Friday, March 29, 2013

Ella's Perspective

Ella hasn't blogged in a while, but she has taken a lot of pictures over the past week and wanted to make a collage for her blog.  She's so cute and so sweet.

 

One of those Perfect Days

Yesterday I wrote about how much we all loved Thursdays, not knowing just how great of a Thursday yesterday would turn out to be.  It was so good I had to remind myself approximately 100 times that it wasn't Saturday.  That good.

This week, in general, has been much quieter and slower-paced than last week.  Last week there was much busy-ness and running around spending time with cousins, getting ready for Easter weekend, and traveling to Mobile.  We haven't taken a break from school this week, but it's kind of felt like Spring Break for us, too.  

I got up early with the kids yesterday, letting KJ sleep in a little.  I was tired after a late night with some of our college students, but I'm such a good wife like that.  Oddly enough, despite my self-sacrifices as a mother, the kids cheered when KJ got up.  Go figure.  But he deserves his praise.  He taught Ella and did all her school-work with her while I browsed Amazon for new music and went for a 45-minute jog.  There was a shower and lunch, reading and game-playing, egg-dying with Ella, and the termite man came to renew our termite bond.

 After James' nap we all got dressed in our Easter duds for a quick photo-shoot in the backyard.  I had wanted this to be low-stress experience, take some good portraits of the kids, get a family shot.  Things didn't look good for us starting out.  KJ got a call, and he had to be up at the church to get things situated for Secret Church tonight, so there was a time crunch, and James walked out the door crying and wailing about the cuffs on his button-down shirt.  But then, somehow, amidst the tears and commotion, we got some really wonderful pictures and a family shot that, in our own opinion, and maybe because it's our own little family, we think is pretty perfect.  It looks perfect, but that's why I share about the craziness of the experience because, trying to take a picture of your whole family is never perfect.

  Behind the Scenes captured by KJ
 
After pictures, KJ ran out, and I hid and found Easter eggs with James several times, we ate supper, more reading, washing the dishes, practicing French (I can now ask, "At what time?"), and it was just a really nice day.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursdays

Thursdays are undoubtedly one of our favorite days of the week:  it's KJ's off-day!  We all look forward to it.  When KJ's home life takes a little slower pace...for me at least.  Today should be nice, with lots of sunshine.  We're expecting rain on Easter Sunday, so I wanted to get some pictures of the kids in their Easter clothes today, not only because of the rain, but you know what Sunday mornings are like with kids and everyone trying to get ready.  The resulting chaos can give you a Sunday morning picture like this one:


Now, I love that picture, tear on the cheek and all, but still, it would be fun to have a spring photo shoot, right?  Maybe we'll even set up the tripod and try to take a family picture that's not taken right after James' nap and right before we have to rush out the door to church again.

Though, again, this is one of our favorite family pictures ever.  We love James' sneer.  We laughed and laughed over his face.

Thursdays usually also include me going to the grocery store when that's needed and one of us taking Ella to gymnastics, but I went shopping with the kids Tuesday, and gymnastics is out for Spring Break, so we are free to dye Easter eggs and bake cupcakes for our Easter meal.  Ella chose chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting.  I may try to fit in a solo-trip to the library too...and a jog.  Sometimes Thursdays fill up with all the things I want to do by myself that I don't get to do during the week.  Today might not be so slow-paced after all...

Here's one more unhappy-James-Easter picture from last year:


Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Despite our return to winter weather over the past couple of weeks, the bulbs buried in my flowerbed couldn't ignore the warm weather that came earlierI've written about it before, but I'm always amazed when KJ buries something dead, and one year later something vibrantly alive springs up from the ground.  There's all kinds of meaning to be found in that this week, I think. 


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Week before Easter

It was two years ago that we first used Resurrection Eggs during our family time at Easter.  I wrote about that year HERE and HERE.  They have continued to be such a good way to focus on the events of Holy Week with the kids.  For James at 3, he gets excited to open a new egg each night (as well as review the old ones).  KJ taught him to say, "Jesus came on a donkey."  It's his job to tell us that part of the story each night.

Ella was 4 the first year we used the eggs, and at that age I didn't read anything to her but just shared the story in my own words, simply.  I like seeing how this teaching tool can grow with your kids.  This year, Ella has been reading from her Bible we gave her last Easter.  She's reading whole passages, only stumbling over words such as, Praetorium.  Who wouldn't?

Life is busy and full of distractions, but it is good to come back to the great story of redemption each night.

It's a gift to be able to share in these times as a family.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Cute Baby Alert

As always after a busy weekend, it is good to be back home with no place to go on a Monday.  (I am fortunate, I know.)  I had a really good time on our drive down south with my dad on Friday, and as a little surprise, Ella came along.  It was so good to see my grandparents, Josh, and Nicole, but the star of this post will have to be this little fella.

 Isn't he the cutest?

The azaleas are in full bloom in south Alabama, and while Dad and Josh ran in a race, we dressed Caleb in his Easter outfit and took a little walk around the neighborhood.  He was a very cooperative little model.

  This smile is courteous of cousin Ella;
she was really good at making him laugh.

About this time Caleb was ready for his nap, but we still got some sweet pictures of him exploring his basket.

I think the men in our family would say this face is:  "They put these bunny ears on my head, and now I feel so ashamed."

"Get these things off me!"

We got a good one in the end, though.  Caleb couldn't stay mad long.  Nicole did such a good job decorating Caleb's room.  It was the perfect place for pictures, too.

Easter pictures were a lot of fun.  Let me know if you know a cute baby who needs a few. ;)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Weekend Plans

I'm going on a road trip tomorrow with my dad.  We're going to see a lot of precious family that I haven't seen in several months. The littlest of those people has grown so much since Christmas, I know.

I don't leave home for the night very often; KJ and I start missing each other a day in advance.  We're kind of pitiful.  Ella, on the other hand, has bigger problems.  She is very concerned that she will be served chicken nuggets and fries for every meal since "that's what Daddy ALWAYS makes."  Her one consolation is that she figures she'll get a granola bar for breakfast.  She even refused Chick-Fil-A this week in preparation of her diet of chicken over the weekend.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Just a Saturday Night

With lots of things going on for the newly-moved-into-their-house Kizziahs, we are getting a visit with the big cousins.  My big kids are loving it.  We brought in the weekend with a little hot-dog grilling, hammock-swinging, and trampoline-jumping. (And hyphen-using on my part.)

 Welcoming Spring with dinner in the backyard
(I just noticed that KJ was in a toddler-chair, while
Ella sat in the adult-sized one.)

We're looking forward to some more cousin playtime today.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Days When I'm Not a Super Mom

A sweet friend of mine gave me this mug of treats a couple of weeks ago.  Isn't it great?

And there are days when I feel like a super-hero, a wonder woman of a mom.  I banish dirt, grime, and in-fighting from my domain.  I restore order from the chaos over and over again.  I do all the things on my list.

And then there are days when the battle against my own sin rages hard, and I lose.  I lose patience with what seems to be a constant barrage of requests and needs calling for my attention.  I don't have the strength to be self-disciplined or maybe I just don't feel like it. 

I hate those days.  I hate feeling like a loser.

I had one of those days yesterday, so full of inward frustration.  There was really nothing wrong with the day itself, just my heart.

I went for a run after dinner in the cool after the storm.  My heart felt like the cool after the storm, too, after remembering that weakness is where God delights to show strength.  I just haven't learned to delight in my weaknesses yet.  I'd rather be strong, thank you very much.  I'd rather wear my cape.  

When my jog slowed to a walk I let my soundtrack move over to some hymns that I almost skipped, but then I knew I needed to hear words like these:

I need no other argument, I need no other plea.  It is enough that Jesus died and that He died for me.

What more can He say than to you He has said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

And I will never grow out of my need for hearing those words, for needing to feel my weakness and sin that I might believe the gospel again, believe that there is a big God with a lavish amount of grace for even me.     

Friday, March 15, 2013

Franco Fridays: Learning French

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I decided learning some French words would be helpful in preparation for our trip.  I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I am or to find it such a beautiful language and an intriguing experience.  I had always thought the French sounded a bit on the nasal side. 

I found a collection of 10 half-hour lessons on CD, designed for travelers, I think, at the public library.  I'm on lesson 7.  Each lesson builds on the previous, and I've been listening to each twice to make sure I've got it.  I'm eager to start adding actually looking at the words to see how they are spelled, too, but I think listening and repeating has been a good start since I don't know their phonetic rules. 

Ella and James got in on the fun at first when I was listening in the car, but I quickly learned it's hard to practice pronunciation with two kids trying to repeat phrases at the same time that I am.  James still does a pretty good job of asking me in French if I speak English, and both kids enjoy saying, "Bonjour, Paris."  

This isn't an exhaustive list, but here are several of the words and phrases I can put together so far.  I will obviously be a scintillating French conversationalist. 


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Strike a Pose

Our city's Parks and Recreation Authority has just opened their newest recreational center that it seems like they've been working on since we moved here.  We've been very aware of all their progress since it is right up the street from our house, and I think we're really going to enjoy having it so close.  To promote the new center everyone is allowed to use the facility for free this month, and last week, KJ promised the kids he'd take them swimming on his off day.  They were so cute in their bathing suits I got out the camera.

 How cute are they?

 "This is how you strike a pose, James."

 He's not quite getting it,
so I suggested he show me his muscles instead.

  "Oh, Ella, you show your muscles like a girl.
Here's how it's done:  you grit your teeth 
and suck in your stomach."

  "See?"

 "Man, this is exhausting."

 "I don't know how much longer I can hold it."

 "Whew...and that's how it's done."