Last NYC Date Night

(Ya, I know.  I don’t exactly look dressed for a night out watching ballet…I seriously don’t even know how to get dressed up anymore!;)

We have never suffered for enough date nights since living in New York thanks to friends (specific thanks to Elizabeth Wigle and the Hoyts) and have been able to do a lot of things sans children which is always a treat.  Last night, as a last hurrah to New York City date nights, we went to see the show “Jewels” at the New York City Ballet since we had never seen a ballet here.   It was absolutely beautiful, the enjoyment heightened by the chocolate covered nuts I bought from the theater snack bar and proceeded to eat as we watched!;)

After the ballet, we walked around, heard some rather perverse conversations going on around us, saw a guy stripping off his button down shirt for two other guys (I don’t know what was going on yesterday but I saw/heard really weird stuff on the street) and then had dinner at a restaurant across the street from the theater.  Next we found a Starbucks open until 1am so at 11:15pm, we were very happy to find out we could still get some coffee before we had to get back on the subway into Brooklyn and our night had to officially end!

Now, we are preparing to leave tomorrow for a week long trip to Canada.  We’ll start out in Toronto, then head to Ottawa and end in Montreal before heading back to Brooklyn and packing up for OUR MOVE BACK TO ATLANTA! We’ll be moving the first week in November…where to begin with all the packing?  I don’t even know…

Oh New York, we will miss you!  Our time here has been filled with so many blessings and we will always be so grateful for our 4 year adventure in the city of all cities!

“Jewels is unique: a full-length, three-act plotless ballet that uses the music of three very different composers…” -NYC Ballet

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Discovering Greenport

After we got home from church on Sunday, we got a lunch together, hopped in our van and drove the two hours to Greenport, New York, located near the tip of Long Island.  On the way, we passed dozens of vineyards, pumpkin patches and  corn mazes.  It was a beautiful drive and when we got to our destination, we were not disappointed.  Greenport is a quaint little harbor town and we just so happened to come during their fall festival so stands were set up everywhere with fun little finds.  We meandered, we found a carousel much to the delight of the kids and afterwards, they played in a field with a group of other kids.  After a few hours, we finished off the little excursion with dinner at a place on the water called “Crabby Jerry’s”:)  Rick was quite happy to get his favorite meal, fish and chips, and I got a salmon burger that was surprisingly delicious.  The kids ate their usual chicken and french fries, danced for a while on the restaurant deck, (much to the amusement of those eating around us), and then we were off again, back to the city!

Thank you Lord for our new van and for rejuvenating little escapes!

(By the way, homeschooling continues to go well as do the classes Micah and Ellie are involved in.   I will try to update some of our recent school activities soon.  And… we are waiting to hopefully finalize some important news…stay tuned!:)

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Does Jesus Die Every Easter?

Sometimes I am utterly humbled at the way I am called into deep, spiritual conversations with my children at the most unexpected times.

Yesterday as we walked to Micah’s world drumming class, he started saying he was one hundred plus one hundred years old.  Or wait…”one hundred and ninety-nine years old.”  “Wow,” I said, “You’re way older than me!”  Then he asked, “Am I older than Jesus?”  It took a great deal of convincing to show him that Jesus, who is one of the three persons of God, has always been since before the beginning of the world.  He doesn’t have a beginning or end so therefore, we really can’t give him an age.  “But how old is he?”  Micah would keep asking…”a billion years old?”

And then out of the blue, as we passed a church, he asked if Jesus has to die every Easter.  I was happy to remind him that Jesus only had to die one death on the cross two thousand years ago and then rose again three days later.  He defeated death.  Easter is a day to remember that one death.

“Oh,” said Micah and then soon we were at the Brooklyn Conservatory and he was pounding away at bongo drums with a group of other kids.  They drummed, they danced and they sang.  He had a good time and rode home on his scooter singing an African song at the top of his lungs.

How often do I need to be reminded that I always need to be ready to entertain questions?  I pray I give him adequate answers!

“Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.”

-Isaiah 53: 4-6,12



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First Ballet Class

I remember my first ballet class as I watch Ellie excitedly dancing around the room before more students come and her class begins.  My teacher was Mrs. Love and she had at one time taught Karen Kain, one of Canada’s most well-known ballet dancers.  I didn’t continue long in dance but I was blessed to have an excellent teacher.  Now my little girl has the chance to get her feet wet in the most popular of little girl activities which, to them at this age, is all about feeling like a princess.   Whether she’ll be like me and enjoy it for a few years or like her Aunt Stephanie who has been passionate about dance her whole life, I hope Ellie has fun, feels beautiful and finds her own little place in this first step of independence:  her very own class!

A friend gave us her daughter’s old ballet slippers and leotard so Ellie is all set!

Eating and wearing her after ballet treat!:)

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Schooling & God's Grace

Our school year has gotten off to an amazing start…much better than I had envisioned as it is often my habit to envision the worst possible scenarios in life.  I guess this has become my protection mechanism to save me from feeling too disappointed if things don’t work out the way I want them to. But, by the grace of God and His grace only, homeschooling has proven to be an extremely rewarding journey so far and we are keeping up with the work the curriculum sets out for us each day.

While Micah does formal school, Ellie does different activities or plays in the room and fortunately, Amelia has been taking her morning nap during during school time so all the different facets of how to work each child into the day have figured themselves out.  Micah is enjoying every subject so far and Ellie loves to write on the chalk board, pretending she is a teacher!   It is adorable to watch her jump into a little lecture about something random such as animals or letters.  Everything is a line to her still so she’ll say she is going to draw an elephant and then draw a big line!;)

When Amelia is awake, she is busy, busy, busy!  Her favorite little fetish right now is putting on hair bands.  She began doing this a few weeks ago but instead of putting them on correctly, they end up looking like little halos!  I guess a halo is appropriate…well…sometimes anyways!

And Micah is all about Superman right now so when he puts forth a particularly good amount of effort, sounding out a difficult word until he gets it right or something like that, I give him a Superman sticker and this makes him a happy boy!

One week in and we are having fun!  I hope these pictures give a little glimpse into our day for those who care and please know I am not posting pictures to “show off” what we are doing but merely because many of those dear to us are far away and this is my only means to keep everyone up to date.

Have a good weekend!

Beautiful hair bows given to us as a gift from the very talented Cynthia Pegram.  She sells her hand-made hair accessories at

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Princess-Peas-Bow-Tique/266265913389029

Doesn’t she look like a cherub?:)

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Our School Space

Inspired by the picture which I found on the site Ohdeedoh , we created our little school space below!

In our small apartment, we can’t have a separate school room but I still thought it would be fun and inspiring to have a space dedicated to school none the less.  Fortunately, my husband was more than willing to oblige my desire and literally got this all done Friday night! He’s amazing!!!

Rick came up with “Mrs. Mom”:)

Nothing like inspiring quotes and beautiful anniversary flowers from my husband to add extra touches to the space!

And there you have it!

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7th Anniversary

This year, Rick and I have learned about loving and being there for each other through fear and uncertainty.  The year began with Amelia in the hospital, ng tube inserted through her nose for feedings and right in those first days and weeks, we knew we were in something bigger than anything we had encountered before. Six years of relative ease and the seventh was our year to be put to the test and refined.

I found this in a random journal entry from several months ago:

“Lord, we’re in something bigger than ourselves with Amelia. We are in something where we can’t see the end in sight

or even the middle…we just know You are always with us.  The biggest comfort there is.”

God has been kind to Amelia.  God has been kind to us.  And God has been kind to our marriage, using the issues with Amelia to bring Rick and I closer together rather than further apart and bringing us to a greater dependence on Him. Through the stress and uncertainty, God has given us the ability and desire to trust Him and to give Him the glory for Amelia’s continued progress!

I am honored to stand beside a man who has proves himself over and over again both at home and in his career.  My husband never fails to be the bulwark in our family but this year more than ever, he has simply amazed me!   He counts it an honor to serve us and I see that more and more as I have begun formal homeschooling and he is so conscious of being there to lend support in any way needed.  I have seen this the countless times he has tirelessly sat trying to feed Amelia, a task that at one point pre-sippy cup, used to take an hour or so because she could not properly suck from the bottle.  So my husband would patiently sit there and tenderly care for her…a picture of Jesus in my mind. This may sound corny but he always wants to help me realize dreams I have, large or small.  Whether it’s actively encouraging me in my running pursuits or building a fun school space (pictures to come:) for the kids and I, he loves to be there and I always know he does not think any desire of mine is stupid or unimportant.


And some of my most cherished memories of the last year are coveting our few hours together in the hospital each night over Christmas before Rick would have to go home again when visitors hours were over.  It was just us and Amelia and the whirring of the feeding tube pump and we never needed the comfort of the other’s presence more than in those days!  We would eat take out and, even in the stale, undecorated hospital room, just enjoying talking and being.  Without having to say it, we felt safer and more secure together.

Just being is one of the best parts of marriage and seven years later, I can’t wait for many, many more years to just be with my husband, my soul mate, my best friend and the guy who sharpens me!   Happy 7th anniversary! I love you!

“Precious gift from God,

imperfect is my love for thee,

but a choice I make to give

and forever will it be(…)

Only God could love you more,

Only God could love you better,

His example will I learn from

and conform to Christ my every letter(…)”

- From a poem written by Rick to me while we were dating.:)

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Life & Unexpected Discoveries

I’m going on about five hours sleep today and it’s been a busy, educational day but I’m feeling more awake than I would have expected!  Sure, it’s probably the caffeine I’ve been pumping into my system but I think it is also this:  I have discovered a new passion.  It is, crazily enough, the Montessori approach to education.  Yesterday morning, I said I didn’t think I had any interest in Montessori but after a few hours of exploring the approach from different websites yesterday afternoon while the kids napped/had quiet time, I quite fell in love!

I think the Montessori approach will work especially well with Ellie.  Micah is more of a traditional learner, happy to pull out a work book and delve into various exercises with a gusto, but Ellie is going to be my more hands-on learner.  She’s got a shorter attention span with a passion for staying busy with her hands so anyways, to cut to the chase, I put together a Montessori-like working station today for fun using things  I already had around the house. I tried to make it as realistic as possible, even putting everything on a tray which apparently is very Montessori…organized and everything in it’s place.

The work station was a hit and even Micah liked it!  It was easy for him to figure out but still valuable exercises all the same!   Both kids can profit…Micah as a way to compliment the more classical education he will receive this year with our awesome “My Father’s World” curriculum and Ellie as a means to stay busy doing simple yet valuable activities that will stimulate her while also affording me the opportunity to hopefully give adequate concentration to Micah on his school days.

This is going to be an exciting, busy year full of new experiences for all of us, mom and kids.  I test my wings as mom/teacher and the kids as official homeschoolers. Micah is signed up for a multi-sport class and a children’s world drum class at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music.  Ellie is signed up for ballet…with other activities during the week, I trust they will have adequate opportunities for social interaction.

And our first day of “official” school begins this Thursday!  I have to get a scroll prepared as a prop for Micah’s first bible lesson…I’m going to have to delve into my crafty side this year!  Time is flying…I will keep you posted on how our first day goes!:)

While driving around the Sleepy Hollow area Sunday, we came across some post-Hurricane Irene flooding!

A little Montessori inspired work station:

I’ve wanted the Jesus Storybook Bible for a while…the illustrations are the most beautiful I’ve seen in a children’s bible!

Ellie quickly caught on to the Montessori tray idea…she has begun putting everything on trays!:)

This is school, Goof ball Ellie style…

Amelia discovers herself while digging amongst the pots and Tupperware…

P.S.  If your comment does not show up right away, no worries!  Somethings been up lately and it may simply need to be approved first!

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5ive

My boy turns five today. Five is the age where my own memories become clear, and I realize the buffer given to parents to work out the kinks of parenting is over. The buffer of a few years to make mistakes and know your child wont even remember. And yet the time spent, the energy invested, the fun things experienced –  it is also questionable if he will even remember those – until now. I hope to fill that memory with many good times and rich life experiences. I hope he will recall me as a good father who above all passed on a godly heritage.

Micah, I love you so much. My first born, my daddy’s boy. You are a studious worker and eager learner. You have your mother’s tender and perceptive heart toward others, with the strength of love and encouragement. You fulfill the duel roles of an older brother well of protecting your sisters in their weakness… and teasing and making their lives interesting in their strength!

I’m so happy to have another male in the family and to be reaching the ages for father-son baseball games and camping trips. Later the art of the power tool and mechanics. And sci-fi films that your mother and sisters will say “ugh, I don’t get it.”

I pray for you a strong and deep seated faith, a great love for God, wisdom, a biblical worldview, knowledge of biblical theology, an uncommon character and integrity, freedom from fear, doubt and uncertainty. May God grant me the wisdom to guide you on that path. And may God give grace in the areas I fall short that you would not repeat my sinful patterns.

Happy Birthday Micah!

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Twenty Minutes

Two kids on scooters and then one tires and is in the stroller with Amelia while the other (Micah) keeps riding and asking me every few minutes how much further we have until we get to the bookstore.  We finally get to Barnes and Nobles and I quickly wonder if we’ve made a mistake as all three go different directions in the children’s section…I’m feeling a tad frazzled.  We go upstairs to sit in the cafe, Ellie carrying her treat book she earned a few weeks ago and I wonder how long we’ll last.  But the book is a charm…a Dora book with small, plastic figures to play with on the back page. Perfect!  We’re set!  Amelia plays with a straw, I read a magazine and sip a frappuccino and the kids play.   It lasted all of twenty minutes or so before I decided it was time to go while all was still smooth sailing but I’ll take twenty minutes anytime!

We get home, the girls go down for naps while Micah plays some PBS kids games and as I’m eating lunch, a small earthquake rocks New York City and my lunch rattles on the table while I sit in disbelief.  An earthquake in New York?  What a surprise!

And each day brings its own little adventures!

Micah copied this picture from a library book this morning while I was getting ready.  I love it!

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