Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Little Beauty

I loved getting to spend some time with my niece, Claire, this past week.  It's fun to watch her flit around the room, long blonde curls bouncing behind her.  I wanted to capture those blonde curls after our family picture, but she was so bouncy I ended up with face shots instead...which were beautiful, too, of course.

I just couldn't decide if I liked color or black and white better on this one.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hello, my old friend.

Hi, there, little blog.  We've been so busy, and there have been no early mornings for blogging.  There have, however, been early mornings like this:

And this:

And this:

I have a love/hate relationship with waking up at 5:30 on vacation.  Or any time really.  I love waking up before my kids and having an hour or two of quiet and solitude before the day begins.  I don't like being so tired at night after we put the kids to bed that I can barely have a coherent conversation with my husband.  Tis this season of mothering, I suppose.  In the blink of an eye my kids will want to sleep later, and they'll be able to make their own breakfasts!  

We had a really fun week seeing family and enjoying the delights of the seaside.  I found Mrs. Bennet's prediction to be true, "A little sea-bathing would set me up forever!"  We celebrated KJ's sister, Katie's, birthday and enjoyed an afternoon with Granny.

We spent a night with my brother and sister-in-law and had a one-year-old photoshoot with my nephew, Caleb.  I've got lots of pictures to go through!

I also took this picture for my mom since we already had the lovely backdrop.

We took the kids to Lambert's, where they were not nearly as excited about the "throwed" rolls as we were.  Tidbit:  The night KJ proposed at the beach, we stopped by Lambert's for a celebratory bag of rolls to go.

 Ella says she made this face because of the flash;
I was afraid she was turning up her nose at the rolls.

Eat up that sweet corn, boy.

In the end, we finally persuaded her to catch a roll for T.

There was lots of frolicking about on the beach.  I was glad James wasn't scared of the ocean this year.

There were pictures made in white and lots of sunscreen and sand.

Sweet James and his stoic face.  After his open-mouthed picture above, I told him to just smile, not open his mouth.  For the rest of the picture-taking night he just said, "I can't do it!" and looked straight-faced at the camera.  We have a few more options of a group picture, but I'll have to get to that later, as Ella BEGGED to start school today. 
That's right.  You heard me.  School.  On the 30th of July.  We're making it a tradition, I guess.  We came back to the beach, and our neighbor graciously brought over the box of curriculum that arrived while we were away, and Ella was just beyond excited.  You know how it is, new books, new notebooks, new crayons.  Something just comes over you, I guess.  I'm not looking at it as starting school exactly.  It is technically summer, after all, but we are going to do school today and see where it goes from here.  I didn't like to squelch Ella's enthusiasm, because let's be honest, it doesn't last all year long for any of us.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Busy Weekend, Busy Week

We had lots of celebrations and gatherings this weekend, and as I think back on it this morning I am so grateful for the body of Christ and the people in our church.  They make our lives full and meaningful both when we get to serve and give to them and when they are speaking truth into our lives and being generous with us.

Friday morning we received an invitation to come swim at a friend and church member's new pool.  It was such a peaceful, relaxing spot, and the kids and I had so much fun.  It was really our first visit to an outdoor pool this summer.

practicing her underwater swimming skills

Saturday we attended a surprise cookout celebrating the upcoming birth of a precious little girl, who is scheduled to arrive into the world August 6 if she doesn't decide to come earlier.  Johnna knows how to throw a lovely party for sure, and we're so excited for Amber and baby Gillian.

After racing home for James' nap we then met my parents for dinner to celebrate my mom's birthday.  We love you so much, Debbo!  I feel weird calling you "Debbo."  Happy birthday, Mom. :)

Yesterday I got to go to the baby shower of my dear college friend, Chandra.  Her girls were the ones we had such a fun outing with at the movies.  I'm so excited for their family adding a baby boy to the mix.  He'll receive no shortage of love.

 "Smile at your belly and think happy thoughts about
sleep deprivation." Her words not mine. :)

I hurried home from the shower to put potatoes in the oven, and we had such a good time of fellowship with our Mission Community last night.  We got to hear from Sam about his time in France and how he came home with a fiancee instead of a mere girlfriend.

It was quite the weekend.  Until this morning, I hadn't washed my dishes in two days since we've kind of just been coming and going.  BUT, the dishes are washed now, and I've got a lot more than that to do, because we are leaving for a visit with family tomorrow and then on to the beach the next day with the Kizziahs and Pughs (which is another gift of generosity from our church family), so lots of packing and laundry to be done.  I'll see you on the other side. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Franco Fridays: Sacre Coeur + Montmartre

After our morning of Metro-Hopping, we had some free time in the afternoon before meeting with the Punjabi Church that night.  Parker planned our trip well, and we were able to visit a lot of the well-known sites tourists like to see in the middle of the ministry we were doing.  Monday afternoon we walked through Sacre Coeur Basilica and Montmartre.  

I always get nervous trying to explain the history of something because since I by no means have an exhaustive knowledge, I'm afraid I'll get something wrong.  So I don't think I'll try to explain the history, but my own previous connection with Montmartre is through the movie Funnyface with Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn.  I knew it as the place all the intellectuals, philosophers, and thinkers gravitated toward.  I didn't have any previous connection with Sacre Coeur and didn't really know what to expect there.  I heard it said that it is the newest cathedral in Paris, built after WWI.  I was a little distracted by the cobblestoned street in between the little tourist shops, and got taken by surprise with my first look.

It was quite a little climb up the steps, and you had to walk purposefully or be hustled by men who would grab your arm and quickly braid a bracelet around your wrist while talking to you, and then expect to you to pay them for it.  It happened to one of the guys in our group, and since we were warned, another guy was able to yell them off when they made an attempt at him.  It was kind of funny after it was over.

 The view was magnificent.

Photography wasn't allowed inside the cathedral, so I just snapped a few pictures as we were walking in.

I don't really remember much about what it looked like inside; I mainly remember how the selling of candles and such made some in our group feel like Jesus would be pulling over tables in there.  Though it was very quiet inside, the buying and selling did make it seem a little more like a tourist trap than a house of prayer.

I love those old streets...though without the right shoes they're hard on your feet.

We took this picture for Ella, who is a big fan of Funnyface.  Audrey Hepburn mentions Montmartre in a song in the movie while sitting at a cafe table similar to the ones behind us.  As an aside, the climb on the steps to Sacre Coeur really did a number on my hair.

 I told you I'd be back with more pigeon photo-bombing.

 The Artists (and the crowds of tourists)

 Old Shutters, and wait for it...

I loved the outside of this little restaurant.

Of course I had to check it out when told there was a spot from Montmartre where you could see La tour Eiffel.  I really liked the hazy look of the pictures I got there.

To complete our time in Montmartre and our Funnyface theme, KJ found steps that Fred Astaire goes down in the movie, and we took a couple dozen pictures of us going up and down the stairs with very theatrical, musical faces.  I'll spare you from posting all of those.

It was a pretty fun afternoon. :)  I'll leave you with a bit of clever advertizing against the dangers in various chemical substances.