Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Morning Routines

One morning last week I decided it was important that I document what our lives look like in this season.  Mornings sometimes start out with a little Netflix and breakfast, because if you simply must get up early, you might as well have some fun.

It's always nice for James when he wakes up before Ella leaves.  He loves her so much and frequently greets her with hugs and kisses and cries when "Ah-la" and "Da-da" leave in the "cah."  

I ran a "Seventies" action on all these photos.  Here's what we look like in the 70s...except in the 70s there was, sadly, no Netflix.

7:19...KJ's cutting it close.

I just realized I sort of made a pun.
Do you get it??

That was unintentional.

Leaving on time?  More or less...

There's our neighbor leaving for work.  Sometimes he sees me running out the door chasing down my family with forgotten jackets, milk money, lunch boxes, or homework.  I usually look something like this in those moments.

rolled out of bed hair

Maybe I don't have the creepy smile on my face when our neighbor sees us.
Crazy housewife.

sweet text from a friend

You should all send me text messages in the morning.
They would make my day.

I guess I can take a nap if you really want me to.

And then me and the other boy go hang out in his room so we don't disturb Luke's nap.

Is that a map of Middle Earth?
Yes, yes it is.

Last night there was a point in my dream where I woke up, and it was Friday, and I realized I hadn't written a blog post since Monday.  I guess I dreamed that because I didn't get a chance to write anything yesterday.  It is with great discipline that I brought you this blog post this morning.  It was composed with numerous interruptions to play with Pla-Doh, attach James' trains to a chair upside-down with the magnet (He's performing scientific experiments this morning.), potty-train, fix a drink, start a movie, fix him a snack, and change a dirty diaper.  And that list is probably a good description of what the rest of our mornings look like.  

Now it is recorded for posterity.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Gerber Baby Moment

How can a baby look this cute?

Happy 5 months to the cutest baby on the block.

Monday's Memories: The Rest of Jane's House

I don't have a video for you this week, but you could listen to my favorite music from Becoming Jane while you look if you like.  

Runaways by Various Artists on Grooveshark

I loved the stairs at Chawton cottage.  In fact, I really loved the entire house.  It was different than anything I would have expected and so very lovely.

Hanging on the wall there are copies of newspaper advertisements 
announcing the release of two of Jane's novels.

Sense and Sensibility was published anonymously,
which is why it just says Lady_______.

Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published posthumously,
so I'm assuming that's why they contained information about the author.

Novel-writing women were very suspect in those days.

We only had one more room in the house to visit downstairs.  They aren't sure what it was used for when the Austens lived there, but it's a very wonderful book-room today.

old first love

Last year marked the 200th since the release of Jane Austen's first published book, Sense and Sensibility.  They had a first edition in the original board covers.

I'm a fan of well-written Jane Austen spin-offs, but I didn't know there were any written this early.  I wonder if you can find it anywhere or if it's any good?

If you happen to be a fan of Jane Austen spin-offs, this is a good one.  It re-tells Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy's perspective in journal form.  Amanda Grange does a good job of it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Friday Night

A Friday night, and KJ and I are immersed in our various creative pursuits.  KJ is writing background for a novel (one of the ways he is hoping to make me a million dollars), and I began the evening thinking I'd try to design my own digital scrapbooking paper, and ended up with this:

I have no idea what that might be useful for, but I like it nonetheless.  If KJ ever succeeds at one of his million-dollar ideas (and why wouldn't he?) you'll know where to find me.  

I think that house would suit me just fine.
The view's not so bad, either.

A Week Gone By

Last Friday...

 KJ donned a tuxedo, and we went to a party hosted by a couple of girls in our church.  We had a lovely evening, but as Anne would say, "The best part of it all was the coming home."

I'm glad I get to come home with that man, and we came home to a quiet house!  It's always such a weird feeling when we can go in any room and be as loud as we want because there's no danger of waking the children.  

Saturday my dad came to pick up the kids for the weekend, and we had a chance to visit with my youngest brother and just enjoy a quiet house all day.  KJ had some more work to do on his Sunday School lesson; I worked out and showered.  It was rainy and chilly, and we turned on the fireplace, and I read aloud to him for an hour and a half from his grandfather's autobiography.  It was so good.  I enjoyed reading about Daddy's Jim's mother, Ethel.  I wear her diamond on my finger.

Saturday and Sunday felt like the days before children.  We've never had a weekend at home without them.  We've gone off for a weekend on camping trips but never been in our house alone in years.  It was peaceful and relaxing to say the least.  It made me realize that I truly do spend most of my time meeting children's needs.  

We enjoyed church and uninterrupted conversations with people, but again, the best part was in the coming home.  

Monday my mother returned the children, and the whirl of activity resumed around us.  I told KJ last night that I want to enjoy these days and greet the craziness with a smile.  I want my children to remember me as a joyful and happy, not stressed and frazzled.  That is a greater challenge on some days than others, but I realized afresh this week my dependence on Christ and my need for His grace.  Oh, how I need His grace.  

I took Luke and James to Wal-Mart this week.  I felt completely crazy doing it, but I put Luke in the baby carrier on my body facing out where he could see everything, and James (thankfully) was willing to ride in the buggy.  It went surprisingly well.  I really wish I could have taken our picture, especially during those times I was feeding Luke his bottle while walking through the store.  I was a sight, to be sure, but the boys were happy, and that is a miracle in any Wal-Mart trip.

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday.  Last month when I was sick with a sinus infection I went to the doctor where they took an x-ray of my chest.  In the process the doctor discovered a significant curve in my spine and was flabbergasted that I didn't look crooked.  I was flabbergasted myself when I saw the x-ray.  I'd always been told I had a "slight" case of scoliosis, but this was pretty crazy crooked.

The doctor told me the danger was that as I aged and naturally hunched forward I could have trouble breathing because of the pressure on my lungs.  We talked about corrective surgery, and it was all very disheartening.  It was two days before my 30th birthday, and visions of me a crooked old lady with limited activity or having back surgery that rendered me incapable of movement and caring for my home and family for months.  I cried.  And felt deformed and hyper-aware of my spine the next couple of days.

Of course, this doctor was no specialist, and she referred me to an orthopedist, and KJ and I decided if he did recommend surgery, we'd pursue it several years down the road when the children were older, and I stopped thinking about my spine and went on about my business.  I had no pain, and if I were an anomaly now, perhaps I would be as I aged, too.

But yesterday we just marveled at God's grace, because the orthopedist told us that three bones on the left side of my body fused together when I was 8 or 9, causing one side of my spine to curve.  But my fearfully and wonderfully made body responded by readjusting and curving slightly at the bottom as well, so that the bottom of my spine is perfectly aligned with the top of my spine, which is why you can't tell that I have a curve in the first place.  To quote the orthopedist, "With the bottom and top lined up, it doesn't really matter what happens in between."  I think he was jesting a little bit, but all the same good news for me.

If the curve had been in my lower back it could have caused some problems, but because of where it was, "If you have to have a curve that's the place to have it."  It's in my upper back and so doesn't affect my lungs at all.  He recommended we do absolutely nothing about it.  Hallelujah.  I'm so grateful for grace upon grace.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I really enjoy learning how to do different things in my photo-editing software, so sometimes when I get a free moment I'll follow tutorials on pictures I think they would work on to learn something new.  Here are my favorite results from yesterday and today.  


This was taken the only time I got out my magical bokeh (lovely background blur) lens on our England trip. It was just too much trouble to change lenses the rest of the time, and I needed the wide one to take in all the landscapes.  This lovely English flower was taken in the "Secret Garden" at Highclere Castle, a.k.a. Downton Abbey.  Yes, we went there.  It was wonderful.  

The tutorial I was following was using textures to create your own art.  I was pleased with the result, and I think I'd put it in a vintage frame and enjoy having it on my wall very much.  Or you could even make a poster out of it and write your favorite quote in the empty space.


The next tutorial was just learning a new method of making your black backgrounds darker or your white backgrounds lighter.  It seemed a useful thing to know.

Cute baby


I went ahead and brightened Luke's skin and eyes, too, as well as making my background darker, and this picture was one that begged for a black and white version.

See what I mean?

Looking at that angelic face I think I will forgive him for crying instead of taking his nap this morning, and perhaps I'll forgive my own son for whining all morning, and I'll give my husband a big hug and kiss for giving me the gift of an hour and a half of silence and solitude at the end of the day.  Can I get an amen?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Tuesday!

Luke just wanted to say, "Hi, Mama!"

"Happy Tuesday!"

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday's Memories: Upstairs in Jane's House

I felt like another post with random pictures from Jane's house would be kind of boring, so I put them in a little slideshow format for your viewing pleasure.  These are the rest of the pictures we took from our exploration of the upstairs in Chawton cottage.  You'll see the upstairs hall, a lock of George Austen's hair, the room dedicated to Jane's brothers in the Royal Navy, a quilt made by Jane and Cassandra, a riding habit belonging to Mrs. Austen in her younger days, and pictures and notes from two different productions of Sense and Sensibility.  The bonnets were worn by Elinor and Mrs. Jennings in the Sense and Sensibility starring Emma Thompson.  Enjoy!

Upstairs in Jane's House from KJ Pugh on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

To obey is better than sacrifice.

I actually found the word delight in my reading this week.  I knew it was coming, and the familiar words were still a powerful reminder of how God delights in obedience.

Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to listen than the fat of rams.
- 1 Samuel 15:22 -

It reminded me of some other words of Jesus and made me want to have a quiet heart of obedience because that brings pleasure and delight to the Lord.

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
(John 14:15)

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love,
just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love.
(John 15:10)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday's Flashback: Window Light

It's been a busy day around here with the normal kind of busy-ness.  I'll leave you with two things on this Friday afternoon.  First, a still life.

One of my favorite things about Jane Austen's house was all the natural light pouring in through the windows.  It was the first really pretty day we'd had in England, and the sun on the all of the old wood in the house was so lovely.  There were little glass vases scattered about with flowers from the garden.  I loved it.

Second.  My husband looking manly and handsome.

This was taken in the room dedicated to the memorabilia of Jane's seafaring brothers, Charles and Frank.  Guess what!  I get to spend the weekend ALONE with this handsome man.  Get outta town, you say?  It's true.  My children are spending a night with KJ's parents tonight (for some previous plans we'd made) and then my parents are coming to fetch them for the rest of the long weekend.  I think all parties are very satisfied with the arrangements.  But being kid-free requires a lot of work beforehand, so I'm off to pack and do laundry and things of that nature.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Heart for Any Fate

Nothing says that you have a heart for any fate like deciding to take your 2-year-old and an almost 5-month old to get the 2-year-old's hair cut all by yourself.  I'm either brave or stupid, but I was aiming to be a hero in the strife today and be innovative and courageous about my duties, so...

Fate 1- James screams and cries and refuses to be still.  Luke cries in his baby seat.  I wish I could die.

Fate 2- Everything goes well.

Yesterday I cleaned all day long.  Granted, no one probably noticed, because I was just continuously cleaning up everyone's stuff, but I washed dishes a bazillion times yesterday.  It felt really nice to start this morning in a clean house, but it made me feel kind of bored with the idea of a cleaning agenda for the day again.  There were a few items I needed from the store, so I started working toward that outing.  And then I looked at my son and had a brilliant idea.  There's a salon right beside the Winn-Dixie up the road from our house, and I said, "Today is the day."  Look at this poor kid.

He's really cute to be sure but in desperate need of a haircut.  We've gotten by over the past few months with letting my mom cut it in when she came to town.  I've snipped at it a bit, and KJ cut it out of his eyes last month.  Poor kid.  Making a special trip to the salon for James hasn't been a priority or even something we looked forward to trying, but something in me said that today was the day.

He looks a bit like Shaggy off of Scooby-Doo.

Someone help me!

I've never taken the boys out together before, but I put them in their respective car seats for the adventure.  I hadn't taken into account lugging the baby seat across the parking lot while holding James' hand at the same time, but we made it.  James was so adorable once we got in the salon.  He ran around, but he obeyed so well, too, when I told him not to touch things.  I think he was excited to be out of the house because he did the worm across the salon floor, stopping halfway to look at it and say, "Dirty."  Yes, it is dirty, son.  Get up off the floor.  

I held him in my lap, and one bag of fruit snacks later he was a new man.  He really did so well. I was so proud of him and so thankful that the Lord let us have Fate #2.

eating his celebratory yogurt

He looks like somebody loves him now.

And as for the other boy?  Having had a good morning nap and a full tummy, he was perfect.  He hardly made a peep except to coo now and again and was quite content with his hands and his toys.

And just to prove that wonders never cease, we even made it happily through Winn-Dixie, arriving  home in time for both boys to go down for a nap and me to enjoy a quiet house.  Now that's what I call a good day.

A little poetry for your Wednesday

I've read part of this poem before in Jan Karon's Mitford books but read the entirety for the first time this morning.  It encouraged me to be up and doing today.  Without further ado, here is A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  I highlighted my favorite lines and tried to refrain from highlighting the entire thing.

Tell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou are, to dust thou returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, - act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sand of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solenm main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us then be up and doing, 
With a heart for any fate; 

Still achieving, still pursuing, 
Learn to labor and to wait. 

I love that.  And I needed the encouragement on this gray and cloudy morning to be still achieving, still pursuing, and a hero in the strife.  I began the day groggily, but now I'm feeling a bit more energetic and inspired to be creative in the gift of this new day, the living Present.

starting a new day in Derbyshire

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love, Love, Love

Ella is experiencing her first school Valentine's Day party right now as I write.  It was so sweet watching her carefully write the names of her classmates on little cards.  She was also very thoughtful picking them out; she didn't want to pass out Princess cards to little boys, so we picked out cards we thought could be enjoyed by both sexes. She's the most precious girl of them all.

We attempted a "Valentine" photo shoot a couple of Saturdays ago that didn't go quite as I planned, mostly because we had some unexpected company show up in the form of neighborhood friends.  Maybe we'll try again today.  Here are a couple of the kids with their "haa-t" suckers (as James says).

I also took a few of Luke with a red background.  Happy Valentine's Day, Mama.

I'm so thankful for the love of my life today, who saw me looking distressed late yesterday afternoon and when learning that it was because I wanted to exercise but didn't think I had time to do it before I made dinner said, "Do it.  Go do it.  I've got the kids and dinner."  

I'm thankful for how afterwards he said, "Go ahead and get a shower.  I'll bathe both the kids."

I'm thankful for how he took care of pajamas and listened to Ella's reading so I could run to Wal-Mart and pick up diapers and sinus medicine.

(FYI:  Don't ever mention to the pharmacist that you're picking up meds for your husband because now it's a state law that you can only buy it for yourself.  I've discovered I disapprove of pointless laws.  This happened to me a couple of days ago, so last night KJ said, "Just keep your head down, and buy the drugs.  Don't say who they're for." I disapprove of laws written for irresponsible people that keep responsible people from living freely.)

But getting back to made me happy to come home and find my family like this.

all clean and sweet and having family time

Also, I'd just like to mention that James said "Yes" for the first time today.  He has twice today answered appropriately with yes.  I've observed that "No" is always the only answer kids give for a while.  I guess because it's easier to say, and most of the time much more fun.  But this morning..."Do you want the car?"  "Yes."  "What did you say?  Yes??"  "Yes."  

Just now..."James, did you go poo-poo?"  (Sorry for the potty language, KJ.  This is my life.)


James has never answered that question with a yes before this morning.  Hooray for yeses!!