That time I ended up at a hookah bar

Do you remember that one time (well, maybe more than once) I said that when you have a blog and write things for everyone to see, crazy things happen to you. Case in point…

Last Thursday was my birthday. Most birthdays just feel like another day, but this year felt very different. I started the day with a nice 7 mile run (cue alone time 🙂 ). The kids were out of school because of winter break (this wasn’t even a thing in the South), so we started the day bowling with a friend and her kids at a local bowling alley. What I imagined to be a disaster bowling with two moms and 6 kids turned out really well. My friend even brought a sweet little mini cake and candle to celebrate my birthday. It was so sweet of her to celebrate my special day. Susie, I am so sorry for being more concerned with getting in trouble over a burning candle than truly appreciating your gift – it’s the rule-follower in me!!

Then, we grabbed some lunch, the little kids had naps, and we had a fun dinner of my choice along with cupcakes for dinner. The kids LOVED celebrating with me and I love that they make birthdays so fun!! Also, Ed did a great job picking out presents this year. A fun movie set AND this book about all the different people groups living in NYC (most of them in Queens!) that I had spied at a friend’s house and liked a lot. I also got a few other sweet gifts from friends and from my parents and Ed’s parents.

Then, this is where it gets interesting. Amy, my friend and teammate, went out with me to celebrate both our birthdays (her’s was a few weeks before) and she picked out this fun place in Queens called “Sugar ‘n Coal”. She noticed online it had good reviews and that the desserts looked really good. After arriving, we enter this restaurant with low lighting, a very eccentric smell, and a DJ playing music in the corner. At first, we and another couple were the only people in there (and the DJ of course who was shooting live videos and carrying on like he had a whole host of people there). When the server came to the table, she started sharing about how they make their own hookah flavors and their desserts and their Indian food they serve. We had no clue it was a hookah bar! I can say that is a first for me. Imagine these two moms of 7 kids between the two of us eating our delicious desserts in a hookah bar. It was still a good experience, but lesson learned, read further than the name and the desserts next time. 🙂

Overall, the day was really fun and I felt very loved and celebrated by family and friends near and far!!

Then, last night, we had our team social in the city and enjoyed ice skating at Bryant Park, including time watching the bumper cars on ice, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and eating Korean fried chicken at Turntable (which had really fun jazz decor and music!). We had a great time – so, so, so thankful to love our team and enjoy spending time with them!


Eye Surgery, Improv, and Weird Sketches

What would you say is the weirdest place on the body to get surgery while you are still awake? I don’t know what I would have answered that question with two weeks ago (maybe my mouth?), but I most definitely have an answer now – my eyelid!

I had a mole grow on my eyelid after college (not sure when but I do know it wasn’t always there?), and my dermatologist and ophthalmologist has been watching it for many years. After concern was expressed about it growing a little year after year, they recommended that I get it removed. Of course, because it was on my eyelid, not just anyone could do it. So, they sent me to a oculoplastic surgeon – which I didn’t even know existed until now! – who could remove it with the care of a plastic surgeon. I visited him in the city and he confirmed that he thought it was a mole, not a cyst, but that he wanted to remove it to be sure. Let me just tell you – he must get paid the big bucks because you couldn’t pay me ANY money to operate on someone’s eyes.

I was a little nervous about the surgery just because I knew it was going to be a local anesthetic used but I knew he would be operating on my eye with my eye open. When I got there, they numbed it and then poked it with a needle 3 times to get the anesthesia to take – I seriously think this was one of the worst pains I have experienced in my life – imagine a needle poking that thin skin right next to your eye – ugh! Then, they lay you back in a chair, put a sheet over your face with a hole for the eye that is being operated on, and then he does the surgery while looking over you with a bright light. So, not only do you want to close your eye because he has a bright light shining into it, but your other eye is covered which makes you want to close both of them, AND they tell you to keep it open wide and look up and to the right. I had to literally tell myself to breathe and not to close my eye and to keep it open wide. I seriously hope I never have to do that again – next time, just put me under!

Here is a picture of me before the surgery (notice the mole on the right eye (my left but when you are looking at me, its on the right) and then the next picture is after he cut it. They don’t even cover it after surgery…they just let you walk out with it oozing and bleeding a little. I was so thankful Ed came home with me so I wouldn’t have to worry about navigating directions with a hurt eye that just wanted to close and that was throbbing when the numbing wore off.

In other news, we had a really fun Improv training at our house with our student leaders from Queens College to learn about listening. The students loved it and one even used some of what she learned during an outreach they had on campus today! Erin, one of the staff women on our campus, had a creepy run-in at Queens College with a 40 year old guy who approached her and told her he had been drawing a sketch of her. He also asked her what her major was and gave her his business card. So creepy!

I got the joy of celebrating a good friend’s birthday at an amazing bakery near my house. This food wasn’t on my eating plan but it was ohhhhh soooo good! And such cute decorations in honor of Valentines Day!

The Baby Turns 3

I just can’t even believe how fast time flies by – Brynn turned 3 this past week!!

I remember…

  • moving to NYC pregnant and having to learn to navigate city life with a baby on board, including finding a doctor among the gazillion that are here in the city
  • traveling to Long Island to have her at a hospital where I could have a private baby room and being shocked that private rooms were a luxury in the city that most people couldn’t afford
  • waiting hours upon hours past our “delivery time” because the hospital was short-staffed and being told by a nurse that they could tell we were from the south because true New Yorkers would have been cussing them out
  • having to call my doctor to get my medicine and vitals checked in the hospital because they had so many babies that they couldn’t handle all the demands
  • being discharged a day early despite having a c-section because there was a blizzard coming and they had to get people out or they would be stuck
  • multiple people in our family getting the flu the week after we brought Brynn home (including Ed!) and having to be quarantined in our bedroom with a new baby
  • getting a noise complaint from neighbors in our apartment complex the week we brought her home (yes, the same week as the flu – what a doozy!)
  • learning to navigate city life with a newborn and learning things like
    • where do you nurse when you are commuting an hour on a subway train and she needs to eat?
    • how do you make sure she stays warm when it is freezing outside and you have to wear her or stroll her around in the frigid weather?
    • how do you push a stroller around when there are mounds of snow on every corner
    • how do you get a baby and a toddler and a stroller up and down the subway steps by yourself or break everything down to get on a bus without people getting mad?
    • how do you keep your baby quiet when they are crying hours on end and you are trying not to get ANOTHER noise complaint?

Just reading this list makes me tired!  I don’t know how we did it, but God sustained us – that’s for sure! And it’s so fitting that we couldn’t imagine our family without her. She is sassy, independent, smart, pretty, stubborn, cuddly, and loves her siblings to death.

For her birthday, she wanted to eat spaghetti, eat an oreo cake that she saw at the grocery store, she wanted to watch a movie, and she wanted to get her ears pierced like her sisters’ ears (YES, she asked!). So, thats what we did! She didn’t even cry or tear up when they were piercing her ears – girl is tough! Now whether we will get through all the cleaning and keeping her from pulling them out will be another story.

Her birthday was actually on a Thursday but we had a staff meeting that morning and Ed had campus stuff all afternoon and then sound practice that night at church, so we weren’t going to have much time to celebrate her. So, we told everyone (our parents and the kids) that we were just going to pretend that her birthday was Friday and celebrate then. Great thing is that she doesn’t know dates or days and unless someone said otherwise, she had no clue. The kids played along and we celebrated her Friday just like it was her actual Thursday. That won’t happen again, but it worked this year!

Ears pierced √ Potty Trained √ Teething Done √ Knows how to eat from silverware and drink from a cup √ Now if we can get her to stay in her bed to sleep all night long, we will be golden. I can’t believe our last baby is SO BIG!! I find myself cherishing so many more moments with her than I did the others, because I know how quickly it flies by!

Korean Food to Monster Trucks

I can’t believe that February has already begun!!  Where is the year going? Because my last post was about my class and I didn’t include much in the way of family updates, this post will be solely dedicated to a few highlights for us personally the last few weeks.

We absolutely love our community here in NYC. As I talk to friends who have had much different experiences with regards to community than we have, I realize that we are extremely blessed. Here are a few pictures that show just two of the fun things we have gotten to enjoy with friends lately:

homemade pizza with a few different families:

Korean “bar” food and karaoke – we went out in K-town (Korea town) in Flushing in Queens (which was a new place for me) and enjoyed amazing Korean food cooked on what looked like the lid of a wok. Seriously, so much food. And its so fun that you put the meat and veggies inside a piece of lettuce to eat. And then, we headed over to a karaoke place where I discovered just how thankful I was that a few of my friends were Korean and actually spoke Korean – all the remotes and screens were in Korean. After they told us which buttons to push to enter a song, it was a blast, complete with songs, drums, dancing, and light-up tamborines!

As part of Blake’s 5th birthday present, Ed took him to see Monster Jam. He has been once before, so this time Ed splurged and got the pit pass so he could go down and meet the drivers and stand by the trucks. He LOVED it – both the show and spending time with Ed!

Blake also got to shoot a video where he did the announcements during our services at church – it was hilarious and he was perfect. Everyone kept coming up and talking to him and it freaked him out a little – he said “I am nervous that they keep talking to me.” But look at how cute he was!!

We have also had tons of doctors appointments lately – from getting a little spot cut off of my eyelid to Brynn having doctor’s appointments to see about possible tubes in her ears (due to lots of ear infections) to well doctor visits…it has been a lot!  Pray for wisdom as we navigate all the health stuff that is going on or coming up!