Wednesday, September 24, 2008

11 days

Wow, 11 days is a long time to go without electricity!  We were very happy (an understatement) that our power came back on yesterday around 1 pm.  I had checked at 10 am and noon before and after a play date before heading back to my mom's to feed Steven lunch and put him down for a nap.  My mom had to go down the street to the mailbox so she checked again at 1:30 pm just to be sure and called me very excited that the back porch lights were on.  We had been told everyone in our neighborhood would have power by Monday (the day before) but there had been a few electric trucks on our street all morning so we were hoping our power would be fixed soon.  I dashed over to turn the AC on so it would cool down during the rest of Steven's nap.  What do you do when you haven't had electricity in your house for 11 days?  You rush back to plug everything back in and and crank up the AC!!!  We came back as soon as Steven woke up and have been enjoying (a cool) home sweet home ever since.  

Hurricane Ike definitely taught me a good lesson in contentment.  The first 7-8 days were actually fine- it's easy to be happy when you're still in your own home and Mother Nature is providing the AC.  But, Steven starting crashing on Friday and has not been happy about things not being normal-- when Steven's not happy, we're not happy.  The last two days have been hard with him but we have many, many reasons to be thankful.  Our friends and family have been so wonderful- we've had our pick of houses to escape to and meals cooked.  We retreated to College Station for the weekend to stay with my sister and brother-in-law, and then upon finding our house with no power still on Sunday night, we have been staying with my parents for the last few days.  We are doing well and are reminded of how much we have during a time when many in our area have literally lost everything- we are very blessed.  The plan for this week is to recover the house (go grocery shopping!!) and try to get things back to "normal" for Steven- poor little guy.  I think he already knows that things are better since we're home and I kept telling him that the house is cool and the lights were on- he went into his room and said "Steven's lights" so I think he knew something was different.  Last week he couldn't play in his room much even though we were home because it was so dark.  He was a little out-of-sorts the first hour we were home but then very happy by bed time.   

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Surviving Ike

Hi everyone.  Thank you for your prayers and concerns over the last week.  We came through the storm well with no damage, but lost electricity.  We have been able to use our water which makes a big difference; although, we were told not to drink it immediately after the storm passed and yesterday they told us to start conserving.  We were able to buy a generator last night and we are using it for the internet, TV, and the fridge.  We can unplug those things to use it for others; we might need to do a little laundry tomorrow.  =) Most of our cold groceries are still in a cooler while the fridge gets cool enough.  We were a little nervous about running out of ice but my parents and C's parents were both able to get us a bag so we are ok with that. We've also been fine with gas but needed some yesterday so Charlton went out about 8pm after it was dark and only had to wait in line about 45 min.  The average wait during the day we've heard has been about 1 1/2 to 2 hours-- every gas station has a long line down the street.  Those are the things in highest demand right now: ice and gas.  

Things have actually been fairly pleasant since Sunday night when we got a cool front.  The weather has been beautiful and made this experience bearable.  We would have left several days ago if it had been hot, but since Sunday night the highs have only been in the low 80s during the day and lows at night have been in the low 60s.  We keep the windows open all day and night which remind us our our days in Philly. =)  Steven has been doing well including sleeping very well thankfully-- we've all been catching up on our sleep.  His window was the only one we boarded up for the storm so he was scared when he woke up Saturday morning and it was pitch black in his room with the wind and rain still pretty stormy outside.  He got a little upset in the car the first few times we went out to explore because there were huge trees laying in the road-- I'm sure the fact we were pointing them out to each other and exclaiming over them didn't help.  We have been keeping him busy though visiting grandparents and neighbors and so he is having a ball now that the weather is good and the three of us do everything together.  It's also been really nice to have to time to connect with our neighbors.  We've been eating whatever we can fix here without electricity.  Also,  my parents have a gas stove and C's parents have a grill so we've scrambled all the eggs we had and grilled all the meat we had in our freezers.  It's great to have hot food.  By Sunday evening a few grocery stores opened and then Monday more commercial areas had power so there are more restaurants open everyday.  Most of the damage in our area was due to fallen trees so there's quite a mess to clean up but we didn't have any flooding which is a huge blessing.  God definitely protected our area from the worst and except for residential electricity things are getting closer to normal everyday.  We were hoping for our electricity to come back on any time but they announced yesterday that the electrical company was hoping to get 50% of Houston's residences electricity by Tuesday.  We didn't feel like that was very promising and while we weren't much more than inconvenienced by the storm (thank you, Lord!), it is getting old not having electricity.  We feel like investing in a generator isn't a frivolous purchase at this point in Houston since we Lord-willing plan to stay here permanently.  I'm sure that will be more opportunities to use it through the years though I hope not soon.  

Charlton has not had to go back to work yet which has been nice-- he had originally planned to take today through Friday off for vacation anyway.  Our home phone starting working today but we have been using our cells since the storm.  Service is spotty so I haven't been able to actually get a call through but I can get my voice mails immediately and texting has been working well too although sometimes there's a big delay.  Keep praying for our electricity to come on and for Houstonians that were more affected than we were.  We are definitely counting our blessings and very thankful for God's protection over our loved ones.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Waiting it out

Just a quick post to let you know that we are prepared for Ike and will be hunkering down in our house (all our family and friends are also staying around).  We are not in any of the evacuation areas and so have been advised to stay put.  We have tons of water, batteries, etc. so I'm sure we will be fine.  We still would appreciate prayers for our safety and especially our neighbors on the coast.    

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Invitation

We really like parties and birthdays at our house so a birthday party is twice the fun for us.  This being the case we usually have our own ideas of what we want that we can't find at a store.  So, I got Photoshop Elements from my parents for my birthday and soon after started teaching myself how to use it so that I can make our own invitations, announcements, and cards.  

This is my first project-- a green eggs and ham birthday invitation for Steven's 2nd birthday.   It took me over a month to learn the program, design the invitation, and help from Patrick and Cheryl to print them before we got the end result.  But, it was worth it when Steven saw it and with a giggle exclaimed, "Sam!"  Charlton read Green Eggs and Ham to Steven every night for at least 2 months without missing one.  It's still his favorite but he has branched out a little and is also totally obsessed with The Cat And The Hat and One Fish Two Fish.  He is a Dr. Seuss fanactic!

Front Cover:
I am Two.  Two I am.  Do you like green eggs and ham?
Steven Mark is turning two.  He is very fond of you.  
Would you come and help him do the thing to do when turning two? (Charlton came up with these two lines-- aren't they great?!)

Would you like them here?
You would not like them anywhere?

Two at Last!

Happy Birthday to my big two year old!  There are so many reasons that I love Steven that it would take up a whole blog to post them.  Pictures from his party are coming soon...

Family Pictures at Mama's

Our family getting ready for pictures:
Just our family with Mama and Papa:
Mama and Papa with all their great-grandchildren:
All of us (Mama and Papa's kids, grandkids, and great grandkids):