Whew…it has been a whole 10 days since I last posted.  My goal has always been to try to blog once a week, so forgive me that I haven’t been that consistent…I will try to do better! What a crazy 10 days it has been!  We have been busy with learning a new school routine (which includes the bus picking Kinsley up at 6:45 am!), a birthday party with our friends, sickness, a Christmas party with our staff team, doctor’s appointments, and potty training Blake.  Here are a few random pictures that give you a glimpse into our life lately.

1.  This is our NYC Metro Staff Team (includes Bridges (international students), Campus, Epic (Asian American students), and Operations.  This picture is SUCH an answer to prayer as more and more staff have felt called to and moved to NYC.  Seriously, at least (and I could totally be wrong) 9 or more of these staff have just joined us in the last few months. Continue praying that God will raise up laborers to reach the 8.4 million college students in the NYC area!

2.  I am thankful to have found a doctor here that I like for me as well as one that I really like for the kids.  My doctor wanted me to have another ultrasound so I trekked out to the hospital I am going to deliver at for the ultrasound.  Here is a profile picture of our sweet, healthy baby girl at 30 weeks and a picture of her foot.  We are getting excited about meeting here and will be focusing soon (after Christmas!) on getting together and buying all that we still need for her.  You would think we have everything with already having 3 kids, but when we downsized and moved to NYC, we got rid of A LOT!

3.  We have definitely been adjusting to city life and learning so much about the area, cultures, campuses, ministry, and so much more.  We have visited a few churches and are excited that there are a few options we may find as a fit for us (this is HUGE after being disappointed quite a few times and feeling like we would never find a church close to us). Couple of things we are learning – everything takes SO much longer in the city.  Getting somewhere on the subway – there is almost always a train delay or something that will take longer. Going to the grocery store – add in the walk there, buying groceries, waiting in line, and you have used a whole morning.  Case in point – I took the kids to get a urine analysis done for Emerson and then to fax something at the mail store – it took me 2.5 hours – granted, there were hiccups in there that weren’t their faults, but most of that was legit time waiting in line.  Even something as small as going to the post office could take 1.5 hours.

And another thing – we found out that tipping people for services at Christmas time in the city isn’t really an optional thing, from nannys to hair stylists to building workmen.  For instance, in our building, there are 17 people who work here, from the super to the doormen to the handymen.  Now, there are no hard and fast guidelines about how much or even if you tip all of them, but you are expected to at least tip the super and the doormen.  And, I have even heard they sometimes keep lists of who gives what and their service for you is determined based on that.  When I gave the first card and tip to a doorman in our building we didn’t know well, he asked me as I was walking away “What apartment are you?” Guess we are on his good list 🙂

And schools and all the craziness and competitiveness that is here, thats a whole ‘nother blog post 🙂

Now, that may make it all seem bad, and believe me its not by any means and we are really thankful to be here, are motivated by why the Lord has us here, and are really adjusting well, but man, are things different!

4.  We have a potty-trained little boy!!  I hesitate to write this, because I can’t believe it happened so quickly and easily, but he is officially trained!

We noticed that he was showing signs of wanting to potty train like sitting on the little and big potties, telling us when he went, wanting to wear underwear, etc, and we didn’t want to miss the window of opportunity.  We potty trained the girls at 20 and 22 months, so we knew it could be done.  We were really motivated to not have 2 in diapers full-time come February.  And, we wanted to do it far enough away from Brynn’s birth that he would hopefully not regress.

That being said, I was having a hard time getting motivated, mostly because I am so pregnant and getting up and down with him to train him isn’t easy, AND because city life doesn’t make it easy.  For instance, what do you do when you have to ride the subway for 45 minutes, without a bathroom?  And what do I do when I have to go pick up the girls for school and don’t pass one place with a public restroom (public restrooms are few and far between in the city and for some places, you have to purchase something to use them)? And do I really want to be stuck in the house cleaning up bodily fluids for 4-5 days straight (how long it took the girls to get it)? And yes, I had some friends say their boys were easier to train than girls, but overall the opinion was that girls were easier.

But, we found a few days that would work for us and we dove in (the picture below shows his attire at one point on Day 1).  Honestly, I wasn’t motivated at all the first day and even griped a little to Ed about it.  But, when Blake started to catch on, it was motivating and helped me have hope.  He only had 2 accidents the first day (both were early in the morning as he was learning), and he was even going to the potty and sitting in between the timer going off.  I would ask if he had to go and he would say no (and he wouldn’t go) or yes and go straight to the potty and use it.  Day 2 was today and he did awesome!  Two small accidents in the morning, but I set no timers and by the end of the day, he was coming up to me and telling me he had to potty, even if I was in a different room.

I seriously looked at Ed tonight and said “Was it that easy? Is he seriously trained?” Granted, there are a few things we have to work on, like him getting his underwear up and down by himself, and him going on the big potty and not just the small potty, but overall, he is trained and doing it all by himself.  Go Blake Go!  Thank you Lord for helping him to catch on – this tired momma and momma to be really needed that!

We pray you are enjoying the Christmas season and really getting to relax and rest in the true meaning of Christmas.

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