Times Square, Karoake, and Lasagna!

I know, I know..Times Square, Karoake, and Lasagna have nothing to do with each other. But, they do describe different parts of our last few weeks. I wanted to share a few highlights through pictures, since pictures speak a thousand words.

Our students at St. John’s planned and executed an outreach on campus completely on their own!  Ya’ll, this is HUGE!! We dream that we can equip each of our movements and train the leaders to where they will plan, lead, and reach out on their campus all by themselves, leaving us to go and launch at new campuses. So, the fact that not only do we have students at St. John’s, but that they are planning and doing an outreach, nonetheless, on their own, is monumental. They packed up about 90 bags of candy and handed it out in exchange for students filling out a survey. For many of our students, this was the first time they were initiating conversation with strangers. I was so proud of the boldness and willingness to trust God to do something with this. We now have tons of new contacts to follow up with and hopefully share the Gospel with!

Then, this past week, all of NYC joined together at NYU for a night of fellowship, worship, and prayer – for their own lives, for this great city, and for the world. It was an hour trek from our students from Queens so we weren’t sure how many would come but 11 made the trek down together!  They prayed together, worshipped together, sat together, and then went to eat at Chick-fil-a together afterwards.

Then, on Monday after Veteran’s Day, the students didn’t have school, so they traveled down to our house and had fun playing games and hanging out. It also helped that we provided a delicious lasagna dinner…college students are always down for some home-cooked food!  Our kids also loved hanging out with them and we love that our kids get exposed to college students who love the Lord!

We traveled into Hells Kitchen for dinner with some friends and ministry partners that were in town. Because of it getting dark early, our kiddos asked if we could go see Times Square at night. Locals to NY (and I consider us this now!) HATE Times Square – like, I think all of them literally. But, they asked nicely and we like our kids to be reminded of this fun city we live in, so we ventured into the madness. And then, they asked nicely to go to the Disney Store, which we agreed to. So, this is our kids loving the Star Wars part of the Disney Store.

In the South, when you go for karoake, you go to a restaurant and you sing on a stage in front of tons of people. So, when I went to do karoake with some friends from my mom’s small group, I was so shocked that we had our own room and could sing at the top of our lungs and no one knew we were off key except those in our small room. It was so much fun!!  We also ate dinner at a Korean-style BBQ restaurant, which was so, so yummy and quite an experience. I am so grateful that there were women with us who spoke Korean and knew exactly what to order – it definitely made the experience much more enjoyable. I will be doing this again soon….so good!

I have some new developments in the case of my stolen wallet, but I am waiting to hear from the detective so I will share more soon!

Clean Bill of Health

This has been a full and fun past few weeks!  I will share some more pictures to tell you more about our last week, BUT before I do, I want to share about the clean bill of health we received.

As some of you know, Blake had a lot of problems in utero but then when he was born, they diagnosed him with Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). which is essentially a hole in his heart. It wasn’t big enough to cause problems or require him to take medicine, but it did require an annual cardiologist appointment to make sure it wasn’t getting bigger. They were hopeful that it would eventually close on it’s own, but some kids live with these holes forever. Last year, at his appointment, they thought that maybe it was closed but they still heard vibrations and he wouldn’t sit still enough for the echo to tell for sure.

This year, he sat SO still and let them do a very thorough echo on his heart. Then, the doctor came back with the good news – the hole is officially closed!!  He still has an innocent heart murmur which is what the vibration is, but we are done with cardiology appointments!  Praise God for how he has continued to see Blake through all the medical stuff and that Blake is a healthy, happy little boy – he has come so far given all his medical issues! And we couldn’t imagine our family without him!

The rest of this pictures are a smorgasbord from Emerson’s birthday, Halloween, and fun times around the city while my mom was in town. Enjoy the MANY pictures (I am so impressed I have actually taken some)!!

This sassy, smart, friendly, overdramatic, excitement about everything in life little girl turned 6!  She wanted an oreo chocolate cake with Star Wars on top, so that is what she got!  She talked about her birthday for weeks before. We also took cupcakes to celebrate her in class.

For Halloween, we celebrated with pumpkin carving, Halloween parties in both girl’s classes, and trick-or-treating.

Ed carved the ghost and I carved Sleeping Beauty (I think thats who she is? I am out of practice with my princesses). Confession: This is my first time actually carving a pumpkin. Ed usually does them as one of us is usually doing the pumpkins and one of us is coraling the kids. This year, the kids helped us and played together so we could both do them. Ed was a little skeptical that I could do the princess since she was more intricate but look at that – she turned out pretty dang good. Go me!

I never got an actual picture on Halloween of the kid’s outfits but here are some separate ones we took the night before when they were trying on their outfits. Imagine the girl’s hair up like their characters and shoes on 🙂 . Another confession:  I have never even watched Star Wars and barely know the characters. Ed has introduced the kids to them, though, and they love all the movies and characters. They ask me questions about the movies and I just say “Ask your dad.” I guess one of these days I need to get on board?

On Halloween, the teachers at the school always dress together in one theme. One year it was the Minions from Despicable Me, last year it was Toy Story, and this year they were all bees. The head principal was the queen bee (she is missing her big blow-up butt she had on that morning) and the assistant principal was a beekeeper. So cute!

It was so fun that my mom was here this year to experience Halloween in Forest Hills, It is so insane and I can’t describe to people how much this is true. Adults dress up as much as kids, adults give out big goody bags to trick-or-treaters, houses decorate more than they do for Christmas, and lines on Burns Street to get candy are so long. People come from all over the city to go trick-or-treating on Burns Street – this year, even Neil Patrick Harris and his kids were there. Here is a picture of a house that was decorated on Burns Street.

We took my mom to the NY Hall of Science for the “free hours” and had a great time. Here are some pictures of the kids enjoying it!  My favorite part are the magic mirrors that make you tall, short, skinny, fat, etc. I took a picture of the skinny mirror for motivation in weight-loss 😉

Then, over the weekend, we traveled to Brooklyn to let my mom see the amazing view in Dumbo and near Brooklyn Bridge park, to let the kids play at Pirate park, to take our Christmas picture, and to let the kids ride the carousel. They had a great time playing, but their favorite part was visiting Jacques Torres. They like to watch “Nailed It” on Netflix, and Jacques Torres is one of the judges on the show. They loved getting to see his bakery and enjoy HUGE, WARM chocolate chip cookies. I tried the “famous” hot chocolate and I couldn’t drink very much, because it tasted like drinking straight dark chocolate. The cookies, however, were delicious.

She is all about squinting when we say to smile. Hoping its a phase 🙂

My mom flew home yesterday and while family leaving is usually really hard for the kids, it helped them to know that she will be back for Christmas and that isn’t far away. Isn’t that crazy?!?!? My favorite part of the year is right now…why, you may ask?  BLACK FRIDAY ADS!!  Thats another post for another day….