Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hurricane Ike: Waiting Out The Storm

This is where we rode out Hurricane Ike. It is our friend Christine's mother who lives here in this house and thankfully she ended up with debris but no serious damage to her home.
The Friday before the storm (the 12th) was really a beautiful day... we took a couple of walks down the street and enjoyed just waiting around before the clouds started to come. This is Christine with Graham!
Even butterflies were out and about!
Nat and Daniel (Christine's husband)
Going for a crazy ride in the stroller!
Aslan knew where to bunker down for the storm...
Sometime between 7:30 and 8pm on Friday the electricity went out after a gust of wind. I'm not sure of the exact time because I was in the shower when the power went out and had to find my way out! This picture is fairly deceiving because of the flash... it was very dark out at this point and we were all gathered around the radio listening to news about the storm.
The eye of Ike came over where we were staying in the early morning (about 5ish) and it was very calm. I had nightmares about the eyewall coming and crashing through the house (which of course it didn't) so Graham slept in the bathroom all night. These are some pictures from after the sun came up... it rained the rest of the day and was windy.
A groggy photo after surviving the night.

Hurricane Ike: Evacuation Day

On Thursday, Sept. 11 we were given the Mandatory Evacuation orders. Not really sure what to do or where to go we moved all of our belongings away from the windows of our 2nd story apartment, packed a suitcase, and started driving! We called a couple from our church as we were driving (when we realized that we really didn't have a destination) and they were wonderful to say that we could come stay where they were (about an hour north of where we live).
Nat starting off our drive north.
Graham and Aslan hanging out in the back
We had a ton of traffic trying to leave the Clear Lake area where we live - it took about 45 minutes to go what would normally take less than 5.
But then we got on another highway and it was completely empty! We wondered what kind of a sign that was that no one wanted to go where we were headed, but at least it didn't take long to go the rest of the way!

Officially Texans

The other week we made a big step to becoming Texans. We changed our car registration, titles, and plates. Graham looked on while Nat transformed our cars.
North Carolina...
...to Texas.
...to Texas.
And it's done!

New Table and New Tricks

Well, folks... we have a table! It's a rectangle that seats 6 but extends to a square that will seat 8 so we should have no trouble seating visitors! We have grown so used to sitting on the floor and the couches that we've had to train ourselves to use it. How we love Craigslist!
We definitely enjoy sitting around the table and eating together! Here's a shot of the first meal with the new table.
As far as new tricks go... Graham likes to stack his toys...
...But loves to stack them while standing on his head!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fun Around the House

Here are just some fun pictures from our first couple of weeks in Houston...
Graham has now become obsessed with shoes... he wants them on all the time and wants to put shoes on and take shoes off of anyone he sees. Here he is with his daddy's slippers!
Playing fetch with Aslan...
Sitting in boxes...
Playing in the apartment pool...
...And enjoying blueberry pancake night!
Something else he has recently picked up on is the word "no." He loves to say it and it is so hard to resist smiling when he says it because he does it in such a sweet, innocent voice!

Outings to Kemah

One place that we've gone to a few times is the Kemah Boardwalk (it's great to have a fun free place to go!). It's only a few miles away from us and is right on Galveston Bay. The Boardwalk has some fun restaurants and shops and is complete with amusement rides and, well, a boardwalk on the bay to watch the boats come in and out, seagulls fly overhead, and seacreatures (we've seen crabs and fish...they have signs about alligators but we haven't seen one...yet). It also has a sprayground in the center and the times we've gone there has been live music! We were sad that this was one area near us that was severely affected by Hurricane Ike -- there was a lot of damage but we hope that it will be restored and back to business soon.
Looking at the water...
Nat and Graham playing in the sprayground!
This was a different outing... we discovered that there is a mini boat that can take you from one parking area to the Boardwalk. It's really only about a 20 foot ride but we enjoyed it!
That night was Houston Texans night... we had no idea until we got there and discovered that there was no parking (hence, the reason we took the boat)! Don't be alarmed... I know that Graham and I are standing with the mascot, BUT there will be no trading of football loyalties. We will ALWAYS be Redskins fans, through and through. Since the Texans don't like the Cowboys at all though and because they're not in our conference, we figure we can be excited to pull for them if they're playing too, though.
He might be pointing to a boat? Or maybe just the water? We were trying out the night features of our camera.

Let Down

After everything was moved in, the next few days we bounced from go-mode to let-down-mode as we had people to meet, boxes to unpack, a city to explore, and to recover from all of the energy moving takes!
I found Nat snoozing on the floor one day...
Aslan hanging out under the TV...
Mounds of boxes...
And Graham playing with his Aunt Mariah (who the move and move in would have been impossible without!).
This was Graham's favorite toy of the week... a makeshift slide out of our broken down boxes. He would climb up and say "Weee" as he slid down. I had to think of other creative household slides once we packed the boxes up (couch cushions work pretty well!).

And You Thought This Blog Would Never Truly Make It to Houston...

I know, I know... It's taken over a month for the blog to make it from North Carolina all the way to Houston. It really only took two days! We left Pensacola on the 17th and stayed in the Hampton Inn for a night before we moved into our apartment on the 18th! We received a very warm welcome from our church family here, and I honestly don't know the number of people who came to help - it was at least 20 - I felt like every time I looked up I was meeting a new face!
Cara and the girls saying "goodbye" to Aslan in Pensacola!! We had such a great time visiting family :o)
Nat and Graham... Nat's in the big yellow truck behind us!
Over the Mississippi River...
...And into Texas!! Our new home state.
This was a neat bridge we went over to get to our side of Houston... WE MADE IT!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

***Evacuation Update***

I know that we haven't quite caught up to where we actually are... according to the blog we're still on our way to Texas!  But we've been here since August 18th and have had many concerned phone calls (to us and our families) about Hurricane Ike!!  We were under Mandatory evacuation sooo we decided to leave.  We live in the Clearlake area which is between Houston and Galveston.  A couple from our church (the Fords) graciously offered for us to come with them to ride out Ike with their family.  Currently we are in Huffman, Texas which is in the Northeast Houston area.  This area is still supposed to get some nice wind and rain (and, possibly tornadoes - yikes!) but overall is supposed to be a safe place (according to the Texas "authorities" - I say that because I'm not sure who really makes these decisions - they have requested that people in this area do NOT evacuate... so they must not be too terribly concerned about this section).  We'll update more later (and will eventually catch up with our regular blogging notes), but wanted to let everyone know that we have safely evacuated!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Annnd We're Off!! Day 1

After a morning of getting our remaining items together and doing a sweep-through of the house it was time to hit the road. Mariah arrived early in the morning and she did a great job of Graham-duty. Mariah rode with Graham and me in the Sentra and Aslan kept Nat company in the truck!!
Our last family shot in Charlotte... it's time to get going!!

The big, yellow truck pulling the Jeep! Goodbye to Plaza-Midwood... we were so blessed to live in that neighborhood and that townhouse by the graciousness of the Beaumont family at Uptown Church.
This was in Atlanta... Has anyone ever seen three huge helicopters flying together like that? And is there a reason they would go through Atlanta? We didn't have the answer so we took a picture!

Graham with his favorite new toy (bought especially for this long road trip) the Magnadoodle!! Thankfully he loves it!!
We stopped for the night in Pensacola, Florida to stay with my cousin Cara and her three girls - Emmy Kay, Melina, and Susanna (Melina and Susanna are the twins!). Cara's husband Shawn was out of town but we also had the fun treat of my Aunt Mary Kay and Uncle Chuck being there with us too! It was so great to see them all again!!

Graham made himself right at home... you would think that he wouldn't have been hungry - we fed him dinner in the car, but as we were touring the house we came back to him standing on the chair and helping himself to one of the girls' slices of pizza!