Happy late Thanksgiving!! I pray you had a great day celebrating with family and friends. I haven’t done a post in a while, so I have lots to share and because our last post had no pictures, I am making up for it in this one. Lets dive in!
The weekend before Thanksgiving, we went to our annual staff retreat with the Northeast region (we used to be with the MidSouth region before we moved) in the Adirondack mountains. This was a whole new conference for us in a whole new region and while most everyone and everything was new, our life has been all about the new lately, so it really wasn’t that difficult. What was difficult was the weather. We knew the weather was calling for snow but the day we arrived, they kept increasing the totals of what they thought we would get. While I am not sure how much we actually got, it did accumulate, it did snow most of the weekend, and it was super cold. I looked at some of our NYC teammates and said “If this is what winter is like in NYC, I don’t think I am going to make it.” Pray for me, lol.
It was a great weekend and we loved getting to meet the NYC team from Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as other teams around the Northeast. We got to learn more about the Lord and reflect on our lives, hear more about how the Lord was moving around the world, connect with national leadership, the kids had a great time in childcare, and the best part was HALL MONITORING. Most conferences, when it is time for the kids to go to bed, the parents have to come back, tuck them in bed, and sit in the hall or in the room while they sleep for the rest of the night. Yes, it is a chance for moms to talk and get some down time, but you miss everything in the main sessions for the evenings. Geniuses at this conference decided to have one of the childcare workers in the hallways and once you sign your contact information on a sheet and leave your baby monitors with the kids peacefully sleeping, you are free to go back to the main session. Seriously, MidSouth region, you have got to do this – transforming! Here is little man styling in his dad’s NYC hat.
The day after we got back from staff conference, Emerson had culture day at her school. Parents were asked to come in, bring a food or dress or artifact, and tell more about your culture. We decided to bring southern style grits and sausage, which is a favorite in our house and definitely tells about our southern culture. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was very interested learning about the kids in her class. I knew it was diverse here, but man! Most of the kids were born here, but the parents that came were from Bangladesh, Poland, Israel, Japan, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Thailand, and more. It was neat tasting all the different foods (and I am highly surprised that I liked most of them!), hearing the neat accents, learning about their cultures, and getting to take home an origami crane.
Thanksgiving eve, we decided to trek into Manhattan and go see the blown up balloons that were waiting for the Thanksgiving parade the next day. While I would love to see the parade, I have heard that you have to be there super early to get a spot (like between 4 and 6 that am!), you can’t really leave your spot, and it is super crowded – not good ingredients when you throw in three kids 6 and under as well as a pregnant mama. So we decided to do the next best thing and see the balloons. We stopped at Chickfila before heading there to get some dinner and while the sweet tea wasn’t up to par, it was SWEET TEA.
Thankfully, we had read up on the what all the balloon sightings was about, so we weren’t surprised for the wait or how many people were there. Like, an hour and half wait, and so many people you could barely push a stroller. It was also insane getting a subway there as they were packed to the max (like one of the only times I have seen it where someone actually couldn’t squeeze in a subway car and had to wait for the next one). But, I have to say, it was ALL worth it!! I kept looking at Ed going “Are we really getting to do this? This is so cool!”. And our kids loved it too! Family favorites were Hello Kitty and Thomas the Train and Paddington Bear. It was also neat seeing those same balloons in the parade (from our living room, mind you) the next morning and saying “We really saw that in person!”
Thanksgiving day was very relaxing, even though we did really miss being with family. We skyped with family, did some online shopping, watched the parade, played with the kids, and had a big dinner with our teammates/friends here in Queens. I was kind of sad to not go Black Friday shopping this year, but with being able to get deals online, stores being spread out, and having to carry things back or get a taxi, it wasn’t the same.
The day after Thanksgiving, we traveled to Long Island City to take pictures for our Christmas cards and to let the kids play at the playground by the water. We love the view from Long Island City and were excited to show it to the kids. If you are going to get our Christmas cards, I am sorry to say you will see this picture twice. We were pleasantly surprised with how they turned out since we just took them with our camera on the tripod.
And the girls, after much fighting on Thanksgiving, showed us they do really love each other by barely taking their hands away from each other during the whole photo shoot. I love this pic of them holding hands.
We attempted to visit Target for a few Black Friday and need to have deals, but learned never to do that again – it was a madhouse! So was Best Buy – in fact, Ed didn’t even get inside because of the massive line just to get in. We are used to Black Friday crowds, but ya’ll, this was something else. Things were so disorganized, people were everywhere, nothing was marked, and checkout took forever even despite having every lane opened. I guess when you only have a few stores for millions of people, that is what happens.We also decorated for Christmas, which was actually fun this year as everyone really got into it and could help (like really help, not try to help but cause more mess).
And let me show you my latest creation: our Christmas people. A lady in Raleigh was selling these and instead of buying it, I thought “I can make that!” We bought, cut, and painted the wood in Greenville while we had tools, I bought the fabric in Greenville but made them here, and I just finished printing the names and family name. It turned out cute, but it was way more labor intensive than I thought it would be…and, it is HUGE! She was selling them for like 4 family members, so when you add 2 more, it gets a lot bigger.
And to top off Thanksgiving break, most of our family got sick with nasty colds and Blake had to make a visit to the Pediatric Urgent Care. He had been struggling with a cold for a day or so, but we noticed that right after bath time last night, he started breathing really fast, pulling hard, and was really fussy. Having seen this the last time he was in the hospital, we knew that we need to get help, so Ed took him to urgent care (my sweet husband who had been taking care of sickies all day and then traveled to urgent care) and they said he was pulling really hard, but they were going to do everything they could to keep us from going to the hospital. After two breathing treatments and a steroid, he started to breathe easier and they sent us home with a breathing machine and albuterol. We are so thankful they were able to help him without us going to the hospital AND that they gave us a breathing treatment to use in the future since this seems to be an issue with him that keeps happening. We had to give him one treatment this morning, but so far, he is doing better. Now if the rest of us could get there….
Until our next (and hopefully not as eventful) post….