Our 28 Hour Ten Year Anniversary Getaway

This past weekend Grace and I celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary with a quick overnight trip into Manhattan.

We stayed at the Marmara Park Avenue Hotel on 32nd Street.

With the top floor terrace it was probably one of the nicest rooms we’ve ever stayed in.

Too bad it was raining all day Friday.

The first thing we did was go out and get some Lady M dessert.

Then we had dinner at Victor’s Cafe, supposedly one of the best Cuban restaurants in the city. I had the skirt steak combo, but it came shredded with small portions. It was okay.

The seafood appetizer was very small too.

Grace’s jumbo shrimp was excellent.

We then went to see In Transit, a new acapella musical.

 The theater is very small so any seat would have been great, but we scored second row seats which were perfect.

We loved it. It was hilarious and was performed by some very talented and amazing people. One truly has to be a New Yorker to get half their jokes.

The next morning we had a wonderful breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien, a really great Belgian eatery.

We then rushed over to watch a matinee showing of Beauty & the Beast which was fitting given that I gave Grace a set of Beauty & the Beast Lego Brick Headz as part of her anniversary gift. I really enjoyed the film as it added some much needed depth to the backstory of many of the characters. I actually teared up a little at the end. I hope Disney doesn’t screw up the live-action Mulan film that’s next in line.

We then rushed over to the Painting Lounge to take a 2-hour painting class to paint Romance over the Stream.

We had a lot of fun, but the class could have used some more guidance or tips.

I suppose with all the amateurs in the room the teachers didn’t want to devolve too many detailed steps that would probably hinder and frustrate our artistic skills than bring them out.

I think we did a really great job given this was our first time canvas painting.

We only had 28 hours to spend together, but Grace and I definitely had a blast and enjoyed each other’s presence to the max! We hadn’t experienced such a fun time together since before CJ was born over five years ago. Although we definitely missed our kids, it was so relaxing and freeing to move about so quickly without them. We were able to have some really great conversations talking about how much we’ve experienced and what we have to look forward to. And we couldn’t have done all this if it weren’t for Grace’s mom who slept over Friday night to put the kids to sleep, and also for Kristen and Wesley for sacrificing their entire Saturday to play with the kids. We’re so thankful for the marriage that God has given us and hope to do this again next year, lol!

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10 Year Wedding Anniversary

Today Grace and I have been married for 10 years. T-E-N years! It seems like a long time from when we vowed our “I do’s” to each other, but it went really fast. From our 1BR apartment in Forest Hills to our house with two kids. Wow! I’m really speechless as I struggle to write this post. The ten year long journey fills my mind with too many memories of Grace and I for me to recall and count. We’ve experienced so much of our lives together that I am amazed at all the things that God has graciously allowed to fill our hearts with. Ten years is pretty huge as it is a testament to God’s abounding and overflowing grace to allow us to remain happily married as it is no small feat to have the lives of two sinners intersect and unite as one and stay as one for so long. Sometimes I still wonder why Grace wanted to marry me, but being married to her is the best thing I ever asked anyone to do. To come alongside me and walk life together can be scary, for the journey is not all sunshine and roses everyday, but it’s my life, my marriage, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

I love you, honey. To another ten more years and beyond.

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Ice Thrower

I did not have fun today shoveling. I was waiting for the snow to stop, and it did after around 1pm, but that’s when it turned to sleet and rain.

The sleet and rain compacted the snow and made it heavier and more difficult for both my snow thrower and shovel. And to top it off the sanitation trucks plowed right onto my sidewalk. It was a very slow and heavy process.

And then I had to go out again because the sanitation trucks splashed snow once more onto the sidewalk. And then I salted. Fun times for a day off from work.

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I’m Sick

Today CJ stayed home from school because he wasn’t feeling well and had a fever. He rested and slept for most of the day and towards the end he was feeling a little bit like himself.

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DIY: Thermocouple

So recently my furnace has been going in and out every three to five days. I’d wake up freezing in the morning which is an indicator that the pilot light was off, so I’d go down to the basement with the candle lighter and sit on the floor for two minutes while holding the pilot light knob in to make sure it would stay on.

In such cases a new thermocouple is most likely what’s needed to fix this problem because it tells the furnace to continue to let out gas if there is a flame, and in my case the thermocouple was telling the furnace to stop releasing gas because it could not register a flame even though there was one. I learned all this from my buddy #NormanY.

So after spending a good amount of time trying to figure out how to wiggle the bracket out without breaking anything, there it was. And you can see on the left how burnt the tip of the thermocouple was, so it definitely needed replacement.

Unscrewing the other end of the old thermocouple was simple.

Here you can see the differences between the old and new thermocouples.

Screwing the thermocouple into the furnace was easy, but getting it into the bracket and staying at the right height took some time.

I put everything back and screwed the bracket into place, but in doing so I accidentally lowered the thermocouple.

I tried the pilot light and it wouldn’t stay on, so I painfully pulled the thermocouple up a little higher as I initially had it and the pilot light stayed on.

And then fire 🔥!!!

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CJ received his second report card for kindergarten and Grace and I are so proud of our son. We’ve always suffered from the fear that CJ will be at an academic disadvantage because of his age relative to his immediate peers. We know that as he progresses the gap will decrease and eventually become non-existent, but it’s difficult because we live in such a cutthroat and prejudice society that looks down on the uneducated. Yet, God is slowly allaying those fears and showing us what it looks like to allow God to work within his own timing.

We’re shocked and so thankful that CJ is the best reader in his class. He’s the only student who is at level F/G/H when the common core standard is at level C. WOW! This is also a testament to how much Grace sits down with CJ for him to read night after night after night to her. And his mathematics skills aren’t too shabby either. He gets frustrated sometimes, but he can certainly add and subtract mentally with the numbers 1-10. YES!

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In rushing to get my passport renewed, I ran out last night to get my photo taken at a local CVS. In 2027 I need to remind myself to shave and take my photo in the morning.

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A Bunch of Movie Reviews: Logan | John Wick 2 | Lego Batman Movie | Rogue One

I watched Logan last night and it was okay. I don’t think it was as great as many critics praise it for, but I can see why they did so. It’s definitely a good ending to Jackman’s Wolverine, but his relationship in this film with the little girl was lacking and should have been much deeper, connected, and relational for longer than when it finally materializes. Sadly, it was predictable. I totally called the ending. But at least this is the best Wolverine film we’ll probably ever get. And yes, I saw a little bit of EJ and I in the film.

John Wick 2 was pretty good. I enjoyed how the story progresses for Wick and how it expands the entire universe and shows us just how large the world of assassins really is. But I was surprised that I didn’t find the gun-fu as creative and fun as the first film, which I think is still better than its sequel.

I forgot to give a brief review of The Lego Batman movie when I posted about taking CJ to watch it. I thought it was okay. I appreciated all the calls to the numerous Batman iterations over the past half century, but that’s about it. It gets a little convoluted during the last third of the film, and it really didn’t have a catchy song or tune like the first Lego Movie. But CJ enjoyed, so cool.

Now this…Rogue One was amazing! After watching it on opening night, I was completely blown away and couldn’t stop thinking about what I had just watched. The story was gritty, exciting with tons of action, connected episodes III and IV very well, and it showed that Star Wars didn’t need anyone with a lightsaber to rise to fight the rebellion. This film renewed my faith in the Star Wars franchise…until the next film, lol!

I’m sure I saw a whole ton of other movies over the past 12 months that I can’t really remember, like Sicario (really good!), Deadpool (really hilarious), Hell or High Water (a little boring), Batman V Superman (a mess), Suicide Squad (dumb fun), Captain America: Civil War (best superhero film ever!), Doctor Strange (eh), X-Men: Apocalypse (terrible), Ghostbusters (what were they thinking?!), Star Trek Beyond (fun), and Jason Bourne (disappointing), so the above four films will have to suffice for now.

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Kindergarten Algebra


I was pretty upset when I was helping CJ with his math homework this afternoon because he basically had to solve a math problem along the lines of 7 – 2 – x = 3. Really? For a five year old?! He wasn’t even taught three number addition or subtraction yet! I could understand if the mathematics curriculum wanted to challenge the students with something like 7 – 2 – 2 = x. Sure, that’s certainly plausible. But presenting something as complex and completely new and foreign as such to a kindergartner is insane no matter how common core-ish it needs to be. Even I had a difficult time having CJ illustrate a diagram to help him understand it better. I was livid and I had to keep telling CJ that it wasn’t him, but the problem that was confusing. I wrote a letter to the teacher and attached it to his homework. This is just ridiculous.

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Portrait of Grace

Every week my church publishes a Portrait of Grace in which one of our members shares a short story about how God has been working in their lives, and yesterday an interview of CJ was published.

Although I was there for the interview, I still teared up a bit as I read his responses when it was published. I fail as a parent in infinite ways, yet purely by God’s grace CJ is slowly learning and believing in Jesus and hopefully will one day be given the faith to love Jesus as his Lord and savior.

Portrait of Grace

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