Seven years old!!

We officially have a seven year old in our house!  Am I old enough for that, haha?

This year, I asked for suggestions on Facebook about what people do for birthday parties. I used to go all out with a party every year for every kid, but I realized this year with moving to NYC (everything is so expensive!, it is hard to find indoor places for the winter that are big enough, and our apartment wouldn’t hold a lot of people), that we had to change the way we did things.  So, after seeking many, many suggestions and talking to Ed about it, we decided the following:

The kids will get big parties at years 5, 10, and 16, but the other years they will get to choose what dinner we have, choose what dessert we eat, and choose a family activity for our family. So, this year Kinsley chose to eat her favorite dinner – pigs in a blanket, mac and cheese, and caesar salad along with a Moana birthday cake. She chose to eat all of this like a picnic on the floor while we watched the movie Moana.  We also made cupcakes and took them to her class for them all to eat. So, thats what we did!

And here is our little one taking selfies at our friends house.

There are so many things I could share, about the great things I love about her and about how she challenges us and causes us to run to Jesus every day.  But, to save you all of those details, just know that we love this little one so very much and our family wouldn’t be the same without her.

There are so many blog posts running in my head right now – how the Lord is moving in ministry here, how I am thankful for how the Lord is moving in our ministry partners’ lives and how he protected one of them from death, how the Lord is moving in my heart and drawing me closer to Him as I meditate on Christ in preparation for Easter, how we are adjusting to the city, and so much more.  I am hoping I will be able to share some of those before another 10 days have passed….we shall see 🙂


I am going to do some bragging on my family, if thats okay with you.

First off…the man of the house. Ed turned 34 on March 12! We celebrated by fixing a meal of his choice – which of course involved steak (if you know me, we don’t get these that often because they are so expensive!) and caesar salad – and a dessert of his choice – which involved cheesecake and cupcakes from Two Little Red Hens, one of his favorite dessert places in the city. As you can see, the kids enjoyed the benefits of this too!

This guy is an awesome daddy – usually, when he is home, I have to tell the whole family way more times than usual to quiet down because they are usually tickling, wrestling, chasing, or doing some sort of playing together.  I know he is tired when he gets home, but he jumps right in, helping me and giving the kids attention.

He ran his first half marathon this past Sunday and beat the time he wanted to complete it in. While he has done a ton of triathlons, he will tell you running is his weakest part, so working towards and completing a half is a big deal. He has been training, often getting up at 4 in the morning to run before coming home, getting ready, getting the kids off to school, and going to campus. Even with staying up late or getting up at night with a newborn, he would get up that early (most days that is 😉 ).  I wanted to take the kids and cheer him on, but that would have meant getting everyone up, ready, fed, and out the door on the subway for an hour ride to Lower Manhattan in the freezing cold….as much as I really wanted to, it wasn’t in my capacity.  So, he Face Timed us as he got to the finish and we cheered him on and crossed with him.  Granted, he has sacrificed the most, but we all have for him to do it, so it was nice to cross the line “together”.  Good job babe!

Now let me brag on Emerson…before we moved and I was doing preschool with her, I would get so frustrated because she just wasn’t learning her letters and sounds AT ALL!  I would try multiple ways to teach her, but it wasn’t clicking. I was hoping going to preschool here in NYC would help. While it has helped a little, we got word from her teacher in January that she only knew 8 of the 26 letters and she was a little behind. Not a big surprise. One thing we had noticed is that repetition in learning works well for her so we broke out flash cards, took a few letters a week and started working with her on learning them.  I am happy to report that she now knows all 26 upper and lower case letters and their sounds!!  I am so proud at her for sticking with it (the rewards for learning along the way didn’t help either 🙂 ) and learning them….now on to sight words. We are discovering that she is a little slower to process things (and even her teacher noticed) so what would take most kids one week to learn is taking her two. She is most definitely skilled in gross motor things (hence riding a bike without training wheels at 3 years old) but just a little slower in learning other things. So proud!!

This picture below is me bragging on God.  Huh, you might say??!??  Well, we knew coming here that ministry would be hard and that we might not see many decisions for people placing their faith in Christ.  Well, the last two weeks (and this week as well), we have had spring break groups come in from all over the country and inundate the campuses throughout NYC.  Yes, there goals have been to get in spiritual conversations and hopefully share the Gospel, but they also were helping with things like Bible studies, info meetings to get ministry started on campuses, publicity, and even just making connections in hopes we could get on campuses where we currently aren’t. The picture below is of some students sharing the Gospel at St. Johns College, where Ed has been working.

Last year, of the three spring break groups that were here (including our group from NC State that we traveled here with), they saw 5 students trust Christ, which was HUGE.  This year, in the first two weeks, we saw 25 students place their faith in Christ!!  We saw God open doors at colleges like Hunter College, a school in Manhattan that we haven’t been able to really get anything started at since 9-11. We saw God do amazing things and we are praying that continues this third week of Spring Break.  God is doing some really cool things here in NYC, things we don’t even know about or can’t see, and we are so glad to be a part of it!

Ok, so this picture isn’t bragging, but I thought I would share. While I do really miss the convenience of having a car here, this picture reminds me of why I am glad I don’t have one. We had a big snowstorm and for days afterwards (and even today still), people are digging their cars out of layers of snow and ice. These guys spent the whole time I was waiting on Kinsley’s bus digging this car out…so we are talking like over 30 minutes. Bless it. So when I complain about not having a car, remind me of this picture 🙂

A whole bunch of firsts

This week brought a whole bunch of firsts for our house:

First Subway Ride for Brynn 

Technically, this happened a few weeks ago, but I just found the picture on Ed’s phone 🙂 She did great, and its crazy to think this will be what she knows as she grows up, compared to riding in a car.

Side note – do you see how dirty Kinsley’s jacket is?  We have washed that thing 2-3 times since we have been here (and she has other jackets she alternates between too!) and it still gets so dirty so quick. Wanna know why New Yorkers wear so much black? There’s your answer!

First Lost Tooth (Kinsley) –

No kidding, her tooth has been loose for probably two months.  She would wiggle it a little here and there, just enough to play with it but not enough that it would hurt, and then she would break for a while. My sweet, cautious first born.  She doesn’t like pain, and just the thought of it potentially hurting when it came out overruled any excitement she may have for the tooth fairy visiting.  So, it stayed in her mouth loose for quite a while – actually, it stayed until her adult tooth came through the back and we told her that it HAD to come out to make room for the adult tooth. Once we got it out, she was ecstatic and said it only hurt for a second. But, notice it didn’t give her enough incentive to wiggle the other bottom front tooth that is loose…why? Because it hurts if she wiggles it too hard.  Oh, my drama-loving child.

Funny side note, when she put the tooth under her pillow that night, we switched it out for money and went to bed. She came running into our room early the next morning saying there was a lizard under her pillow (she isn’t super fond of lizards). Apparently, she felt for the tooth (or whatever the tooth fairy had left) and when she felt the dollar bill, she thought it was a lizard.  Again, no lack of drama.

First picture of our kids loving each other (not fighting) on their own accord – 

Okay, so this isn’t really the first time, and they don’t fight all the time, but these moments can sometimes feel like they are few and far between.  So this week, we celebrate it!

One Month Birthday for Brynn – 

Sweet little girl has survived one whole month in our crazy house.  She loves to be held, is 8 lbs 14 oz, and is loved immensely by her family (including her siblings!). She also LOVES her ergo – good thing since this city baby will be in it LOTS! We are so thankful she is happy and that everyone is transitioning pretty well.

So, this isn’t a first, but check out this beautiful picture Ed took on his way home from the city last night:

For three weeks (beginning this past week), we have three different groups of college students from around the country traveling to NYC for their Spring Break to do ministry here on campus.  They have visited (and will visit) campuses all throughout Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan, engaging in spiritual conversations with students, doing surveys, holding informational meetings on campus, and getting trained on doing cross-cultural ministry and how to share the Gospel more effectively. Here is a picture of a training being held and part of the group of students that came this week.

Because Ed is helping to lead the summer project here in NYC, they spent last night recruiting these students to come spend the summer here in the city doing what they have been doing all week.  The impact they could have could be great! I heard this quote this week and was reminded even more of the impact of this city – “There are over 100 billionaires in the city and over 400,000 millionaires.”

As he was traveling home, he got to see this view.  This is one of the many reasons while we love NYC.  It really is a beautiful city – both in landscape and people.

This week has been a great one for ministry. Not only have we seen 7 people trust Christ on campuses all throughout the city, we have almost reached our goal for the number of spiritual conversations we want to have this semester (and it is only halfway through the semester), but Ed heard from a guy yesterday that he has been mentoring who is passionate about discipleship and evangelism and wants to be a leader at St. Johns University and start a Bible Study there. Its a guy that we would love to see lead, so the fact that the Lord lead him to take this step is HUGE!  We also launched our first Bible study this week in the dorm at Queens College through a girl who just recently became a believer (mentioned in our latest prayer letter) and are excited to see how the Lord uses this group to reach that dorm! And, 3 of those decisions for Christ were from right here in Queens (2 at Queens College and 1 at St. Johns).

Even beyond campus, the lady who mentored me in Raleigh connected me with a friend of hers from NC who knew a Chinese girl moving to the city. She knew the Chinese girl because her daughter had met her while involved with Cru at UNC and doing outreach to international students and they became good friends. This Chinese girl was moving to NYC to get a job and she was looking for housing and community.  After connecting us, the Chinese girl (who we are not sure is a believer and has parents high up in the Communist party in China) came to church with us this week and will hopefully be joining us for dinner soon.  I am excited to get to know her better and even see where she is in her spiritual journey.

As you can see, the Lord is doing fun things throughout this city and we are excited to see how He continues to move.

Thank you for your prayers over the last few months…this week is the first week in a long time that I have started to see glimmers of feeling like I have community here, just enjoying the city, and seeing how the Lord is using or can use us here. Your prayers, support, and encouragement is a huge part of this!

That being said, one huge way you can pray for us this week is this – they placed our girls in two different elementary schools for next year (long story and speaks to how screwed up some things are in this city). For quite a number of reasons, this would be really difficult and almost impossible to have them in two different places. We are working on getting it resolved quickly, but have been told we may have to wait until this summer to find out if they can be together.  Pray that we would find out something quickly and they would move Emerson to be in Kinsley’s school so Kinsley doesn’t have to move schools again.  Thanks for your prayers!