Friday, June 28, 2013

Franco Fridays: Walking through Paris

"Walking through Paris" could be a title for our entire week, not just part of a day.  Sunday evening was just more of a pleasure walk than walking to get to a specific place for ministry.  It was our introduction to the city.  I got a favorable first impression.  Warning:  This is a picture-heavy post. 

Paris really is a beautiful city.  I loved the trees arching over the streets, the old doors, the flower boxes, the way the light reflected off the buildings.  Beauty, beauty everywhere.

entrance to the Pont de l'Alma Tunnel
where Princess of Diana was killed 

It was strange to stand here, remembering all the news reports when this happened. 

 And there it is, our first walk through Paris.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

10 Things About Our Week

 1.  Monday was amazing.  Those kids of mine spent hours playing outside and in, entertaining themselves without any of that back and forth fighting in high-pitched voices that has made mothers through the ages want to run and hide.  I'm so sorry for what we put you through, Mom. 

Ella wanted a "summer party" on Monday that included a lot of backyard activities:  swimming, swinging, horseshoes, bubbles, and lunch on the porch.  This was so nice, as it gave me lots of time to work on our yard sale project for the coming weekend.

 2.  Tuesday the kids got bored.  The previous two weeks I took them to the free movie on Tuesday, but I really felt like I needed time to keep on cleaning out closets, and we stayed home.  No matter that I took time out to play Rummikub and Chutes and Ladders... Ella still uttered those famous summertime words, "I just have nothing to do... it's been a boring day."  I find that I vacillate as a mother between thinking, "These kids need to get bored and then learn how to entertain themselves," and "I feel like such a bad mother because I didn't provide enough organized activities for my children today."

 3.  I got impatient.  Last week we had a really fun time playing baseball in the front yard.  I even threw the ball for the neighborhood kids, too.  I tried to recreate our fun time and to document it with pictures Tuesday afternoon, but it didn't work.  It was humid, and there were bugs, and complaints that I was throwing the ball too high, and it ended in me feeling frustrated and tired of trying to find things to do.  

 4.  There's been a lot of throwing out, giving away, piling up to sell of the accumulation of our things.  I love the idea of saving things that my children can look at and enjoy when they're older, but I also hate the idea of just having boxes of stuff that we carry with us all over the world, wherever we go.  So with some things, I'm thinking a digital memory works just as well, right?  Conveniently stored in about 20 external harddrives that we can carry with us wherever we go.  That being said, I found this old sign Ella used to have on her bedroom door.  Maybe I should have saved it to re-tape during her teenage years.

 5.  Normal things happened, like drawing and coloring.  It's been fun watching James start to draw this week.  Ella draws rainbows.  James draws a spider and an egg.

 6.  I finished the latest Flavia de Luce book by Alan Bradley.  (And it was just as I suspected, Mom!)  When I really enjoy books, I have to read them to my husband, of course.  So I checked out the first book and started reading aloud to KJ at night while he plays a game on his iPhone until my eyes can't stay open any longer.  So Netflix is getting a breather from us.  I love Bradley's writing and use of language, and the characters are hilarious and fully developed, and the similes...oh, his similes are the best.  And KJ laughs at all the right places, and I think hearing good writing is good for my aspiring author.

 7.  Yesterday we had a full morning out with a friend from my college days and her girls.  We made it to the Wednesday showing of the free movie, and they all had such a great time.  We need more play dates with these precious girls!  The movies was followed by lunch at Chick-Fil-A and then a quick run into the library, making James an hour past his nap time.  Whoops. 

Movie Magic

 Dancing to the Credits

 Beautiful Girls

 Holding His Own

 8.  Today is my brother's birthday.  I really wish I could be with him and his sweet family today, but with the yard sale planned for Saturday, I just didn't think I could pull off a road trip, too.  Happy 30th, Josh!!

I can't believe we'll be celebrating that little guy's first birthday in just a month and a half!  

 9.  Tomorrow is my sweet mother-in-law's birthday!  Summertime is full of birthdays in our families.  She's celebrating in part by keeping my kids tomorrow night, so we can yard sale it up early Saturday morning.  That gives you an idea of her selflessness towards her family and others.  We're so thankful for T.  And we want to make it all about you with a family birthday celebration on Sunday.

10.  James woke us up at 5:45 this morning.  It's just unacceptable, folks.  Happy Thursday. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ella's First Trip to Narnia

A few nights ago I started reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe aloud to Ella.  I hope I'm not spoiling anything for her by not letting her read it to herself when she's a little older, but we bought these really great read-aloud editions of the books 3 years ago, so I've already held out for 3 years!  I'm trying not to give much commentary as I read but to let her experience it untainted. 

Reading with Ella makes me remember my first trip into Narnia as a 4th grader, and oh, how I wanted the magic to be real.  I think I lived in secret hope that my closet might somehow transform itself into another world.

Last night Ella got nervous when the robin appeared and wanted the children to follow him.  "I'm afraid he might take them to the White Witch!"  

I took the above picture, literally, in Lewis's old stomping grounds behind his house.  Here's to finding new worlds in unexpected places.

Monday, June 24, 2013

"What IS a weekend?"

Our weekend began with the kids going off to play golf with Big Daddy on Friday morning.  This gave me a few hours alone, and the kids had a lot of fun.  It turns out James is really good at golf, achieving several hole-in-ones.  I spent about 45 minutes throwing the wiffle ball to him last week, and he was really good at hitting it, too.  My little athlete.

Friday night I tried a new recipe in an attempt to use up a lot of leftover rice and two leftover chicken breasts.  I doubled this recipe for Chicken Fried Rice and also added a little extra olive oil, because I really think the extra oil is what makes it so good in the restaurant.  Of course I didn't add nearly enough, because my head can't stop thinking, "120 calories per tablespoon...", so though my texture was still not up to par, the flavor was good.  All the picky eaters and complainers in my house ate it, so win. I'm not just referring to Ella here, either.  KJ has never before eaten much of the fried rice I've ever made in the past, because he has high standards for the stuff.  James was suspicious of the peas hidden away in there, but after the first bite, said, "Mmm, Mama, this is good."  Those words are music to my ears.  And Ella has really been amazing lately about eating what is put before her with minimal complaints and face-making.  She does, however, have a lot of mysterious ailments at dinner:  Her stomach hurts, her throat hurts, she keeps needing to sneeze, etc.  I just say, "I'm sorry," or "That's, keep eating."
Ella and I went to a book shower to celebrate the first birthday of a precious baby in our church.  T did such a good job of decorating and making everything special.  I wouldn't mind having a book party, myself...  Little Emma received some beautiful books.

Yesterday ended with a sweet gathering of the remnant of the Mission Community left for the summer where I forgot to take pictures, but James had the time of his life playing the Wii with Mr. Chuck, and Ella loved coloring with Katie.  It was a sweet time of fellowship that ended with me trying to find a good place to see the Super Moon.  I still struggle with finding a good place to catch a good horizon picture, but I was thankful to catch it still red.  

In between all of that activity, I've been working with a vengeance, cleaning out our closets in preparation for a yard sale this weekend.  Cleaning out your closets is such a good feeling.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Franco Fridays: Church + The Eiffel Tower

Our Sunday morning with Emmanuel International Church was such a blessing and encouragement in so many ways.  This was our first full day of meeting people--adults and teenagers--and it really is amazing the instant connection you have because of Christ.

Seth led the music for the service, KJ read the Scripture, and we partook of the Lord's Supper together.  I'm sure there were a combination of things at work in my heart to make that service so sweet to me.  I think a small part of it was just being able to be fully in tune with every part, which doesn't happen when you're in mommy-mode and in the process of training little ones in sitting still in church.  But the bigger part, was just the work of the Spirit in making the truth that Jesus died for me so big and real and wonderful to my heart that morning.

After being introduced in the second service as well, most of us went to youth Sunday School, where Parker graciously gave up his chair for KJ.  He prepared his students for Lord of the Rings references, and, of course, KJ didn't disappoint in that regard.  They flow so naturally from his tongue.  I've gotten to where I can sense them coming ahead of time.  I love that man.

Sunday School was followed by an outdoor lunch with some members of the church.  It was an absolutely amazing day, so we were able to dine al fresco

During lunch we tried to figure out the American equivalent to saying, "Bon Appetit," before eating.  The best we could come up with for the south would be, "Let's eat!" or "Dig in!"  But, every meal isn't as celebrated and enjoyed in America like it is in France, I don't think.

After lunch our team and a few other church members went into Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, as well as to observe Parker in action with the guys who were selling trinkets in the area.  Part of our mission was to try to connect these men from India and Bangladesh with Christians in Paris who spoke their languages.  

The first up close sight of la tour Eiffel required the taking of many pictures, of course.

It makes me feel happy just looking at all those tulips again.

And now, my friends, if you don't have a clear idea of what the Eiffel Tower looks like up-close, I can't do anything for ya.