Random Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving (late!)!!ย  I am so thankful for SO many things – Jesus and what He did for me on the cross, my family, my friends, this call the Lord has placed on our lives, health, and the list could go on and on. But, I am also thankful for so many little things. As I reflected on those the last few days, I thought I would share some of those little things –

I have heard time and time again that your kids will one day be big enough to help you with all the work that comes with more kids. Ya’ll, we have begun to hit that spot and I am so thankful!ย  Kinsley asked me recently if she could help with washing dishes – which isn’t one of her normal family responsibilities or chores. Sure, I said. And she did a great job! Here she is hard at work –

Last weekend, we traveled to the Adirondacks to Camp of the Woods for our annual staff conference. We had two lady teammates ride with us – so I was thankful that overall, the kids did great. I was also thankful to look over and see this view. In the midst of lots of arguing and tattle-telling and pinching and calling names, I am thankful for sweet moments of love amongst them.

While I definitely don’t feel like we have an abundance of friends here, the Lord has provided a few really good ones. One of these friends shares my love for putting together puzzles and we have agreed to trade out puzzles so we both get to do new ones. So thankful for this sweet graciousness of the Lord to provide a way to affordable enjoy my hobby while in the city. And for good friends!

The night before Thanksgiving we ventured into the city to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons blown up. We did it last year and though the lines were long, we felt it was definitely worth it. This year was no exception. I am so thankful for where we live and getting the opportunity to do cool things like this – our kids will forever treasure these memories. Here were a few of our favorites. Pictures are courtesy of Kinsley who made it her job all night to photograph the balloons ๐Ÿ™‚

For the record, these balloons are HUGE. The Paw Patrol float gives you an idea of just how big with us standing right in front of it.

After my mom’s flight getting canceled a few weeks ago, I was hesitant to get my hopes up about my mom and dad getting here for Thanksgiving. Thankfully, they made it!! Though the trip was quick, we LOVED having them here, spending Thanksgiving with them and my brother who lives in Manhattan, and getting to spend Black Friday in the city – eating delicious food in Chinatown, browsing the shops at Union Square, letting the kids play at the playground at Union Square, and admiring the Christmas windows of the shops on Fifth Avenue. The kids also loved making gingerbread houses with them and getting to put up our Christmas tree with them.

Though, note to self, do not hire Kinsley and I to make your gingerbread houses. See Mom, Emerson, and Blake working so hard on theirs? Kinsley and I kept knocking ours down so we resorted to just eating it instead ๐Ÿ™‚

We are so thankful for so many things and I pray that attitude doesn’t stop just at Thanksgiving. That as we enter the Christmas season, with all the hustle and bustle, we will be thankful for the little and big things.


5 Things I Am Loving

Can I be honest for a minute?

Two weeks ago, I had a REALLY tough week. My mom was supposed to come for Halloween and her flight got canceled and she wasn’t able to reschedule. We were having some major behavior issues with the kids. Kinsley got a bad grade on her math test at school, one that she had told me she was ready for and understood everything on, but come to find out she lied because she was tired of reviewing. Kinsley lost one of the custom orthotic inserts for her shoes, and it will be $475 to get it replaced…which stinks money-wise but also because she really can tell a difference with them and would have to go without them for quite a while until new ones came in. I realized I was really stressed about quite a lot and was working on ministry and personal things ALL the time, leaving no time for rest or deep breaths. And I honestly was tired of living here in NYC and having a moment of “This place is not my home yet, and I just want to go home…” It wasn’t one thing, but lots piled up….

This week has been much, much better, and I had a few moments of just being thankful for certain things. This morphed into my thought of “I should write a “5 Things I Am Loving” post”….so here it goes:

1 – Risen Motherhood podcastsย 

I had quite a few friends post about how much they love these podcasts, but lets be honest, I couldn’t find any time for quiet in my house…much less listening to a podcast. The beautiful thing is that these are only about 30 minutes long. So, I started trying to find time during the day, even if it was during a walk to pick up the girls from school, doing dishes, or a few minutes of quiet during naps, to listen to these. And man…they are awesome. These women have small kids, are very missions-minded, and are so good at infusing the Gospel into everyday life lessons. I highly recommend them!! And I would love to be their friend ๐Ÿ™‚

2. Good Books – I love me some good books. I have heard SO many good things about the Enneagram, but to be honest, I was burned out on personality tests. I actually love personality tests and have done MANY (The Call, Meyers-Brigg, EQI, Birkman, Strenth Finders, Animal Personality Test, and many more I can’t list now) – and I will say I learn new things about myself from each of them. So, I was skeptical. But a friend suggested I read the book “The Road Back to You” about the Enneagram.

Ya’ll, this test and book PEGGED ME. Like, spot on. I learned a few things about myself through it (which coincidentally went well with figuring out what I was feeling two weeks ago) and I learned a ton about Ed after figuring out which type he was. I highly recommend.

And, for my fiction book pick of the year, I LOVE Dee Henderson books. I don’t remember how I got hooked on her books, but everyone that I know that reads them loves them. She is a believer and mixes Christian values and lessons with mystery and interesting story lines. I mean, her main characters are combat medics, hostage negotiators, fireman, forensic pathologists, paramedics, FBI agents, and doctors. Interesting, right? She is seriously right up there with Francine Rivers books for me.

3. Having a Laundry Room in Our Building – I have mentioned that one of the things I love about living in an apartment in NYC is having a laundry room downstairs and being able to do all our laundry at one time. Case in point – we haven’t done laundry for a week. Doesn’t seem that bad? 6 people wearing winter clothes for a week equals a lot of clothes.

This is what it looked like after I sorted everything (not including a batch of towels I had already put away). How long did it take to wash and dry all this? 1 hour and 15 minutes! Thats not including time to fold and put it away, but still…..

4. Puzzles – I have always loved to put together puzzles – my dad does so I grew up doing them, and now I love to do them as a way to destress after the kids go to bed. Because I can’t finish them all in one night, this handy dandy puzzle mat is great! I just roll it up at the end of the evening, put it aside, and then roll it out the next time I want to do it. For the most part, it keeps the puzzle in tact and I don’t have to worry about little kid hands destroying it.

And the other good part about living in NYC? I found a great friend who loves puzzles too, and is kind enough to switch puzzles with me so we can do new ones. Score!

5. Black Friday Ads are back!! –ย I have mentioned before how much I love Black Friday shopping. One of the things I look forward to the most about the end of October/beginning of November is when Black Friday ads start being leaked. Thanks to sites like the ones below, I can view the ads ahead of time, plan out what to buy people, and maybe even buy those things online before Black Friday.

Because it isn’t feasible or fun to do Black Friday shopping here in NYC with no car and stores spread out (or non-existent), I have resorted to doing most of my shopping online. I am so thankful that most stores have the same deals online as in the stores. So, if I take a while to respond to your text or email, or if I stay up way too late one night, chances are I am surfing the ads ๐Ÿ™‚

What are you loving this week??

Our Week in Pictures

Whew – what a full, fun, and crazy week!!ย  We took lots of pictures this week (which we normally DON’T do), so I am going to just post the massive amounts of photos and tell you what they are about as we go. But first,…..

Remember I shared in THIS post about that fun photoshoot we had – well, we got our pictures back and they are awesome!! I cannot highly recommend Josh and Jennifer enough!! Here is a little preview –

And, remember in that same post I shared about the geese almost attacking us and actually snipping at our Jennifer? Well, here are the pictures to prove it – I can’t believe how close this one is to Blake – see, I wasn’t kidding or exaggerating.

Too funny! Okay, so lets get this weekly picture post started –

Both girls had class parties this week to celebrate Halloween. All the teachers and administration at the school dressed as characters in Toy Story – there was even a slinky dog (with a teacher at each end) and aliens! Emerson’s teacher was Woody – or Jesse?

Halloween here is no joke – like most adults dress up too!ย  Houses go all out, people dress up like crazy, and lots and lots of candy is passed out. Check out these characters for the Wizard of Oz – Dorothy (x2!!), Glenda the Good Witch, and the Cowardly Lion (though he wasn’t real cowardly).

Here are some pics of a neighboring area where we went trick or treating – this place is called Forest Hills Gardens and has BEAUTIFUL houses that don’t look like they belong here…and green grass ๐Ÿ™‚ This gives you an idea of how big Halloween is here.

This is what Ed should have dressed like – notice I am volunteering him and not myself ๐Ÿ™‚

This past weekend, we had a pretty wide open schedule (which hasn’t been the case lately), so we decided to travel into the city and do something fun. While there are lots of things that are still hard about living here, getting to experience all this amazing city has to offer isn’t hard.

The kids have been begging to do two things in the city – go to the Children’s Museum to play and go to the Cookie Dough place that everyone was talking about (it is a restaurant where they give scoops of cookie dough, have cookie dough cupcakes, and is so good!). Despite all we did this weekend, we came out pretty cheap. The children’s museum was having free admission on the first friday of the month, so we joined in on that. We got a great deal on a B1G1 sub at subway for dinner that night. And then after eating cookie dough, visiting Washington Square Park and the secret Downing Street playground, we stopped at Chick-fil-a and got a cheap lunch thanks to free sandwich coupons. My kind of weekend ๐Ÿ˜‰

Playing at the children’s museum. On the way home, because it gets dark early, we let our kids stop to experience Times Square at night.

Washington Square Park where we enjoyed our cookie dough. Brynn swinging at the secret (not on the map!) Downey Street Playground.

That evening, we won the lottery for 2 tickets to see Anastasia (they are discounted tickets that you are randomly selected for). We had been trying for a while and finally won!!ย  Ed took Kinsley with the promise that I would take Emerson next time we won. The show started at 8 pm so Kinsley faded fast after intermission – but she pepped up getting autographs after the show. It also worked for our favor that she is our early riser and daylight savings time was that night – so technically, she got an extra hour and slept later the next morning.

This little one turned 9 months old this week! Crazy!!ย  She is so mobile and into everything now. Including pulling up to her brother’s chair and swiping his peanut butter and jelly sandwich so she could eat it. When Blake started crawling, he didn’t really put little things in his mouth so we didn’t have to be super, super vigilant. This kid, on the other hand, is the total opposite. We are back into baby proofing mode and into operation get-big-kids-to-keep-small-things-off-the-floor. Whew!

Today is Election Day so the kids don’t have school. We had a fun playdate this morning with a girl that my girls adore. Her family, along with a few others, have been so life-giving and such an answer to prayer for our family. What’s better than making necklaces, eating snacks, and listening to Moana?

Hope you have had a fun and eventful week just like us!