Monday, October 13, 2008

Big Honkin' Update!

Here it is...everything that's been going on with us the past few months.

In the waning days of summer before school started, we made a last trip to the beach for the day. After the devastation in Galveston due to Hurrican Ike, I'm not sure when we'll be going back. I'm glad we had this last day...

Trying to keep Jackson busy those last few days before school started, we went out and got a Lego kit. I thought he would work on this over a couple of days, but instead he worked on it for several hours straight and finished it that same afternoon! I just love this picture of totally represents how he looked at the end of a great summer...tanned, bleached hair, happy.

The week before school started Jordan got braces put on. I took this "before" picture on the way to the orthodontist, but forgot to take an "after" picture. Eleven years old, getting braces, starting middle school, growing up...*sigh*

We celebrated Jim's 44th birthday by going out with a group of friends to a fun wine bar and then to dinner at Del Frisco's steak house.

Labor Day weekend we rented two boats on Lake Conroe with a few friends. This time we rented a pontoon boat, like we usually do, and a speed boat so the kids could go tubing. The kids had a blast!

Another competitive gymnastics season got under way. This is Jordan's whole team and her with her two best friends on the team, Jayda and Hannah, all looking cute in their rock star warm-ups!

So far we've had 3 meets with 3 more to go...Jordan is improving her scores with each meet. I continue to be so impressed with her attitude and work ethic...she has to work hard at gymnastics, it doesn't come easy...but she loves it and won't think of giving it up. She sacrifices a lot of social time to be in this sport and sometimes I wonder if she's making the right choice, but for now it's what she really wants to do so we let her do it.

Jensen has entered the world of soccer. The jury is still out on whether she likes it or not, but she sure is cute!

And there you have it.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Wow! I can't believe it's been more than a month since I've posted here. Promise to do a little better but before I get to what's been going on since the start of school, I thought I'd post my hurricane update. Most people who read this blog will have already read about this in e-mail but I wanted to post it here also so I have a record of it.

Well, two weeks to the day after hurricane Ike hit Glaveston/Houston and points north, I can finally report that we are back on our feet and fully functional. It’s been a long two weeks. The storm itself was something that I don’t ever want to experience again. The kids and I will leave town next time if at all possible.

We lost power on Friday, Sept 12th about midnight and it did not come on again until this past Thursday, Sept. 25th…12 ½ days later! I don’t think anyone dreamed the power would be out that long but with 2 million people without power and the amount of damage there was I guess that’s just how long it takes. Since the power came back on Thursday I’ve been doing nothing but cleaning and doing laundry! You would not believe the amount of laundry after two weeks of not doing any. Luckily I had done every stitch of laundry the day before the storm so we had enough things to last us but it was starting to get pretty gross around here.

We were very lucky and didn’t sustain any damage to our house except for a small tree that got uprooted in the backyard. Three houses on our street had trees go through the roof and one house had a tree go through their fence. Here are a few pictures of some of the damage on our street.

Those first few days after the storm we lived with flashlights. We did have our gas cooktop that worked so we could cook and we had running water so we could wash dishes, etc. and shower. Two families on our street had generators and they let us put a few things in their fridge that they were keeping running but for the most part we salvaged what food we could to ice chests and ate the pricier cuts of meat people had in their freezers. I had gotten about 5 bags of ice the day before the storm but by the day after it was starting to melt and we needed to find more ice. Searching for ice became my main job in those first few days. This is southeast Houston and even though we had a cold front come through after the storm, temps were still in the mid 80s so ice did not last long. By Monday after the storm there was one grocery store up and running. I had to wait in line for about an hour to get into the store and they were rationing out ice to 5 bags per family. That was the story for the next few days… more stores opened up but they were mostly using generators for power and couldn’t keep things cold. When they got a delivery of ice it was gone almost immediately. I’d have to go to 5 or 6 different places to find one that had ice and then often they would only let you buy 2, 3 or maybe 5 bags if you were lucky. Whoever in the neighborhood went out for ice tried to get some for everyone or would call and tell us where they found ice. This went on for about a week for us. Our neighbor directly next door got a generator delivered from his company on about Tues or Wed and they let us run an extension cord from it. We could turn on a lamp (that was heaven!!) and power a fan but we couldn’t hook up a refrigerator.

After a week of no power Jim went out and bought a generator. I was never so happy for a purchase in my whole life! With the generator we were able to hook up a refrigerator and stop living out of coolers. We also hooked up a couple of lamps and another fan. I could actually run the vacuum once in a while and blow dry my hair!! Now instead of foraging for ice I had to make daily runs to the gas station for gas. It took about 8-10 gallons a day to keep the generator running. By this time, getting gas was not a problem but in the beginning people had to wait in lines for 2 or 3 hours to fill up cans for their generators. There were only a couple of gas stations that were open and had gas. Next time I’ll have to stock up on a few days’ worth of gas before a storm hits. Also on my hurricane preparedness list for next time is a window air conditioning unit and an HD antenna for the tv.

The kids have fared very well…two weeks off of school (not sure yet how they’re going to make that up), playing with their friends all day everyday and staying up late. They really didn’t complain about not having tv, computers or video games. It’s going to be hard to get back to our routine when school starts back up on Monday.

Once again, like after our fire, we were reminded how lucky we are to have friends and neighbors that care for and look out for each other. With no family near by to lean on, this is extremely important for us and we’re so grateful. Now, back to our regularly scheduled lives…