Saturday, September 27, 2008

Goodbye Ike and Good Riddance!!!

It will be two weeks tomorrow that the strong winds of Hurricane Ike barreled through Cincinnati....leaving the campus without power and LOTS of clean-up.For more than two hours, we endured sustained winds of 40 mph and blasts up to 80 mph. We lost power around 2:30 Sun and finally got it back Friday sometime in the afternoon. One of the more noticeable damages, was the 3 large trees that are now missing from our neighbor's yard. This picture was taken about 45 min into the storm. So far they had only lost one tree.

The Cravens' Gold's Gym membership has certainly paid off!!

The Farmer's also lost a large tree. It actually took part of their fence and smashed the back window of a car parked on the street. Pres. Avery was one of the first on the job with a chain saw. The storm was still blasting away mind you!

The Crater's back yard.

Another tree down. They eventually lost all three trees and the fence is now gone as well. It looks so BARE!

Some siding missing on Young St.

The guys trying to get all the trailers safely into the Maintenance building.

We had already invited some couples from our church for an after-church snack. When the power went out I was determined to go ahead with my plans. I wasn't sure if I would have a way of keeping my refrigerated food, so I decided we should try to eat up what we could. We had a "Mexican" snack by candle light. It was LOTS of fun! Thanks to everyone that pitched in!

The refrigerated/freezer truck where I kept all my food. Although it was a pain to walk over there and dig out all the things I needed for a meal, I was thankful we at least had not lost any food. I have a gas stove, so I could manually light the burners and cook. And of course, we used the grill a good bit. The kids thought it was SO fun. I thought it was BORING when it got dark. Once I get the kids tucked in bed for the night, I usually stay up and tidy the house, fold laundry etc. But last week I couldn't get a thing done after dark....not even read. UGH! I hate wasting time!

Anyone want to buy a pet monkey??? He can live on bananas and be kept quite happy as long as he has a poster bed, or bunk beds, or trees to swing from!

Last week while shopping at Once Upon A Child, I was looking through all the Halloween dress up and found a really pretty dress for Lauren, who LOVES to play dress-up. I felt kind of sorry for Michael because I wanted him to have something fun and new too. Well, I found it! A Curious George Costume. He loves it way more than I thought he would. In fact, I'm sure we've gotten our money's worth out of it already. He begs for bananas...which is funny because he's never been real crazy about them before. We've gotten good laughs out of all the monkey business!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Our late Summer vacation

Thank goodness for homeschooling....we were able to take our summer vacation a little later and enjoy nearly deserted beaches. We also got a good deal on renting a house! As you already know, we went to Topsail Island, NC. We were gone a week exactly. We left around 2:30 AM Sat. Aug. 30th and arrived back home around 2:30 Sat. morning Sept. 6th. Other than the "grueling" trip, it was a vacation that I would LOVE to do all over again! I took MANY pictures of the waves, but the experiencing of the roar and spray makes the pictures seem pretty disappointing. I can sit for hours and just watch the's so incredibly relaxing. It was our kids' first time to see the ocean. Lauren immediately got in the water and loved it. It took Michael a few days to get over his fear and by Wed. Caleb would go in as long as Chris or I were holding his hand. To tell you the truth, I was thankful they were cautious. Since I don't swim, I find it a little scary to go out very deep myself.
This is the house we rented for the duration. It was LOVELY. 1st floor was parking, 2nd floor had the master suite, two bedrooms and two bathrooms and laundry. The top floor had a full kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom. We only had to cross the street, walk down a little path and we were at the beach. In 6 days, we went 11 times! Our stays ranged anywhere from 1 -5 hours. I was VERY thankful for the washer and dryer! It's probably still recovering!

The path to the beach.

A neat little sand castle Chris and I made for the kids to smash.

Sunday night, we were thrilled to have "Uncle Kendall and Aunt Leanna" come and join us until Wednesday afternoon. The kids were SO excited. We thoroughly enjoyed their stay with us. Chris and Kendall were brave enough to ride the waves on inter tubes and surf boards! Most of the time riding the waves was fun and was a really great idea. But sometimes, an extra big wave would slam one of them to shore. It provided Leanna and I with MANY a laugh. I even got up my courage to try it....twice. I crashed both times, so my wave riding career ended rather quickly!

One night I made one of my favorite suppers...Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo with broccoli and garlic toast. So yummy! I loved the hand painted stone wear serving bowls they had there. Although you can't see it in the pictures, each bowl had a "Italian" food on Eggplant, peppers, etc. These are high on my Christmas list. This is a supper I make quite often and the dishes made it look extra special....(not that you care!)

Behind our house was "the Sound". It is also called the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. It was beautiful. If we just had a boat, I guess we could have made our way to Hobe Sound :)

The bridge on the path that crosses the Dunes. There's quite a fine if they catch you on the dunes at all.

Our family........

Kendall and Leanna...........

Of course, we had to visit the "Shark Attack"...a souvenir store from which we happily emerged nearly an hour later with chintzy t-shirts, key chains, postcards, and even a 3 million old shark tooth. Seriously. We only had to pay $1.99 for it. Michael was devastated when he realized it got left behind on a windowsill at the house.

Our happiest McDonald's smiles shortly after we enjoyed a yummy treat you can only find at the southern McDonald' caramel sundaes. I think there are a couple locations around Dayton that sell them, but none around here that I'm aware of.

One of the bedrooms....

The kids room. They all wanted to share a room which resulted in many giggles and some nights not enough sleep.

One night I came in the room to find Caleb just hugging and hugging Michael.

I can only imagine!!!

The living room.....

Leaving the house as Tropical Storm/Hurricane Hanna makes its way to the island.

We were planning on leaving the island Friday evening, but when we realized there was a curfew to be enforced that evening, we left in the late afternoon instead. There were a couple of rain showers while we were packing up to come home and leaving, but that's all we saw of the hurricane. Other than that, we enjoyed temps in the 80's every day and sunny skies.

One of our happy travellers.....

All the happy travellers. The kids were all ready to come home....I was not! I could have stayed a month I think without getting homesick. However, it is nice to be back and we are thankful for all the miles we travelled safely. It was a 12 hour drive. Lauren said she would like to live at the beach, but wanted Caroline and her cat to be there too! This morning while crossing the Ohio River from going to story hour at the Newport Library, Caleb happily shrieked, "the BEACH!!!" Yeah...I wish! By the way, Chris and I DID NOT make the sand castle you saw pictured near the top. Another family did and it took them HOURS! It mostly washed out to sea in the middle of the night!

A big thanks to Chris who worked GBS weekend security in the summer in addition to his other two jobs....just so we could all enjoy a really nice vacation together. We have a week full of memories that will last a lifetime! Thanks....I Love You!