Finally, some good news!

Besides the flu diagnosis, our life has been a whirlwind of activity, even with a new baby. And, stay tuned to the end of this post as we share the good news we have been waiting forever to hear!

Last Sunday, we ventured out our first time with all 4 kids (and my mom to help!) to church. It was so good to do something “normal” and out of the apartment.  Brynn did excellent and we made it with all 4 kids in tow and safe and sound. Then, that evening, Ed and the girls attended a Father/Daughter Dance at our church. The girls had a great time getting dressed up into something special and dancing with their daddy.  What a good one they have.

Then, because the kids were out of school all last week, we wanted to do something fun in the city with my mom before she left.  So, we loaded up all the kids and went to the American Museum of Natural History.  Ya’ll, having every day access to places like this make me in awe that God called us to this city.  It is huge, so well done, and we didn’t even cover 2 floors out of 4 (and our kids quickly skimmed through everything)…think full -size dinosaur skeletons, full-size whale skeletons, a discovery room where you can find different animals, an exhibit on the planets, and SO MUCH MORE!  We could spend 4 days there and not see everything. Then, we took my mom to Central Park and explored Belvedere Castle.  The girls thought it was so cool that there was a “castle” they could climb in NYC. Again, it was so good to get out and love where we live.

Late one evening, I was getting Brynn to sleep and my mom and I heard this really loud sound that was a little like thunder booming.  Thunderstorms in the city are pretty rare so I didn’t think that was it.  My mom noticed that everyone around us in other apartments were looking out their windows too as they didn’t know what the sound was….hence, it wasn’t our imagination.  I jumped on Facebook to one of the mom sites I follow from our neighborhood and I discovered that a manhole had blown. Apparently, it happens a bit in the city during the winter as water, ice, and salt seep down underground and get into electrical lines and then build up and blow the cover.

It happened two more times that night and as Ed walked by the area the next day, he discovered this:

Um, nope, those cars weren’t damaged from an accident, but were crushed by the manhole cover when it blew.  The white car is a BMW and the roof is caved in.  Seriously, if someone was walking by when it happened, they would get crushed!  Aww, the joys of living in the city…always something exciting and out of the ordinary.

This past weekend, we loaded up ALL the kids in a rental car and traveled to Ocean City, New Jersey for our Mid-Year Retreat. Our kids were SO excited to ride in a car again! So, basically, Cru has realized that NYC is pretty comparable to moving overseas, meaning there is a lot of cultural adjustment and stress related to the move. They have decided to have a retreat for all staff that have moved to the city within the year where they bring in counselors and give us structured time to process our transition, how we are doing, connect with others in the same transition, etc. They arrange childcare for the kids but also make the weekend super relaxing.

It was SUCH a good time away from the city to process life and the Lord really used the weekend to speak to many of us in very unique ways. So, so, so thankful to Cru and that they make this weekend a possibility – it was life-giving in so many ways.

Lastly, we had an important appointment today for Blake.  His annual cardiology appointment.  Every appointment, we hold our breath and pray that they will say his Ventricular Septal Defect (small hole in his heart) will have closed up.  They fully expect it to, but its just a matter of time. When the doctor arrived in the room and listened to his heart, he said he heard a murmur but it didn’t sound like a VSD murmur, so he proceeded with the ECHO.  After the ECHO and looking at the results, the doctor confirmed that he is pretty positive the hole (the VSD) is closed up (but couldn’t be 100% sure because some of the angles weren’t clear with the ECHO) and that they didn’t see anything else, which means the murmur he heard was just an innocent one and nothing to be concerned about.

He wants to see Blake back next year to see another ECHO and confirm, but he is pretty confident they will discharge him after that and we won’t have to see them anymore.  Ya’ll, this is HUGE and something we have been praying for!!  Finally, some good news!!

Brynn is now 3 weeks old and is doing so well!  We have been horrible at taking pics (poor 4th child) but here is a throwback from when she was in the hospital..isn’t she pretty?

Whew, what a week!

“We glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”                                  Romans 5:3-4

Let me back up to last week.  Because of the huge snowstorm we got last Thursday, my dad’s flight got canceled and he stayed with us a few more days through Saturday am. Saturday morning, dad leaves, Kinsley wakes up, and we realize she is running a fever. At first, it’s not high. As the day goes on, it keeps getting higher. And it continues through Sunday.  We talked Sunday about taking her to Urgent Care, that it may be a viral infection, but it could be the flu, but even as we are talking about it, she pepped up and only complained about a sore throat, runny nose, and a high fever. Definitely didn’t act like she had the flu. So we didn’t take her. Mistake #1.

It continued through Monday and by Tuesday morning, we knew that we needed to take her in. My mom took her, only for the doctor to take one look at her and say it was the flu, and that he had two other kids in the waiting room with the same thing. When my mom mentioned we had a one week old at home, he said he didn’t want the baby in the same room with Kinsley. We waited too long to take Kinsley in (have to catch it in first 48 hours for Tamiflu to work) so she had to suffer through the whole thing. That same morning, Ed started with a sore throat, coughing, and a fever.  He had already left for campus, but after Kinsley was diagnosed, he went to Urgent Care to get checked out. The doctor confirmed that he also had the flu and put him on medicine. So we quarantined Ed and Kinsley to the girls’ back bedroom.

That same day, I stopped at our front desk to get a package and also got a letter from our management that we had received a noise complaint and that was in violation of our lease. We had no clue what had caused the noise complaint, which makes it hard to correct the problem.  So here we are – 2 people sick with flu, trying to keep 1 week old baby well so she doesn’t end up in hospital and a noise complaint (which in my head meant the next one would mean we would get evicted, which isn’t true). I spent the evening alternating between crying, feeding the baby, and telling our kids to be quiet and to quit running in the apartment.

Wednesday, Emerson started coughing and running a fever, so I took her in, only to get a positive diagnosis.  Her pediatrician went ahead and gave her Tamiflu, gave Blake Tamiflu, and put Kinsley on Tamiflu just in case she had a different type than Emerson.  And he said “I am really concerned about the baby. At this point, everyone is exposed so they don’t have to be quarantined, but the baby needs to be quarantined.” When I asked what else we could do, he said the only thing we could do was pray.  He is Jewish, but even here in NYC, hearing someone say that is a HUGE deal. So we asked people to start praying. As I returned home, we had gotten a notice from the apartment that we had things stored on our balcony (a bike and a few chairs in bags) and that was in violation of our lease and needed to be moved. The next morning, I started with a sore throat and fever, so I went to Urgent Care, but the doctor said it wasn’t flu, but a viral infection…praise the Lord!

Fast forward to today, Friday.  Emerson is still running a low fever but should be fever free tomorrow, hopefully.  Kinsley went back to school today as she was fever free for 24 hours.  Ed also went back to campus/staff meeting.  I am feeling better and not running a fever, though I am not 100%. My mom and Blake are still in the clear.  And sweet little Brynn, though still quarantined to the bedroom, is well.  Needless to say, it has been quite a week, and we are so thankful that this storm appears to be nearing an end.

And as for the noise complaint, I talked to the apartment office and they apologized that we had even gotten one.  Yes, there was one filed, and it appeared to be from our kids running but it was from an apartment that made no sense to be complaining about that (meaning they weren’t below us).  She also said that our building has kids and pets and that it is apartment living which means there will be noise and that if people want it quiet all the time, they need to get a house. She also said that between 8 am and 9 pm, we are free to be loud, and that they have no right to complain, which she was going to explain to them.  She also really liked me (thank the Lord!) and offered to make a note that when we get a noise complaint, she will let us know personally instead of going through the complex, making a letter, and getting everyone involved. This was a HUGE weight off my shoulders! But for the record, our kids have been outlawed from running in the apartment and I put up all musical instruments and dress up shoes 🙂 It also has been encouraging to hear about other staff with families living in apartments getting noise complaints and to know that we aren’t alone 🙂

Besides having favor with apartment management, the Lord has been so gracious to show us that he sees us and cares for us even in the midst of a really hard week. On the day that we got the flu diagnoses and the noise complaint, we also got a check in the mail for a substantial amount from Pawleys Island Community Church (a partnering church in our ministry) to help with baby costs.  This was no coincidence that it came the same day. Then, the next day, we got a sweet care package with gifts for our whole family from family friends back in NC.  Then, the next day, I got a super sweet letter from another friend back in NC wishing me an early happy birthday and saying how much she missed us.  Even this morning, we got a message from another good friend and ministry partner giving us encouragement and offering to use their points to pay for Brynn and I to have a hotel for a night.  Add onto this multiple other texts and emails and calls.  And, my mom has been here to help, which I don’t know what I would have done without her, even just being able to cry on her shoulder and having someone sympathize with me.

I am so thankful for a God who personally cares about me, who sees me and affirms what I am feeling, and who provides just what I need when I need it.  I am so thankful for His grace, especially when I don’t deserve any of it. Our God is an awesome God!



Welcome Baby Brynn!!

We officially have an addition to our family – Brynn Elizabeth was born on Monday, February 6, 2017 at 5:50 pm and was 7 lbs 7 ounces and 20 inches long. She is beautiful, healthy, and we are all adjusting well!

It was a long day, between getting everything ready for the c-section, getting everything ready for the kids at home, traveling to the hospital, and waiting for the c-section (we were supposed to go in for the section at 3 and didn’t get in until 5), but it all ended well as she arrived safe and sound.  After all of Blake’s medical issues, it is a HUGE blessing to hear that she is well and they haven’t found anything wrong – we know this is not the case with so many babies and we don’t take that for granted.

It has been a bumpy recovery, with having to stay 10.5 hours in recovery after the surgery because of low blood pressure and other problems (most people stay 2-3 hours) and having more pain than I remember before with Blake, but things are starting to turn the corner and we are encouraged by that. While most c-sections are required to stay in the hospital for 3 days, we were released after 2 because of the coming snowstorm that hit the city yesterday.  I am so grateful they let us go and we made it home, because if we had waited until yesterday, I don’t think it would have happened…it was nasty!!  And lets be honest, I wasn’t a bit sad to leave the hospital food – most hospital food has gotten better, but not this one, sorry to say.

The girls got a day out of school yesterday because of the snowstorm (apparently, its only the 11th time in the last 12 years they have closed public schools because of weather), which meant they got A LOT more time to bond with baby sister.  All the kids are doing great with her…well after Blake realized he couldn’t grab her arm and pick her up, much like he does with his sister’s dolls. Kinsley and Emerson are over the moon with her and can’t get enough time holding her. Here are a few pics to introduce her to you:

We are loving this sweet little blessing from the Lord!  We are so thankful for my parents who flew in to help with the girls while we were at the hospital and for my mom who is staying even longer to help us, especially as I am still recovering and we are adjusting to life with 4 littles. Please continue to pray as we transition and recover and that everyone stays healthy.  Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers!