Mid-August Checkpoint

If you are like me, I can’t even believe that it is already mid-August. Maybe time just always flies by or maybe it has flown by because we have been squeezing every little bit out of summer before campus starts. Either way, we have been busy from doing fun things in the city to having lots of play dates to hosting and attending parties galore.

We finally got to visit the new (well, new to this one location) FAO Schwartz. While they opened last year, it was too crazy with all the holiday tourists, so before the Christmas tourism starts again, we decided to give it a whirl. So fun to be a kid in this store!

After having filmed in our neighborhood for a few times, I FINALLY got to land eyes on Mrs. Maisel from “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

We have played lots and lots (and lots!) of games!

We met some friends at Domino Park in Williamsburg and I have to say, we will be going back soon. The view of the city is spectacular, the kid’s play area is so amazingly designed (and clean!), and the water sprinklers were a hit with the kids. Loved it even more since it involved good friends joining us!

The girls went to a birthday party at Laser Bounce and had a great time! Watching Emerson and her friend do the virtual reality was priceless!

We hosted a neighborhood block party (thanks Jane for all your help in planning and executing!) and loved meeting friends and neighbors at the park. Our friend, who is a professional photographer, caught these pictures and we absolutely love them!

We traveled into the city to turn in the girl’s reading logs for Barnes n’ Noble and collect their free book, but while we were there, we attended Summer Streets. For three Saturdays during the month of August, they shut down Park Avenue from Central Park to the Brooklyn Bridge and people just run, walk, bike, skateboard, scooter (and lots more!) in the middle of the street. They also have stations with fun things to do set up along the way, like this bubble station that the kids loved.

We also got to attend the 1st birthday party for some dear friends of ours. Making it through the first year with a kid is a big feat! It was also so fun to see these dear friends – Stephanie and Fady were the first couple to join our church small group and for a while, it was just the 4 of us. They have seen our kids grow over the last 2.5 years and we grew to love them just like family. We miss them so much but are so excited for how the Lord is blessing their family!

While the kids don’t start school for a few more weeks (after Labor Day), we started last week and are expecting our ‘fun in the sun’ to end quite a bit. We are excited to get this year started and see what God has in store!

July Recap

As I have mentioned before, last semester/year was a hard one and very draining – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. And so, for the month of July, we left the city, flew to SC to visit with family/friends/ministry partners/churches and traveled to Colorado for our bi-annual national staff conference called Cru19.

Thank you for your grace at my lack of posting…I wanted to pull away substantially from social media and ministry (except connecting with partners) and just take time to recharge my soul before entering into the fall semester. It was a very refreshing, encouraging, challenging, motivating, and energizing month and I am so grateful I recognized the need to “stop” doing and just “be” with family, friends, ministry partners, and most importantly, Jesus.

However, by not posting, a lot had happened that I would love to update you on. So, I am doing a July recap by pictures so you can see a little of what the Lord used to refresh us.

We celebrated 4th of July with most of our small group – it was so much fun to cook out, laugh, eat, and just have a great time! We missed the few who weren’t there!

Then, we headed to Greenville, SC to visit Ed’s parents for a week while Ed took an online class and we visited a church and ministry partners in the area. We also got to visit with dear friends who moved to the area from Raleigh, head to downtown Greenville and see Greenville Falls, and the kids got to host a lemonade stand, and go see Toy Story 4 in theaters.

Then, after Greenville, we traveled to my hometown to visit with churches/ministry partners/family/friends. One of my favorite things about my hometown and one of the places I feel at the most peace is on the inlets/rivers/waterways in Georgetown. I love going out in the boat to where the rivers and inlets meet the ocean and just enjoying being in nature and in the peace and quiet. Because you can’t travel out there without a boat, and because the shallow waters and all the small inlets make it hard to navigate unless you are a local, it is very, very secluded. On our trip, we got to see dolphins (multiple pods), minnows, crabs, hermit crabs, sea turtles, and we went fishing where we caught regular fish along with sharks, stingrays, and flying fish!  We also got to see pelicans flying right over us and dive into the water to catch their meal and fish jumping all throughout the water and white cranes standing on the edge of the water. We even get to pull up to a beach near the ocean and have the whole place to ourselves! On the beach, we got to see a sea turtle’s nest with all the eggs that had just hatched the night before and the little flipper marks where they wandered out to the water. It was such a treat to introduce our kids to such beauty in its pure natural habitat. It is so beautiful and such a reminder of all the beautiful and intricate and amazing things God has created.

We got to spend lots of time with family which was so life-giving AND my kids got to have a rock painting party with my grandmother who is so very talented in painting (and patient to put up with painting with them – see my bored look at the very beginning? I was over it!). They don’t know what a blessing it is to interact with this amazing woman of God and to have their great grandmother around to be blessed by. They went downtown in Georgetown to hide the eggs after painting them and in true Brynn fashion, she couldn’t do what she was supposed to and had to go find the eggs she had just hidden to pick them up. Of course!

And, did I mention the delicious food? Seriously, guys, all the fried food!

These are from the restaurant my parent’s own.

Colorado was a great time hearing and reaffirming our vision with our national leaders and other speakers, being challenged on so many things, learning to be more effective in ministry, and getting to visit and be refreshed by great friends. Here are just a few of many pictures from the week (we left Brynn with my parents, so thats why she isn’t in them – we weren’t letting her play in the street while we took pictures 😉 )

This is the opening night fair they throw with food and lots of games for the whole family. Emerson has been begging to do these balls for a long time and was so excited to do it!

We were on Summer Mission in NYC with Madeline and Jonathan last summer and loved getting to know them. I wish I had a picture with all the other friends we connected with who mean the world to us!

We had a campus ministry dinner at the new Colorado State stadium – so fun and nice!

We joined staff with these dear friends 12 years ago!!

Worshipping and hearing from great speakers who challenged and motivated us with thousands of other staff!

We are back in NYC now and working on tying up loose ends with Ministry Partner Development and doing some other miscellaneous things before the school year kicks off next week. Thank you for your prayers for a refreshing and renewing summer…it was that and so much more! Tonight, we started the transition of taking Brynn from the crib and putting her in a toddler bed…probably my least favorite transition next to potty training…pray for us!!