Monday, September 29, 2008

Little Miss Hollywood

That's what my Grandma used to call me when I wore sunglasses when I was a child. I remember thinking I was so cool! I always thought that phrase was silly, but I say that to Princess TD all the time!

Mr. TD and I just had to save this look for the future. These pictures say it all. All pink, "sparkly" flip-flops, sunglasses and the matching purse!

We also had to share this with Aunt I hope you're checking in on us! She's the one who passed the purse down to our Little Miss Hollywood. Oh, and in case you are wondering, her bag is stocked! She carries a small mirror, 2 mini-Polly Pocket cars (sparkly ones, of course), a baby Cinderella doll and a baby Sleeping Beauty doll. If she remembers, she also carries her Franklin planner (a gift from the local Franklin Covey Manager) with her pink pen!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rambling Thoughts on Recovery

There is so much going on around us. So many of our friends are still without power, without any good indication of when it may come back on. Here are some of the crazy thoughts going on in my head.

1. We are offering our home to any of our friends or our church family without power. We are willing to share a hot meal, our air conditioning, our internet, our showers, our washer and dryer. So obviously if you don't have power, you aren't reading this, but if you are reading this, please pass the word to those who might need the assistance.

2. It's been hard on Princess TD and Little TD this week. They are just going crazy. They are definately children who like routine. Our routine has been out of whack for a couple of weeks, and it is proving hard to recover from the disruption. We are slowly getting back into our routine.

3. We began our "official" school again on Monday. The learning is great, but we are all having trouble focusing on one thing at a time. We have been taking a lot longer to complete our school day. Princess TD said yesterday that she was very happy that she was doing schoolwork again. She really loves the seat work!

4. We are planners. We like to have a plan in place for everything. We like to think of all possible scenarios and plan for everything we can think of. For those who know us well, this is pretty obvious. We had a hurricane plan that we began to develop in the weeks after Katrina hit Mississippi. Mr. TD's sister and her husband rode out Katrina in Biloxi. They were blessed to not have much damage, but we learned a lot from their experience. A couple of weeks later, we put our initial plan into effect when Rita came through and hit Sabine Pass. For the last couple of years, we've been in the clear. Until this year. When Gustav was heading this way, we began to implement our plan, but realized too late, that we wouldn't have been prepared for that storm. We didn't begin our checklist early enough to have our emergency precations taken. Just after Gustav, we had a busy week, but began some of our initial preparations for the next storm. We began our preparations. We boarded up our windows, filled our water containers and our bathtubs. We froze large containers filled with water so that we had ice for our freezer. We froze our milk to help keep our refridgerator cold. We did everything we could think of to prepare for our time after the storm. I think we did pretty well. I think we were able to care for our family and our friends family who was with us and make it through our days without power. We did learn some lessons, and will be revising our plan for future seasons.

5. I loved the sense of community we had right after the storm. I loved the neighbors helping each other. I loved the kids playing nicely with one another, without fighting or calling each other names. I reminded me of the small neighborhood where I grew up. It makes me sad that the neighbors scattered back to their own homes when the power came back on.

6. It is going to take our community a long time to recover from this storm. Slowly, we are getting restored back to the way things were before the storm. The stores are being restocked, gas stations don't have lines. There are many schools that have damage, or don't have power. Many families have some kids in school and others not, because not all schools in a district are open.

We are so blessed to have our family, our friends and our power!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Getting back to normal

Well, things are starting to get back to normal around here. The lines at the gas stations are getting shorter. The grocery stores still aren't fully stocked, but it's getting closer day by day. It is amazing how spoiled we all are. We take so much for granted living here. We are all so wealthy, have an abundance of food, water and electricity (even for those here who are still without power). I am reminded how truly blessed we are to have our home, food, water, power, cars, and on and on. We have wonderful family and friends and are blessed to have them in our lives.

For those of you wondering, we haven't officially done school for 2 weeks now. Everyday is a learning experience here. We have been working on writing, spelling and reading almost daily. We have found a couple of intact dead bugs, a cicada, a butterfly, and of course the zillions of love bugs flying around. So there's our science. Math just seems to always make it's way into our daily lives. I guess it's just the engineers in us! Even though we had only had school for 5 weeks before this break, I can tell that we both miss that time. Even Little TD is asking for school again. I suppose it had become more of our life than I had realized. So, I will be spending some time this weekend preparing to begin again on Monday.

Please pray for all of our friends who are still displaced by the storm, without power, or who have lost their roofs. Any of our friends who might be reading this who are without power, you are welcome to come to our house for a warm meal, or to do laundry. We would love to share our electricity with you! (Oh, and we do have detergent now!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

We've cleaned up our act

or at least our house and yard. We spent our day today cleaning up the debris in our yard and getting things back to somewhat normal. I did a few loads of laundry to clean up our smelly towels and clothes and changed all of our sheets. I know, it's really just your everyday mundane things, but it feels more normal.

What doesn't feel normal is the long lines to get into stores, get gas or any other supplies. We are well stocked for food and water, but at some point we will need milk and diapers. I am just not up to fighting for these things with a couple of million other folks who are out of these things too. I am so blessed to have my family safe and comfortable, my home intact and electricity! I don't want to leave my little place of peace to enter into the madness.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Houston we have...


We did a huge block party happy dance in the streets when the power came on. Our next door neighbors had a huge 150 kW generator at their house since his company didn't need it for their systems (they didn't lose power) so he allowed us to plug in our fridge to his generator. I think this saved our food, since the other generator we got from Mr. TD's parents sucked gas, and we were limited in our supply, we had to regulate how much we ran it during the day. Our neighbors also cooked a whole lot of chicken for the neighbors who didn't have the means to cook. Since we could cook, we cooked for us and another of our neighbors who is by himself. It has been almost 2 hours and we are still powered up. We are really hoping it sticks.

We are just so blessed to have been spared the worst of the storm. Seeing pictures for the first time makes us appreciate what we have. It was so wonderful this evening sitting outside with all of the neighbors, seriously at least eight of the houses on our street were all outside, enjoying the beautiful weather, helping each other assess damages, repair minor damages and all the kids playing together. It was so wonderful to see. The storm came through and tore up the landscape, knocked out the power and forced neighbors to become a community again. You could hear shouts from many streets when the power came on.

We Weathered Ike

Well, we made it through Ike. I am updating as quickly as I can while on generator power. Our friend JSue will update any additional info through the comments section, so check there too for updates.

We really didn't have any damage to our house. We had a small leak in the bathroom over the exhaust fan, but nothing serious. Our neighbor at the end of the cul-de-sac lost the back part of the roof and their 2-story ceiling in their living room, and their pool overflowed with all of the rain we had. There were several downed trees in the neighborhood, but for the most part, our street fared pretty well. We have been without power since 2:30 am on Sat morning. Yesterday, Mr. TD met his parents halfway and picked up their generator, so we have power to cool our refrigerator. I am posting a few pictures of what our street looked like right after the storm, and then some of the kids playing after the storm.

Our friends, the DeCarlo's are still in the hospital. They also did very well through the storm. They never lost power. Justin is doing well. He still has his chest tube and is still not eating well. And as anyone who has ever been in the hospital knows, they aren't getting much sleep because of all of the nightly interruptions. Their house did well to. No damage there either. Their neighborhood had a lot of trees down, about 3-5 trees per street we passed.

We have no idea when we may get power back, we have heard anything from a few days to a few weeks. Either way, I think we'll do fine with the generator, as long as we don't run out of fuel. We also had a cool front come through which is helping greatly too. It was down into the mid to upper 60s last night and our high today is supposed to be in the low 80s. This will keep us from having to run the window unit to stay cool, but we have it if we need it.

All in all we are doing well. We won't have internet for long, so I will check back as I can. If you want to check up on us, call our home phone. Our cells aren't getting much service, and it's not great when we do get it.

Here are the pictures I promised!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Winds are Picking Up

Well, we had a good pre-hurricane block party. All of the neighbors on the street were outside watching the cloud formations blow by and letting the kids run out all of their energy. We know who will be here, who has what, and what we can do to help each other. We really are blessed to live on a street where we can know our neighbors and support each other.

It is around 10 pm right now, and as it stands, Ike should be heading right up I-45, which will put the eye over us sometime tomorrow mid-morning or so. We have lots of water, lots of drinks, lots of snacks and non-perishable foods. The local news is saying that we should be clearing out somewhere between 12 Noon and 6 pm. They are estimating that close to 4 million customers will be out of power through the storm, so we are planning to be without power. We have our water saved, we've cooled down the house (and with the windows boarded up, we're hoping it stays cooler), and we are praying for the best.

Several of our good friends have told many stories about how prepared we are and how we think of everything. It is just our engineer minds at work, but no matter how much you follow your checklist, you never feel quite prepared enough for a situation like this.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. We will weather this storm and will learn many things from the experience. I anticipate that I may be able to post one more time before we lose power, but since the lights have flickered a couple of times, it may be sooner than I think.

He's on the way

Well, Ike is definately going to be hitting the Houston area. We are doing well, we've all had naps and are well rested for the big event. The clouds are starting to come in, but we haven't had any rain as of yet. We have some of the windows boarded up, which makes the house VERY dark. Right now the kids are outside eating popsicles and enjoying the little bit of coolness in the air. Our houseguests should be here soon. We will keep you posted as we can.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We're expecting company...

...and we didn't even invite him! It's hurricane Ike. Ike is expected to make landfall late Friday night just southwest of the Houston metro area. We are planning to "hunker down" and sit this one out. There are a few reasons for that, but mainly because we were just flat not prepared to leave early! Right now traffic

We have been warned by our Katrina survivor family that if Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel comes to town, get out! He is always where the hurricane hits! I am not sure if that is always true, but he is in Galveston and has been for a couple of days! I guess I should have been ready to go yesterday.

Because of Ike, we may have a few houseguests tomorrow night. Baby Justin's Nana is in town from Wisconsin/Arizona, and being that neither of those states experience hurricanes or tropical storms, she's not so sure she wants to stay at the DeCarlo's house with Travis without having been through this before. So, I think they are going to join us for the storm ride out at our house. I am sure we will all be fine, maybe a little hot with no AC, but we'll manage.

Baby Justin is going to leave ICU today. They are just waiting for the paperwork to transfer him to his new room. That is such awesome news! He is doing great and is just as cute as ever! His parents will be with him at the hospital, so they will need prayers for safety if and when Ike hits.

I am frantically trying to get the inside of the house prepared if we have to leave in a quick manner, so I will be away from the computer today. If you need to know our status you can contact Ken's parents. They will be our out of town contact for this storm. If you need to know how to get in touch with them, e-mail me privately, and I'll give you their info.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Justin is Doing Better

Earlier today there was a little bit of a rough patch for Justin as he was getting rid of his breathing tubes. But they were able to get a totally cute picture of him. It's posted on their blog, but I just had to share it with all of my blog friends. So, here he is!

He is doing better this evening. They are still keeping him asleep until morning although he does rouse a bit every now and then. He has knocked off his CPAP, and has had no problems breathing. He looks so awesome and is being such a trooper. Don't you just love the hat!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Justin's Surgery is Completed

Justin is out of surgery and in ICU. Right now Randy and Danielle are with him for the first time in almost 12 hours. I know they are enjoying their first looks at their sweet boy. The surgeon was able to make the necessary repairs, however, they will need to monitor him for any complications over the next few weeks. They feel completely covered in all the prayers of their friends and family. God is good all the time!

Surgery Update

Justin's surgery is going well. The nurse called it just as expected and routine. He is currently on bypass and they have repaired the valves and are working on repairing the holes in the walls of the heart. They will next do the saline test and work to take him off bypass. They are expecting to close around 5. Please keep praying, our prayers are being answered.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Surgery Rescheduled

Tomorrow Baby Justin is scheduled again for his heart surgery. Please pray for him and his family. This is the third time the surgery has been scheduled, so please pray for them not to get bumped again. The emotional toll of being all ready to go and then being bumped is so hard. So many complications come along with that.

He is scheduled to begin surgery at 8 AM. The surgery is expected to take 5-7 hours. Please pray for him, his parents, the doctors and nurses attending to him. I will be updating via e-mail throughout the day tomorrow and I will post here as I can, or you can check here for updates from the parents.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Growing Up

Yesterday I was talking with friends about how fast our kids grow up. When we met 10 years ago, their youngest was just a couple years older than my oldest. Now they are empty nesters! Ten years ago, they were a lot like us, now they are leaders in our church. How does this happen? We don't feel any older or different. Ten years ago I wasn't married, I was working as an engineer designing heat transfer equipment, and I didn't have children. Today, I have been married for 7 1/2 years, I no longer work as an engineer, I have 2 children, and I am homeschooling! My how quickly things change. (Oh, and in case you were wondering gas prices were around $0.80/gallon for unleaded 10 years ago. Mr. TD keeps great records!)

My little ones are growing so fast too. We had lunch at one of those places with a playplace yesterday. I happened to meet another mom there who is also homeschooling her almost 5 year old son. My Little TD was about the size of her almost 5 year old! (Ok, for those of you who know us personally, this is not much of a surprise.) Princess TD is a good head taller than her best friend who is almost 6. They are not only getting tall, but they are growing up in their attitudes, behavior and everything else! I know that ultimately I do want them to grow up, leave home and be successful adults...but does it have to happen so quickly?

I recently talked to a friend who is a first time mother. She was talking about her 5 month old baby and how close to crawling they are. I so remember those days of wishing them to hit the milestones and grow. Now, looking back, I miss those days when my kids were so little. I wish I could slow down time and keep them they way they are right now and enjoy this stage for a little while longer. Ok, maybe we'll wait until Little TD is potty trained and then we'll put it on hold!

See, no matter how much I want to keep them the way they are...I am still wanting them to grow! I love these precious children, on good days and bad, and I am going to cherish every second of this season of my life.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Bump on the Head

I guess it is just a rite of passage, but it breaks my heart! Today, we went to Lowe's to check out new water heaters. We are needing to replace ours, but that's a whole 'nother story! ( just for you JSue ;) ) As we were leaving, we ran into some friends of ours from church that we haven't seen in quite a while, so we stopped to visit. We talked about our improvement projects, and their kids in college, and our little ones. Princess TD and Little TD were playing nearby and really being pretty good, not fighting and playing well with each other. I had turned my back to where the kids were momentarily, and I saw (and heard) a collective gasp from the rest of the adults. I turned around to find Princess TD grabbing her head and as she turned around, I saw blood gushing and dripping off her face. I immediately dropped everything, and put pressure on her forehead. Pause here for a rabbit trail.

Rabbit trail: When I was about 10 yrs old, I went with my step-father and one of my little brothers to McDonalds to get dinner. My brother and I stayed in the van, while my step-father went in to get the food (pre-drive through days). Just as he was getting back in the van with the food, my brother jumped from the back seat to the front and fell and hit the seat belt buckle and cut a gash in his head. My step-father asked me to put pressure on his head so that he could safely drive home, and I just couldn't do it. I was so freaked out about the blood and just really didn't know what to do. So, he put my brother on his lap and drove back to the house (about 1/2 mile). Ok, so maybe it's a 10 year old thing, or just a sister/brother thing, but I couldn't do anything to help my brother. But as soon as I saw my baby hurt, I immediately went into crisis mode and did what had to be done. I really do believe that God gives you what you need to be a parent, if you ask Him.

Back to the story: So, we all sat on the Lowe's sidewalk, trying to stop the bleeding. Our friends went to their car to get some wipes to clean up Princess TD's hands and knees. Mr. TD went to our car to get a couple of rags to help apply pressure. As we were all working to get her calm, a family of complete strangers brought us a bottle of water that they had in the back of their car that was frozen to put on her head. One of the women in the group asked Princess TD if she needed a drink, and then sent the man back to the car for a small bottle for her to drink. What a blessing they were! We didn't even get to thank them, they just helped out and went on their way. Once we had the bleeding stopped and were able to look and see what we were dealing with, we decided that it wasn't too bad, and were all getting up to go home. Just then, the Lowe's Manager came out to see if she was OK. Mr. TD explained that she tripped and fell and hit the wall, yes the "stone" wall that makes up the Lowe's building, with her head! We all parted ways, and got her to the car, and got her laughing once we got in.

So, we watched her this afternoon and she is her normal self. She is very expressive when she talks and uses her eyebrows frequently. I really hadn't noticed how much before, but everytime she did it today, her cut would start bleeding again. So tonight, we put on a pressure bandage and the bleeding stopped. We also decided that she probably needed a butterfly closure, so we did that as well. One of our neighbors is an ER nurse, and she didn't think we needed to take her for stitches, just to make sure she doesn't have a concussion. But, since Princess TD is a daredevil and took a nose dive from a shopping cart, I am very familiar with what I need to look for in a concussion, so tonight we are monitoring her for that and will take her in if things change. But for now, she's doing great!

Here's what she looked like when we got home from Lowe's.

It is a lot less red tonight and the ice took out most of the swelling. I think she's going to be just fine, and have a small reminder of the event just like her Uncle Brian. Ok, being honest...her Aunt Missy, her Uncle Jason, and her Mommy have one too! I guess it runs on Mommy's side of the family!