Friends Category

Stories of those who intersect our lives.

A day in Dumbo, Brooklyn

A day in Dumbo, Brooklyn

Well, fall is officially here! Which means, we are in full coat, hat, and gloves full time now. I had a scare for a minute because I could not remember if I had a winter coat at all. Everyone around me kept telling me that it was freezing outside, so I scoured my closet and all of our remaining boxes to find something warm. I could’ve sworn I bought one last year, but could not find one. BUT we promised the girls this day in Brooklyn with friends, so I layered up, threw on my warmest leather bomber and headed out the door with the family.

We hopped on the F train to Dumbo for our fun afternoon! The girls were so excited! We were going to meet our friends, Laura Beth and Blake with their three kids (including their brand new baby girl that I was dying to hold) and as an added bonus, Laura Beth’s parents were going to be there. I understand that sentence may sound strange that I would be excited to see my friend’s parents at our playdate…let me explain… Laura Beth’s parents, “Miss Cathy and Mr. Jeff” have known me since the day I was born. It was a blessing to get to see them again. They are, by far, some of the kindest people on Earth and have been an encouragement to my whole family for 30 years…so yes… excited.

We have a few rituals on the train to keep the girls occupied on our commutes. One of them is Rock, Paper, Scissors and Jozlyn is the absolute Champ! Basically, undefeated. A gentleman on the train saw us playing and asked if he could see if he could beat her.

When I say, that this girl is outgoing… I ain’t playing! ha… and she won.

Once we got out, we walked along the East River until we saw the Carousel pop up over the trees. The kids went crazy!


Hi, Miss Cathy!!!

We took several trips on the Carousel and then headed to a nearby playground to let some kids get the last of their energy out. Luckily, it wasn’t as bad as I had expected, and I made it through the day just fine…sans winter coat….which I found hanging in my closet when I got home. Ha.

I think it’s fair to say we tuckered them out just fine. 

Next time you’re in New York, don’t overlook a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to this beautiful park. I recently wrote about my first trek and it is not to be missed! It’s one of the best views of the city you’ll find. Thanks for checking in!


the Grizzards




Last day at the Beach!

Last day at the Beach!

Summer was quickly coming to a close and Jozlyn would not stop asking for another day at the beach. The funny thing is that I grew up in a home that was no longer than 15 minutes from a beautiful Florida beach… and I think I made my way to the sand a total of 6 times in 10 years. My little girl, however, is completely enamored with the sight of the waves and the feeling of sand between her toes. So we made plans to go with our good friends just before school started.

I guess she had fun 😉



the tide was ridiculously strong!

So blessed to have sweet friends that love on my kids and are a god send to me! Thanks for checking in!



the Grizzards



Finding Bethesda in Central Park

Finding Bethesda in Central Park

Confession: I have been to Central Park A LOT.  It is basically my fall back when I haven’t planned anything to do with my kids that day. They are always happy when we spend time there, but never moreso than when we meet some FRIENDS!


Today, we met my old friend, Jeff. Shout out to Jeff who has been such a source of encouragement and comfort in this transition! We went to college together and both majored in theater. It has been so good to have him here to reminisce and talk shop with. He watches a little boy here in the city right by our apartment, so we decided to meet up at the playground next to my place.


This playground literally is 1 block into the park and I am embarrassed to say that it is the farthest I have ventured into one of the most famous and beautiful parks in the world! ENTER JEFF! After playing on the swings for a bit, Jeff led us north through a path that took us through beautiful tree lined walk ways. On either side were painters, musicians, and sculptures… all of which my daughters were enamored with (almost as much as mom was). We saw volleyball courts, baseball fields and street performers before we came to this beautiful fountain, The Bethesda. We walked down the stairway that led to this elaborately painted tunnel. It looked like it was inspired by some lovely Morrocan works. It had beautiful arches and even better acoustics.


There was a “performer” standing against the wall, elevated on a ledge. I use the quotation simply because I’m not sure she was performing as much as posing and “presenting herself”?? She was wearing a 1920’s inspired garment and kept stroking her knee and smiling at people as they passed by… that makes her sound like a different kind of performer, which she was not. I just couldn’t figure out what she was doing! But she seemed very content to be doing it…whatever it was.

Once we made our way through the tunnel, we were enveloped in sunlight again. It seemed like an orchestra should’ve been playing the soundtrack to this part as Jozlyn drove her scooter into the sun and let out a gleeful squeel at the sight of the large sculpture in the middle of the large body of water!


I love that there are beautiful things to find at every turn and I love that fact that my girls seem so eager to find the adventure in everything that we do. The hard part is suppressing my laziness to give them the best chance to see as much of it as possible. I’ve heard it said, “you can make anything fun or anything miserable”. That’s my job… to help expose them to as much as I can and unleash the fun that is so accessible all around them.


Here are some of our shots from today! Thanks Jeff!



Thanks for checkin in!


the Grizzards


A New Park and New Friends

A New Park and New Friends

I feel like I could almost do a city-wide tour of the parks…or at least I will be able to in no more than a month at this pace. We checked out the Clinton Dewitt Playground over on 53rd and 11th today. It was more or less similar to others we had been to except that there was a mini-mountain that you know Jozlyn just HAD to conquer despite my mild heart attacks as I watched her climb all the way to the top. She kept saying ” Mom, I can do it! I’m using my imagination!” How am I supposed to keep her from doing that?

I met another sweet mom today, Brooke. Brooke is a friend of a good friend of mine from Dallas named Amy. Amy used to live up here with her two kids and was a source of encouragement as we were praying through the decision to move. Side note… Amy writes an amazing blog on discipleship! You really should check it out! You can find it here!) Brooke has lived here for 6 years I think, in 3 different areas with 2 kids. She was extremely helpful in “talking shop” about pros and cons to the neighborhoods in which she lived, school, what to do with the kids and church stuff. All of the areas we talked about were areas we are considering looking into; Washington Heights, Upper West, and Midtown, so her knowledge was invaluable.

Brooke, Finn and Ally


You may be interested to know that one thing she said that stuck out to me was that she was a huge advocate for raising kids in the city. For those that are nervous or concerned for us or have that instinct to purse your lips, tilt your head and shake it side to side upon hearing that we’re raising two kids in NYC (not judging…that’s my immediate reaction as well) just know, I have met so many amazing, Godly women who say it is an AWESOME place to raise kids… don’t worry, mom.

She has two adorable kids and Jozzy loved playing with her new friend! Here are some shots from our adventures today!




This playground is smack dab in the middle of Midtown…an area that I thought of as unattainable, not family friendly and really not an option… my options just flew WIDE OPEN again! ha. leave a comment and let me know where you think we should look!



the Grizzards



One of the best things about living in the city is that it is a hub for every body. We get people coming through all the time and it makes me so happy to see friends from everywhere. One of our sweet friends from Prestonwood came in town for work and called to meet up at a cool place she read about on another blog called mommypoppins. A blog I love to stalk as well.

She told us to meet her at a place called Cool Mess. It’s this adorable, almost “diner inspired” place. The food is good, but what is so great is that they let you make your own ice cream at the table.

Pick your base
pick your toppings
churn and chow!


So mad that we forgot to get a picture with Shelley and her family. It was so great being able to see them.

This spot is off of the Lexington and 59th St Station…which, by the way, has an escalator…. for all my stroller weilding mommas! It’s in a beautiful area.

Obviously, the kids approved of spot…

Jordan seemed to like it too….


In a time of crazy transition and uprooting of their “normal”… I love the moments when I can help make my kids faces look like this. We’re doing good guys. Thanks for checkin in!


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the Grizzards



A little while ago, I posted about the importance of choosing your friends. I know that there are people that will be in my life forever because they are the kind of people that I want to surround myself with. I learned how important this is from my parents.

My parents have been in ministry my entire life and some of those years were very hard. Those of you in ministry know that there are times when you can feel completely alone, betrayed, and judged. But in spite of those emotions, we have chosen to be vulnerable and real with people. It is not always easy…it’s actually most of the time very difficult. However, some people make it absolutely joyous! For my parents, it was the Neely’s and the Williams. These two couples were my parents “forever people”.

we look the exact same right?? ha

The Neely’s were a sweet family from my dad’s church in South Carolina. They were kind of like the cousins we didn’t see often but loved from afar. Well, times have changed! The Neely’s oldest daughter lives right up here in Brooklyn with her husband and two precious little ones! Isn’t God amazing like that?


Tonight Laura Beth’s little sister was in town, so we decided to have ourselves a little girl hang reunion on the Brooklyn Bridge!



If you make this trip, start out at New York City Hall…they just don’t make architecture like this anymore!

And then, grab some lunch and check out the park….

I cannot begin to tell you how beautiful this place is. I can’t believe I’ve been here so many times and never done this. I thought that when you walked the bridge (which did not sound like fun initially, but it was a girls night!) that you would be walking next to the cars under the cables and things… nope! You are elevated above the traffic so you always have a 360* view of the city. It is absolutely beautiful!

On top of the world.




After we made it across the bridge, which only took about 15 minutes, we made our way to dinner at Grimaldi’s. I feel like this place is kind of “touristy” even though there are chains of it in other cities… but I don’t care because
it is delicious and in a quaint, sophisticated little block directly under the bridge. Not to mention this building is a beautiful stark white that makes it stand out amongst all of the other architecture. I just couldn’t get over the windows, painted black from the inside….<sigh> love. When you come visit me, you should absolutely take the trek over here…skip Times Square and go to DUMBO.





And by the time you leave this NY staple, if you are like us, it will be pitch black because you will lose touch of time for all the great conversation you’re having. But it’s a good thing DUMBO has one of the best views of the city sky line in all of the city. And it is never more striking than when all the lights are lit up against a pitch black canvas.

Brooklyn Bridge
Manhattan Bridge









Just an incredible night with friends. Don’t miss this next time you’re in the city. And if you have kids, there is an adorable carousel here as well that they will LOVE!

Thanks for checking in! Don’t forget to subscribe to see new posts. Love ya’ll!


the Grizzards




Our trip to Houston with our “forever people”

Recently, it seems our life is consumed with seemingly sad things. I find it hard to make it through the day without counting down every “last”… the last night in our house, the last days at school, our last times leading worship with our team, the last birthday Jozzy will have in Texas, the last time I’ll drive my car my dad gave me in college. It feels impossible to keep my mind from wandering to the goodbyes I have to make to things that I love here. Of course, the hardest goodbyes are the people. It helps tremendously that we get to come back, but a sting of the finality of it all still lingers. The people are what make this move the hardest. We love the people in our lives.

Luckily, we know that so many of “our people” here are “forever people”. Now, I know we’ve all been through moves and said, “yeah but we’re gonna stay in touch. They’re going to be in my life forever” only to never share so much as a 5 minute FaceTime call again. Sad as it is, it is the reality we’ve all lived. However, sometimes God gives you “forever people”. They are a special blessing for sure.

This past weekend we got to see some of those people in our lives. Of course, one of those groups were my sister and her family, so that feels like cheating, but she is definitely a “forever people”, so she makes in the category regardless of blood loyalty!

We had not nearly as much time as we would’ve liked to have spent in Houston this weekend, but a quick trip would have to do. We spent one evening with my sister and her family including all four of her kids.. my nieces and only nephews (until baby boy Powell arrives!) were awesome as always! Its so cool to see them grow. Sis was preparing for two birthday parties this weekend as well, so we tried to be as non invasive as possible while basking in our late night conversations. My sister is going through quite the spiritual crucible right now, and man is it amazing to watch!

We had just enough time to grab lunch before we had to go. So, being the good christians we are, we were only allowed to go to one place. We loaded up the kids and headed to Chik-fil-a. Conversation was great and I had to say goodbye. I had my LAST meal with my sister while we were both Texans. We drove to Houston for the LAST time from Dallas. I made my LAST quick, fairly spontaneous, 4 hour trek to see them…. you see how pathetic I get?? Once, we gave hugs and said goodbye, it was time to get onto the next “last”.

We pulled into the driveway and Jozlyn barely got her seatbelt fully unbuckled

before jumping out of her seat to go ring the doorbell. The Hufty’s are “forever people”. They have been our solace for a few years now and this would be the LAST time we could just pop over to Houston to have our traditional game night.

When they lived in Dallas, we would put the girls to bed and play until 2 in the morning and then throw the kids back in the car and head home. Now, to “pop” over to see them requires suitcases, toothbrushes, ziplock baggies and my label maker (I label my kids outfits… am I the only one?). And that’s just to come to Houston! Now, in New York it requires plane tickets and the kids passports!


Sometimes it just HITS YOU…how much your life is going to change. How vastly different your whole world will look. How many “lasts” do I even have? We are getting seriously close to the day when we will hop on an elevator and open the door to a new home.

We are eternally grateful for all of the people here that have loved on us. And we are eternally grateful for our “forever people”.

the MET’s fashionistas!

the MET’s fashionistas!

I am loving seeing old friends here and meeting new ones, too. Today, we got to hang out with some very old friends. Laura Beth and I have known each other all my life. My dad pastored their church in South Carolina where I was born. Her family has always been one of the greatest encouragements to my dad during his ministry and now she lives in Brooklyn with her husband. They are church planters over there and she invited me to go to the Met with her! Her dad was even in town!

There was a fashion exhibit with elaborately designed dresses that we thought the girls may enjoy. Kendall seemed less interested in the dresses and more interested in touching everything she wasn’t supposed to so she remained confined to the stroller… only one meltdown… WIN.

we probably could’ve taken a train, but it was rainy and it just felt like a cab kind of day.
the kids first time at the MET.
they really were works of art… beautifully crafted.
Jozzy fit right in!
Mr. Jeff! It was so good to get to see him again.

Jozlyn with Laura Beth and her 2 kids, Jackson and Neely.


It ended with costumes that looked like they belonged in WICKED. People are so talented.

After the museum, we were planning on going to the park for playtime, but the weather was not working with us. We walked a few blocks to a NEW YORK STAPLE! haha. That’s right. I go to New York City and still Panera is one of my favorite lunch spots! I’m so classy.


We had so much fun hanging out with our new friends. Praise God for momma’s in the city who are a few years ahead of me in this thing.


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My friends are ridiculous!

My friends are ridiculous!

“Kayla, you need to be endearing.”

This is what I heard on a near daily basis from my mother growing up. I was one of those that prided myself on being “right” and not really caring if I was kind. So I had a tendency to be a self-righteous jerk very often. I have spent several conversations as an adult apologizing for that attribute to those that had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and, therefore, becoming the victims of my immaturity.  Because that’s what it is… absolute immaturity and selfishness.

I still have issues with this. Taming my tongue is a daily struggle, but I’m getting better. I find that the less I talk in general unless I’m prayed up, the better of a person I tend to be. It’s not even that what I’m thinking (and keeping myself from saying) is incredibly witty, or overly intelligent, but I find my mind very often wants to pounce on those moments when someone is incorrect and make sure they know that they are incorrect. I know! I’m horrible! How arrogant!!But you know what keeps you humble?

To the family!

Choir family-

We have been so ridiculously blessed and encouraged by you guys over the last few weeks. You have come up to us and given us words of wisdom, warm hugs and have covered us in prayer. We realized today that we hadn’t really been able to tell you what you have meant to us….


We have had a blast this past week at our reception at Leona’s and this past weekend. Here are some shots from some of our “lasts”…

From the drop in at Leona’s….



From Saturday Night…

This next generation is so crazy talented!
Jordan has had such a blast leading with these guys!
You’re welcome

my girls

Kenny loves her “Pops”
Jozzy and Wyatt..besties.

Our final Sunday…

We love y’all more than you know. You will always be family. We’ll see ya in Manhattan.

I'm Kayla. Mom of two, wife of one and new New York transplant. We're a family of four fumbling our way through our new normal in Manhattan! We're excited to learn as we go... we can't mess this up too bad, right? :)

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