Wednesday, August 31, 2011

august wrap-up

christian found this on fb yesterday and i loved it!

hurricane irene aftermath continues:

we came home from fischetti's around 5 on monday. i still had our fridge full of food to deal with. we had taken a few bags to friends houses, but that still left a lot to do. i just kept hoping all throughout the day that by 5 (when mindy's babysitter got there) i would be coming home to a house with electricity. all day i kept checking and checking our neighborhood fb page. one of our neighbors, who happens to work for the electric company kept promising we would get electricity by monday.

when 5 o'clock brought no such luck, matt went off to borrow a generator (from someone in the ward who had just gotten electricity, who had borrowed it from someone else in the ward that gotten electricity back on sunday) and the girls and i played outside. alexis had stayed at robins, then went to the twins (they had electric!) and christian went to the park as soon as we got home.

i checked things in our fridge before matt got the power going to it and everything had stayed cold! the 30 frozen water bottles had worked! blessings! with the fridge and the sump pump getting the power they needed, i felt a huge load off. it had been a beautiful day and our house was cool and comfortable, so we decided to stay the night at home, in the hopes that the girls would get more sleep in their own beds. frankie had a rough night sleep both saturday and sunday night, which meant that so did matt and i.

we put the girls to bed, said goodnight to christian (who was reading by candlelight, so very romantic!) and got into bed, when LIGHT! we looked at each other, not quite sure what had just happened, christian ran upstairs, and a cheer went up in the neighborhood. after 51 hours, we had electricity! the hum of generators slowly went away, and invigorated by our new power, we stayed up for another few hours. :)
so thankful!

and yet, as soon as the lights came on, i felt like crying. like after all the stress of the week
(getting ready for the first day of school, earthquake, the first day of school, thuderstorm and tornado, getting ready for hurricane, hurricane, no electricty...) 
and it was finally over, like i just couldn't keep it in anymore. i held it back though, because i was surrounded by boys that would think i was crazy.
(although matt did tell me later that he felt the same thing!)

so i woke up yesterday exhausted. and facing a messy, messy house.
it was like, having an extra family spend the day and night, + camping, + an unexpected night away from home (and all the packing and unpacking that entails), + a natural disaster (and all the extra clothing and towels and supplies that requires), + a messy family of 6.
there were water bottles to refill and put away, broken glass and dish soap to clean up, laundry to do, and wet carpets downstairs to help dry.
and this mama was exhausted.
i dragged and did a little bit all day.
i did rustle up enough energy to take the girls for a walk to the library (christian was helping a neighbor with hurricane clean-up and alexis was still at the twins) to get books for preschool.
when matt got home he took the girls back outside to play with neighbors and we had hamburger helper for dinner. slowly we are getting back to normal.

and every time i want to complain (because this writing isn't complaining, it's just preserving the facts for posterity;) i look at half of our neighbors, with every belonging that used to be in their basements out on their driveways, throwing away all the contents of their refrigerators, and still finding flooding. i know we got off really easy. 
we are so very blessed.

we're on day 3 of no school. 
(for those of you keeping track, that's 3 days in school, 3 days out of school)
there are rumors of no school for at least a week (or more!) because of extensive damage, but nothing officially called yet.

there are still almost 9000 people in our county alone without power (17,000 total from our electric co.)
our governor toured st. marys county on tuesday and said that as far as maryland goes, we took the brunt of the storm. and as rumors go, there are rumors of another possible hurricane. we are praying that things return to normal and we end this hurricane season quickly.
i know i'm ready for autumn up in here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

everything's coming up roses

or at least pink
because we are having another little baby girl!

can you believe it? we're all in a little bit of shock.
and now i'm 1 for 5 in the baby guessing department.
it would take a serious act of god (another one, if you know what i mean) for us to have another baby though, so we're still done.

i feel bad for christian and matt. i know they were both a little disappointed. sweet babies have a way of helping us get over these things though.
and don't you think 3 little girls will be just the cutest thing ever???
i do. :)

Monday, August 29, 2011


we survived our first hurricane.
and we did it pretty well, thankfully!

after a day of laundry, cleaning, and deck building then a huge party at laura's house friday night, we had a night of anxious sleep. the whole not knowing what to expect part is really tough. matt and i were both up early. he left to go work on the boat, making sure it was all tied up and ready for irene, and i started clearing outside stuff.

(addie helped me make cookies. check out her gigantic one!)
i brought in our rocking chairs, wagon, and anything else that wasn't nailed down. i took a quick break at 7:30 to go buy some D batteries that matt had found at a small auto parts store nearby (they had them when he was there friday, but weren't putting them out till saturday morning). i got back and had christian help me organize some things in the garage, and by that time matt had gotten home and the rain had started.


i'm the worlds meanest mom because i wouldn't let the kids go anywhere. after not being home for the earthquake or the huge thunderstorm/tornado warning of the past week, i really wanted everyone home and safe with me. matt made us a big breakfast and we enjoyed our internet and tv privileges while we could.
(pre-nap story)
(12pm - hurricane pictures are not easy to take)
mindy and gang came to wait out the storm (we like to call it a hurricane party) with us around 12. we watched kindergarten cop and ate popcorn and drank orange soda. and it rained and howled outside.
(the days festivities)
(addie the photog)
(guess who took this one?)
(chris decided to go get the mail around 1)

(kindergarten cop is a classic!)

periodically throughout the day (and all night) we did checks around the house. we checked the ceiling to make sure the roof wasn't leaking - it wasn't - the doors to make sure they weren't leaking - all were good but the basement, and we still aren't quite sure why, cause the outside drain was working - the windows - all were good except christian's basement window, another mystery, because it was leaking from the top drywall - and the sump pump to make sure it was still getting rid of water effectively - it was.
(matt decided we needed some fresh cilantro from the garden)

we made a big spaghetti dinner and then had chocolate cake for dessert to celebrate ben's birthday, then ran a very full dishwasher well before we lost power at 6:30. the lights had been flickering all day, and at that point it had already been raining steadily for 10 hours. it was a sad day when we realized they wouldn't be flickering back on. :(

matt had noticed a neighbor outside digging a trench in his yard (his beautifully manicured yard!) and with the pond that was accumulating in our backyard, he thought it might help. so he went out and started digging (our beautifully manicured yard!). christian, jack, and ben decided they wanted to help too. out came the panchos and a million towels (hurricanes are a lot of work!). they dug trenches on both sides of the house and i'm happy (and a little surprised) to say that they worked. our basement was one of about half in our neighborhood that didn't flood, and i think that can in part be attributed to trench'de'ray.
(the backyard pond, or oceanview property if your glass is half-full)

(after-storm upkeep on the trenches)

after the power went out we played some games, drew, and talked. we got the girls to bed (or at least to where they were playing in their beds) and visited. we finally threw in the (hot, so very hot without any ac, fan, or open windows!) towel and called it a night around 11.
(no electricity festivities)

we had planned to camp out in the basement (lots of tornados happen around hurricanes, weird, right?) but with the power out and us not sure about the sump pump battery, we thought it might be better to not risk a possible flood. we debated and prayed and debated some more and finally decided to sleep in our master bedroom, with the 3 babies against the far inside wall (no windows), and all the kids in the hallway (no windows again). 

i woke up all throughout the night. i checked the kids. matt and i checked the leaks and the sump pump and tried to check the storm. i hate that we got the worst of it overnight (they said at 2 am) when we couldn't see what was going on! everything looked good all night. thankfully the sump pump's extra battery lasted till about 7am when matt went down and bailed a few buckets of water.
(bucket of water from the sump pump, complete with frog that the girls went ga-ga over!)

we all got up at 8. we were all just so anxious to see how everything looked. i made a big breakfast of eggs, toast, yogurt, cheese, and lunchmeat (operation clean out the fridge!) and then we all went for a walk, along with everyone else in the neighborhood.

there were lots of trees down (one in our neighbors back yard), fences broken, flooded basements, and water. but overall things looked good. spirits were high (even those with flooded basements) because we all knew that things could have been so much worse.

(neighbors tree)
(and another)

the rest of sunday was spent enjoying the post-hurricane weather (which is beautiful bytheway) outside, trying to catch up on sleep, lots of phone calls, and then to mindy's house that evening to enjoy her electricity. on the drive out to mechanicsville we saw no less than 30 trees down and no less than 15 power lines among those trees. i've heard the rest of st. mary's county looks just as bad.
(after hurricane band of clouds)
it's monday morning and we still have no electricity. SMECO reported that at the height they had over 100,000 customers without power. they've whiddled that down to less than half, but we are among the lucky other half that still have none. trying to keep things in perspective, at least we still have a home and that home has minimal damage. we can live without power for a few days, right?
(scenes from our 20 minute drive from leonardtown to mechanicsville yesterday) 

the events of last week have propelled us to get more prepared. in a lot of ways we were pretty good. but these east coast ray's are buying a generator.  too much crazy weather in these parts. we're making emergency preparedness a real priority.
3 natural disasters in one week will do that for ya.

Friday, August 26, 2011

what a week...

at church on sunday it was announced that we would have a "mock disaster".
we were asked to act as if all the stores and restaurants were closed.
it's totally a learning experience, no one is to go hungry or not have enough gas to go to work, it's just a practice.
and oh what a practice it's been.

on tuesday we had our earthquake.

today we had a severe thunderstorm along with tornado and flash flood warnings.

and early sunday morning irene is rolling in.

it. is. crazy.
we started hearing "hurricane irene" buzz last week, but weren't too worried about it.
on tuesday matt and i talked about our emergency drill and if we should go ahead and stock up, as it looked like irene was headed our way. (or close to it).
matt thought that we would be okay to wait until saturday and then go shopping for whatever we might need.

we've had plenty of food, even fresh food, we've been pretty good on. 
on sunday i made 2 quarts of powdered milk and mixed it with 2 quarts of regular milk to try to extend our milk supply. christian had seen me mixing the powdered milk, but had gone to bed before i combined the two.
the next afternoon he busted me. :) he "accused" me of trying to trick them and asked if i thought he was stupid. ;) it was worth a try. and i don't think lexi has even noticed. :)

today we had our preschool coop meeting and i am so excited! we're starting on september 1 and i'm teaching the first 3 weeks, so fun!

while i was at the meeting, matt called. he said he thought we should get prepared for irene now.
matt, the one who never thinks anything is going to happen. the one who tried to outrun a tornado earlier this year. yes, that one. he thinks we should prepare now, and that scared me. so i got home and while the girls napped i finished my shopping list and clipped some coupons. things fell into place perfectly and i was able to go shopping alone.
i had a couple of stops to make, but finally got to the commissary at 5. as i was leaving there was blue, calm sky on one side, and ominous blackness on the other. i talked to the fam at home and they said they were getting hammered with rain and that i should probably just wait it out. i filled up the truck with gas and tried to make it to wally-world.

about 2 minutes after getting in the truck, the rain started and i heard there was a tornado warning for st. marys and calvert county. i could hardly see where i was driving because it was pouring so hard and there was thunder and lightning every few seconds. i really just wanted to stop my car in the middle of the road and wait. but the truck was rocking with the wind and i didn't want to be stuck in it during a tornado anyway. i finally made it to walmart, parked in the first spot i saw and ran as fast as i could inside. i was soaked, freezing, and never so happy to be at wally.

i'm still on the lookout for d batteries and something or other for our sump pump. i need to take out some more cash and do the laundry. and bring in all of our outdoor "stuff." i'm thankful we've had so much time to prepare not only for this exact situation, but that we've been taught to be prepared in general.
and we shall see what the rest of the week brings.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

1st day of school!

and they're off!
alexis left bright and early for her 1st day of her sophmore year.

the picture that almost didn't happen. he doesn't like pictures, remember?
off to start his first day of 8th grade.
(he's decided he'll be "bumming it" for the first week, then next week, when people start to wear their older clothes, he'll start wearing his new ones. perfect sense, right?)
love those two, and we had some really sweet, long summer days, but can i get an ahhhhhhhhhh?
here's to a good year!!!

ready for school

school starts tomorrow and we are ready!
mostly ready at least. 
last week we loaded up the jolly green giant and went back to school clothes shopping. we were able to take advantage of the tax free week, so that was nice. we gave each of the big kids a budget and i dropped them + 1 friend each off at the mall so i could hit target and bed, bath, and beyond (where i continued some christmas shopping. i'm thinking since i'm going to be H-to-the-UGE at christmas, i should probably be prepared!)
anywho, life with teens and toddlers is tough (blog rant on that topic in the near future) so we planned ahead to keep everyone (including big mama) happy.

addie and frankie love watching movies, especially in the car. the big kids love listening to music, especially in the car. both groups seem fine doing both at the same time, and for awhile i was letting that happen. but i swear, it makes me so anxious to have all that noise going on! so i tasked the big kids with finding headphones for the little kids so they could listen to their music and i wouldn't go crazy. and for the hour long drive to the mall in waldorf, life was good.

alexis, marissa, and charlie, who was pretending he wasn't in the picture.
and my baby boy and me.
the plan was that they go off with their friend, find what they would like, then take me around to approve (and pay with their allotted budget) or disapprove. all the while i have the girls in the play area at the mall, so again, big kids are happy, little kids are happy.

when all parties were ready, a & m came to watch the little girls and i was off with c & c to shop. he knew right what he wanted, and other than not trying on his jeans ahead of time, all went smoothly and quickly.

then we switched. first of all, frankie had a fit. christian thinks it's funny to tease the little girls, so he's not always frankie's fav., and she was kind of done being away from home. so she screamed as we left. no problem, i thought, lex will be quick. 

first stop was for jeans. she hadn't tried them on either (seriously?!) but instead of that being easy, it became a an argument because she insists she's a size 1, which she most definitely is not. anywho, mom is always right and we were finally off to store #2 where she wandered around saying "hmmm, what did i like here?" and "there were lots of things i was gonna buy here, i swear!" stores 3 and 4 went about the same way, until finally i was shopping with her as usual. but i did give her a time limit. and we (pretty much) stuck to it. by 3:00 we were finally done and on our way out we stopped by the carousel where it is nearly impossible to take a cute picture. at least with my limited photo prowess.

that's christian there behind the pole. he rode too.
i'm not quite sure how it happened, but last week kind of became a week long slumber party for the big kids. i hate when that happens. not that i don't like having friends over, i really do, (and they weren't here every night) but there needs to be a limit or certain people get crabby. and that's how 2 people were when i tried to go over school supplies with them.
super crabby.
so they still need some school supplies, but they made a choice and i wasn't about to run out today and brave the crowds. they'll be fine for a day or two anyway, i have a box i've stashed of sale priced school supplies.

last night was open house at the high school. we walked around and found lexi's classes and met her teachers. she's excited and i'm sure she'll have a good year.

today was christian's open house. i got to take him + 3 boys to meet their teachers and hug everyone they've ever met. i'm worried about christian for this year. again and again we heard "oh, you have so and so teacher? she'll make you work hard" and "she doesn't put up with anything!" that teacher/student relationship is so important and i hope it will be good!

after the open house i suggested we go see a movie. of course big kids couldn't agree on a movie (and actually the only non-R movie to see was planet of the apes, which lexi had no desire to see.) so i suggested i take christian today, and lexi later in the week to see the help. since robin had come over to invite lex out with her family, lexi was fine with staying with the little girls while they napped and christian and i go to the movies.

about an hour into the movie, christian and i started hearing a rumbling and our chairs started swaying left to right. i didn't think anything of it because sometimes that happens when other screens are playing loud movies. then the chairs started swaying a lot harder. i looked at chris and said "did you feel that? what is that?" by that point i was pretty sure it was an earthquake, so i stood up and asked everyone "did you feel that? is this an earthquake?!" (i know, crazy lady!) there was only one other couple and one teenage girl in the theater and we all went out to the lobby (christian and i holding hands) to evacuate and see what was going on.

there was already a crowd gathered, phones in hand talking about the earthquake. almost immediately the girls there started talking about peoples facebook statuses, that people were already posting about the earthquake. one said "my dad felt it in west virginia" then the other said "my friend felt it in new mexico." my heart was already pounding like crazy, but i was like, wait, what? new mexico?! then the crazy preggy brain (i'm not claiming this one, it was all the crazy pregnancy hormones!) started thinking (and actually saying out loud, sad face) "what if we're getting hit by meteors?" now i can see that was silly, but it was seriously scary at the time!

all i wanted was to be home with all of my babies and husband. not at a cheap old movie theater with only one of my babies! i was so nervous and didn't know what was going on, and the phones weren't working, so i asked for a refund and christian reluctantly left with me.

we got down the street, and after hearing on the radio that it was, in fact, just an earthquake, (5.8, centered 90 miles away near richmond, va) we went sheepishly back to the theater to finish our movie. by that time matt and lexi had texted back that everyone was fine, and i was pretty sure i had just overreacted.

after the house stopped shaking, lexi told me that she and robin ran upstairs to check on the girls. they found addie in the corner of her room between the dresser and wall (not uncommon, but still could have been cause she was scared), naked (again, not uncommon for nap time, which usually becomes a let-me-try-on-every-outfit-i-own time) and saying "my room was bouncing!" and frankie standing up in her crib with wide eyes like "what in the world just happened?!" the big girls took the little girls to the basement and put them in the tub. even though that's the wrong disaster routine, i'm still proud of them that they took care of the girls and didn't freak out. really, i freaked more than they did.

matt was in a class when the quake started. they evacuated his building and then made them stay an hour extra to make up for the time they lost. :(

so to make a long blog post short, (ha!) we're all fine and we're all ready for school.
and i can add earthquake to my list of natural disasters survived.
(along with tornado, blizzard, and possible hurricane this weekend).

Friday, August 19, 2011

national zoo

on wednesday we packed up the jolly green giant (my truck) and headed up to the national zoo with sarah and abby (we met alisha and crew at the zoo). we brown bagged our lunches and alisha brought cupcakes for lily's birthday. :)

the whole point of going to the zoo before the big kids went back to school was that i wanted to take everyone with us. but then christian couldn't find a friend that was able to go, so he lucked out because tony (sarah's husband) offered to babysit him. ;) he stayed at tony's and "helped" him do some handyman work around their house. i love that he learned some new skills, was supervised, and best of all, had fun. :) and lexi-lu had cheer tryouts at 5:00, and since we didn't get home until 5:30, i think we made a good choice for her to stay home. even though i kinda questioned why i was going this week, when neither big kid went with us. oh well.

first stop at the zoo: potty. :) 
i stayed with these 2 while the mama's and 3-year-olds went first.
i just love the looks their giving me!
 finally on our way and everyone's happy.
for a few minutes at least.
 lately addie takes frankie's hand and they just run. this was in the reptile house and they had fun running up and down the mini-slopes.
 frankie (begging for sarah's i-phone) and baby aina. :)
(she's due 3 weeks after us :)
 this was addie's first time out.
it was hot, they were tired from the time we got there, and her mood was easily soured.
this time it took 2 3-minute time-outs to get the sweet addie back.
the next time-out took her 3 times to come around.
such is life with 3-year-olds.
the zebra's were my favorite.

frankie loved the elephants. 
can you see them back there?
we tried to get a cute picture of the 3 of us, but someone wasn't cooperating.
(my shirt was wet from the misters the have around the zoo, swear!)
still trying for that cute picture.
this was after addie had climbed on the back of the stroller, tipped it over, (spilling my whole diaper bag all over the trail), and skinned her leg.
so her face was pretty splotchy.
and her mood was pretty bad.
frankie found the stroller window. :)
farm animals.
she loves animals, a lot.
there was a zoo worker walking around this little goat on a leash. addie and frankie ran right up and pet him. and then wanted to wash their hands 10 times.
yay for happy girls!
even if this was our very last stop before heading home. :)
a quick stop at tcby and a tangled viewing later and we were home.
i quickly got dinner together for friends with a new baby (so sweet!) and took some mommy time at target since i was close. i had 2 hours to kill until i needed to pick up the cheerleaders from tryouts, and even though i had planned to go to other stores, i spent my whole time slowly perusing the aisles of targ├ęt. it was lovely.
i picked up the cheerleaders, who were anxiously awaiting their acceptance phone calls.
it was a good, busy, fun day.