Friday, December 26, 2008

Poor Josh, Lucky Me!

I often ask for practical gifts. I usually don't want big fancy stuff...things for my home or daily life that are a bit "extra" special really tickle my fancy. Several years ago I wanted a vacuum...a GOOD vacuum...not just one for $50 that didn't suck up a thing. We had two cats and a dog and I wanted that hair to actually get picked up. This was just before the Dyson came I'd had my eyeball on a pretty expensive Dirt Devil vacuum for quite a while. Sure enough, under the tree that year was a nice sized box, and I unwrapped exactly what I'd asked vacuum!! But poor Josh, did he catch a TON of flack when peopel asked him "so what are you getting the wife for Christmas this year?" "You got her WHAT? Oooooh she's gonna be soooo upset!! You are dead meat! You should have gotten her jewelry, chocolates, etc etc." Nope, I was ecstatic!
So this year, under my tree was another nice sized box but it had me pretty baffled. Josh had just bought me a brand new home, I counted that as a very significant Christmas present, and I couldn't recall mentioning wanting much else besides this beautiful home (with a roof *wink*). Josh mentioned he'd been catching flack from people who'd asked "So what did you get the wife for Christmas this year?" and that had me laughing from previous experience but even more perplexed. Well, as you can probably now guess from the above picture, Josh got me a new sink for Christmas! And not just any old sink...he got me the exact black granite sink that I'd dreamed of and then gotten when we did our huge remodel in Idaho two years ago...and then I'd been so sad to leave when we unexpectedly moved the following year. It was another one of those practical but absolutely WANTED gifts and I was so excited!! So above is the picture of my new sink. Josh got it all installed today and it looks gorgeous!! Once I've had a chance to catch up on the after Christmas cleaning, I'll take a wider shot of the kitchen so you can see how beautiful it looks with our stainless and black appliances.
Thank you, honey, for knowing me so well!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the Night Before Christmas...

It's tradition that Daddy reads to the monkeys each year before they go to bed on Christmas Eve. The big ones were very excited to sit down and listen...Carter not so much. Watch him in the background as the story progresses.

(You 'da man, Daddy!)

(Peek a boo!!)

(Are there any presents back here?!)

(Maybe this box is a good place to sleep?)

And then this pic was from yesterday. I came around the corner from being gone 30 seconds and found Carter here (he's up on a box that's probably 3 ft high...he's our climber). He wanted to get to the star up on top. And it's where he was heading tonight if I hadn't scooped him up to brush his teeth and head off to bed.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas with a Capital "C"

Just wanted to share now that I've figured out the cool way to link it (thanks Alicia!!). Click on the pic!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Our Little Prince(ss)

This is what I walked in on when I went to check on the boys playing in their room this evening. I'd found this tiara in a box I unpacked today, and aparently Carter had asked Trev to help him wear the "hat." He's gonna love me pulling these pics out when he's somewhere around his adolescence or early adulthood LOL!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ohhhh I love a mess!

Can anyone tell me why Carter insists on picking up his plate and rubbing it on his head when he's done eating?? And yes, this would mean that any remaining food or sauce or whatever is smeared into his hair as a leave-in conditioning treatment. They make bibs for his shirt though I can't get him to wear those. Maybe I should see if he'll wear a rubber swim cap for meals. Ughhhhhh!!
Off to give him a bath and wash out the waffle syrup...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Let it snow!!

We got our first Oklahoma snow on Tuesday!! We miss Idaho so much, this was a welcome sight. All of our neighbors were horrified LOL and the cold and white seemed put everyone into a frenzy...but I just loved seeing the little flutters outside. We only got a dusting that "stuck" as you can see in the pictures (the top is the view from my front porch across the street and the bottom is my front can see the eensy weensy accumulation we got). But hey some is more than none!!!!!

Just had to share two cute pics of Em and Carter from tonight. He's very recently VERY into Dora the Explorer (and Diego too) and we as a family are VERY grateful for the reprieve from Curious George...Curious George...Curious George. Emilee sat down to read him the only Dora book we have. Aparently he needed to climb into the toy box to listen LOL but he was quite the captive audience for about 20 minutes (knowing Carter this is no small feat to focus for that long).

Last pic I have time to share tonight...Joshua's Christmas light masterpiece! He decorated all of the roof lines with white-white-red C7 lights on clips (so they stand up pretty and straight and evenly spaced...he's never done that before and it looks NICE) and he *built* a Christmas tree out of lights on the front lawn. The tree was quite the project. When I've seen them in pictures or in neighbor's yards I never thought they were difficult or complicated...but they are LOL. Mom and Dad and my brother, David, were here for Thanksgiving and the guys all tackled the project and had alot of fun. When it was done, I was pretty impressed and we admittedly have the coolest light display on our block!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Carter says...

Wanted to share what's coming out of the mouth of our littlest monkey lately. He has taken a good six month off of really worrying about talking to us in English (except for "Daddy") because there are 4 of us constantly around and he's quickly trained us to his needs in baby talk and hand motions and grunting. And don't get me wrong, he's not silent, he constantly babbles and chatters, but we really haven't had much clue as to the context. Josh and I have joked that when he decided he was ready, he words would come out in paragraph form. So the last couple of weeks he's gotten back on the English bandwagon and most of it is in sentence form. Here's a few...

"that way"...this would be him pointing to the left, copying Daddy who has told the dog to get out of the kitchen while we eat and since there's three exits Josh says "that way" now Carter points at all sorts of things, including the dog, telling them which way to go

"I did it!"...we've been encouraging him with "you did it!" when he stacked blocks or took a bite with his fork...and now he's praising himself

"wow wow wow!"...this goes for all of the Christmas lights, Christmas trees and most preferably to the Christmas displays that move in some way

Monday, December 1, 2008

Now what??

So Thanksgiving was yummy and your fridge is now plumb full of all the what??

Make soup!

Not being much of a "from scratch without a recipe" kind of cook, I'm rather proud of myself that I have a pot of soup simmering away on the stove, "getting happy" as Emeril would put it, that will be tonight's dinner.

I sauteed some fresh carrots, celery, onion and garlic that we had extra from Josh's holiday cooking and added 10 cups of water and some chicken base. Then I pulled apart all of the "hard to get" meat (yanno, the meat on the bones...again I'm rather proud of myself as I was VERY tempted to use the nicely sliced white breast meat that is in looked sooo easy to just dice that...but I was a good frugal girl) and added it to the pot of veggies and broth. Then salt, pepper, 1c of rice and 1 can of white beans jumped in to round out my leftover soup. Very basic soup, but for me it's a pretty marvelous feat!! And we have a bunch of salad and Josh's family recipe of cheese braid bread to round out the rest of dinner. Perfect cold winter day dinner if I do say so myself!!

I'm sure hoping it turns out tasting yummy cuz the house is smelling very homey...wonder if the big monkeys will be proud when they walk in the door here in a minute or two?

More on Thanksgiving and Christmas later, just had to share about my soup while I had a free minute!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


For those of you enjoying Love The Monkey Life thru google reader, please hop back to today's CVS post via the blog. I made a couple of math mistakes that are now corrected but your reader only has the first copy.

Ohhhhh CVS...I'm BAAAAAACK!!!!

I went to CVS today for the first time in about two months and ooooh it felt GOOD! There was a diaper deal and a battery deal that I'd seen coming a couple of weeks ago that there was NO WAY I was going to pass up as we desperately needed both. So here's the scoop!

Transaction #1

6pks of Duracell batteries at $5.99ea

1pk of Duracell batteries at $5.29

4 pks of Duracell hearing aid batteries on BOGOF at $9.59ea

subtotal $60.41 (needed $60 to qualify for ECBs)

tax $4.68

total OOP $65.09

PLUS $45.oo in ECBs!!!

Transaction #2

6pks of diapers on BOGO1/2off at $9.49ea

1 gallon of milk at $3.99

total with tax $46.81

minus $45.00 ECB from transaction #1

total OOP $1.81

To sum up the day...

$94.59 of batteries

$56.94 of diapers

$3.99 of milk (sorry, milk is missing from pic)

($155.52 worth of stuff)

for $66.90!!!

By CVS standards this is pretty horrific, but by the normal shopping standards I've been having to deal with since the hurricane I would have paid $10/pk of diapers so all of those batteries and milk were FREE! It was a nice way to get back on the CVS horse. I'm even thinking of braving Walgreens here in the near future as I have one close by.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The LAST Move

Quick we finished moving into our brand new home, hopefully the LAST move we make for a VERY long time. I'll add pictures and such later once we have a our cable and internet back up so I have a decent connection.

BTW...39 days til did THAT happen??

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween 2008

We had a very nice Halloween this year! Carter was old enough to enjoy it and Emilee isn't too old yet either...and of course Trevor is always up for some fun! I have a bunch of pictures to share and instead of toying with blogger to get them up here one by one I did a quick upload to my photobucket account (click on the link at the bottom of my post). There are a few pictures of Carter a week or so ago, trying to get cute poses with the pumpkins before they were carved...catching a very wiggly toddler remains a difficult feat lol. Cathy...Josh says the expression on one of those Carter pics reminds him EXACTLY of a pic that exists of him when he was about that age?? Carter has LOVED "playing" with the pumpkins on the front porch all week, trying to lift them (with a distict "oooffff!" as he strains with the weight) and sitting on them and doing laps around them. We carved our pumpkins Wednesday night and Carter was intrigued with what we were doing with his favorite orange "balls". Emilee designed her own carving this year, Trevor branched out to something new (the bat) and Carter's pumpkin is the "oooooo" face. The big monkeys had their school parade and parties on Thursday and then last night we headed out with a very tired toddler for trick or treating in some absolutely gorgeous weather! Luckily, Carter has a blast "outside" and he quickly learned that it was pretty cool to walk up to people's doors. He can't say "trick or treat" or "thank you" yet...but he started saying "BYE!" after they dropped a treat in his was soooo cute and not only tickled us but all of the homeowners too! Emilee and Trevor came home delighted that they had FULL buckets and they are busy trying to figure out how to hide their treasure from Daddy!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween!!!

Click here for the pictures...
password is "seethemonkeys"
and then click on "slideshow" in the upper right corner

Monday, October 27, 2008

I love buying GAS!!

So how are prices near you nowadays? When I filled up my van to make the drive to OK a few weeks ago I paid $3.36, and we were the envy of our friends and family touting the lowest gas prices around. A couple of months ago, if I got my van lower than a quarter tank, I couldn't fill it up all the way cuz the maximum transaction of $75 per credit card would hit and I'd drive away shy of a full tank...for SEVENTY FIVE DARNED DOLLARS!

Well, welcome to Oklahoma guys!! Gas here rolled down to $1.99 a gallon late last week. Yup, you read that right...there's a ONE in the front of the price of my gas!! I haven't seen a ONE in the price of my gas since we rolled into Idaho three years ago and it was $1.99 there. Not many economic things to throw a parade over lately, but this is one of them! I actually filled my van up that was on fumes for $43!! That's about HALF the cost of what I was recently AND I actually have a full tank cuz I didn't hit the max transaction amount.

I did a little surfing too, and per MSN Autos, the lowest gas price in the country is $1.19 in Arkansas and the highest is $5.31 in Alaska (see honey, we really don't want to move there!). Average for the country is $2.65!!

Meat prices are still dumb, milk is about $3.50 a gallon, life is still darned expensive...but we are thankful for this little reprieve. Now if I only had a 1000 gallon gas tank in the back yard so I could REALLY take advantage of this little miracle!


Wow, I've missed blogging about so much, but things have been so hectic I haven't been at my computer much. We are settling into our new home in Oklahoma...BUT... :-) there's always a but, right?! First bit of exciting news--we aren't staying here! Last weekend Josh and I bought a home and we'll be making our last and hopefully final move for YEARS in mid November. We weren't exactly planning on it, but the price was awesome and there was a brief miracle drop in the interest rates so the deal we snagged was beyond wonderful--we are so excited to own our own home again! The home we bought is brand new and just a couple of blocks from where we are renting right now, in the same subdivision. The kids will stay in the same school and will still be able to play with the friends they've made so far. So needless to say, the UNpacking was put on hold last week and next weekend we start REpacking for the trek down the street. I am soooo looking forward to Christmas, when I'm hoping I'll feel settled, something none of us have felt since early Fall. Here's a pic of the home we purchased...

I got my second call from Trevor's school that sounded something like this on Friday, "Hello, this is the nurse at Trevor's school. There's been a little accident, Trevor fell and cut his chin and it looks like he'll need stitches, can you come and pick him up?" So off I sped and collected my monkey who seems to love finding this kind of playground trouble (two years ago it was a broken arm at school). Josh was actually in town working at the office so he headed our way too and took Trev to the urgent care so I didn't have to do it alone with all three kids. Trev actually lucked out and didn't need stitches, just a good cleaning and an "expensive bandaid" as Josh put it LOL. The drama never stops *shaking my head*!

The kids are getting excited about Trick or Treating on Friday, but I am a bit disappointed about the holiday. About three days before Ike I had sat down with my patterns and costumes and had begun to hatch some ideas about what to make the kids for their Halloween costumes. I love to sew their costumes! But of course Ike changed those plans and we had to do store bought this year. And can you say EXPENSIVE??!! Emilee is being a princess witch, Trevor is being a Star Wars Storm Trooper and Carter is being a pumpkin. We aren't sure if Carter is going to actually GO as a pumpkin because he HATES his costume, but I was able to distract him for a few minutes yesterday into wearing his costume. I snapped a couple of pics as I wasn't sure we'd ever get it on him again...he is soooo headstrong it just floors us lol. And hopefully there will be cute pics of all three to follow later this week.

Playing at the parks that are within our new subdivision...

And some car traveling pics when we made the drive from TX to OK earlier this month...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Everything is OK in OK

Just a quick post to let everyone know that we made it to Oklahoma and our new home and all is well. Our movers arrived on Monday and delivered our stuff so now we have the crazy task of sorting through our belongings that are VERY mixed up after going through the tossing around of the water mitigation guys and then the packing of the packers...we have NO idea where ANYTHING is lol, but we are getting there. The big ones started their new school yesterday and even though they were reserved in the morning when we dropped them off, they were both all smiles when we picked them up after having a great day. Carter is very happy to have his bed back and have some space to run in that is his very own.

I won't be able to update or share pics for a while yet as I have a very limited internet connection (a wireless card with iffy reception). I am trying to get our home phone/internet/cable hooked up but it's going to be a while. Here's a kicker...are ya ready?... The phone company has a very extended install schedule right now as most of their technicians are down in the Houston, TX area trying to get service back up for the Hurricane Ike victims. Go figure, eh?

Friday, October 3, 2008


It's a miracle...a fully shocking, absolutely amazing, desperately prayed for MIRACLE!!!

What you ask? SEVEN nights now Carter has slept through the night!!! *doing the happy dance*

Should this really be a miracle at 19 months of age? Nope, we should have had this little party oooohhhhh long over a year ago, but not my child. He has NEVER been a good sleeper...getting up several times per night and often ending up in our bed in my exhausted desperation to try to rest a bit. And even when I bring him into our bed it's a disaster as he's a darned tornado, thrashing everywhere, kicking one of us with his feet while he pushes the other with his hands.

Anyway, seven days ago I decided to try putting a pillow in his bed at naptime. *Disclaimer...the American Academy of Pediatrics does not advocate babies using pillows until the age of take my parenting choice with your own grain of salt.* He seemed to relax more lately when sleeping with us when he'd scoot up to the pillows Josh and I were using and fall asleep on them. So I put him down at naptime and he immediately rolled over with a big smile on his face and fell asleep for a nice two hour nap. At bedtime that night I let him use the pillow again and he slept ALL night, not one single peep! And it's now been like that for a full week. The first couple of days we thought it was some teasing fluke...taunting us with a full night's sleep but expecting the bubble to burst at any moment. And up until this week, Carter has probably slept through the night less than 30 days total of his life and never more than maybe twice in a row. But here we are a week later so I'm feeling pretty optimistic to start a small parenting moment party!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Two weeks after Ike---bye bye Texas!

After what has probably been the longest and weirdest two weeks of our life, Joshua and I decided on Thursday that we were going to leave TX and take his company up on their generous offer to move us to Oklahoma. We tried all week to find somewhere around here to live that kept our kids close enough to attend their school, but found NOTHING...and as the estimates of time until we could move back home continued to get pushed back (now closer to 3 mos if everything went well) we decided we couldn't live in limbo any more. Friday morning Joshua flew to OK and found us a wonderful home to rent. It's smaller than what we had here, but it's brand spanking new (read---it is going to be the first clean home I've moved into in FOUR moves yipeeeeeeeeeeee!), in a very nice new neighborhood with a park and walking/biking trails, in a wonderful school district, close to shopping and close to work when Joshua will need to go into the office. The movers will be here on Thursday and we be getting settled into our new home next Monday!! As much as we did NOT want to leave our home and life we'd started here, we are SO relieved to have a plan and to know that we'll have a home to come home to in just over a week!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Pile

So here are two rather telltale pictures of our current situation. The top is the pile of "what used to make up the insides of my house" and the bottom is a glimpse of what you can see while standing in my kitchen, which is thru the kitchen wall, across the living room, thru the stairway, thru the master closet and into the master bath (which is a diagonal from the one side of the bottom story into the far side of the top story). The mound of drywall and insulation and carpeting is staggering. It's about 10 ft tall and 30 ft long.
The good news in all of this...we will have an almost entirely brand new house. New roof, new walls, new ceilings, new paint, new flooring, new countertops, no more scary 80s wallpaper...and we get to choose all of the colors!
The bad news is...time...LOTS of time until we can go home. Probably at least two months. There are so many steps to the process and nothing is going quickly down here right now.
We have applied for FEMA aid with our housing situation and were approved for hotel assistance but there aren't any hotels for 60-100 miles available (all have 200 people on their waiting list) and it expires Oct 14th.
Other options like an apartment or a friend-of-a-friend who has an empty home haven't panned out as every available housing situation has been quickly scooped up by the other displaced Ike people. We are really struggling to stay here in town so we can keep the kids in their school which will resume next Monday after a 12 instruction day vacation courtesy of Ike.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday Update---one week after Ike

We came home yesterday to take stock of the situation and attempt to come up with a plan. We found things much drier than when we left it last Sunday (thanks to the efforts of our neighbor and our landlord), but still pretty darn wet. We cleaned up a bit and tried to get a grasp on whether we could stay indefinitely or need to leave. Our landlord came by and gave us the update that he had roofers coming to get the new roof on early to mid next week and he had a sheetrock guy coming by Tuesday-ish to take a look at the water damage and see what the repairs would entail. Staying in the house was looking a bit iffy but we really didn't have anywhere to go that would keep us close enough by to keep the kids in school, and not interrupting that for them is a big priority. So we slept in our slightly stinky house last night not really knowing what would happen with Tuesday seeming like forever away, but needing it to roll around before we really had any answers. But our landlord called this morning and said he was on his way with an emergency water restoration guy to come and assess our damage. And while we were ecstatic that someone was available so soon to come by (our landlord has been amazing with moving things along) the news is not good. Where we thought that maybe half a dozen walls needed to come out, and a couple of ceilings...turns out about 90% of the walls of the house need to come out and almost ALL of the ceilings. It's going to be a major demo and a major reconstruction (but I just might get new counter tops as it looks like the hideous blue ones are outta here!). And since it's so wet and such a big project, we have to leave...for at least a month, maybe pushed to 8 weeks if it's tough getting the "put the walls back up" guys out here. So today we had to pseudo-pack our belongings so the little stuff was out of the way of the workers and get ready to be gone for a while. They start ripping out our sheet rock tomorrow am at 9 o'clock. Our neighbors across the street (the ones who had the kids over to swim the day of the hurricane) have soooo very graciously offered to let the five of us invade their home for a while and we've humbly taken them up on their offer. So that's about the long and the short of our update for now. I'm sure things will change around alot and we are trying to steady ourselves to be very flexible for the next couple of months.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Late yesterday my landlord called and said he had gotten his hands on a generator to run one a/c (first step in getting some of the water/moisture out of my house) and he'd taken it over and plugged in the a/c and my freezer (maybe I won't lose all of my meat!). He also said that he was trying to secure a roofer to come and tarp the roof and a drywaller to come and look at the walls and ceilings.

Then I got a text message late last night from a neighbor that the electricity was restored to my culdesac!!

And then my landlord called this morning and told me he went back to our house late last night and got both the a/c's up and running. He also had secured a roofer to come over and tarp our roof and a drywall guy to come over and take a look at what needs to be done...TODAY! Bless my landlord, he's been breaking his neck to help us out and I have NO IDEA how he's been able to get these guys so quickly as you know there are MILLIONS of people just like me who need this work done and somehow he's got them at my house already! He also got his hands on 4 tarps in a city that has NONE left (he had someone bring them in from San Antonio). This is by no means meaning that we can go home and safely live tonight, but I really feel uplifted that SOMETHING is happening in a GOOD direction! And since the a/c's are on, we just might not lose all of our stuff!

My landlord also told us that he'd finally gotten to his home late last night. He lives down on the water and we were all so worried that he had NOTHING left, but amazingly his home is still standing. He has three feet of water in his bottom story but luckily his bottom floor is just a garage and a storage room. His biggest issue is that he has the pieces of someone else's obliterated house pushed up twenty feet deep against his house...12x12 pylons and whole pieces of roof and wall. So it will be a BIG job digginig his house out, but at least it's still standing! AND since I don't need that generator, now he can use it cuz it will be LONG while before he has power.

Today is a better day...

Monday, September 15, 2008

After Ike...Saturday and Sunday

We spent all morning trying desperately to clean up all of the water that was in our house. We quickly ran out of dry towels and had a dozen buckets catching the still seeping leaks. Finally we felt like we had a handle on the standing water and we were able to go out and take a drive around the area to see what had happened.

This is our corner gas station just blocks from my house...

This is the neighborhood that Josh wants to live in, just kitty corner from ours. Notice the flooded thanks!

This tree uprooted and is resting on the front of this house just around the corner from us.

Most disappointedly, Ike disrupted one very special little girl's eleventh birthday. I'd quickly made her a cake Friday night in anticipation of losing power, so Saturday, instead of the ice skating party and sleepover with friends that we had planned, we had a garage party with the neighbors who had stayed to weather the storm. Gotta make the best of things, right?!

And what do you do when you have no power after a hurricane and it's way too hot to be inside your house? Well you fly a kite in the lingering hurricane winds...
(Trevor is down in the bottom left of the pic and his kite is up in the top right.)

Saturday night we tried to get to bed, but it was miserable. It was sooo hot and even MORE humid inside of the house. It was about 90 degrees with 95% humidity inside ughhh. The big monkeys seemed to get to sleep but Josh, Carter and I got NONE. Carter cried from being so hot and miserable, it was so sad. We actually contemplated getting up in the middle of the night and leaving but we were under a curfew until 6am Sunday and tickets were being issued at $2000 per offense. Then we considered sleeping in the car with the a/c on, but gas was such a precious commodity we couldn't risk wasting it and not being able to get out when we needed to.

Rain started again about 4am Sunday and we began that horrid battle of the incoming water again. Buckets and towel damms and more shuffling of our belongings to try to save them from the water. The ceiling was starting to come down in Emilee's room and the living room as the drywall couldn't hold it any more. Josh and I finally had it and we decided to pack what we could in the van and leave. We couldn't do any more to save the house or our belongings and we were exhausted and the house was no longer livable. When day broke and we had light, we started packing...clothes, food, baby things that Carter needs, a couple of toys, the dog's stuff. We got the kids in the car to relax in the a/c and watch some George and Josh and I took one last look around the house.

(Pic of Emilee's ceiling beginning to come down)

And that's when we decided we had just enough room in the van left that we could take our wedding pictures and recent kid pictures... taking our pictures off the walls... THAT is the straw that broke the camel's back for us... that we might not be back to save ANY of the rest of our stuff...

So exhausted and terribly stinky we headed to our friend's house and here we are. We really don't know what will happen yet. Our neighbor says there is still not power. He had to move the car out of the garage today cuz that ceiling is coming down from water damage too. Our landlord is trying to get roofers and contractors to come start repairs, and even trying to get a generator to run the a/c to start to dehumidify the house. Our biggest enemy in this is the water/mold issue.

I want to say thank you, we've had many offers to help...but there's not much we need, at least not yet. So thank you for thinking of us and offering your support. This is just the most surreal thing. Yesterday I said to Josh, "So on Wednesday we were just going about our business like normal and now look where we are..."

Oh and one more story to share. We had chinese takeout last night and Emilee's fortune cookie read something like this "Strong winds will change your life..."

Wow, huh?!

Ike hits!

So Ike rolled in Friday evening a bit later than we expected. This pic is of Josh and Carter outside experiencing the early hurricane winds (notice Carter's hair standing on end).

This picture is a bit later as the winds were kicking up and that eerie "bad things are coming" red sky. Notice our normally tall and straight tree leaning...
The storm got pretty serious about 10pm, very loud winds and stuff started banging outside. The kids did well and fell asleep. Carter ended up about midnight tho from the racket and got in bed with us.
The big ones stayed snuggled in pretty well, getting up to ask what time it was or if they could potty, but neither of them seemed upset by the storm and got back to sleep.

I thought the first half of the storm was pretty bad. We had a bit of leaking in Emilee's room but weren't surprised as we've had leaks up there before. Then we got "the eye" and it was a very eerie calm after hours of horridly loud racket of wind and crashing, you could hear a pin drop. Somewhere in there we lost power, bye bye a/c. The second half of the storm was horrid. It was much louder and stronger and it switched directions to come in from the front of the house. That's when we lost the larger portion of our roofing which was to become our disaster. So in the second half of the storm, we had leaks start...from everywhere. They started in the attic, then water began to pour thru the upper story ceilings...into Emilee's room, into our bathroom, and into the loft, and when those upper floors were saturated it began to pour into the lower floors. The loft leak poured down into the living room area and the front door and window and roof started to just pour water like a faucet. Then the water started to seep thru the dining room wall (coming from the attic area) and flow into the dining room and make a river than ran into the kitchen. And all of the a/c vents started to pour water like faucets. We had every bucket, bowl and trash can catching water and every towel trying to damm it. It was just nuts. We spent the whole night moving our furniture and belongings, trying to keep them on high ground.

The sun came up and we got to get the first glimpses of the damage.

You can see the roof damaged down to plywood which is our big issue...water flows in between the sheets into the attic. And where it's not down to plywood, there are intermittent shingles missing.
Here are the limbs and shingles that came down littering the backyard.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

We are ok

Just a quick note to tell everyone that our family is safe. The hurricane was crazy, but we stayed safe. Bad news is our home suffered extensive damage and is now uninhabitable. We packed the van this morning with what we could and have taken up the very generous offer of Gabby and Charlie to come and stay with them while we regroup. I have a LONG story to tell and it will probably take several blogs...tons of pictures to share too. I'm off to bed, we are EXHAUSTED. Thanks for all the prayers, thoughts and messages during this.

Friday, September 12, 2008

We went out for a bit this morning. There's a certain birthday girl who needed a cake despite the darn hurricane, so even tho it took us driving about 15 miles north to find ANY store that was open, we did and I snapped a picture of a little strip mall that had about half the stores boarded up. It was interesting to drive around and see all of the preparations...some businesses had parked their trucks up against their front windows, many had boarded up, and a few brave souls have vowed to stay open indefinitely and service their public.

So what do you do while you are waiting for a hurricane?? Well, you go over to the neighbors for a swim of course! It sorta seems funny...all this hype and the weather outside is relatively nice. So the kids took a dip (with their friend Sierra).

As of 4oclock here, the winds are picking up, the clouds are coming thru quickly and it's sprinkled a time or two. The eye will be here about midnight or 1am and the "bad weather" is expected to last until about noon tomorrow. We have all of our supplies ready for a power outage (our biggest expected issue), I've done the laundry and basic chores. So we are just waiting...

As power and internet connection allow, I'll post about our adventure, but we are expecting to be down at some eventual point for a while.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ready for IKE!!

Wooohooo! Welcome to Texas and Hurricane Season!! After two hurricanes that turned into nothing I have sorta felt blas'e about this whole hurricane thing. But Ike is coming and aparently he's NOT going to pass by without so much as a cloud like Dolly and Gustav did. He should be a category three when he hits, with winds of about 100 mph and flooding up to 20 feet.

So we've spent the last couple of days contemplating evacuating or not. Should we......shouldn't we........?? How do ya know? Josh was out of town for the week as usual and I didn't really feel like packing up all the kids and the dog and heading out of town for "nothing" so I've been leaning toward the STAY side of the column. Then late yesterday Josh's bosses kicked him out and said "GO HOME NOW" so Josh flew in late last night. Josh started getting emails from his corporate office this morning about evacuating all of their employees and equipment from the Houston area and it made us think a bit...maybe we should go? I called a neighbor for professional hurricane survivor advice and they are staying and boarding up their downstairs to protect from flying debris. We'd heard the nightmares of 24 hrs on the interstate when people evacuated for Katrina and Rita and that didn't sound like much fun. Ughhh which way to go??!!

So about 11 am we decided we were staying and headed to Home Depot (mom said to have fun as the TV news coverage looked horrendous with lines that spanned hours) to pick up what we could of plywood and screws and get ready to batten down the hatches. On our way to Home Depot we run a side road along the interstate and we saw the traffic of people evacuating from south of us. As soon as we caught a glimpse of that parking lot, Josh said "F*** that, we are staying!!" I was on the phone with my mom and just started cracking up at the sheer horror in Josh's voice. LMBO if you know Josh at all, you know he has a severe case of traffic angst and that sight alone made weathering a hurricane seem like a walk in the park, so right then and there our decision to stay was confirmed. It was pretty crazy at Home Depot, you got in one line to pay for your plywood and then you got in your car in line to get it loaded. All total it took about an hour and a half to get our 7 sheets of plywood and screws.

Texan redneck sidenote...So we are driving home with our plywood secured safely inside of our van and we see a small Jeep in front of us with plywood on the roof (many, many TINY cars were succumbing to the torture of having several sheets of plywood strapped to their roof as their owners tried desperately to get wood home to protect their windows despite not owning large pickup trucks). So this Jeep turns a corner in front of us and we notice that two arms are holding the plywood on the roof. That's right, the people were HOLDING the plywood on the roof of the car. It straightened back out and there were the other two arms on the other side of the car valiantly holding on. Josh and I just stared with mouths open and wished we had a camera.

So home we went. It was funny too as once we were out in our back yard, the air was filled with the sounds of circular saws all over the neighborhood cutting plywood...that at least made us feel like we were on the right track (cuz where is that hurricane handbook?? seems we didn't get that when we drove over the border). We wanted to at least cover the three large windows at the back end of our living room as that's where we'll weather the brunt of the storm. We got those up, finished the back side of the downstairs and had enough to do the back side second story too. Those windows all face east which is the direction that the winds will come from so protecting them (and us inside of them) was first priority. Then we finished up the day with rearranging the garage so we could get both cars in...a feat that we didn't think possible but it WAS accomplished! As any good natural disaster will do, it brought all of us outside, so we spent alot of the afternoon chatting with neighbors, exchanging hurricane stories and offering help. The kids called out "Happy Hurricane Day" to anyone that would wave! So our neighborhood looks in garages and wood on windows and bottled water in the cupboards.

Stay tuned for updates on our adventure. We are expecting to lose cell and internet service for a (hopefully short) period of time so I'm not sure how often I'll be able to update, but check back and see. If we have power, we are stuck inside, so I'll have not much else to do but hang out online and share what's going on.

Here are our BEFORE pictures...

The back side all boarded up
The view from inside our cave (and some boxes brought in so the cars can fit in the garage)
See, they fit!!

This picture was for fun. We were teasing our landlord that we got "ready for the hurricane" by bracing up the trees so that they wouldn't blow over. Notice the little teeny boards we used. He thought that was pretty good!!