Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sailboat Ride

On August 7, we were blessed by a friend to be invited along on a sailboat ride.  She is a volunteer on the Pioneer, a restored 1885 sailboat that is part of the South Street Seaport Museum.  We joined the Friday evening ride, and it was a PERFECT night to be on a boat!  (I was a little nervous about motion sickness, but I didn’t have any problems).  We got to see the Statue of Liberty, several NYC bridges, and the Manhattan skyline – in the sunlight, sunset, and night skies.  It was beautiful!  Thanks Liz for an amazing experience!

{Be prepared for picture overload}

Sailboat Ride
Preparing to board the Pioneer

Sailboat Ride
Girls

Sailboat Ride
Boys

Sailboat Ride
Brooklyn Bridge // Manhattan Bridge

Sailboat Ride
I had fun just watching the sails and ropes against a beautifully blue sky.  So naturally, I took lots of pictures of them!

Sailboat Ride

Sailboat Ride

Sailboat Ride
Liz let Nolan help hoist one of the sails

Sailboat Ride
Elaine // Nolan // Nehemiah // Liberty // Statue of Liberty
The twins discovered what the “Statue of Liberty” is on this trip, and they started saying it pretty clearly.  Then Liberty referred to it as the “Statue of ME!”

Sailboat Ride
NYC // Our City

Sailboat Ride

Sailboat Ride
Statue of Liberty

Sailboat Ride
My “Bigs”

Sailboat Ride Sailboat Ride
Lady Liberty // Daddy & Nehemiah

Sailboat Ride Sailboat Ride
Elaine // Nolan at the helm with the Captain (left) and Mate (Nelson)

Sailboat Ride
Elaine got a chance at the helm too!

Sailboat Ride

Sailboat Ride
Our family – Nehemiah, Elaine, Libs, Nolan, #5, Andrea, Ben

Sailboat Ride
City at night

Sailboat Ride
We were told this is the America 2.0 – the fastest sailboat harbored in NYC, and worth $16 million!

Sailboat Ride
FAVORITE // Lady Liberty, the sailboat, the sunset, and the moon

Sailboat Ride
Twinsies

Sailboat Ride
My man

Sailboat Ride
Lady Liberty

40 Weeks

20150820_051113000_iOSToday was my due date.  It has come and almost gone and still no baby.  This is the first pregnancy that I have gone late.  I “celebrated” this day by keeping active…trying to jumpstart labor…and some last minute nesting.  The bathroom got a thorough scrubbing, I did the laundry, took several small walks, got the oil changed in the van, and had an appointment with the midwife.  Baby 5 seemed content to sleep through everything.  They couldn’t even get him active for the non-stress test!  He is measuring an estimated 7 pounds 12 ounces (biggest baby yet), and my amniotic fluid is decreasing which often indicates labor/birth is near at hand.  The fluid in his kidneys is remaining stable and the doctor is no longer concerned about it very much.

Here’s to hoping he arrives tomorrow or Sunday when my “favorite” midwives are on call!

40 Weeks Baby #5

This poem was on the wall in the exam room…and I thought it was a little encouraging!

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20150820_194557364_iOS

Monday, August 17, 2015

Top of the Rock

At the end of July Ben took me on a date.  {He spent his birthday cash on me…aren’t I special???}  We thought it might be the last for a little while with baby arriving soon.  We had planned to go to the 9/11 Museum.  However, the day turned out to be absolutely gorgeous so Ben decided to scratch something off my NYC bucket list – the Top of the Rock.  The Top of the Rock is an observatory deck in midtown Manhattan on the top of the Rockefeller Center.  The view was so worth it!

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Top of the Rock
Empire State Building, Freedom Tower, and Statue of Liberty (it’s bigger in the next picture)

Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock
Looking Downtown

Top of the Rock

much people in this city jpg

Top of the Rock
Looking Uptown – Central Park

Ben used Central Park as an illustration of holiness in a recent Gospel message.  To be holy is to be totally separate.  When you are in Central Park, you can so easily forget that you are even in New York City.  From the Top of the Rock, Central Park takes up a major part of the city.  It gives urban dwellers a respite from the daily grind.  It is separate.

Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock

Looking uptown toward the Bronx

Top of the Rock

We finished our date with dinner at Madison Square Park.  We stood in this long line to eat at the Shake Shack.  Each Shake Shack location has it’s own specialty, and they have expanded to be in many major cities across the country.  I had the Mushroom Burger – not a beef patty with ‘shrooms on top.  It was a Portobello mushroom stuffed with two cheeses and then breaded and deep fried on a bun.  It was to die for!

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It was the perfect night to eat in the park – not too hot, and not too cold.

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They even have a doggie menu!

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Delish!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Bittersweet

I had this all written up two weeks ago to share with you, but computer issues prevented its publishing. 
 
 
 
We arrived back in Brooklyn on July 15, 2015.  This left us just two months as Brooklyn residents.  Realizing this is definitely bittersweet for me. 
Around Labor Day, and until September 15th, we will be moving into temporary missionary housing until our deputation phase is complete.  This will allow us to save money on expensive NYC rent so that we can better prepare for moving to and settling into the Bronx next spring.  We are making preparations to put all of our worldly goods into storage and then we will mostly be on the road until next March. 
For my non-NYC friends, many times it is required to put three months rent down in order to secure an apartment.  We are estimating that an apartment to fit our family of seven will likely cost $2000+ per month, so that is a sizeable “down payment” needed.  Moving into temporary housing will also grant us greater flexibility, so that when we find that right apartment, we can jump on it and be ready to move in right away (or wait and fix it up a little) without inconveniencing our current landlord.
 
 
So…this decision is bittersweet for me.  To be completely honest, I am not really excited about moving to Cornwall NY.  It means packing everything for storage and not knowing exactly what to leave out for easy access.  I have four (almost five) growing children whose needs change frequently.  The house is outside of the city, so I feel a little like I am saying goodbye prematurely.  Yet there are benefits – besides what has already been mentioned.  The kids will love the outdoor playspace and nearby river.  There is a washing machine, and even a dishwasher!  I won’t really even be there very much the remainder of this year.   
When we moved to NYC I guess I somehow made the assumption that our ministry would remain in Brooklyn, but probably be in a different neighborhood once Bethel Baptist sent us out to start a new church.  I never imagined that God would take us to the Bronx.  (I am excited about it now, and I know it’s His Will, but it doesn’t line up with my original expectations). 
I think it goes without saying that we will miss the people most of all.  My church family has been my real family these last five years, since none of our relatives live nearby.  My children have been raised here thus far, and this is all they know.  It is going to be difficult to know that we can’t just call a friend and meet for lunch at the park (without a two hour commute, that is!).  But we are asking God to give us a family to work with us in the Bronx that might help to fill that gap.
Brooklyn is where I cut my teeth in regards to city life.  It is the place I came to know and love New York City, and I will definitely miss it.  I can’t really remember parallel parking before that day we pulled with the moving truck, and I somehow had to get the Camry over next to the curb.  I never imagined parking in NYC with a 12 passenger van!  Brooklyn taught me everything from living a pedestrian lifestyle, to embracing doing laundry at the laundry mat, to appreciating the many parks and playgrounds that dot our city.  (Parks really are sanity savers, and for just a few minutes they can almost make you forget that you live in the inner city).  I’ve learned to live in small spaces and to love all of that sauce on my Brooklyn pizza.  (Okay…that last one didn’t take too much convincement to learn!).
But perhaps the greatest lessons I have learned through this grid of pressure and urban living is that God is more than enough.  I have learned to depend on Him in ways I never imagined.  I don’t have it perfected…there are many days I default to my own strength and fall flat on my face.  But those times remind me that I am NOT enough.  I can’t live here, and raise five children, and minister to other people, on my own.  I have seen God provide for our family financially in miraculous ways.  It is truly all of Him that we are still here.
And so it is bittersweet to be saying goodbye to Brooklyn.  Sad, but exciting to step into the next phase of God’s plan for our family.  This has been the goal in coming to NYC in the first place: to branch out into an untouched area of our city and start a new church work.  Now it is finally close enough that I can taste it.  And that is exciting (and scary!) too.
 
I will always be grateful for the wisdom of my husband in bringing me to NYC before we were ready to start the church.  I can’t imagine learning all of these lessons and going through this adaptation at the same time as church-planting.  That will be an intense phase of life all its own.  But these last five years have allowed me to grow, to learn, to develop, and now to embrace city life and to know for a certainty that God has brought me here and that God wants me to live here.  I was raised a suburban girl, but I feel like an urban mama now.  There have been sacrifices and difficulties along the way.  I wasn’t always glad to go through the difficult times or to experience the pressure that comes with this city life, but looking back I am glad for the experience and the things I have learned.  I wasn’t always happy to make the sacrifices at the time, but I have learned how good they have been for me.  And if my kids never have a backyard to play in, or a dishwasher in our home, or their own room (pretty sure that one’s not gonna happen!), they will have seen God do amazing things in and through and for our family as we live in New York City. 
Bittersweet.  I hate to go.  But I’m excited to leave.
 
"Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it."
1 Thess. 5:24

Friday, August 7, 2015

38 Weeks

I have been very bad about posting updates for this pregnancy.  I guess that’s how it goes with baby #5?!?  We have been busy traveling and I really haven’t been focused on the pregnancy because there was so much that would happen before baby’s arrival.  Some days I haven’t noticed the pregnancy, because of my busyness with the other four kids.  Some days I can’t ignore the acid reflux, back pain, and inability to bend over and sweep up my dust pile!

So now here we are with less than two weeks until due date, and I have finally unpacked some baby clothes, packed a hospital bed, and purchased a stroller.  Since we are moving about two weeks after the baby’s arrival, there isn’t much else to do or prepare.  There won’t be a decorated nursery or beautiful crib set up this time.  This baby will sleep in a pack n play for most of his first year of life, most likely.  We resume deputation traveling in September and expect to be at the temporary housing for only about two weeks (if that long) through the end of 2015.  Life is flying by at 80 mph!

I feel much bigger this time around, and my belly is nice and round.  (It was never that way with Elaine and Nolan).  Yet I haven’t gained as much weight…I’m not sure how all of that works!  The lowness of baby already is giving me a definite waddle to my gait, and hindering most outings with the older four kids.  I don’t go anywhere unless I am sure there is a restroom at every stop, or about every 15 minutes!  This makes walks to the park hard, and outings of any length require quite a few resting stops.

2015-6-15 ultrasound #2Baby boy at almost 35 weeks

I haven’t really had cravings – they go back and forth depending on the day.  I often really want a soda, but it has given me terrible reflux this pregnancy.  I eat a lot of ice and refill our four ice cube trays multiple times a day.  Saltine crackers are a constant companion, even at this stage in the pregnancy.  Liberty calls them “cookies” and is always sneaking into my room to snitch one from the night stand.

#5 Almost 36 WeeksAlmost 36 Weeks

Baby boy’s fluid in the kidneys is staying stable and well below the concern level.  This is a huge answer to prayer.  He may not even need testing directly after birth.  The midwife is continuing to monitor the status with an ultrasound at each visit.  Last week Elaine went with me to the doctor and was able to hear the heartbeat.  “Wow, is it going to be that loud when he’s born, too?”  she commented.

I haven’t taken as many baby bump pictures either, but I got one on Sunday with my friend Jeni.  She is due 10 days after me, with a girl.  We have the same midwife and hospital, so we may end up as roommates!

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