Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Happy 11th Birthday, Jonah

Dear Jonah,

I just left your room after telling you goodnight for the last time as a 10 year old.  I kissed you on the top of your head and turned to leave.  You asked for a hug.  I wish I knew how long these days would last.  The ones where you want to hug and kiss us.  The ones where you want to tell us all of your hopes and dreams.  You're our first kid so every new phase is new to all of us.  We take things as they come as opposed to actually being prepared for them.  You've been a great kid to help us figure it all out.  You're so patient when we make mistakes.  You ask questions we have never thought to ask.

This past year was a benchmark for you academically.  You set records at your school.  You finished elementary school with all A's for all of your years there.  You read 7 million words and finished the year as the student who read the most words in the entire school.  You received the President's Award and so many other awards.  (I still haven't blogged about your awards day but it is coming...slow blogger over here!!!)  But, the thing that was so special about that day were the kind words said about you.  Truthfully, awards don't matter much if you aren't kind.  People forget the awards you won but they will always remember how they were treated.  You are genuinely so kind to people.  I hope that stays with you as you navigate the tricky Middle School days ahead.  

Speaking of Middle School, that is right upon us.  This time next month we will be thick in the middle of all of it.  There are so many unknowns.  I pray a lot about all that these next few weeks entail.  I'm so worried and you are so excited.  I've tried to let that rub off on me and send you out the door with the same level of excitement that you have about middle school.  I know you'll do great.  I just know this new transition means you are one step closer to life outside our home.  The years you have to live at home with us are now shorter than what is behind.  

Earlier this year, you made the decision to follow Jesus.  You were so sure of that decision and then the decision to be baptized.  It has been a joy to watch your faith grow and your heart desire to know Him more.  In just a couple of weeks, you will transition from children's ministry into our student ministry.  I know these are the years that will lay a foundation that will last your entire life.  I already pray that God would give you solid mentors who love Him and Godly friends to walk through these teen years alongside of you.  You will always have your parents but I know firsthand the impact Godly influences can have on a teenager.  

You're a really great kid, Jonah.  I know we tell you that all of the time but it's true.  You make good choices, you are honest, you work hard and you constantly seek knowledge and wisdom.  You stand up for what is right and you are consistent.  There was a time this season in soccer that your dad said to me, "ya know, Jonah will never be the super star on the field but he will ALWAYS be the kid coaches want because he shows up, he gives 100%, his attitude is positive and he is always where he is supposed to be!"  Those are qualities that you don't even know how amazing it is that you possess them.  

I wanted to be a mom so bad.  I begged God to let me have a baby.  He answered that prayer and not only did I get a baby, I got an amazing kid.  Being your mom is one of my favorite jobs.  Happy Birthday, sweet Jonahbug.  I celebrate all the wonderful ways this world is better because you are in it.  



Saturday, July 8, 2017

New York, New York- Day 3

We got up super early Saturday morning to start our day in NYC.  This was the day we planned to see the 9/11 Memorial, One World Tower and The Statue of Liberty.  For the adults, the 9/11 Memorial was what we most looked forward to seeing.  The kids were most excited about the Statue of Liberty.  
We jumped on the Subway and got off at The Oculus so we could make our way to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.  We had done our best to help our kids understand the significance of what we were about to experience but there was no way to really do that.  Jonah has read a good bit about 9/11 but Micah was basically clueless.  Quite honestly, even though we lived through that horrific day, we weren't even adequately prepared for what we would experience that day.    

There were many places you could take photos, but once you entered the main area with all of the artifacts, no photos were allowed.  I took some pictures before we got to that point but the majority of what we saw can't be posted because photos weren't allowed.  

We spent three hours there an could have stayed even longer.  The thing I tell everyone about visiting this place is to be sure you have enough time and take plenty of tissue with you.  There really aren't words to describe what you will experience.  It was definitely the most memorable part of our entire trip.  

We left the museum with our emotions all over the place and walked next door to the One World Observatory to take in the views from the highest spot in New York City.  

They had these iPads that you could point in any direction and get information about what you were seeing.  We didn't rent one but someone was leaving and gave theirs to us to use.  (Tip:  Save your money.  They didn't work well!)

We left the incredible views and walked back to The Oculus for lunch.  They had a super upscale food court with amazing options.  The kids had pizza but we all ventured out for various other foods. It was so good!  We even had our first Sprinkles Cupcake!

We left there and headed to the boat for our sightseeing cruise of the New York Harbor and Lady Liberty!

The boys were so excited to see The Brooklyn Bridge.  Our plans were to walk it but we ran out of time that day.  I'm so sad about that but there's always next time.  Micah was sad because we told him about a fabulous ice cream place in Brooklyn that we would enjoy after the walk.  I don't think he factored in the "walk" part of getting to the ice cream.  

It was so fun to see The Statue of Liberty up close.  Micah wanted to go to the island so bad but we just didn't have time on this trip.  (Can you tell we are already planning a trip back to see all the things we missed?)

After walking a crazy amount of miles back to Times Square, we jumped on the double decker bus to see parts of NYC that we hadn't seen yet.  

We bought tickets for Aladdin off of Stubhub so we had to walk to the StubHub office to pick those up.  We were afraid we wouldn't have time to even get back to our hotel to change for the show so we grabbed dinner from food trucks in hopes of having time to freshen up before the show.  

Whew...we made it!!!   We even had time to run back and change into clothes that were a little nicer and much less sweaty!  

Here's the deal.  We really wanted to see Aladdin.  We just didn't want to pay the $200 per ticket that they were going for.  Yeah.  So, we bought tickets off of StubHub and sat on the very last row of the balcony.  We were looking DOWN at the stage.  We were so far away.  But, I'd do it again in heartbeat.  It was worth it to see the show.  We had the cheapest seats in the house but we all saw it for basically the price of one ticket if we paid full price!

The show was amazing and a perfect way to end the crazy day we had in NYC!  We did so much and saw so much.  We were all exhausted and ready for bed so we could rest up for another busy day in NYC!


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