Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Susan!

My wife is my best friend and lover! We love the adventure of parenting and church planting in NYC together. None of your prayers for us are in vain. Pray a special prayer for Susan today. She turned 30 years old.

She is so, so, so amazing!

To God be the glory, great things he has done in and through my wife!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Birthday Parties!

The kids went to a birthday party for our neighbors this afternoon.  It was on the roof of the 14th St. YMCA.  It was a lot of fun!  Families in NYC go all out for birthday parties.  At this particular party there was a magician.  He did a great job.  His whole show was probably 45 minutes and he held Jack and Lillie's attention the majority of the time.  Elliott left to go play on the playground, but he liked most of it.  At one point the magician asked for a volunteer and Jack got picked.  I missed the very beginning of the trick, but got most of it on camera.  It's shaky because Elliott kept wanting to see the camera and I could hardly keep him back so I could video it.  The magician put one ball in Jack's hand and told him to squeeze it and he was going to make it disappear.  You can see what happened (the quality is not great, but you get the idea).  Jack LOVED it!

I know the post have been "Jack heavy" lately.  Maybe this week I'll get some good shots of Lillie and Elliott and let you know what is going on in their world!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11 & Church Planting

It is a sobering time to be in New York City as we reflect upon the horrific events from 10 years ago, 9/11. Thank you all for your prayers and support of our ministry. Only 3% of City Center Manhattan (where we live) is evangelical. God has been working in New York City in amazing ways yet, 'the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few'.

Also worth the read is this article from The Gospel Coalition.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

First Day of Kindergarten- Jack

He did it!  Jack went to his first day of kindergarten today.  He did awesome!

He was so excited he just wanted to act a little silly getting his picture taken outside of our building

Jack's been counting down the days leading to today.  He woke up this morning got dressed, ate breakfast, and sat with his back pack on till 10:15 a.m. when we could finally leave to go to school. It's been raining here for two days straight and calling for it again today.  I prayed this morning before I got out of bed that the sun would at least shine around 10 a.m and 11 a.m.  Around 8 a.m. this morning the clouds started breaking and the sun came out.  I was so grateful!  I hated to think our first walk ever to school was going to be in the rain.  At Jack's school they gradually ease the kids into a full day of school.  I say gradually, it's really only 3 days, but still they aren't thrown in immediately.  He went today from 10:50 to 12:30 and tomorrow he'll go from 8:20 to 10:30.  Monday will be a half day with his whole class and then Tuesday is the first full day.  
Walking to school.
Waiting to go inside.

When we arrived at the school we went inside and waited in a little foyer until we were released to go to Jack's class.  This past weekend we met a family on the playground who has a little boy, Ryan, starting kindergarten at PS 40 and we quickly found out that they had the same teacher and were in the same rotation for today and Friday.  Jack and Ryan played together for about an hour.  I know Jack was excited to know someone in his class and it helped me out as well!  While we were waiting Ryan and his family came in, so the boys got to hang out and walk to their classroom together.  Nicole, Ryan's mom, told me that Ms. Morris had to ask several times which one was Jack and which one was Ryan.  I think it might be the beginning of a special friendship.  
Jack and his buddy Ryan
Welcome back to school note from the principal.
Heading up to the second floor to find his class.

We are excited about Jack's teacher.  Her name is Ms. Morris and she is a veteran!  I'm not totally sure of her age or her experience, but I think she's been teaching at least 30 years.  She comes with a reputation of being tough and strict, but gets her job done, and kids seem to love her.  It's been told that at one of the big school events all the teachers have a jar with their name on it and kids can put their raffle tickets in the different jars to try for a chance to spend the afternoon with that teacher and do a fun activity of some kind.  While most teachers have a hand full of tickets, Ms. Morris' jar is crammed full of tickets, kids past and present want to spend the afternoon with her.  That speaks volumes to me.
The kids had to line up before they entered the room.  They all went in then parents followed.

Jack's name on the door.
We all made our way to PS 40 this morning.  Each morning for the first semester parents are encouraged to sit with their child for the first 15 minutes of school and read together.  Jack wanted us all to come to his class, but choose his daddy to stay and read.  I have to admit that was tough.  I'm really glad for Freddy T. and Jack to have that first opportunity together, but it left my heart tender.  I did fine with my emotions while we were at school.  I got a little teary eyed on our way to school and again on our way to pick him up.  I might have a good cry before bed tonight, but hopefully that will do it.  Get it all out of my system!
Getting settled in to start reading with Daddy.

When we went to get Jack, Freddy T. stayed outside with Lillie and Elliott (Elliott asked for Jack 20 times today in the hour he was away.  Poor guy, he's got some adjusting to do with the rest of us) and I went inside to wait for Jack outside of his classroom.  While all the parents were waiting the assistant principal came by and said "Something you need to know about Ms. Morris is that she is always 5 to 10 minutes late for dismissal which means your kids are always 5 to 10 minutes smarter than all the other classes."  When the door opened the kids were lined up and Ms. Morris called students to be dismissed as she saw the parents.  Jack was the second one out.  All the kids had to say "bye Jack!" and he had to shake the teachers hand.  Shaking the teachers hand is a school policy for all grades as the students are dismissed for the day.  Anyway, Jack was carrying a drawing he did in class and looked a little shell shocked.  I think it was more having to come out of the room to kids saying bye all in unison and a ton of parents watching from the hall.  Once we made eye contact he smiled big and practically skipped down the hall.  He was pretty pleased with his experience.
Jack and Ms. Morris leaving his first day of kindergarten!

For a first day of school treat we stopped at the little bakery between the school and our apartment and all had gelato.  We asked Jack what he learned today and he said "We didn't learn anything.  The teacher said a bunch of words then told us we could play with whatever we wanted to!"  Oh boy!  So, what we can gather from more conversation is that they sat down and talked about the calendar and weather and then got to have free play, to explore and see the fun stuff in the classroom, I assume.  I think that's a pretty good idea  except that it kind of sets the tone that that's what you do in kindergarten, free play!  I had to explain to Jack that that's not how it was going to be everyday, that they would have lots of fun, but they would have a good schedule and lots of learning.
Jack, Lillie, and Elliott enjoying vanilla chocolate chip gelato.

We are so proud of Jack!  We feel so good about the decision to let him go ahead and start kindergarten.  Keep praying for him and for us (me!).  We want our family to really have opportunities serve the faculty and staff at PS 40.  From what I understand a good bit of the families are pretty involved at school.  Pray we will be the Light of Christ to them.

Here's to a great year in kindergarten!