Friday, January 31, 2014

Franco Fridays: La Defense

Our last stop as a group and with the youth of EIC was La Defense and the major financial district.  We saw a lot of interesting architecture and art, as well as a nice view of the Arc de Triomphe.

Frogs Within a Frog...and Seth

The last in a series of arches...
 From a distance it looked like a smooth slope coming down beneath the arc, but there are actually a lot of steps.

"In the Shadow of La Defense"
- to quote a one-day famous book -

I know there hasn't been much commentary in this post, but it was the end of the trip, and maybe there was nothing more to be said, just a tired sort of thankfulness to feel for the week past.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Snow that sticks around for more than a few hours is such a rare thing around here, that on Tuesday, as soon as we saw that the flurries were coming down harder and STICKING, we abandoned our Greek History and started putting on our layers.

I smiled remembering how when I was a kid, we often wouldn't even own a pair of gloves or mittens.  We had to cover our hands with socks to keep them warm.  We enjoyed a snowy walk around the neighborhood before the cold drove us back home.

After checking out the frozen, muddy creek, I fixed hot chocolate for the kids.  It was Ella's first time to try a hot drink, and she made it through a few drinks before declaring it was too hard to drink slowly.  She mostly enjoyed dipping plus-sized marshmallows in the chocolate.

The snow was coming down so hard I kept my camera covered with a kitchen towel in between shots; I need a waterproof case for such times as these. 

It wasn't until we came in from our walk that we heard from KJ about what an icy mess was starting on the roads.  It made the fun we had bittersweet thinking of all the horrible things happening out there.  I was so thankful when KJ was able to make it home.  If he had stayed at work as he intended, he would have been stuck away from us, and that would have made these days far less pleasurable.

After we'd warmed up for awhile, Ella discovered that Kit was missing her hat.  I was sure that it had just been misplaced in all the abandoned articles of clothing at the door, but just to make sure we bundled up again and walked back out in the still-falling snow.  I'm glad we did, because we found her hat at the end of the road half-frozen.  We also ran into our neighborhood friends, and they enjoyed throwing snowballs together.

But my favorite pictures were definitely ones like this:

Oh, my heart...

Of course, when Daddy came home, the real fun started happening.

I love how James has his hands up, begging for mercy.  James was actually a really good sport about snowball-throwing.  He would tell you exactly where you got him each time.  Like this:


 "You hit me right here on my head."

There are still so many feeling the horrible effects of icy roads in our state.  We are praying for them and may venture out ourselves today.  The cupboards are getting bare.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Little Lesson in Sword-fighting

We had a surprise little visit with some other Pughs last week.  James gave Haddon a few pointers in how to defend your sister.  Speaking of their sisters, they were looking mighty sweet together.

It was a successful first lesson in swordfighting.  I think Haddon got the hang of it.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Franco Fridays: Angelina

We did several little fun things with Parker's youth on the last day of our trip.  Early in the week Parker promised us "the best hot chocolate in the world," and it did not disappoint.

Rich, decadent chocolate, sweetened only by the cream served beside it, chocolate so rich you had to take sips of water in between drinks to wash it down properly.

I went ahead and ordered macaroons because Paris doesn't last forever.

If you happen to be alone and want a book for company, you'll find this right next store.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My Sport Utility Vehicle

It's a cold day out there, and I can hear the wind blowing in huge gusts around the corners of the house.  It makes me thankful that we're indoors for the day with no other place to be.  We're tucked safely indoors, not just by choice, but by the loss of my car, dear old Subaru.  

When KJ and I were married, we were a one-car family (That Mazda Protege is still going strong!  Her looks, on the other hand...), and it was partly because of this that I took a job on-campus at the beginning of our seminary days.  KJ walked to class, and I walked to work, and it was a perfect arrangement.  Later when we moved, and we both worked off-campus, I would drop KJ off to work and pick him up again.  There was never really any problem.  On the evenings when he was working, and I was alone at our our townhouse, Wal-Mart was exactly a half-mile from our front door, so I could walk to the store in the event of an emergency with no problem.  But it was just the two of us, and having one car served us well.  We assumed that we would buy another car when KJ finished seminary.

After having Ella, I spent a lot more time at home without the need of going out to work, but again, when I really needed to get out of the house, I'd strap Ella in the stroller, and Wal-Mart was a short walk away.  We did that quite a lot.  But one day KJ's dad called and said their neighbor had a car for sale.  Were we interested?  As we considered it, we thought that we might as well look at what else we could get for the same amount of money.  And thus, we decided to buy a second vehicle.  Here's how long it took:  one week.  Why?  Because I tend to not want to drag things out once we've decided to make a purchase.  I don't think this is always a good thing, but as KJ takes a week or so to decide which song to use his 99 cent freebie from on Amazon, I think I'm good for him.  We balance each other out, no?

So we bought what was soon dubbed as "The Girls' Car," and suddenly life became so much easier.  Ella and I were free any time we wanted!  Trips home to see family even when KJ had to work were now an option, and we soon got into a routine of leaving the house every other day for the sake of variety.  Little baby Ella and I spent lots of time driving to the library, to Target, Meijer, and even the shopping center down the road.  Little baby Ella was such a fun girl.  

The 4-wheel drive came in handy when KJ had to go to work in a Louisville blizzard, and I never had a wreck or got a speeding ticket.  One day, early on, a Hispanic man bumped into me at a red light.  An 8-month old Ella was crying in the back, and I got out of the car in a light rain; the man spoke no English, and I had no idea what to do, until I realized that his little car had gone underneath mine, and there was no damage to be seen.  I waved him on, and drove into the Wal-Mart parking lot to comfort my baby.  The Girls' Car served us well.

All Loaded Down for the Move to Alabama
(saying good-bye to neighbors)

I guess this is a little ode to the Girls' Car because the cost of fixing the car is almost as much as the car is worth, and I think we may have a buyer in need of parts.  We've been learning how to be a one-car family again, and it's really not so bad.  I like having entire days at home...most of the time.  Reasons to be thankful in this circumstance keep popping up, and I added this one to the list this morning:  When I keep hearing of so many people with colds and the flu, I'm convinced that 3 weeks of being homebound has kept my boy well.  For that, I am grateful.

Also, we spent a lot of time singing this song in the early days:  "We'll slam into 4-wheel drive, to pick up a dozen eggs!"


Monday, January 20, 2014

A Birthday

I turned another year older on Wednesday, and I was thankful to have three days of fun to enjoy last week.  

One of our friends wanted to have people over for dinner last Tuesday, and I may have casually mentioned that my birthday was the next day.  You celebrate when you can!  :)  She was really sweet to have an amazing cake for us all to enjoy Tuesday night.

Amber only used one box of candles, so it wasn't even my full age, and I still had a hard time blowing them all out!  There were little boys for James to play with, and Ella has been such a sweetheart about taking care of babies lately.  She was proud to feed sweet Gillian.

The kids and I did double the schoolwork on Tuesday so that I could enjoy a day off from teaching on Wednesday.  My mom drove down, and we had a really fun day eating out and shopping.  

Shopping for clothes has never lost its birthday appeal for me.  We came home to enjoy another scrumptious cake my mom made, and she hung a shelf in Ella's room that I painted last Saturday.  Ella wanted to mark the occasion with a picture.  I can't imagine where she got that idea.

I was using my iPod to take pictures, so it didn't really capture the detail of the blueberries on my cake.  They weren't quite a blob. 

I didn't take pictures of the rest of the night, but KJ and I taught our Awana class and then shared a meal with our church.  My sweet mother-in-law kept the kids for the night so I could accompany KJ to college Bible Study, which was such a treat.  And since Thursday is KJ's day off I was able to claim birthday privileges for that day, too.  I am thankful for time with friends and family, even though the number of my years is creeping up in this new decade.  Ah, well.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Franco Fridays: Tourists

After our time in St. Denis, we dropped Amy and Chris off at the station to make their way to Italy.  The team just wasn't the same without them that day!

Since it was the last day, Parker took us back into Paris so we could do some souvenir shopping.  We also went to the top of one of the stores for one last look over the city.

As we were walking toward the shops we passed this building, which I recognized from that scene in Charade.  Any old movie fans anyone?  Carey Grant on the roof of the American Express building fighting the man with the hook for a hand?

I can't help but feel Evan's camera is pointed in the wrong direction.

It began with Sam and I taking a picture of Seth taking his picture and then escalated into something that makes me laugh a lot.

We also got a lovely last look at Sacre Coeur

We were so happy to have Sam and Ashlea with us for the day.  Our next stop was a famous Paris institution that deserves a post of its own:  Angelina's.