Which is better?

When we made the decision to move here 2 years ago (we have only been here 1.5 years but it has been over 2 years since we put the pieces in motion that made this happen), we knew that it would mean major downsizing.

Let’s be honest – at first, that was super hard – I loved my kids outside toys, I loved my grill, I loved my front porch rocking chairs, I loved my nice matching 6 piece bedroom set. But, as we trusted the Lord and leaned on Him to help us let go of ALL these things that were just that – things – it became kind of nice to experience the freedom of having less. AND, I realized that starting over in a smaller living space meant we had to acquire new furniture that would fit that space instead of our 3 bedroom house – redecorating can be so much fun.

Hearing from lots and lots of friends about how IKEA was THE WAY to go for furniture in the city as it was cheap, made for small spaces, functional, etc., we began making our list of all the new things we would need. We started shopping online at IKEA and were pleased we could get everything we needed from there and Amazon within our budget. I am pretty frugal so I was super pleased by this. On Ed’s way up to move us in, he stopped by IKEA and got all we needed and put it on the rental truck. Here was his load:

1.5 years in and almost all of the furniture we have bought is falling apart. Ikea bookcase – collapsed multiple times before we broke down and paid for a new one. Ikea coat hanger hook – has completely came out the wall once and after fixing it, now one of the holders has completely broken. Desk we bought from Amazon – drawer keeps falling through and now the whole desk is bowed and drawer won’t work right (ignore all the mess on the desk and please keep your comments “If you wouldn’t put so much on it, maybe it wouldn’t break” to yourself.” Ikea recliner – bottom piece broke off it and it gets SO DIRTY so easily. Ikea end talbes – holding up but the finish gets chipped and dirty so easily. Ikea dining room chair and bench – keeps getting chipped and so hard to keep clean. Now, we do have a few Ikea things that are holding up well, but overall, Ikea is not winning my praise. Sorry to all you Ikea fans. And yes, even though the desk is from Amazon, I group it in the “it was a great price but not great quality” category like Ikea products.

CONFESSION…in my old age, I am realizing more and more that it is SO WORTH IT to pay more for things to get great quality that will last. And reviews of what others thought of things and how they held up for them is soooo valuable. Now, I love me some Ikea toys (their train set for Blake has been amazing), I love me some Ikea meatballs (their food is delish!), and I love me some Ikea kitchen products (their small stuff like spatulas and utensils and napkins are great for the price and the quality), but when it comes to furniture, I think my FRUGAL self will be taking my money elsewhere.

Work and Play!

This week has been a fun and busy week – lots of work and lots of play!!

In addition to staff meeting, we had a fun team social with our Queens team in Manhattan. We went to this place called Gulliver’s Gate, which is an exhibition that boasts being the largest interactive museum of miniatures in the world. It was 50,000 square feet of miniatures showing cities and countries all around the world….it also had things that were hidden that you had to find as you were walking through. It was beyond cool and so fun to experience together. Then, we tried out this Brazilian restaurant in Hells Kitchen and it was amazing. Check out these steaks!

Then, our summer missions director’s team got together for a few days this week to plan for the coming summer. It was great to touch base, talk about plans to recruit students to come to NYC for the summer, and to put plans in place for preparing for the summer. I was bummed that I had to miss out on one night (see more info below) but I enjoyed getting to plan with them during the day while a sweet sitter watched Blake and Brynn (the girls were at school). We should have taken a picture together…ugh…next time. I have also spent time this week looking for housing for a married couple who will be with us this summer and working on the budget for the summer. We already have 2 students accepted to come back with us this summer and both of them were with us last summer – so fun that the Lord impacted their lives last summer and they loved the city enough to come back again!

We had fun playdates this week – one was with a mom from our church who I am getting to know better. I loved hearing her story of how the Lord brought her family here from Bangladesh and even despite her entire family being Muslim, the Lord lead her to our church here (New Life Fellowship church) and after reading through the book of John in the Bible with some ladies at our church, she made a decision to place her faith in Jesus. In turn, she was kicked out the house by her parents and much more, but it was neat to see how the Lord has kept her and provided for her, including providing a Godly husband through our church who was her friend throughout everything. Her family even strongly believes in arranged marriages, so this too was a very big deal. I enjoyed being reminded that God is in control, He is working on people’s hearts and drawing them into relationship with Him, the Bible is powerful and active, and the body of believers is our new family.

I took the girls to the American girl store over the weekend – they received money for Christmas to take their dolls to get their ears pierced, so after making an appointment right after Christmas (they were booked all the way until now!), we finally got to go. They loved watching the doll salon where girls were getting manicures and hairstyles to match their dolls, as well as looking around the new American Girl store in the city. So thankful that my friend Marie could join us too!

Monday was a tough day. I expected to go into Manhattan and have dinner with our summer mission director’s team, but those plans dramatically changed when Blake started being in distress because of breathing treatments. I had noticed him coughing earlier that day and I started giving him nebulizer treatments from home, but even after two treatments, and having just given the treatment two hours before (you give treatments every 4-6 hours), he was pulling hard to breathe, having a hard time talking, and breathing 54 breaths per minute (normal for a 3-5 year old is 22-34 breaths per minute. After an hour wait at the pediatric urgent care, a steroid, a breathing treatment, and lots of observation, they sent him home with strict instructions to give him breathing treatments every 4 hours until we say our doctor two days later. He was up until midnight that night because he was so hyper from the medicine, but he felt better so that was a good tradeoff. Thankfully, we haven’t had any scary incidents since then and he will see our pediatrician today to follow up.

Yesterday, the girls celebrated 100 days of school at school. We celebrated by dressing them up as old ladies. Bless it – I had no clue how to make these curlers work. I was thankful my friend Ellen was in from Boston and staying with us (she is helping to lead summer mission with us this coming summer) and she had experience with them. This curly-haired momma doesn’t have to worry about curlers, so I had no clue.

Hope you have had a good week and HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!!


Happy birthday Brynn!!

This sweet baby girl is now 1 years old!!! I can’t believe how big she is getting and how fast it is all flying by!

Crazy to think that one year ago, we were waiting at the hospital for them to take us back for a c-section. I remember being so relieved to not be pregnant, so nervous about how we would do 4 children, and dreading the pain of recovery (I seriously wanted to keep her in at the last minute). I will never forget the instant connection I felt with her as soon as I heard her cry or the huge snowstorm that made us leave the hospital a day early.  When she was about two months old, Ed and I looked at each other and I said “We have managed to keep them all alive for 2 months – we are really doing this!”

She is adventurous (loves flying high and being put upside down and going fast), babbling away (we have another talker!), walking everywhere and getting into everything, already opinionated (she has mastered shaking her head no or yelling when she wants something), and she loves clinging to her momma. She definitely completes our family and is loved so much by her brother and sisters.

Because a birthday isn’t enough of a weekend plan for the Hetzels, we also did some other fun things this past weekend. While the girls and I stayed home, ate Thai that we had delivered, and put together Legos, Blake and Ed went to see the Monster Truck show at the Coliseum. Blake LOVES all things monster truck, so as part of his birthday present from the grandparents, we got him tickets to go see them. It was so loud and the headphones we brought for him weren’t cutting it, so dad have to get “tire” re-enforcements. After he got them on his ears and quit shaking, he actually enjoyed the show.

As if that wasn’t enough, we managed to fit in a birthday party for a friend of Emerson’s at an ice skating rink, church, and a super bowl party with our church small group.

And….want to know one of the things I love most about NYC? Getting to do once-in-a-lifetime kind of things – like visiting the Downton Abbey exhibition show that is in town for a limited time. In this exhibition, you get to see some of the rooms set up like is in the actual show, you get to hear more about behind the scenes workings, you get to see outfits that were worn, and you get to see actual props that they used in the show. If you are a Downton fan, this is a must see!  One major takeaway – the gowns are sooo much more pretty in person than they are on TV. And the bell board that they use to ring the bells to call the servants is so much bigger than it appears!