Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: A Peek into Our Week

Nolan Feeding His Doggy
I looked up to find Nolan sharing his conversation hearts and sippy cup with his doggy!

Nolan Feeding His Doggy

Nolan Feeding His Doggy

Elaine's Ponytails
Elaine has been asking for braids, but she has so many layers and such fine hair that I can’t make it work.  We compromised with eight “ponytails” and she was happy!

Elaine's Ponytails

Elaine's Sticker Art
Grandma sent these stickers to Elaine.  She put the sets together to make this picture.  Notice the band-aids on all of the hands, the stethoscopes in the ears, and the hats on their heads?  I was impressed!

Elaine's Sticker Art
These clowns came as individual pieces and I was shocked that Elaine put them all together like this…adding hats and giving them balloons and presents to hold!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday: No Bed Rest

Today I am thankful that I have not been assigned to bed rest, or limited activity.  At least not yet.  Many doctors and practitioners put twin pregnancies on bed rest automatically at 24 weeks.  I am 3 weeks past that and everything continues to look great.  While I am more easily tired, and I don’t tolerate being on my feet for long stretches of time, I am still able to take care of Nolan & Elaine, and the house for the most part.  This is good, because I still have some little things to wrap up before the twins arrive!

I’m also thankful for Ben, who has stepped into the gap and taken up many of my household chores.  He is doing the laundry now – which means one of his nights at home is really spent at the laundry mat.  He washes the dishes almost every night, and he does a lot of the bed time routine with the kiddos.  He is also sacrificing some work time to watch the kids during by bi-weekly doctor appointments, so that we don’t have to get a baby sitter.  I’m so glad he’s my husband!

This is my latest project for the twins:

Coming Home Outfits

Twins Coming Home Outfits

Twins Coming Home Outfits   Twins Coming Home Outfits

I saw this set of onesies on Etsy.  However, since it is embroidered and appliqued, it was a little pricey…$34.00 for two onesies?!?!?!  I have some t-shirt transfer paper on hand for making my own felt stories.  I decided to just design my own tags, print on the transfer paper, and iron onto some onesies.  Since babies don’t wear newborn clothes for very long, if the transfers don’t hold up its no big deal.  I plan to have the twins wear these home from the hospital.  I still need to find some bottoms for Baby Boy to wear with his.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Elaine pushing Nolan in the stroller
Nolan has been all about wearing his hat lately…and Elaine finally got her stroller “redeemed” and decided {wisely} to share it with Nolan.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Twins: 27 Weeks

Today I had a follow-up anatomy sonogram to capture a few more images of the babies.  I go to the hospital for these sonograms, and they take more time.  But…that usually means better pictures of the babies!

Twins 27 weeks jpg

{click to enlarge}

I was happy to be reassured that we are still getting a boy and a girl.  The technician wasn’t 100% sure of the boy last time.  I think we have settled on the names for our twins.  Now that I have Ben nailed down I don’t know if I will let him change his mind!  But…since something has to be a surprise, and to avoid any “flak” over what we have chosen, you have to wait until they are born to learn their names!

Here are the pictures closer up…

Baby Boy 27 Weeks Profile
Baby Boy – zoomed out to get the foot hooked over his head!

Baby Girl 27 Weeks Profile
Baby Girl – close-up profile

Monday, February 18, 2013

Play Day

Ben has been helping at church to get the building finished…and it has included a lot of Saturday workdays.  Now that things are almost completed he decided that we needed a family outing/play day.  So on Saturday we asked the kids what they wanted to do, and we played all day.

Elaine had several “eedeas” {ideas} and wanted to feed the goats at the zoo, go to the park, and have fries & chicken {McDonalds}.  She would count the ideas on her fingers, and then get to her pinkie finger and ask “What is this eedea for?”

It was supposed to be cold, and we didn’t want to spend a lot of money.  We decided to do a little bit of everything.  I found a 50th Birthday Party for Clifford the Big Red Dog at the Scholastic Store in Manhattan.  It was free, but right during naptime.  So we skipped naptime!

We rode the train to Manhattan, then stopped in at the Central Park Zoo.  Our zoo membership makes it easy to get in & out and just see a couple of animals.  Elaine wanted to see the polar bears, and my kids both love feeding the goats at the Children’s Zoo.  The Central Park Zoo has llamas in the children’s area as well.

Fun outing in Manhattan - Central Park Zoo
Nolan l.o.v.e.s feeding the animals!  He was excited to feed this llama, who was a little more than friendly, but luckily he didn’t spit at us!

Fun outing in Manhattan - Central Park Zoo
Elaine’s llama

Fun outing in Manhattan - Central Park Zoo
Elaine feeding the goats

Fun outing in Manhattan - Central Park Zoo
This is one set of twin baby goats…I thought that was neat because we have been trying to explain to Elaine about the twins’ upcoming arrival.

These birds were roaming free in the Children’s Zoo.  I’m not sure what they are, or why they were loose – they were very aggressive.  One came up and started pecking at Nolan in the stroller, and even stole one of his mittens.  This made Elaine erupt in screams as she was very upset that Nolan lost a mitten.

Fun outing in Manhattan - Central Park Zoo

Fun outing in Manhattan - Central Park Zoo
Nolan moves too fast for me…

Fun outing in Manhattan - Central Park ZooElaine wanted her picture taken in the waterfall…

Time led us to skip the playground and head to the bookstore.  We had a NYC hotdog on the way.  The birthday party included two Clifford stories, face painting, arts & crafts, cupcakes, and pictures with Clifford.  Elaine wanted to do all of it.  Nolan wanted to do none of it.  He was getting tired & ouchy, and the lines for each activity were long.  She had a great time gluing gemstones on a cape and getting balloons painted on her face.  She didn’t want to eat her cupcake until the party started and the doggy had his cupcake…

Fun Outing in Manhattan - Cliffords Birthday
Nolan spent most of his time playing with this giant stuffed girraffe, and was not very happy to leave it behind when we headed home.

Fun Outing in Manhattan - Cliffords Birthday    Fun Outing in Manhattan - Cliffords Birthday
Elaine with Clifford…Nolan didn’t want to get close enough for a picture

We finished up our fun day with dinner at McDonalds.  The kids each got gift certificates from Grandma Godby in the mail and were excited to buy a Happy Meal {a rare treat} and ice cream.  Then we headed home for a relaxing bubble bath and bed!

Fun Outing in Manhattan - On the Train   Fun Outing in Manhattan - On the Train
I got these pictures on the train headed home…love his bright eyes!

Fun Outing in Manhattan
Elaine’s face paint…right before we had to wash it off.

Fun Outing in Manhattan
Bubble hats! 

I recently attempted homemade bubble bath.  It’s so expensive to buy in the store, and the bubbles disappear so quickly.  I’ve been very pleased with the results, and it’s super cheap to make if you use the $1 shampoo.  As you can see, we got a lot of great bubbles that lasted the whole bath.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Come and See What God Has Done

Just over three months ago, Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy made landfall and brought devastation & destruction to many parts of New Jersey, New York, & Connecticut.  As our church is located very near to the water in Brooklyn, NY, we were among those who suffered more severe destruction to our physical building.  Since that time, things have not been the same at Bethel.

And yet, in the midst of this trial, we have seen God do amazing things.  He has provided for the physical needs of many in our congregation.  He has given us open doors to share James 2 faith in action with our neighbors in the community.  He has provided for the renovation of our building.

Today we hosted a “Grand Reopening” and invited our community to come and see what God has done.  We have been handing out postcards for several weeks.  We have invited specific people in the neighborhood whom we were able to help in the wake of the storm.  We had many visitors in attendance to see what God has done – not only in our physical structure, but in our spiritual lives as well.  We wanted to show them how God can turn devastation into blessing.

Pastor opened his sermon by sharing his personal testimony of the first time he stepped into the church after the storm.  As he viewed the destruction, he asked God to give him wisdom as to what he should do.  The first thing that God showed him was 1 Thess. 5:18 – “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  There, in the midst of sopping church building Pastor thanked God for the storm.  And many times since then, as a church, we have thanked God for what He has done and is doing as a result of Hurricane Sandy.  Today, the service culminated in another blessing as one of our visitors trusted Christ as his Savior.

In the beginning, I admit, it was hard to go to church.  The cold and dampness in the first couple of weeks meant that I stayed home with the kids.  Then it almost seemed pointless to go to church…between shuffling two toddlers, stickers, crayons, books, and “quiet” toys I hardly heard a word of the message.  Once reconstruction began, we all came home covered in white dust.  We started wearing play clothes to church.  But as I was thinking about the storm and the last three months, the good outweighs the difficult.  It has been truly amazing to see what God has done.

Here are some of the things that I can think of for which we have thanked God during the cleanup of Sandy.  I’m sure I’ve forgotten something.  But I’m sure you will see how much we have to thank God for, even during hard times.

  • Much of the work has been donated by churches across the country.  Men have traveled many miles to come and help us clean up the old and replace it with new.  They have donated hours, skill, and materials to help our church get back to normal.  I can think of groups that came from Maranatha Baptist Bible College, Pennsylvania, Florida, Kentucky (?), and Illinois.  I’m sure there were more.
  • In the beginning the cleanup work was done by sunlight and then by generator.  Those generators were brought by the work crews.  One crew left us a generator and several construction lights to continue the work on our building.
  • We were 2 or 3 weeks without power. When they came to inspect our building, the boxes had not been submerged in water, and so we did not have to do major repairs in order to get our power turned back on.
  • One of the groups brought a bunch of building materials with them, which were hard to obtain in the City at that time.
  • I’ll never forget one of our members giving praise at the Thanksgiving service.  They had lost their home and many of their belongings.  She said, “I’m thankful that my home is in Christ.”
  • Many years ago our church voted to give a large gift to one of our missionaries who was trying to finish a building project.  It was money that we really needed ourselves, but Pastor told the congregation that God would repay.  We also gave a large sum to another NYC church planter several years ago.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, our church has been repaid nearly six times what we gave away years ago. 
  • Another church bought new hymnals for us.
  • Money has been given for a new piano.
  • We have new carpet and a new heating system to make our classrooms warmer.
  • We will be able to replace our church van.
  • We will be able to purchase our own portable baptismal.
  • A contractor has donated a lot of time to renovate our church.  It looks more like a church inside, and a little less like a storefront now.  He also had contacts to help us get the carpet and new furnace installed.
  • In the beginning, I was frustrated that I couldn’t help more.  But I had two little kids and I am pregnant with twins.  Ben also wanted to be able to help more, but he was so busy with work.  Now that he is self-employed, he has been able to do a lot of the work at the church over the last month.  Though he’s been gone Monday to Saturday helping to get things ready for today, it has been nice to be able to use his skill and help at church.
  • The destruction of our building provided the opportunity for us to change the layout of our classrooms and auditorium, providing more seating for us to fill with new believers. 
  • We have a new nursery for our little ones, with everything completely new. 

Here are a couple of “before” and “storm” pictures that I dug up.  Following them are pictures of the renovated building.  I wanted you to be able to come and see what God has done along with us!

Sunday School Promotion Sunday
The front of our old auditorium, and the flooring.

Thank God for Israel Day
A view of our “old” church when you walked in the front door – two seating sections.  The new front of the auditorium is on the wall to the left in this picture.

485081_393496300725664_1869575198_n (1)
This wall is now the front of our auditorium.  This picture was taken on our first Sunday meeting together after the storm, by the light of a generator.

12919_392909534117674_1735135365_n
Just one of many loads of trash which would be taken from our building.

44492_392909490784345_52323048_n

536553_392137974194830_715194806_n

Here are some pictures of the remodeled building.  Things are almost completely done, but we have a few odds & ends to finish up.

BBF Grand Reopening
This is what you see now when you walk in the front door.  What an improvement!

BBF Grand Reopening
We are now able to fit 125 chairs in the auditorium!

BBF Grand Reopening
A sampling of some of the letters which accompanied gifts to our church over the last few months.  Some were churches we know…others heard of us “through the grapevine” and took up offerings to help, though they have never met us in person.

BBF Grand Reopening
The platform was the handiwork of James & Rotti, two talented contractors who commuted in from Connecticut to work on our church.  They finished {along with Ben} at 3 a.m. this morning.  Rotti was back in the service with us at 10 a.m. to celebrate our Grand Reopening. 

BBF Grand Reopening
This area used to be the pulpit, and a storage area.  Now it holds extra seating.  Behind this partition our baptistry will sit.

BBF Grand Reopening
A storage room for our tracts & literature.

Nursery Makeover at Bethel
Part of our brand new nursery

I think that Elaine expressed the excitement of all the children to finally have Sunday School again!  We had full classes which held even more children after I snapped these pictures!

BBF Grand Reopening
The 2’s & 3’s

BBF Grand Reopening
The Primary Class.  This class was jam-packed at the end!

BBF Grand Reopening
The 4’s & 5’s Class.  All boys, except for Karen…who arrived as I was taking a picture.

BBF Grand Reopening
The Junior Class.  This room was a storage room.  It was unfinished.  Ben and some others cleaned it out, added studs & drywall, installed a drop ceiling, and finished it into a nice classroom for our Juniors.

BBF Grand Reopening
Some more Juniors…I couldn’t fit them all in the picture!

BBF Grand Reopening
Ben & I teach Children’s Church.  We were excited to have a full class for our first week back!  Usually we only use part of one row!

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Please join us in praising God for what He has done!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

My camera is in for repairs, so these pics were taken with the video camera.  The quality is not so great…

Making cards for “Old Grandpa’s” birthday {my Grandpa…he turns 87 tomorrow!}

Making Birthday cards for Grandpa's Birthday

Making Birthday cards for Grandpa's Birthday

Making Birthday cards for Grandpa's Birthday

Making Birthday cards for Grandpa's Birthday

I asked Ben to mark the hard boiled eggs so I knew which were which.  I had a craving for egg salad sandwich today, and when I opened the egg carton, this is what I found…

Special Message from Ben