Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Few Pictures of our May Day Girl

The Pugh family are loving our visit with KJ's parents, though our plans for the first part of the week had to take a slower turn when I came down with James's tonsillitis on Saturday.  I'm usually quite good at accepting illness and slowing down with great gladness, but this week it has been much harder to accept with grace.  I'm trying to have a better attitude today, and based on James's timetable of sickness, I'm hoping to be fully recovered tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I didn't want to let the month of May go by without a shout-out to our first May Day.

Thanks to friends who were involved in May Day festivities in the neighboring (I struggle so...should I write neighbouring instead?) village Ella was able to be an attendant to the May Queen this year. Our spring has been pleasantly occupied walking to practices on late Sunday afternoons to the village green in Aldborough while the children learned the dances.  Ella was able to fill in whenever another child couldn't make practice, and we enjoyed a warming cup of tea with a friend who lives nearby.

When the Sunday of the festivities arrived the crowd anxiously awaited the arrival of the May Queen and her attendants, the Maypole dancers, and the former May Queens from the past 50 years of May Days in Aldborough, whom the announcer kept referring to as "the old May Queens."

Once arriving at the Maypole the attendants went to their seats under the gazebo, and the dancers took their places.

All of the dancing is done to music played on the accordion, which you will have stuck in your head for days.

The dress and the flowers and the girl, of course, were all so lovely.  It was a very English affair.

After the opening dances the kids received some pocket money and picked out a few things to do.  KJ says finding change in the car is one of the biggest reminders that we're in another country.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

11 Years

What's Changed:

  • Our hairstyles
  • the color of KJ's jacket
  • Our iPhones have more megapixels than our first digital camera.
  • KJ's glasses
What's the Same
  • He still waits for me to get ready.
  • my mascara technique
  • KJ still has that shirt.
  • He still tells me I'm pretty before we go out the door.
I wouldn't want to be married to any other.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Our April (a summary in pictures)

We've been told that all the sunshine we had in April isn't normal.  It was such a gift.  I was late putting together our April collage, but I figured why stop now?  I think I'll be glad to have a nice summary of 2015 when December arrives.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Franco Fridays: A Visit with the Great Parker Windle

Sadly, all of our time on French soil has been documented, but never fear, I thought I could drag out Franco Fridays by documenting our visit with an American in Paris visiting England.  How's that?

We were really looking forward to a visit from Parker at the end of last month. He flew over from Paris for a church-planting conference, and KJ talked him into staying an extra day before and after with us.  Of course this called for a little exploration.  The very old city of York is an easy drive away, and there was a certain bookstore by the Minster I was looking forward to re-visiting, so while the kids were in school Monday we had a nice little day out.  We had a good explore, and I took my time in each and every bookstore we came across.  It's much easier to do things like that without children with you getting antsy.

When it came time for lunch we weren't quite sure where to go.  It's so easy as Americans in another country to gravitate toward McDonald's.  It would never be my first choice at home (unless we needed a playground and free WIFI stat), but it's so familiar, and you know exactly what you're getting.  But we resisted the pull and found a place with a bit more character.

The Robert Burns Hotel was the perfect amount of charm and good pub food.  KJ asked our waitress if she could recite any Robbie Burns for us, but sadly no. 

KJ snapped this picture in which Parker and I are eyeing his onion rings with a certain amount of regret.

Why did I order the jacket potato?
After lunch we meandered a bit more (more bookstores!) and walked a bit on the city wall.

We ended the day with some good southern cooking.  I don't know what everyone else thought, but I felt like the biscuits were my best from scratch biscuits to date.  James enjoyed wrestling with Parker and having someone to play Super Smash Brothers with. 

I think my mama made biscuits with almost every meal, and I always like the sight of rolled dough and flour on the countertop.

Monday was nice, but then Thursday...look at this day.

The book of James says every good and perfect gift comes from above, and someone in Robin Hood's Bay must have known that, too.

The day couldn't have been more beautiful.  We ate lunch, and there was a wonderful playground for the kids, complete with a pirate ship.  On the way into town we looked up a little history of why this town is associated with Robin Hood and concocted scenarios of how the French pirates could have not made away with their plunder.  French pirates being captured by Robin Hood was the starring role in imaginative play for the day.

The town is charming, and if you have a day with skies that blue and clear, it is a nice day, even if you didn't have a bucket and shovel and had to collect your shells in a plastic grocery bag.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Walking by the River

Almost a month ago now the kids and I went for a little ramble between the River Ure and the canal with some friends from church.  It was a homeschool day, and I had been reading The Wind and the Willows aloud while the kids colored, so it felt a little bit like we were entering the world of Ratty, Mole, and Toad.

The willows seemed to be some of the first trees to get their leaves back.

The change of seasons feels significant this year because it's our first spring in Boroughbridge.  Everything is new.  Every flower and every green thing is a surprise.  I pulled some weeds in our garden yesterday afternoon, and I won't lie, felt a little bit like Mary Lennox.

Thinking about new seasons made me start thinking about children growing and ageing and being in my 30s, but all of those thoughts didn't seem to have a place with photos of happy children on a walk, except to say I think I should spend less time brooding and more time enjoying and counting blessings and saying, "Thank you, Lord Jesus."

I really love that my kids are having chances to walk beside rivers, get muddy, and make toys out of sticks and feathers.  It took me a little bit, but now, as long as we have wellies, the mud seems but a trifle, and those mud stains I couldn't get out of Ella's pants/trousers?  Oh, well.

And there were lots of mole hills to poke their sticks into, so I think we were as close to our afternoon reading as we could get.