Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sunday Photo Shoot









































She talks like me.

Ella and I had a funny conversation yesterday.  She was playing some games on Preschool Disney's website, and she uncovered a picture of Cinderella's castle.

Ella:  I wish we could go to Disney World again.
Me:  Me, too.
Ella:  It's so beautiful there, and it's so fun.  
Me:  You're right; it is.
Ella:  You don't have to worry about anything when you're at Disney World.

She's right, isn't she?  You don't have to worry about ANYTHING when you're at Disney World. What's funny about this conversation is that it came not long after I was thinking about someone I knew who was at Disney World and wishing it wasn't such a long way and such a big ordeal to get there, because it really IS beautiful and fun.  

KJ laughed when I told him about this conversation, because it sounds like something I would have said.  I speak in absolutes a lot (and yes, I know that only a Sith deals in absolutes).  "Anything, everything, all the time, never, always..."  They come out of my mouth constantly, even as I laugh at myself now when they do.  Oh, here's another Ella quote from the past week:

"Take that picture of the clouds, Mommy.  That will be the best picture ever."

Did you catch those absolutes?  At least she uses them in a positive sense.  Will watching my daughter grow up always cause an ache in my heart?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


KJ and I spent yesterday with his entire family, celebrating the life of his grandfather, Oliver Harrison Pugh.  Though it was sad, and we mourn the loss of Pop, there was an overwhelming sense of thankfulness that permeated our gathering and filled our hearts.  

As for me, I felt thankful to be a part of the Pugh family, thankful for the great grace that has been shown to them/us, thankful for Pop's life and the legacy he left behind, and so thankful for the extra brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and grandparents I've gained by being grafted into this family.

It was good to remember the past and all that the Lord accomplished in Pop's life and good to think about the future grace to be shown to Pop's descendants.  As he told KJ's mom before we left his home a couple of weeks ago, "Take those kids home, and raise them right."  And by God's grace we will.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Seeing His Face

A couple of weeks ago the kids and I were able to visit KJ's grandparents, and I posted several great pictures I had of Pop, taken over the years since I've been a Pugh.  Pop passed away on Friday night, and we are preparing to drive down for his funeral service tomorrow.  Please pray for our family.  

The first time I met Pop, KJ and I were only friends.  I drove up with another friend to hear KJ preach at Granny and Pop's church one Sunday when we were in college.  Pop welcomed me then with the same warm hug he welcomed me with each and every time I saw him after that.  KJ's grandparents lived on the road between school and home, and it was such a joy to stop and visit with them on our trips there and back again.  I'm so thankful for those memories.  

The words to Isaac Watts' hymn, Windows of Thy Grace, were running through my head yesterday.  I know I've posted them here before, but they were so encouraging to my heart, as I was reminded that Pop is now seeing Christ's face.  It is a sad time for our family, but after talking to several different Pughs, I know they are grieving with hope, putting their faith in God's promises that Pop's faith has been changed to sight.

I love the windows of thy grace,
Through which my Lord is seen,
And long to meet my Savior’s face
Without a glass between.

Oh that the happy hour were come
To change my faith to sight!
I shall behold my Lord at home
In a diviner light.

Haste, my Beloved, and remove
These interposing days;
Then shall my passions all be love,
And all my powers be praise.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I was in the middle of writing a blog post yesterday morning when something happened that kept me from completing it.  I was going to post a few summer pictures I hadn't had time to post a few weeks ago because we got really busy, and a lot of other events took place at which I took more pictures.  I enjoy being busy and active, but I also require down-time to just let my mind wander and be refreshed.  A 30-minute walk around the neighborhood without the kids usually works wonders for my perspective.  

I was really wishing for some down-time yesterday morning.  James is going through a stage where he wants everything that Ella is playing with, and I am in the early stages of teaching him to share, take turns, and not just walk up and yank her toys out of her hands in the midst of her playing with them.  It's such a fun job because he yells throughout the whole process.  My boy is loud.  He doesn't have the vocabulary to express fully how much he really wants/needs that toy to be his so he just yells and whines about it.  

So yesterday morning I was in the midst of breaking up yelling, yanking-things-out-of-their-siblings-hands children and thinking about how easy and quiet life was when it was just me, KJ, and little baby Ella.  When you have your first child, you think it's hard and that it changes your life.  It does!  But with child number two, there are even more adjustments to make.  So I started writing a blog post and putting up some pictures, and I was reflecting that even though I wished for some peace and quiet now, I knew there would come a day when I would want these yelling little children back in my house.  I was feeling buoyed up by these thoughts and thinking that perhaps I could find the patience to continue throughout the day when James came walking around the corner--holding a snow globe.

James had already been getting into mischief that morning.  I had to shut the door to the bathroom while Ella was in the tub because he had been in there and thrown something in, splashing water all over the wall and the floor.  When I looked up and saw him standing there with the snow globe, I jumped up to take it from him, and he dropped it.  

Of course I went into mother freak-out mode, mostly because there's glass everywhere, and I didn't know if he was hurt or if he would try to walk through the mess, and I had to walk through it to get to him.  I hate stepping on glass.  Thankfully, James stood still and didn't make a move as he listened to my frightened screams.  I scooped him up and cleaned off his feet and hands.  I only found one sliver of glass; the rest was "snow."  I then locked him in his room, with Ella joining him after I bathed her, and began the painstaking process of making sure every sliver of glass was picked up off the floor, as well as mopping up all the water.  It took me over an hour.

On the bright side, I guess I got some alone time, since I had to leave the kids shut up in James' room while I cleaned it all up.  And so that's why there was no blog post yesterday.

My sweet mother-in-law called in the afternoon and offered to let the kids spend the night last night.  Did I take her up on it?  Yes.  I went to Chick-Fil-A with my husband and talked it all out (poor husbands), ran into Pay-Less and bought James some new shoes, ran into Wal-Mart and picked up a few things (I forgot bread.), walked down the street and asked if I could take Ella's friends to the free movie with us this morning, went to College Bible study with my husband and talked to adults, and then came home to a quiet house and went to bed.   Thank you, T.  It doesn't take much to recharge my batteries.  The quiet house this morning is really refreshing, too.  

Love on a young mom today and tell them they're awesome.  It will recharge their batteries and give them the energy they need to keep going.  Actually, just encourage anyone you like today.  They probably need it.  Life is hard....and good...all mixed together.  I was encouraged by the text last night:  "...because of the grace that was given me from God, to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:15-16)

I want to be a picture of the gospel to my children, being patient, forgiving, cleaning up their messes, and loving them steadfastly.  They are my offering to God, the people I am working for, just like Paul worked for the Gentile believers.  

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thoughts and Feelings

  • I'm really thankful for the good trip home the kids and I made for Father's Day.  I love my dad and all the wonderful memories he made for our family growing up.
  • I was happy to get to visit with my brother, Josh, and his wife, Nicole.  Aren't they sweet?

  • I WAS feeling overwhelmed and stressed by the constant knocking at our door yesterday afternoon.  I barely made it out of the car after our arrival home before a neighborhood friend showed up, ready to play.  I'm trying to find a balance between our family's need for our own quiet life and having an open, friendly home.  I was feeling a little extra tense about it, though, because when we put James down for a nap, the doorbell rang, and when we put him to bed, the doorbell rang.  I have a sign I put out, but I haven't known it was necessary to do at 7 p.m.  I get tense when my baby's sleep is interrupted. 
  • I'm wondering if I should go on an outing today or stay home and let KJ take my car since his car is cutting off when he stops at lights and obviously needs to go back to the shop.  He says he can make it another day.  Hmmm...
  • I'm thinking about school options for Ella and lamenting the passing of nearly five years of being the center of her world, while at the same time wanting to embrace each stage of parenting and excited about the broadening of her horizons.  Sigh.
  • I'm trying to teach James to share.
  • I'm loving the sight of Ella's princess dolls riding around in the Batmobile.  Nice ride.
  • I'm thankful to my mother for putting my flat iron, toothbrush, mousse, retainer, illuminating spray, and other toiletries in the mail today since I left them all at home.
  • I'm thinking it's time I got up from the computer and started the morning chores.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I find it interesting that on Mother's Day
I received time away from taking care of the kids.

On Father's Day, 
KJ received time with the kids.

Here's to the man who lovingly serves his wife and children
each and every day of the year.
We love you and couldn't ask for anything more.

[All images are courtesy of KJ's Father's Day Date 
with Ella and James today.]

Friday, June 17, 2011

Almost 5

The Perfect Party

Ella has attended five birthday celebrations in the past two weeks, and it has created in her a lot of excitement about her own birthday, which is now only 2 1/2 months away.  She asks me nearly every day now how much longer until her birthday, and she has peppered me with information about the things she would like for her birthday party.  Here are some pretty direct quotes.

I want my birthday party to be perfect.

Don't talk about my presents because I want it to be a surprise.

I'm going to invite B.P. and Debbo to my birthday party.

I'm going to invite Kirsten to my birthday party.

I want a really special birthday video, Mom.

I think I will wear my white dress to my party.

Where should we have my party?

The perfect party?  A really special birthday dvd?  I have my work cut out for me this year.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Our Very Own Cindy-Lou-Who

It sure has been fun to spend time with her this week.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Moments Worth Capturing

In my last post I expressed a slight anxiety about the amount of hard drive space I'm devoting to pictures lately, but I don't think I'm going to worry about it any longer.  Capturing precious moments and preserving memories are worth all the hard drive space, external hard drives, dvds, and online backup in all the world.

We are planning on visiting KJ's grandparents tomorrow with the Kizziah family, and I'm so glad.  I had Pop on my mind this afternoon.

Daddy Jim and Pop
David and Katie's wedding weekend

Thanksgiving 2005

Christmas 2006




It's kind of sweet taking a walk down memory lane, don't you think?  I always find things I didn't even remember having, like that precious picture of Pop with baby Ella at her first Christmas.  Sometimes when I go hunting, I can't find pictures I know I have.  I'll have to search the laptop next.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

Capturing the Moment

I love taking pictures.  I really, really, really LOVE taking pictures.  Now and again I feel a slight anxiety at the amount of hard drive space I'm taking up on our computer.  We have A LOT of hard drive space, and I know I can back pictures up in other places, but I still feel bad about it for some reason.  

For about the third night in a row now the evening brought darker clouds and the rumble of thunder, but for the third night in a row now we have missed out on the rain.  I'm starting to long for it to rain.  When the wind started picking up tonight the kids and I went outside, and I proceeded to take 62 pictures.  Yes, 62.  But you know what?  It's so worth it.  Maybe only 10 of those pictures are any good, but you have to take 62 pictures sometimes to get ONE picture like this:

And I know I'm his mother, but doesn't this picture make you want to squeeze him close and kiss that sweet face?  

I couldn't decide which way I liked it most.  I definitely prefer a more vintage look, because I think it has that feel.  Since he's wearing nothing but a diaper and holding a water hose, this photograph could have been taken at anytime...since the invention of the water hose, I guess.

Which do you like best?

I Love...

I love a lot of you.  I just felt compelled today to reiterate how much I love these three who live under my roof.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Kizziah Family Visit

Last night kicked off a week-long visit with cousins.  After six months apart, I think Ella and John David were very excited to see each other again.  I noticed little ways they have both grown-up and matured in the past six months.  There were no moments of pouting from Ella. John David was more talkative and affectionate towards her.  It's fun watching sweet children grow up.  We can't wait to celebrate John David's birthday tomorrow with a Superman party at our favorite fountain.  He's very into superheros of all kinds right now.  Playing with his new light sabers ruled the evening yesterday.

This is a strange mixture of The Secret Garden meets Star Wars.

John David is saying to David, 
"You killed my father!"

To which David of course replied, 

(all together now...)

"I am your father."


Well, I think they stopped before that part.
It's fun having an actor for a father.

And she's just cute.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Here are a few random, thoughts, observations, quotes, and songs that have run through my brain today.

Little kids like to do things grown-ups do, even if it's gross.
For instance, when James urinated (is there really a good word to describe this?  A few are going through my head now, and none really seem fit for polite conversation.  It's making me think of that segment on our favorite potty-training dvd, Elmo's Potty Time, when everyone's shouting out what they call things:  "Wee Wee!  Woo Woo!  Pee pee!  Poo poo! #1! #2!...and so on.) on the carpet TWICE this afternoon when he had been stripped of his diaper in preparation for his bath, Ella begged for the privilege of scrubbing the carpet with the Resolve.  "Um, sure, sweetheart.  Have at it."

Little boys like to urinate at all times and in all places just because they can.
I mean, this isn't something new for me.  I have three younger brothers.  The highlight of a good hike was leaving the trail to, ahem, "tinkle" just because they could.  And my son, after going on the carpet right outside the bathroom door, couldn't resist running back to my closet to give it a whirl there, too.

This quote from Elizabeth Elliot's, Let Me Be a Woman.
The word husband carries the connotation of conserving, caring for, managing, or protecting.  A wife needs to allow herself to be cherished.  Let him "husband" you...So I am not fearful of your being a clinging vine.  But do let him cherish you.  He is your husband."
I'm thankful for my husband.  I like being cherished by him.

This quote from Jonathan Edwards
And scarce any thing, among all the works of nature, was so sweet to me as thunder and lightning; formerly, nothing had been so terrible to me. Before, I used to be uncommonly terrified with thunder, and to be struck with terror when I saw a thunder storm rising; but now, on the contrary, it rejoiced me. I felt God, so to speak, at the first appearance of a thunder storm; and used to take the opportunity, at such times, to fix myself in order to view the clouds, and see the lightnings play, and hear the majestic and awful voice of God's thunder, which oftentimes was exceedingly entertaining, leading me to sweet contemplations of my great and glorious God. While thus engaged, it always seemed natural to me to sing, or chant for my mediations; or, to speak my thoughts in soliloquies with a singing voice.
I was out driving when a thunderstorm sprang up, and I saw several lightning flashes; it made me think of this.  

This Song by Shane and Shane
She hides her face, it seems too good
for Your embrace to find her.
and say, "my dove, your voice is sweet
show me your form... your form is lovely."

Your mercy reigns.
Your mercy comes.
Your mercy falls
and rises with the sun.

It's new every morning,
It's new every morning,
It's good enough for me.

No ear has heard a melody
as sweet as yours for her.
It seems too good, so undeserved.
My heart faints now, for we are her. 

I remember the first time I heard that song in college and being a bit amazed at a combination of scripture from Lamentations and Song of Solomon.  They seem unlikely bedfellows, don't you think?  I've been realizing over and over again in the past few months how works-oriented I am in my relationship with God.  I think that probably comes with the territory in being a first-born child.  It's not something I'm conscious of until I find myself feeling so guilt-ridden over all my imperfections, forgetting and not fully grasping the depth of Christ's love for me and all that His salvation has accomplished, and how I am fully known, yet fully accepted in the Beloved, just as KJ knows me and accepts and loves me unconditionally despite the sin that only he may see.  I need the reminder of the gospel story moment by moment.  It's so liberating, because my own striving will never end in my perfection but only in my frustration.

So there you have it.  A little theology, a little bit of my spiritual journey, a little bit of "wee-wee."  Quite the selection tonight.

Daddy's Perspective

KJ took this picture of Ella at a party on Saturday.

She's lovely, isn't she?

And how about my husband catching that ray of light on her hair?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Birthday Party #3

Birthday party #3 took place at a barnyard.  What a great place for a little boy's party!  I know my little boy loved it.  You have to know I took way more pictures than I have time to post right now, right?

Sweet, right?  

I wish I had gotten the shot of James picking up the rabbit
by the hind leg.  It would have been nice contrast.

Is it possible for there to be anything cuter than this?

My boy loved the goats.
He chased them.
He pet them.
He fed them.

Ella was very brave, too.

Fun, fun times.

It was a great day of birthday parties.

Birthday Party #2

Birthday Party #2 yesterday was for a friend at church who shares Ella's name.  It's fun hearing them call each other by both first and last names all the time.  The kids jumped and slid down inflatable slides, and after some encouragement (i.e. being carried to the top of the biggest slide by two different adults in our church), Ella had a really good time, too.

Birthday Party #1

Ella's Manicure

The Birthday Girl

The birthday girl just turned six-years-old.  Her mommy and I lived in the same dorm room for 2 1/2 years.  Her daddy and I did nursing home ministry together our freshmen year of college and served on our school's freshman orientation committee, attending countless meetings and retreats.  I am so excited about them living in the same city with us now.  Since our college graduation, Justin and Chandra have had adventures as dorm-parents at our alma mater, adventures in seminary, and adventures serving in India with the IMB.  Now they're serving at a church in town that our church has partnered with to plant churches.  How fun.  They have three fun and precious girls.  I really love Justin and Chandra, and I really love those girls.

Girl #2 and Ella

Girl #3