Sunday, August 28, 2011

Surviving our 1st Hurriane...

Today is such a strange day for us and many of our friends and neighbors.  The good news is that our family has survived our 1st Hurricane ~ Irene.  Our neighbors and local news stations successfully scared us enough and evacuation orders came down for some of our surrounding areas.  Since we've only been in our new house for about 18 months now, we were not willing to leave.  Additionally, Eric was a little concerned about looters since we live in a nicer neighborhood. 

We felt pretty confident since our home is all brick and the previous owners installed something called a B-dry system around the house, which pumps all of the ground water up and away from the house.  It seemed like a great thing to have, especially since we have a full finished basement, right?  However, it would have been nice to know that we needed a generator to keep the pump running should we lose power.  With the last hurricane, this neighborhood was out of power for over 2 weeks.  The phone call from the previous owners the night before the storm set in to confirm that we had a generator was enough to put us in panic mode.  Since this area flooded before and we are a few blocks from the water, not to mention the tornado a few months ago that left us without power for a few days, we were officially panicked. 

We called around to see if anyone had any left and of course, no one did ~ no one within 150 miles!  In the afternoon, we called our local Sears.  They had a truck arriving in a few hours with 5 generators on it.  We raced down there to get in line.  While we were #5 in line, we were not planning on the person who was #3 purchasing 2 generators leaving no generator left for us.  We continued to call around to different stores as we stopped by others, hoping the people answering the phones maybe didn't have accurate information.  Luckily, our local Lowes had a truck arriving with over 100 generators.  We got in a long line with at least 65-70 people ahead of us.  We lucked out and got one after 4 hours!

The next problem, since we have never owned or run a generator before, was finding gas cans.  We happen to have 2 cans which added up to about 10 gallons, but were advised that this wouldn't even last us 24 hours.  The next complication came when we tried to find gas.  Every gas station was sold out of gas!  We found one gas station and pulled behind someone with a small truck.  After filling up his small truck, he lifts up the tailgate to reveal about 25 gas cans.  So annoying!

So, we prepared and prepared as much as we could.  I baked up 3 trays of chocolate chip muffins just in case we lost what was in the fridge.  We brought some over to the neighbors who we simply adore.  They advised us to park Eric's car in their driveway in case some trees should fall down.  We heeded all the warnings, stocked up on water, flashlights, non-perishables, baby wipes, filled up the bathtubs with water, and took our last showers for what we expected to be a long time.

The storm set in overnight and we awoke to find that we still had power.  We got up, made a hot breakfast, and set in for a long day of watching the news and learning about the storms path and areas of damage.  We freaked out around 11am when we saw that the backyard was flooded up to the house. 

Eric and Jeremy set up a super fun tent in the basement for us to camp out overnight during the storm.  Just in case you're wondering, it wasn't all that comfortable to sleep in.

We waited and waited for the power to go out.  Eric had all the extension cords laid out and ready to go so he could fire up the generator.  Daylight came and went.  The winds were the scariest parts.  The house across the street had part of a tree break off and sadly, an 11 year old boy lost his life yesterday in nearby Newport News when a large tree fell and hit his house.  It was a good wakeup call.  We surveyed our property and noticed one particular large pine tree that was leaning towards the street.  Luckily, it was leaning away from the house, but we knew that since it was super tall and top heavy, it could snap anywhere and we certainly were not safe.  We prayed and prayed.  The winds still pounded the house until 2-3am.  This was such a long storm and it was so hard during the night because we couldn't see what was going on.

We woke up this morning to an eerie calmness.  The sun was shining, the weather was comfortable, and that tree was still standing ~ still leaning, but still standing.  AND we still had power!  Eric seems to think we maintained power because we bought a generator.  In the town where we live, the stats were that 48K of 61K power subscribers were out of power.  How we managed to keep ours is nothing short of shocking.

Some of our neighbors weren't as lucky as far as trees coming down.  Across the street, our neighbor had 2 trees snap.  They didn't fall all the way on the ground, but if their cars had been in the driveway, who knows?  Behind that house lives a family with a state trooper.  They had a HUGE tree fall and take out their screened-in porch, but thankfully, no one was hurt and it didn't seem to damage the house.  We all were very lucky!

The bright side to the story ~ Savannah's tree!  It was still standing strong, which brought a HUGE smile to ur face!

Not sure if this is just my eyes, but you can see Savannah's tree in the back corner and my other Elephant Ears bent over.  But do you notice the shape of the shadow in front?  Doesn't it look like a heart?  We choose to believe that it is a sign from our daughter, Savannah.  She is everywhere around us and while we miss her dearly, she is one of the biggest blessings in our life.

We pray that everyone around us is as fortunate in surviving this Hurricane with minimal damage.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Things that make me happy...

Here are some things that bring a HUGE smile to my face these days.

My wonderful family

Banana Chocolate Chips Pancakes made with love by my loving husband...

Watching my son celebrate his 4th Birthday with friends...

 Vacation Bible School starting (and more importantly ending!)

Watching my husband experience something off his bucket list ~ the Nascar Experience!

Attending Republican events and getting involved...Oh, how I LOVE politics!!

And most importantly, sharing Savannah's life and helping to make a difference!  Savannah will be honored at the Stillbirth Roundtable, taking place October 2011.

What makes YOU happy?