Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer Stories

If every summer has its own story, ours has been preparing for a big change in our setting, and it is passing by too quickly.  Of course, the lines around when summer actually is feel really fuzzy.  Does it in end with the shifting of seasons or when school starts back?  I guess for us it will be somewhere in the middle.

Every year when our new books for school come in, Ella gets so excited about starting back to school.  The past two years we've happened to start back on July 30, and my girl loves traditions, so she wants to do the same this year.  That means a little bit of summer ends for us on Wednesday.  But the Summer won't be completely over, because there is still a lot of Summer fun to be had, and homeschooling will give us the freedom to have it.  Saturday morning felt like Christmas to my soon-to-be Third Grader (Third Grader???) when the Fed-Ex man came to the door at 7:45 a.m.  He was on the ball.

But then she spent all day long having all kinds of fun on the lake with her friends.  Apparently, Ella's not afraid of being on a tube on the back of a boat.  She had so much fun.

KJ, James, and I joined them for the latter part of the afternoon and evening, and we had so much fun, too.  Summer is an in-between place for us this year, with our hearts full and excited about the future and savoring the place and the people around us now.  We're living between two worlds, but aren't we always?  By faith we live like Abraham who "went out, not knowing where he was going...for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder are God."

I've been sitting here staring at this picture of James on the boat for several minutes now.  I think my train of thought got a little thrown off by James' crying complaints that he wanted cake and presents and "Happy birthday to James," as if singing the song will make his birthday appear.  So that is life these days, all wrapped up with thoughts about England, thoughts about friends and family here, sorting out all of our stuff, and "When are we going to eat cake, Mom?"  How was your weekend?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

An Unexpected Birthday Party

James has always loved birthday parties and most of all, cake.

And when we threw an impromptu birthday party for Aunt Katie last week and James asked if his birthday was next, I didn't like to tell him that first there would be birthdays for Debbo, Big Daddy, Caleb, Haddon, Ella, Claire, and Aunt Nicole...THEN it would be his turn.  James' most oft-repeated phrase for a while now has been, "That's gonna take FOREVER."  I'm sorry you have to wait, little buddy.

On to Aunt Katie's party...  I made this Cobb Salad, with all kinds of goodness in it and this Brown Butter Blueberry Cobbler, which was so simple and with a little ice cream on top it was scrumptious.

The rest of the night was made up of lots of talking about the future and the sounds of five children running around and generally making a lot of racket.  There was also dancing.

Ella spent the day dressed in the Laura Ingalls Wilder dress my mom made me when I was in elementary school.  It was just one of those summer days when you feel like wearing period clothing.
 There was a handmade card from Ella; she really does make the best cards.

 Little Karis loves Uncle KJ.  It's the sweetest thing.  There's another Pugh boy who loves Karis, too.

 It was a fun night.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A descriptive title would be: Fun Cousin Pictures

Our kids have enjoyed lots and lots of playtime with their cousins this past week, though according to them, it's never quite enough time.

It's a special summer for them to spend together as it looks like they're going to be spending time on two different continents in the next year, two different hemispheres.

They are silly and fun and some of my favorite kids.

These are their favorite jumps.

It's been a fun month of cousin time.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Franco Fridays: Fontainebleau

I was pretty excited to see Fontainebleau.  Something about walking the halls where Napoleon once walked was appealing.  Unfortunately, when we arrived there on our drive back into Paris, we were disappointed to find that closed on Tuesdays.

Fortunately for us, the grounds were still open, and we enjoyed a nice ramble.  It's probably for the best that they weren't open because had we walked through the entire palace we would have been extremely late getting back to Paris that night.

There were lanes of beautiful trees, fountains, and a lake with giant fish.

I guess if you're not in danger of being caught, you just swim and grow to a ginormous size.

There really aren't any exciting stories to tell (the real excitement happened that night, and I may have KJ tell it); we just strolled around and talked about our trip and what the future might hold.

In addition to giant fish, Fountainebleau also boasted some rather giant...

He was all, "Give me all your bread crumbs and nobody gets hurt."

We walked back through a courtyard and around to a garden dedicated to Diana, goddess of the hunt, which in some ways explained the fountain we found there, but still, I thought the circle of dogs doing their business didn't make for a very classy fountain.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Simple Life

On Monday the kids and I took a little road-trip with this pretty lady:

Ever since her sister married my brother, Ella has considered Katie family, and of course she is.  We went to visit our mutual relations both because we wanted to spend some time with them and to celebrate Jesse's birthday.

I really love the life Jesse and Sandy are creating.  It feels like a peaceful get-a-way just to swing on their wrap-around porch and walk through their garden.
James was a very methodical water-boy, watering each individual pepper plant for 5 seconds each.

We planned on taking the kids on a bike ride, but we also ended up going on an unexpected hike up a semi-non-existent trail to a clearing on the mountain.  We weren't really dressed appropriately nor were our feet appropriately shod, but Jesse convinced us it wouldn't be that bad, though we were warned of possible thorns and ticks.  I'm happy to report no ticks, no poison ivy, and only a minor poke of a thorn on Ella's big toe.

It was hot day, and drink stops were required every 20 yards.

Sometimes little guys need a boost.

We were sticky with the sweat of an Alabama summer, but there was a nice breeze at the top.  There was some disagreement between Ella and James as to whether the climb was worth it.

A cactus?  Who knew?

I think the best part for the bikers was catching the breeze on the way back home.

And we were all rewarded in the end with ice cream cake.