovely home outside the city

We relished the company, the quiet, and the smell of roses.  Paris has a lot of beautiful things, but it also has millions of people, cigarette smoke, honking horns, and the roar of a dozen motorcycles in your ears.  Walking down quiet streets was nice.

4.  visiting the Louvre with Lua

It was so fun to go after dinner when it was less crowded and without the kids this time.  The Louvre is so big, and we walked thousands of steps before finding what we were looking for, which is not the most fun thing to do with kids.  The Egyptian things are just so, so cool.

5.  being creative

I thought I would make a little something bookish for our ladies book exchange tomorrow to remember the day.  I thought and thought about what quote might encapsulate marriage and books, but then realized it was obviously the opening lines of Pride and Prejudice.
If you click on the picture you can print some royal wedding bookmarks of your own.  It's designed to print on A4 paper, but hopefully it will also work just fine on American letter sized.  Happy weekend!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day

On this Mother's Day, I'm staying home from church with a boy and his fever virus.  I don't think this is the first time I've spent Mother's Day home with him.  It's not a bad way to spend the day, snuggled up in bed watching movies.  It also gave me time to pull out a pile of external hard drives and look through the past nearly twelve years of motherhood.

September 2006

This baby girl made me a mother, and I'm so glad it was her.  She was the sweetest baby.

September 2007

One was a golden age of Ella.  She started sleeping.  She was perfectly pleasant all the time.  She was the best of companions.

September 2008

As Ella turned two, I began to think it was time for another little one.

October 2009

Becoming a big sister suited her.

October 2010

We were pretty low-key trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood.  No costume for James, a dress-up gown for Ella.  This was part of the long age that James needed a bib at all times.  It's soaked as you can see.

September 2011

We packed a picnic supper one golden night and went to Capitol Park.  I chopped my hair off shortly after this.  I can never make it past that part of growing out hair that just feels like I have hair everywhere all the time.

October 2012

I took the kids on a road trip to North Carolina when one of my nieces was born.  We stopped in Tennessee, and I took them to Cades Cove, destination of all my childhood vacations.  There's particular joy in sharing your childhood with your kids.

September 2013

I had to search through K.J.'s old phone pictures to start finding pictures of me with both kids.  It reminds me I need to be better about getting in photos with them!  I've spent a goodly portion of the past five years reading aloud to those kiddoes.  

September 2014

I remember this day.  We were counting down the hot and sweaty days before we left on our biggest adventure thus far.  They've handled the past three and a half years with so much grace.

September 2015

The amount of change in our lives we experienced from September 2014 to September 2015 is incredible.  How could it all have happened in one year?  This photo was taken after the first day of school for the autumn term.  We'd moved to a new house the day before, and K.J. had to take the car early the next morning to travel to work, so that left us with piles of boxes and our own two feet to get us to school.  Needless to say we were late.  

August 2016

We're waving at K.J. up on the boardwalk above, wheelchair bound because he'd broken his ankle on our first full day back in America in nearly two years.  Can you believe that?  We still can't believe that happened.  Here we are after his surgery on a weekend away with my family.

October 2017

There were a host of things happening in this picture.  I'm sitting down because my foot is giving me so much pain.  We would find out later this week I had a "foreign object" in it.  But this was a beautiful autumn day despite the pain.  

And just like that, eleven years of mothering goes by.  Mothering rubs off a lot of rough edges, and I couldn't ask for two better little people to do the rubbing.

"Mothering is at once the hardest and the holiest and the happiest."
- Ann Voskamp -

Friday, May 11, 2018

Friday Favorites, vol. v

1.  James reading the Hardy Boys

I grew up loving Nancy Drew (I still do!), so I was thrilled when I handed James the first Hardy Boys book from our host's bookshelves, and he liked it!  He's now read the first five and is listening to an awesome audio book complete with motorcycle sounds.  Take me back to the America of teenage sleuths respected by the local police force. 😊

2.  Hearing Taps played at the end of the day at the American Cemetery at Normandy

3.  putting my feet in soft, warm sand 

It's been over a year, and it was such a good feeling.

4.  whenever your kids love something they first thought they wouldn't like

Ella didn't have high hopes during the long wait to get inside Monet's garden, but she loved it so much once she made it around the lily pond.  Please advise:  is it good parenting to rub it in every time you're right about how much your kids will enjoy something?  I don't think I'm too obnoxious about it.  As K.J. used to always say to me, "Who told you if I didn't tell you?"  

Monday, April 30, 2018

April, Come She Will

April has been a really full month for us and a real turning point in settling in to life in Paris, our third month here.  The church plant at Ternes fully launched, and new acquaintances are becoming friends.  And perhaps most telling that we are settling into the daily routines of life and work was the little wave of homesickness I felt this week.  Maybe it was the pollen that went flying off the trees when the wind blew that put me in mind of spring in the south and the thick coating of yellow-green that settles over every surface.  

Meanwhile, here's what April was like for us in Paris.

April 1 - We went out early Sunday morning to a small park I'd found earlier in the week that was filled with blossoms to take some family Easter pictures.

April 2 - On a walk with friends from church I learned that muskrats have orange teeth.  They seem almost alien!

April 3 - I started making use of our host's espresso machine with the milk frother.  Hot, frothy milk is a delight.

April 5 - We spent an afternoon with a family in a suburb of Paris where all these blues caught my eye.  Can you spy the French flag?

April 6 - I love how these new leaves look almost like flowers.

April 7 - We spent a lot of Saturdays at the library this month where the kids attended writing workshops.  I really like this poster.

April 8 - The combination of French and a prosaic English name made me laugh.

April 9 - Seeing my kids reading always makes me happy.

April 10 - If it's more of a sedentary day homeschooling the kids, I've tried to go out for a little walk in the evening.  The cherry blossoms made April so beautiful.

April 11 - Isn't this park absolutely gorgeous?  We went in the evening twice this month, once after supper and once for a picnic.

April 12 - The kids were in the back playing with K.J., I was tired, and it was quiet, so I did some comfort-watching:  Sense and Sensibility.

April 13 - This was our blue-sky view the evening we had our picnic in the park.

April 14 - Black and whites of the city really make the architecture stand out.

April 15 - We now have a full month of services at the church plant behind us!  It's been wonderful to meet new people there.

April 16 - The evening light was beautiful when I went out to go to the store.

April 17 - Those blossoms were just killing it.

April 18 - I visited a big grocery store, and they had these massive leaves of aloe vera in the produce section, something I'd never before seen.

April 19 - The cheese aisle is filled with every kind of cheese possible.  Still, James requests that "orange, smooth cheese."

April 20 - Lua arrived, and we took her on a walk through Tuileries to help her stay awake.  Aren't the tulips bright and beautiful?

April 21 - Walking back from a book exchange with ladies from church I discovered some wisteria.  I love it.

April 22 - Waiting in line for ice cream after church last Sunday; it was another gorgeous day!

April 23 - Sometimes a boy just wants to do math in bed.

April 24 - When James saw this picture he said, "I look like a teenager!"  He is growing tall.

April 25 - This is our friendly indifferent neighborhood cat.

April 26 - There's a little park near the American Embassy that's a good destination when I just need to stretch my legs before bed.  I spotted these white tulips there last week.

April 27 - It seems like every picture is one I took on the way to the grocery store, because I am constantly going to the grocery store here.  I thought it would be nice to sit and read for a minute before making it to the store, but I wasn't on the bench 5 minutes before a breeze swept through this tree, covering my black pants in pollen.

April 28 - The windowboxes are lovely this time of year.

April 29 - We were really excited last night coming home from church because we've always wanted to get off at Franklin D. Roosevelt because it has such a fun, 1940s vibe to it, but we've never had a reason to until then.

April 30 - See ya, April!

"April, come she will
when streams are ripe 
and swelled with rain..."
- Simon and Garfunkel - 

April is definitely sending us off with rain and cold today.  Hopefully it's been more pleasant wherever you are.